• MATTA calls for funds to spur travel industry
  • Wholesale, retail trade sales value improved 9.8% in August 2017
  • Home buying expected to be streamlined
  • English Language Roadmap 2015-2025 to elevate teaching skills
  • Indonesia to attract more visitors to Riau Islands via Johor
  • Singapore’s GDP grew 4.6% in Q3 2017
  • Private Education in Singapore preparing for the next wave

MATTA Hopes Budget 2018 Will Provide Perks, Funds to Spur Travel Industry
The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) hopes that the 2018 Budget will continue to provide incentives and funds to spur the travel industry. Its President, Datuk Tan Kok Liang, said MATTA’s wish list for the 2018 Budget include extending the perks for inbound tour operators to 2020 and ease terms to help new or small companies. He suggested that tour operators handling over 750 foreign tourists and 1,500 domestic tourists be given tax incentives. “We have also sought funds for capacity building in the travel sector from training apprentices to reskilling and upskilling of industry practitioners,” he said.

Wholesale, Retail Trade Sales Value Rises To 97.7 Billion In August 2017
Malaysia’s wholesale and retail trade sales value improved 9.8 per cent to RM97.7 billion in August 2017 as compared to the corresponding period in 2016. The Department of Statistics Malaysia said the sales value consisted of wholesale trade valued at RM47.4 billion, retail trade (RM38.0 billion) and motor vehicles (RM12.3 billion). It said the positive growth was contributed by the retail trade (13.4 per cent).

Process of Home Buying to Change Beyond Recognition
HSBC Bank Malaysia believes the process of buying a home will change beyond recognition in the coming years with transactions more streamlined and buyers and sellers having greater control and relying more on technology. The Bank’s Country Head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Lim Eng Seong, said the speed at which the digital revolution in home buying rolled out around the world would depend on local regulatory environments and people’s willingness to trust technology for such an enormous buy. “The traditional role of estate agents will be reinvented as nowadays there are many online platforms where homeowners can market their own properties and negotiate directly with the sellers,” he said. HSBC Bank Malaysia, in its new Beyond the Bricks home buying report? The future of home buying’, said new technologies were transforming the way people were buying a home in Malaysia and globally. It said the report combined the results of over 9,000 people in nine countries, including 1,000 respondents in Malaysia.

English Language Roadmap 2015-2025 To Elevate Teaching Skills
Developing and upskilling the average teacher to re-brand the entire teaching profession is no longer seen as an impossible mission, said Education deputy director Datuk Dr Amin Senin. He said the biggest gains in the country’s education system would come from elevating the standards and upgrading the skills and competency of teachers to create a high-quality workforce. “Therefore, it is incumbent upon educators to continue refining their skills in accordance to what is outlined in the Malaysian Education Blueprint and the English Language Roadmap 2015-2025,” he said. He said the English Language Roadmap 2015-2025, a product of the English Language Standards and Quality Council and an extension of the blueprint, set out to do precisely this. “The collaboration between Cambridge English and the Ministry of Education, has spurred significant progress in aligning the current English Language education in Malaysia to international standards using the Common European Framework of Reference,” he added.

Indonesia To Attract More Visitors to Riau Islands via Johor
Indonesia’s Tourism Ministry plans to collaborate with ferry operators in Johor to boost the number of international visitors to some parts of the Riau Islands including Tanjung Pinang, Batam and Bintan. Its Director of Promotion for Southeast Asia, Rizki Handayani, said the collaboration may include offering some attractive and affordable promotion programmes. “We would like to receive more visitors to the Islands via Malaysia. For Malaysians, having an edge in terms of your currency, you could spend more over there and help spur our tourism industry,” she said. Rizki said the ministry may replicate a collaboration that it already has with several Singapore ferry operators in bringing more international visitors via Singapore to the Islands.

Singapore’s GDP Grew by 4.6 Per Cent in the Third Quarter of 2017
Based on advance estimates, the Singapore economy grew by 4.6 per cent on a year-on-year basis in the third quarter of 2017, higher than the 2.9 per cent growth in the previous quarter. On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally-adjusted annualised basis, the economy expanded by 6.3 per cent, an improvement from the 2.4 per cent growth in the second quarter. The manufacturing sector expanded by 15.5 per cent on a year-on-year basis in the third quarter, faster than the 8.2 per cent growth in the previous quarter. Growth was supported mainly by robust expansions in the electronics, biomedical manufacturing and precision engineering clusters.

Private Education in Singapore preparing for the next wave

Disruptions and unexpected external circumstances have served to change the landscape of private education in Singapore. With this in mind, the Singapore Association for Private Education (SAPE) held a one-day conference on Thursday, themed “Transforming Education for the Next Wave — Benchmarking for Success.” This year saw an increase of more than 10% in participation indicating a strong desire and commitment from the private education sector to transform itself and band together for greater collaboration to prepare for the challenges ahead. Newly elected President of SAPE, Mr Leon Choong, set the tone of the conference by stating that “Benchmarking is not just about identifying and implementing good practices. They should be best practices or at the very least practices that are better than what you currently employ. There is also a need to look beyond comparing academic results between the private and public institutions — and really delve into areas such as employability, industry-relevance, service experience and so on.”