1. Early GST relief for buyers of Medklinn air and surface sterilisers
  2. Bank Negara Malaysia to undertake assessment on recovery of 1MDB money
  3. Malaysia’s economy grows 5.4 per cent in 1Q18
  4. Malaysia’s balance of payment records higher surplus of RM15 bln for 1Q18
  5. A chatbot named Sofia is helping Muslims find halal food overseas
  6. IBM Study: Majority of Businesses View GDPR as Opportunity to Improve Data Privacy and Security
  7. British business booming on eBay with creation of over 300 new ‘eBay millionaires’ in past year

Early GST relief for buyers of Medklinn air and surface sterilisers
A manufacturer of air and surface sterilisers, Medklinn International Sdn Bhd, has decided to absorb all GST for its consumer products with immediate effect following the Government’s announcement that GST will all be zero-rated from June 1. Its Managing Director Peter Tham said this special rebate was for direct purchases from the company’s service centre in Glenmarie or through its online store.

Bank Negara Malaysia to undertake assessment on recovery of 1MDB money
Bank Negara Malaysia Governor Tan Sri Muhammad Ibrahim said the Central Bank will undertake an assessment of the alleged amount of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) money to be recovered from overseas once it obtains the related information. He however said no data had been received as of now. He said BNM had taken the necessary action needed regarding the 1MDB case which fell under its jurisdiction. “Whether we will reopen the case and look at a different angle, (I believe) we have exhausted all investigations.

Malaysia’s economy grows 5.4 per cent in 1Q18
Malaysia’s economy grew by 5.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2018, underpinned by continued expansion in private sector activity and strong support from net exports. In a statement today, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) said on a quarter-on-quarter seasonally-adjusted basis, the economy grew by 1.4 per cent (4Q 2017: 1.0 per cent). It said headline inflation for the quarter under review declined to 1.8 per cent (4Q 2017: 3.5 per cent). It reflected the smaller contribution of domestic fuel prices and due to the smaller increase in global oil prices compared to the previous quarter and a stronger ringgit exchange rate in 1Q 2018. BNM said domestic financial market conditions remained orderly despite heightened volatility arising from external developments. “Domestic financial institutions demonstrated resilience with healthy asset quality, sound profitability and ample liquidity.

Malaysia’s balance of payment records higher surplus of RM15 bln for 1Q18
Malaysia’s balance of payments recorded a higher surplus of RM15 billion in the current account for the first quarter of 2018, compared with RM13.9 billion recorded in the fourth quarter of 2017. The Department of Statistics said the better performance was attributed to the goods account. In this quarter, exports of goods was valued at RM237.6 billion, a growth of 5.8 per cent, on a year-on-year basis. The main products that contributed to the increase were electrical and electronic products which had the highest share in total exports at 37.1 per cent, rising 1.8 per cent to RM88.1 billion followed by crude petroleum which expanded by 8.0 per cent to RM8.5 billion. Imports decreased 0.8 per cent to RM204.3 billion on a y-o-y basis, compared with 14.4 per cent growth seen in the preceding quarter. Consumption goods recorded an increase while intermediate and capital goods decreased. The department said the financial account recorded a net inflow of RM15.2 billion (Q4 2017: net inflow RM6.0 billion).

A chatbot named Sofia is helping Muslims find halal food overseas
Have Halal Will Travel is a content platform that helps Muslims travel with confidence in countries where this can be a challenge, especially without a guide. They started out with an article on how to find halal local food like dim sum in Hong Kong; and this eventually grew to hundreds of articles and guides on the Web, as well as a mobile app and social media channels. HHWT draws its recommendations from communities of contributors around the world, from London to Bangkok. Often, these writers have travelled to or lived in these cities for years, bringing authentic insider knowledge to travellers on where to find the best halal local cuisine, prayer spaces, and what to look out for when visiting these destinations. HHWT now reaches over nine million Muslims from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia each month, providing valuable information to help travellers plan trips to popular destinations such as Hong Kong, Japan, London, Melbourne and South Korea. Called Sofia, chosen after users voted for the name in a public poll, the chatbot is online 24/7, assisting travellers with their queries from all over the world, regardless of which time zone they are in.

IBM Study: Majority of Businesses View GDPR as Opportunity to Improve Data Privacy and Security
A new study from IBM reveals nearly 60 percent of organizations surveyed are embracing the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as an opportunity to improve privacy, security, data management or as catalyst for new business models, rather than simply a compliance issue or impediment. To reduce their exposure, the study indicated that the majority of companies are being more selective in the data they collect and manage, with 70 percent disposing of data ahead of the deadline for compliance. Companies’ preparation for GDPR comes in the wake of increased scrutiny from consumers on businesses’ management of personal data. A separate poll of 10,000 consumers, conducted by the Harris Poll on behalf of IBM, found that only 20 percent of U.S. consumers completely trust organizations they interact with to maintain the privacy of their data.

British business booming on eBay with creation of over 300 new ‘eBay millionaires’ in past year
eBay has revealed that the number of self-made ‘eBay millionaires’ selling on the marketplace has grown by over 300, or more than over 50 percent, year-on-year. Now, for the first time in its 22-year history in the UK, there are over one thousand eBay millionaire businesses on our shores. An eBay millionaire is defined as a British registered business on eBay.co.uk with an annual turnover of £1 million or more. The greatest volume of eBay UK millionaires per capita are concentrated in Manchester, Birmingham and West Yorkshire – evidence of the online opportunity up and down the country. A previous eBay study in 2015 found that Greater Manchester had a higher concentration of small online businesses than anywhere else in the UK. The release of the figures coincides with the launch of the 2018 eBay for Business Awards – a celebration of the most successful and inspiring firms amongst the 200,000 small and medium sized businesses which sell in the UK. eBay sellers of all sizes can enter for free today via www.ebayawards.com. Successful sellers could win a £5k cash prize, a trip to the USA, as well as tailored assistance to help boost their online store. The Awards will be open for entry until July 22. Home, furniture and DIY businesses have surged on eBay over the past year, with most new millionaires running businesses in these categories, fuelled by shoppers favouring outdoor living and a more sustainable lifestyle.