Highlights:

  1. 13 ministers, 23 deputy ministers sworn in
  2. Malaysia remains a success story
  3. Death penalty under review
  4. Qantas and Hong Kong Airlines listed as world’s top 15 punctual airlines

13 ministers, 23 deputy ministers sworn in
Thirteen more ministers and 23 deputy ministers took their oath of office before the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Muhammad V, at Istana Negara today. This new ministers bring to 26, the total number of ministers in Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahahthir Mohamed’s Cabinet. The 13 new ministers are Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (Youth and Sports portfolio); Alor Gajah MP Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof (Entrepreneur Development); Kuala Langat MP Dr A. Xavier Jayakumar (Water, Land and Natural Resources); Kulim-Bandar Baharu MP Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail (Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs); Selangau MP Baru Bian (Works); Indera Mahkota MP Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah (Foreign); Seputeh MP Teresa Kok Suh Sim (Primary Industries). Parit Buntar MP Datuk Dr Mujahid Rawa (Prime Minister’s Department ” Religion); Bakri MP Yeo Bee Yin (Energy, Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment); Shah Alam MP Khalid Abd Samad (Federal Territories); Batu Sapi MP Liew Vui Keong (Prime Minister’s Department ” Law); Penampang MP Ignatius Darell Leiking (International Trade and Industry); Silam MP Mohamaddin Ketapi (Tourism, Arts and Culture).

World Bank says Malaysia remains a success story
The World Bank still views Malaysia as a “success story”, despite the national debt having reached RM1 trillion. Its country director for Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand, Mara Warwick said, “We see Malaysia having a very strong economy and moving towards high-income. “What we have emphasised in this report (Malaysia Economic Report) is really the importance of looking at the quality of growth, inclusiveness of this growth going forward and how every Malaysian can benefit from the economic success the country has achieved,” she told reporters after the launch of the report in Kuala Lumpur today.

Meanwhile, Lead Economist Dr Richard Record said the most important thing for the new government to do is ensure that the debt is addressed with transparency, vigilance, as well as careful and prudent management. He said the vastness of the debt which is 97.7 per cent in ringgit denomination, should provide a limited risk to the government, when it comes to foreign exchange exposure. He also said almost 70 per cent of the debt is medium-term with a maturity of above three years, so “there is a limited risk on rollover terms”.

The World Bank’s Malaysia Economic Report has forecast the country’s economy to grow at the rate of 5.4 per cent this year, underpinned by stronger growth in household consumption. The stronger near-term outlook for household spending primarily reflects the additional impetus from the new policy measures put forth by the government, including the temporary suspension of the consumption tax. The report also said ensuring longer-term fiscal sustainability in the new fiscal setting would necessitate a deeper wave of structural reforms to diversify sources of fiscal revenue, rationalise non-essential operating outlays, restructure some of the large-scale infrastructure projects and improve spending efficiency.
The World Bank has encouraged the government to maintain its fiscal deficit target of 2.8 per cent this year.

Death penalty under review
The sentences of 17 inmates on death row have been put on hold pending a government review of the penalty. Deputy Secretary-General of the Home Ministry, Datuk Seri Nadzri Siron indicated that the outcome may take a while as the Cabinet will have to deliberate on the review findings. He said the review will involve all laws where the death penalty is prescribed, including the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 and the Firearms Act 1971. On the government’s accession to the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT). Datuk Seri Nadzri said the ministry will soon form a special committee to review seven acts pertaining to detention without trial. “We have been instructed to review these laws as soon as possible alongside the Attorney-General’s Chamber. The review will most probably conclude by the year’s end,” “Three of the seven acts to be reviewed include the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012, the Prevention of Crime Act 2014, and the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015,” he said.

Qantas and Hong Kong Airlines listed as world’s top 15 punctual airlines
Qantas Airways and Hong Kong Airlines were listed among the world’s top 15 punctual airlines in OAG’s On-time Performance (OTP) Star Ratings, OAG — the global leader in flight information — revealed the ratings also includes Malaysia’s airlines — Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia, a statement said. Regional sales director JAPAC, OAG, Mayur Patel said on-time punctuality is considered a key indicator of service quality whereby many Asian airlines and airports are investing to improve their performance in order to retain passenger loyalty. The airlines listed in the five-stars ratings includes Korean T’Way Air and Japan’s Fuji Dream Airlines while Singapore-based low-cost carrier Jetstar Asia, Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways and Singapore Airlines earned four stars and rank among the world´s top 25 airlines for timeliness. OAG also revealed Japanese airports delivered impressive annual OTP results with 19 airports achieving 5-star status, including the large hubs of Osaka International Itami and Tokyo International Haneda. OAG provides accurate, timely and actionable information and applications across the travel sector to the world´s airlines, airports, government agencies and aircraft manufacturers.