1. Malaysian Parliament dissolves Saturday for the 14th General Election
  2. Standard Chartered Malaysia and CGC Sign Portfolio Guarantee Agreement
  3. Malaysia and Thailand Sign MOU to grow Halal market in both countries
  4. Indonesia halal product assurance law to have minimal impact on exports — MATRADE
  5. ICPF 2018 to promote Indonesian SME products
  6. EUMCC spearheads business sustainability with Europa Awards for Sustainability 2018

Malaysian Parliament dissolves Saturday for GE14
Malaysia’s Parliament is to be dissolved tomorrow to pave the way for the 14th General Election. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced the dissolution in Putrajaya this afternoon. A total of 14.9 million registered electors are eligible to vote in this general election based on the electoral rolls as at the fourth quarter of 2017. The Election Commission will determine the dates for nomination and polling. The mandate of the government expires on June 24. In accordance with Article 55(4) of the Federal Constitution, a general election must be held within 60 days after the dissolution of Parliament. A total of 222 parliamentary and 505 state seats are at stake in the coming general election to secure the mandate to administer the country which has 31.7 million people. At the time of the dissolution of Parliament, the Barisan Nasional held 132 seats, DAP, 36; PKR, 28; PAS, 13; Parti Amanah Negara, seven; Parti Warisan Sabah, two; Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), one each; and Independents, two.

Standard Chartered Malaysia and CGC Sign Portfolio Guarantee Agreement
Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia and Credit Guarantee Corporation Malaysia Berhad (CGC) signed a Portfolio Guarantee Agreement today that would enable the Bank to provide financial assistance to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). This is the ninth tranche signed between the Bank and CGC which will see a facility of MYR75 million made available with the primary objective of providing working capital and asset acquisition to SMEs. The maximum loan quantum under this portfolio guarantee is up to MYR1.5 million per SME customer subject to eligibility. Abrar Anwar, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Malaysia said: “Standard Chartered Malaysia believe that SMEs are a key player to any economy’s success. We are proud to continue the support for SME growth with over 260,000 Business Banking clients globally which contributes to 11% of our Retail Banking income group-wide.

Malaysia and Thailand Sign MOU to grow Halal market in both countries
The Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC) and the Thai Small and Medium Enterprises Council have exchanged a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at creating greater trade and investment activities as well as wider market access opportunities between Halal industry players in both countries. The MoU exchange was in conjunction with the World Halal Conference 2018 (WHC 2018). Under the terms of cooperation, both HDC and the Council set out to become the focal reference point for all information that is beneficial to trade, investment and development of small and medium enterprises. Both will also screen potential local entrepreneurs in their respective countries to ensure they have a good business record before introducing them to the other party, in addition to extending cooperation to other ASEAN countries. In 2017, Malaysia’s Halal export value to Thailand amounted to RM1.76 billion, up from RM1.5 billion from the previous year with the food and beverage sector continuing to dominate sales with RM927 million.

Meanwhile, the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) said Indonesia’s implementation of the new Law on Halal Product Assurance next year to replace its current voluntary practice of halal certification, is expected to have a minimal impact on Malaysia’s halal product exports. MATRADE Trade Commissioner to Indonesia, Naim Abdul Rahman, said he was confident Malaysia’s exports would meet the new Indonesia halal standards because they had undergone a strict process by Department of Islamic Development (Jakim). “Jakim has mutual recognition with Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI), the agency which provides halal-certification at this moment, and we are working on harmonising the standard with the newly-established agency, BPJPH (Halal Product Assurance Organising Agency). Indonesia is Malaysia’s sixth largest export destination with a total value of RM1.87 billion, or 4.4 per cent, with food and beverages accounting for almost 70 per cent of Malaysia’s total halal exports to Indonesia.

ICPF 2018 to promote Indonesian SME products
The Indonesia Creative Product Festival (ICPF) 2018 will be held in Kuala Lumpur next week to promote the republic’s small and medium enterprise (SME) products. Indonesia’s National Publishing & News Corporation (NPNC) said the event is aimed at strengthening the international market share of its SMEs by featuring the best products, especially from those mentored by state-owned enterprises (SOEs). In a statement today, it said the ICPF 2018 would be fully supported by the Indonesian Ministry of SOEs, SOEs’ Creative House, Indonesian Embassy in Malaysia, Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation, leading Malaysian mass media organisations, and Indonesian Students Association in Malaysia. “The ICPF 2018 will have various activities, including exhibitions, art and culture performances, business matchings, talk shows, and fashion and musical shows. “Various craft products from Indonesia’s unique creative industry will occupy an area of 3,000 square metres with 80 participating SMEs. The event targets to attract 10,000 visitors,” NPNC said.

EUMCC spearheads business sustainability with Europa Awards for Sustainability 2018
Following the overwhelming response from last’s year Europa Awards for Sustainability 2017, the EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce & Industry (EUMCCI) continues to organise the awards for the second year with a new award category, partners and sponsors consistent with the European Union’s sustainable development values. The Awards seek to recognize companies that have shown exemplary business excellence in the field of sustainability and contributed to the long term benefit of Malaysian society and economy. Featuring a total of six award categories including Best Sustainability Reporting, Best Innovation in Sustainability, Best Social Impact, Best Environment Impact, Best Sustainability Leader (awarded to an individual),and a new category which has been introduced this year: Palm Oil Sustainability Leader. Tan Sri Datuk Dr. Rebecca Fatima Sta. Maria, Chairperson of EUMCCI said, “Last year, EUMCCI received over 100 nominations from over 80 Malaysian companies. This is a proud achievement indeed which shows that Europa Awards has made a substantial initial mark in promoting sustainability.” “This year, we foresee an increased number of companies who want to show their commitment and achievements in sustainability because they are convinced that this is the right strategic direction to create competitive advantage in the years to come,” she said during the soft launch event in Kuala Lumpur.