1. RM3,500 minimum monthly wage for skilled Malaysian workers
  2. US sanctions on China has minimal impact on Malaysia
  3. US expected to announce sanctions on China later Thursday
  4. Changi voted World’s Best Airport for 6th consecutive year
  5. US Interest rates going up
  6. US interest rates hike not disruptive to Malaysian business
  7. SC Warns Investors Over ‘Pump and Dump’ Schemes via Internet and Social Media
  8. 300 companies in Singapore to get free evaluation ahead of move to Industry 4.0
  9. Columbia Asia receives additional equity investment of USD210 million

RM3,500 minimum monthly wage for skilled Malaysian workers
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (pic) has proposed that the minimum wage forf Malaysian skilled workers be set at RM3,500 per month, up from the current RM1,200 or so. He said this was to match the minimum wage of migrant skilled workers in the country as well as to encourage more young Malaysians to take up the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET). “We must raise the minimum wage of Malaysian skilled workers to at least match that offered to skilled workers from abroad,” he said to reporters in Kuala Lumpur. He also projected that this minimum wage would rise to RM5,000 by 2030.

US’ sanctions on China has minimal impact on Malaysia
Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said Malaysia will hardly be affected by US President Donald Trump’s plan to impose trade sanctions on China. This is because Malaysia’s exports to the US accounted for only one to two per cent of its total exports. He said however, the trade sanctions would have a huge impact on other countries. “We are concerned that this would trigger a trade war and China will undertake counter measures against the decision.” “This is an unhealthy development, as we have a process established by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) which have to be complied with,” he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur. Datuk Seri Mustapa said that if trade retaliation was to take place, Malaysia’s solar manufacturing industry could be affected, as it is the world’s third largest producer of photovoltaic cells and modules, accounting for eight per cent of the global output.

Reports said the Trump administration plans to announce sanctions against China on Thursday after determining that the country is encouraging the theft and transfer of intellectual property from US businesses. The White House said the actions come after years of talks about the issue that failed to produce change. The actions are expected to include tariffs, as well as other measures. The plans have stoked fears of a wider trade war.

Changi voted World’s Best Airport for 6th consecutive year
Singapore’s Changi Airport has been voted by air travellers as the world’s best at the 2018 World Airport Awards for the sixth consecutive year. This makes Changi the first airport to win the accolade six years in a row since it was first introduced in 2000. Hong Kong International Airport clinched the title five years in a row from 2001 to 2005. The 2018 World Airport Awards are based on 13.73 million customer nominations across more than 100 nationalities of air travellers, with more than 500 airports worldwide taking part. The survey evaluates traveller experience across various key performance indicators for airport service and product – from check-in, arrivals, transfers, shopping, security and immigration, through to departure at the gate. Airports in Asia took the four top spots, with Seoul’s Incheon airport coming in second, and Tokyo’s Haneda airport and Hong Kong’s airport coming in third and fourth respectively.

US Interest rates going up
The US Federal Reserve raised rates on Wednesday in its first meeting under Chairman Jerome Powell — a sign of confidence that the economy is growing stronger with very low unemployment and rising wages. “The economic outlook has strengthened in recent months,” the Fed said in a statement following its two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting. The Fed lifted the federal funds rate, which helps determine rates for mortgages, credit cards and other borrowing, to a range of 1.5% to 1.75%. That was an increase of a quarter of a percentage point.

Commenting on the move in Kuala Lumpur, Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said that the increased benchmark interest rate by the US Federal Reserve would not be disruptive from the Malaysian business point of view. “It is a business decision … many have factored in the Fed’s decision as it has been gradually adjusted since the 2008 financial crisis,” he said.

SC Warns Investors Over ‘Pump and Dump’ Schemes via Internet and Social Media
The Securities Commission Malaysia has issued a warning to investors over the increase use of blogs, forums and social media platforms to spread false and misleading information on certain companies in order to perpetrate ‘pump and dump’ schemes. A statement from the SC said perpetrators would accumulate shares at lower prices before posting positive sentiments about the companies, with the intention to spur interest in the shares in order to drive up its price. When unsuspecting investors buy the shares, it gives the perpetrators an opportunity to sell the shares they hold at a profit. Investors who have bought shares at the inflated price will suffer losses when the hype eases. The SC and Bursa Malaysia have recently identified a blog ‘Bonescythe Stock Watch’ which was found to have published various articles that contain statements and forecasts that were misleading and deceptive, an offence under Section 178 of the Capital Markets and Services Act 2007 (CMSA). Following SC’s intervention action, the blog has been removed.

300 companies in Singapore to get free evaluation ahead of move to Industry 4.0
300 Singapore-based companies across all industries can get a free evaluation of their readiness to move into Industry 4.0, as part of the Government’s efforts to drive the adoption of advanced manufacturing and help manufacturers build smart factories of the future. Senior Minister of State for Ministry of Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon said that the Singapore Economic Development Board will be funding the evaluation. Called the Singapore Smart Industry Readiness Index, the tool will allow companies across industries to evaluate the current state of their facilities, identify the gaps and opportunities present, as well as better understand Industry 4.0 concepts and the rise of new manufacturing technologies.

Columbia Asia receives additional equity investment of USD210 million
Columbia Asia Group, one of the largest and fastest-growing healthcare companies in Asia, today announced that it has received additional equity investment of USD210 million, primarily from existing shareholders. The fresh funds will be used primarily to build new hospitals and deepen the level of specialty care in existing facilities. Columbia Asia, owned by International Columbia US, LLC (ICU) and part of Seattle-based Columbia Pacific Management, has 29 hospitals and 2 clinics across Malaysia, India, Indonesia, Vietnam and Kenya.