Editor’s Picks: 11 October 2017

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  • Sluggish SME development hurts jobs and the economy
  • Palm Oil Delegation to Meet European Parliamentarians
  • Biomass Sector on Track to Meet RM25 Billion Investment Target By 2020
  • Furniture industry could be elevated through product innovation and creation of high-value segments
  • Malaysia Launch Infringing Website List to Counter Digital Piracy
  • OECD: Global economy set for strong growth into 2018

Sluggish SME development hurts jobs and the economy, ILO says
The International Labour Organisation said small and medium sized enterprises play a crucial role in creating decent jobs, with more than 201 million workers unemployed in 2017 – an increase of 3.4 million compared to 2016. Between 2003 and 2016, the number of full-time employees within SMEs nearly doubled, with the share of total employment attributable to SMEs rising from 31 per cent to 35 per cent, according to the ILO’s World Employment and Social Outlook 2017: Sustainable Enterprises and Jobs  However, in the past year, their contribution to total employment has stagnated. Between 2015 and 2016 the contribution of SMEs to total employment remained virtually unchanged, increasing from 34.6 to 34.8 per cent. “To reverse the recent trend of employment stagnation in SMEs, we need policies to better promote SMEs and a better business environment for all firms, including access to finance for the younger ones,” said Deborah Greenfield, ILO Deputy Director-General for Policy.

MPOB to Meet Members of European Parliament on Palm Oil Issues
A Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) delegation is set to meet members of the European Parliament in Brussels next week to address issues pertinent to palm oil. Malaysian Palm Oil Council Chief Executive Officer, Dr Kalyana Sundram, said they would also discuss several issues regarding the MEP’s Draft Report on legislative or non-legislative issues, including environmental and health concerns. “The Draft Report is a preliminary report generated by the so-called ‘experts’ employed by the European Union (EU) as some the citations in the report are not 100 per cent accurate or not generally pertinent to the scenario in Malaysia. “So we feel obliged to intervene, as we can provide more precise and factual information on the Malaysian scenario,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the inaugural Palm Oil Sustainability EU-Malaysia International Discourse in Kuala Lumpur. Dr Sundram said the delegation would also address resolutions proposed by the 28-nation block, including a plan to impose an EU-based certification for palm oil.

Biomass Sector on Track to Meet RM25 Billion Investment Target By 2020
The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) said the country’s biomass sector is on track to meet its target of attracting RM25 billion in investments by 2020, in accordance with the National Biomass Strategy 2020. Its Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Azman Mahmud, said the projection took into account the sector’s foundation and ecosystem. “We are optimistic of achieving the investment target with the current momentum, while constantly engaging with investors, locally and internationally,” he said. From 2011 to 2016, 226 biomass projects with investments worth RM2.92 billion were recorded, RM1.97 billion of which were from domestic contributions, he said.

NEC Recognises Importance of Furniture Industry To Malaysia’s Economy
The National Export Council (NEC), at its meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today, recognised the importance of the furniture industry to Malaysia’s economy. The Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) said the NEC had agreed that the furniture industry could be further elevated through an enhancement in product innovation and creation of high-value segments, adoption of smart and sustainable manufacturing, usage of new materials and establishment of a furniture hub in the country. “Both the government and private sector are making efforts at moving up the value chain from being an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to an Original Design Manufacturer (ODM),” it said in a statement. In 2016, MATRADE said 80 per cent of Malaysia’s furniture exports were wooden furniture, valued at RM7.6 billion. The top three export markets representing more than 50 per cent share were developed countries, notably, the United States, the European Union and Japan.

Malaysia Launch Infringing Website List to Counter Digital Piracy
Malaysia is the third country in the Asia Pacific region to launch the Infringing Website List (IWL) initiative in the effort to combat digital piracy of copyrighted content such as music, films, software, broadcasts and books. Stakeholders from the Malaysian creative and advertising communities—including Media Prima, Astro, Communications and Multimedia Content Forum of Malaysia, Motion Picture Association, Centre for Content Promotion and Media Specialists Association—have joined forces to set up the IWL initiative which aims to cut off advertising revenue flowing to major pirate websites in the country. MPA International consultant, Sam Shafie, said the IWL programme involves identifying a list of the most popular pirate websites in Malaysia, sharing the list with advertisers, and removing any advertisements found to be placed on those websites.

Global economy is set for strong growth into 2018
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said the global economy is set for continued strong growth into 2018. But, according to leading indicators released Monday, the U.K. and Russia are likely to miss out. The Paris-based research body’s gauges of future activity, based on data for August, pointed to faster growth in China, Italy and Brazil, while the strong growth experienced over recent months is set to continue in the U.S., the eurozone as a whole and Japan.

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