Headlines:  
  1. Strategic partner for third national car to be announced soon
  2. FAMA targets 5-10 per cent increase in local fruit export value
  3. Sabah aims to increase revenue from manufacturing sector to RM60 bln by 2030
  4. Enhancing Financial Inclusion through Islamic Finance and FinTech
  5. Indonesia again mulls plan for new capital
Government finalising strategic partner for third national car Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Redzuan Md Yusof said the government is in the final phase of deciding the strategic partner for the third national car project. He added that the partnership was expected to be inked soon and would be announced by Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad. He said that the project would be private sector-driven and would not use government funds, adding that the ministry’s role was just to help the project gain traction. He added that so far, 145 local vendors had shown interest in the project and the type of car would be an extended-range vehicle. He noted that Malaysia had the expertise in building cars as well as technological advancement, and the automotive sector was more open now. “We are now in an era when anyone can build cars like Dyson, for example. We are on the right track and this project is not about taking Proton’s position. It is just to push our capabilities,” he said.   FAMA targets five to 10 per cent increase in local fruit export value The Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (FAMA) is targeting to increase the export value of local fresh fruits to between five and 10 per cent this year. FAMA’s Export Division director Ser Tian Sin said the export value is expected to reach RM1.5 to RM1.8 billion this year compared to about RM1.3 billion in 2018. “We expect higher increases, but this is subject to weather conditions because it affects the production of fruits … and we too have to be rational when setting the target we want to achieve” he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur. Ser said among the factors that could increase the value of exports included durian which are in high demand overseas. He said FAMA also intends to export fruits such as papaya, jackfruit, pineapple and starfruit to countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia in order to increase the total value of the export of fresh products.   Sabah strives to increase revenue from manufacturing sector to RM60 bln by 2030 Sabah’s Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau said the state needs to increase its revenue from the manufacturing sector to RM60 billion by 2030 to meet the target of boosting its contribution to 35 per cent to the state’s gross domestic product (GDP). He said the manufacturing sector currently contributes 7.3 per cent to the state’s GDP, hence, it has to be further expanded to sustain the industrial and economic growth. Datuk Madius, who is also Sabah Trade and Industry Minister, said the state government had planned and structured various initiatives to ensure that the sector could create double impacts, including diversifying value added in every economic activity, as well as being committed to attracting more potential investors. “To achieve the target, the contribution of the manufacturing sector should be increased to RM6 billion annually to ensure that the sector can contribute RM60 billion by 2030,” he said in Kota Kinabalu. Datuk Madius pointed out that Sabah recorded a stunning economic growth of 8.2 per cent in 2017 compared with 4.7 per cent in the previous year, garnering RM92.7 billion to the state’s GDP. He said the services sector was the largest contributor to Sabah’s GDP in 2017 at 39.9 per cent. Enhancing Financial Inclusion through Islamic Finance and FinTech As a global pioneer in Islamic finance, Malaysia aims to harness the growth of Islamic finance and financial technology (FinTech) to enhance financial inclusion and open up access to financial services for the underserved individuals as well as micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Over 1.7 billion adults or one-third of the world’s adult population are estimated to not have access to formal financial services – many of them in developing countries. According to the Global Findex Database, 40 out of the 48 member countries in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) have formal account penetration rates that are lower than the world average of 50 percent. This issue, along with elements required for the sustainable use of Islamic finance to address financial inclusion, were discussed at a conference today jointly organised by the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC), World Bank Group Global Knowledge and Research Hub in Malaysia, and the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) Asia Pacific Hub also located in Malaysia. Themed “Islamic Finance: A Catalyst for Financial Inclusion”, the annual conference gathered over 300 development practitioners, policy makers, regulators and experts to explore policy, regulatory and institutional challenges and opportunities. The conference featured discussions on the role of Islamic finance including Islamic social finance, such as waqf and zakat, in enabling greater access to financial services to enhance social well-being as well as drive economic activities. The use of technology to support Islamic finance in facilitating greater inclusion was also deliberated. Datuk Syed Zaid Albar, Chairman of the SC said, “Islamic products and services for financial inclusion hold the promise for a shared and better future. Therefore, increased digitisation will certainly reduce costs and enhance speed, convenience and appeal. In this regard, the capital market provides entrepreneurs and MSMEs both conventional and Shariah-compliant avenues to access alternative sources of financing. Dr. Firas Raad, World Bank Group Representative to Malaysia and Country Manager said, “Islamic finance can play a role in addressing the high levels of poverty in the OIC countries, which account for over 40% of those living on less than USD1.25 a day and is home to one-third of the global population living in extreme poverty, defined as those living on less than USD1.90 per day.”   Indonesia again mulls plan for new capital Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Monday approved a long-term plan for the government to abandon overcrowded, sinking and polluted Jakarta. President Widodo decided at a special cabinet meeting to move the capital outside of Indonesia’s most populous island, Java, said Planning Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro. It was one of three options discussed. The other alternatives were moving to a location near Jakarta or staying put and relocating all government buildings to a special zone around the presidential palace. The site for a possible new capital hasn’t been announced, but Palangkaraya on the island of Borneo has often been rumoured as the location. Brodjonegoro, however, said eastern Indonesia is favoured. “This is a big job, impossible to take just one year, it could take up to 10 years,” he said.