Highlights:
  1. 6.1 magnitude earthquake shakes Taiwan’s east coast
  2. Malaysian tourist in critical condition from Taiwan quake
  3. Malaysia will be able to leverage 5G within next three years
  4. China keen on increasing palm oil trade with Malaysia
  5. ECRL resumption boosts confidence of Malaysian market
6.1 magnitude earthquake shakes Taiwan’s east coast A strong 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck Taiwan’s east coast Thursday afternoon, according to the island’s Central Weather Bureau. TV footage showed at least one landslide but there were no immediate reports of major damage. The bureau said the quake happened at 1:01 p.m. with its epicenter just over 10 kilometers northwest of the eastern coastal city of Hualien. The quake shook buildings in the capital, Taipei, which is about 115 kilometers away, with one multi-story building reported to be leaning against its neighbour. The city’s subway system suspended service, while schools along the east coast were evacuated. Taiwan is on the string of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean known as the “Rim of Fire” and is frequently rocked by tremors, including a 1999 quake that killed more than 2,300 people. An official at the Hualien county fire department told AFP that two people were injured by falling rocks. The National Fire Agency said one, a Malaysian male tourist, had been rushed to hospital in a critical condition after suffering a cardiac arrest, a leg fracture and head injuries. The agency added that there were also 15 injuries reported around Taipei and that two buildings in the city were temporarily evacuated due to structural damages after the tremor. “The tremor could be felt for 33 seconds, which is considered quite long… It could be felt all over Taiwan and it’s the first quake above 6.0 magnitude this year,” said Chen Kuo-chang, director of the bureau’s seismological centre. The Japan Meteorological Agency warned that people living near the coast could notice some effects on sea levels, but said there would be no tsunami, and “there is no concern about damage”. Malaysia will be able to leverage 5G within next three years Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is confident that Malaysia will be able to leverage 5G within the next three years. He said that this is achievable with the necessary preparations in place to usher the transformational technology. He said Malaysia had come a long way and yet there was still a distance to go, adding that today’s initiative was the cornerstone of Malaysia’s march into the new age and a vital foundation to remain relevant and competitive. “The businesses are our main stakeholders and we need to continue improving the environment for the businesses to prosper. “This is where the government aims to create an environment conducive for growth from ensuring ubiquitous connectivity through the National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP) to forming the National 5G Taskforce in November 2018 to identify the potential uses for 5G, discuss impediments in adopting this new technology and provide ideas and solutions for 5G implementation in the country,” he said. Dr Mahathir said 5G marked an inflection point in the future of communications taking the nation into a dimension which is some time beyond the imagination. China keen on increasing palm oil trade with Malaysia Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Bai Tian has hinted at the possible increase in the purchase of palm oil and palm oil-related products from Malaysia soon. He said China, Malaysia’s largest palm oil and palm oil-related products importer, is very keen on increasing the trade number with Malaysia. “Hope this year will witness more purchase of Malaysia palm oil and related products by Chinese suppliers. Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is schedules to visit China at the end of the month for the 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing. He is expected to witness the signings of memoranda of understanding (MoU) on the sidelines of the event, including on palm oil. Bai Tian reiterated that China does not impose a glass ceiling on the purchase of Malaysian palm oil and palm oil-related products. Malaysia’s palm oil exports to China rose 9.3 per cent to 1.81 million tonnes for January to August 2018 period compared to 1.65 million tonnes exported during the same period in 2017. In 2017, Malaysia exported 2.87 million tonnes of palm oil and palm oil derivatives worth RM9.42 billion to China. ECRL resumption boosts confidence of Malaysian market The resumption of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project will boost Chinese investors’ confidence and trust in the Malaysian market. Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Bai Tian said the project, which is expected to resume construction as soon as next month, will aid in attracting more Chinese businesses here. “I’m so happy that both sides have goodwill negotiations. A win-win solution was achieved,“ he said at a roundtable with Malaysian media in Kuala Lumpur. For three years in a row, China was the biggest foreign direct investor in the manufacturing sector for Malaysia. Some 33 per cent of foreign direct investments to Malaysia are from China. Bilateral trade between Malaysia and China hit an all-new high in 2018, growing 13 per cent to US$108.6 billion (RM443 billion) from US$96 billion (RM392 billion) in 2017. It marked the tenth year of China being the largest trading partner in Malaysia.