Headlines:
  1. MATRADE to explore prospects in Oceania region
  2. Tourism Ministry targets 30m tourists to generate RM100m in Visit Malaysia 2020
  3. Government offers RM6.2 bln to take over four toll highways
  4. E-sports blueprint ready
  5. Japanese businesses see economy peaking out
MATRADE to explore prospects in Oceania region The Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) is ramping up its efforts to find new emerging markets for Malaysian exporters by exploring the Oceania region through an Export Acceleration Mission (EAM) to New Zealand and Fiji from Sunday. 28 Malaysian companies will be participating in the EAM offering various products and services in sectors such as construction services and building materials, food and beverages, halal, lifestyle, information and communications technology, personal care products and cosmetics, medical and health products, as well as machinery and equipment. MATRADE director for ASEAN and Oceania, Raja Badrulnizam Raja Kamalzaman said, “Although New Zealand is an agricultural exporting country, there are opportunities for us to export high quality halal products to meet the demand of the growing Muslim population there. “New Zealand also offers prospects in the construction sector and we see a lot of possibilities for Malaysian companies to provide building materials and construction services for the market. “Similarly, for Fiji, there are also various opportunities for Malaysian companies. This is the first time that MATRADE is organising an export mission to Fiji. The country currently records an economic growth rate of 3.8 per cent annually, higher than other countries in the region,” said He said Fiji is also known as a trading and distribution hub for the South Pacific islands region. “The market poses high demand for construction services and building materials, as well as lifestyle products such as furniture due to the increased infrastructure development and tourism projects outlined in the Fijian Government’s economic plans,” added Raja Badrulnizam. Tourism Ministry targets 30m tourists to generate RM100m in Visit Malaysia 2020 The Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry aims to achieve the target of 30 million tourist arrivals that will generate about RM100 billion income during Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign. Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi is confident the target can be achieved as Malaysia registered 6.7 million visitor arrivals in the first quarter of this year, or an increase by 2.7 per cent when compared to the same corresponding period of last year. “In terms of tourist expenditure, Malaysia also has positive growth of 16.9 per cent for the first quarter of this year,” he said. Government offers RM6.2 bln to take over four toll highways The Ministry of Finance has formally handed over offer letters to four toll concessionaires with an enterprise value of RM6.2 billion. The four tolled highway concessions in which Gamuda Bhd has a significant stake are Damansara-Puchong Highway (LDP), Sistem Penyuraian Trafik KL Barat (Sprint), Shah Alam Expressway (Kesas) and the Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel (SMART). The breakdown of the offer prices are LDP for RM2.47 billion, Sprint (RM1.98 billion), Kesas (RM1.38 billion) and SMART (RM369 million). Finance Minister, Lim Guan Eng said the completion of the offer was subject to due diligence, the requisite shareholders’ and creditors’ approval for each concessionaire and the final approval by the cabinet. “If the acquisition process of these highways is successful, the government will acquire the highway concessionaires on Dec 31, 2019, through a special purpose vehicle (SPV) wholly-owned by the Minister of Finance (Incorporated),” he said in a statement today. The SPV will finance the offer of RM6.2 billion by way of bond issuance. Lim said under the new congestion charge system that was previously announced, commuters using these four highways would save as much as RM180 million per annum, and these savings will go straight into the disposable income of Malaysian households. The congestion charge model follows a variable pricing structure which depends on the time of the day. In principle, the government would give discounts of up to 30 per cent for hours outside of peak periods and free travel during off-peak periods. “In addition, the maximum congestion charge would be capped at the current toll rate in order to not cause further burden to the commuters. The final structure of the congestion charge will be studied and refined in further detail before being implemented on Jan 1, 2020,” he said. The acquisition of these highways would also directly save taxpayers from having to pay compensations of more than RM5.3 billion to toll concessionaires in order to freeze toll rate hikes until the end of the respective concession periods. E-sports blueprint ready The blueprint on the development of the electronic sports (e-sports) is completed and is in the process of obtaining feedback from numerous stakeholders nationwide. Minister of Youth and Sports Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said that e-sports, among others, would stress on responsible gaming to curb unhealthy cultures which were brought by online games. “One of the important issues in the blueprint is responsible gaming which is very important because we do not want people to be addicted and do not want the negative element to continue,’’ he told reporters in Kuala Terengganu. Syed Saddiq said that the government was adhering to the stand of not taking overly fast action to forbid such online games. “We cannot take too fast an action to immediately ban, it is not us, our stand is based on facts, research, before such a decision is made,” he said. Meanwhile, the programme which took place yesterday and today was held to popularise sports among the people in the state. A total 15,000 people took part in the programme which highlighted numerous interesting events such as traditional archery, beach football and ‘fun run’. Japanese businesses see economy peaking out Japan’s economy is likely to stop expanding this year and into next with the Sino-U.S. trade war and a planned sales tax hike expected to crimp activity, a Reuters poll of Japanese companies found, with most calling for fresh stimulus to prop up growth. The gloomy outlook suggests that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s reflationary policy mix, known as “Abenomics”, is sputtering. The Corporate Survey found 42% of respondents see the economy contracting into next year, while 52% believe growth will remain stagnant. Just 5% foresee it expanding, the June 4-13 poll showed. China and United States, the world’s two largest economies, have been locked in a tit-for-tat tariff war for nearly a year, which has curbed global trade and upended supply chains, pressuring Japan’s exports and factory output. Some 55% of Japanese firms said harsher U.S. punitive tariffs against China were affecting their business profits, with much higher proportions of transport machinery firms and chemicals makers taking a hit, the Reuters Corporate Survey showed. But only 7% of Japanese firms were considering moving their operational base or supply chains outside of China, suggesting they see the trade spat calming down or are waiting to see how long it lasts. Some 57% said this wasn’t something they are considering while 36% said they had no businesses in China. The survey’s outlook reinforces the growing view that Japan’s economy may already be in recession after having likely peaked out last autumn, said Yasunari Ueno, chief market economist at Mizuho Securities. The survey, conducted for Reuters by Nikkei Research, canvassed 505 big and midsize companies, of which 240-260 companies responded on condition of anonymity.