Saturday, June 6

The week at a glance 7 February 2016


Sabah & Sarawak

Increase in foreign worker levy spells higher costs for companies

The increase in levy for foreign workers has been increased effective February 1, 2016, with analysts citing this to increase operating production costs for palm oil and rubber players, which may discourage labour supply. To note, foreign workers in the plantation and agriculture sectors will have to pay an annual levy of RM1,500 from RM590 for plantation and RM410 for agriculture. Foreign workers in the manufacturing sector would have to pay an annual levy of RM2,500 from a previous RM1,010.


Levy increase will deter foreign worker arrivals into Malaysia

The government’s move to increase the levy on foreign workers in the construction sector to RM2,500, effective February 1, from RM1,250 previously, will deter new foreign workers from entering the country, says Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM). Deputy president Foo Chok Lee said the adverse impact would not only involve the construction industry but other downstream activities comprising over 130 sectors including transportation, logistics, services and manufacturing.


KL-KK route a boon for Rayani Air

Rayani Air Sdn Bhd on Monday started its inaugural Kuala Lumpur-Kota Kinabalu flight, its third route after KL-Langkawi and KL-Kota Baru.

The arrival of its Boeing 737-400 aircraft with about 70 per cent passenger capacity at about 11.10am at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport was welcomed by Sabah Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.


Sheda Kuching branch holds GST seminar on March 11

Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers’ Association (Sheda) Kuching branch will be organsing a one-day Goods and Services Tax (GST) seminar on March 11.

Organising chairman Peter Lau yesterday said the seminar will provide an update on joint venture (JV) arrangements as well as case studies and recent amendment to Finance Bill, GST regulations and director-general decisions.


Rubber producing countries to implement agreed export tonnage scheme from March

Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia have agreed to implement the Agreed Export Tonnage Scheme (AETS), effective March 1, 2016 aimed at shoring up flagging natural rubber prices.

The International Tripartite Rubber Council (ITRC) said under the scheme, the three countries, which account for 67 per cent of world rubber production, will withdraw exports of 615,000 tonnes of natural rubber for six months from March 1 to August 31, 2016.


Negligible impact from France’s palm oil tax hike

Analysts believe the move by the French Parliament approved a bill that would raise the import tax of palm oil from 100 euros (RM460) per metric tonne (mt) up to 900 euros (RM4,140) per mt – will be negligible for Malaysian plantations for the time being.


This follows an unsuccessful similar move three years ago by the French government, which was known as “Nutella Tax”.



Merger talks to form Malaysia’s biggest Islamic bank fall apart

Malaysia Building Society Bhd (MBSB) and Bank Muamalat have called off merger talks to create the country’s biggest standalone Islamic bank after failing to agree on the terms, the companies said on Tuesday. This is the second deal in about a year’s time that has failed to work out for MBSB, a non-banking lender backed by the country’s Employees Provident Fund.


Digi, U Mobile the big winners from spectrum allocation

Analysts are pegging telco players Bhd (Digi) and U Mobile Sdn Bhd (U Mobile) to be the big beneficiaries following Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission’s (MCMC) announcement that spectrum in the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands will be reallocated among four players by August this year.


CCM implements review of Cooperatives Act to spur sector

The Cooperative Commission of Malaysia (CCM) is in the early stages of reviewing the Cooperatives Act 1993 to assist the cooperative sector progress faster and effectively compete in the future. Executive chairman Datuk Lamien Sawiyo said the review will involve existing rules and laws being upgraded to meet current needs of the country’s cooperative sector.


TPPA promises greater market access for businesses

Businesses in Malaysia, including small and medium scale enterprises, are looking forward to greater market access opportunities under the just-signed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, Minister of International and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said. He said the textile, electrical and electronics, palm oil and rubber industries were also among sectors that were keen to exploit opportunities arising from an expanded market and lower tariffs under the new pact.


EPF set to launch up to RM120 bln shariah-compliant fund next year

The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) is set to launch its pioneer fully shariah-compliant fund in January 2017 as an option for contributors interested in converting their savings to full shariah compliance status. Deputy Chief Executive Officer (Investment) Datuk Mohamad Nasir Ab Latif said the initial fund size would be between RM100 billion and RM120 billion.


Islamic accounting standards for endowment, tithe and Baitulmal reporting to be formed

Islamic accounting standards to streamline financial reporting for endowment, tithe and baitulmal will be formed, said Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah. He said the Accountant-General’s Department Malaysia (JANM) would formulate the standards to resolve the problems faced by the state religious councils in standardising the annual financial reporting.