News Reel: 15 May 2018

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  1. Dr M says may be PM for one or two years
  2. Zeti: No turning back on GST abolishment
  3. Council of Eminent Persons forms Committee on Institutional Reforms
  4. Financial market reaction better than expected — Wahid Omar

Dr M says may be PM for one or two years, to bring case against Najib soon
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he may stay on as Malaysia’s prime minister for “one or two years,” after earlier agreeing to step aside for jailed coalition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. The 92-year-old Mahathir made the remarks today via video conference to a Wall Street Journal event in Tokyo. He said that Datuk Seri Anwar may just join the cabinet for a while after his expected release from prison on Wednesday. Tun Mahathir also said that he may soon bring a case against former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who was barred from leaving Malaysia last week. He added that he wouldn’t cut a deal with Datuk Seri Najib if any wrongdoing was found in a corruption probe into state fund 1MDB.

Zeti: No turning back on GST abolishment
Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz said there will be no turning back on the proposed abolishment of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) which came into effect on 1 April 20 15. She said that the decision to abolish the GST was final and work was in progress towards the abolishment. Tan Sri Zeti is the former central bank governor and currently a member of the Council of Eminent Persons. Two of the council members were at the Finance Ministry this morning to discuss the tax and other economic matters, including fiscal changes and subsidies. “The issue is how it is going to be accomplished. Do we zerorise it? So, from six per cent it becomes zero per cent,” she told reporters after chairing a meeting with 180 fund managers in Kuala Lumpur. She added that once a decision is made, it would be made known to the public.

Council of Eminent Persons forms Committee on Institutional Reforms
The Council of Eminent Persons today announced the formation of a five-member Committee on Institutional Reforms. It said in a statement that the members of the committee are retired judge of the Court of Appeal, Datuk KC Vohrah; retired judge of the Court of Appeal and Suhakam commissioner Datuk Mah Weng Kwai; president of the National Patriots Association Brig Gen (Rtd) Datuk Mohamed Arshad Raji; Tunku Abdul Rahman Professor of Law at University Malaya, Emeritus Prof Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi and National Human Rights Society (Hakam) president Datuk S. Ambiga. The Council of Eminent Persons said the committee would present its findings and recommendations to the council which would then present its report to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. It said economic reforms on their own could not bring the desired change unless accompanied by institutional reforms. The Council of Eminent Persons was established on May 12 to advise the government on economic and financial matters.

Financial market reaction better than expected — Wahid Omar
Permodalan Nasional Bhd ( PNB ) Group Chairman Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar (pic) said the financial market reaction to the change in the government was better than initially expected following the smooth power transition. He said the favourable market performance was also due country’s strong economic fundamentals, with the services and manufacturing sectors continue driving the economy, contributing 55 per cent and 23 per cent to the gross domestic product. “The better-than-expected performance was also due to the people and investors’ confidence in the leadership of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his team, including the Team of Eminent Persons. The early commitment by the new government to enhance corporate governance, fight corruption and uphold business and people-friendly policies also spurred confidence in the financial markets, he added.

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