Sunday, September 20

Monetary sector stable despite govt’s fiscal challenges

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Lim Guan Eng – Bernama file photo

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s monetary sector is stable despite the government’s fiscal challenges and issues which resulted from the excesses of the previous government, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

He said Malaysia’s banking sector was well-capitalised with low numbers of non-performing loans while the capital market remained solid with stable capital and high liquidity.

“We wish to state our appreciation to the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) for contributing towards a stable capital market through their framework and regulatory agenda,” he told reporters after launching the Institute of Corporate Directors Malaysia (ICDM) here today.

Then ICDM is a dedicated body established by the SC to enhance the professionalism and effectiveness of corporate directors in the country with the objective to promote excellence, integrity and the highest levels of skills and professional competence.

Lim said the institute was a step forward to elevate performance, accountability, transparency and hopefully, a more innovative and diverse board of directors.

SC Chairman Tan Sri Ranjit Ajit Singh said ICDM would be offering a full suites of services covering the professional development needs of directors, board effectiveness evaluations, and also house a registry for companies to source for board candidates.

He said Malaysia had came a long way in its corporate governance (CG) journey and hence, driving CG excellence required collective interaction from various stakeholders and ecosystems, where stakeholders with unique functions complemented each other to achieve common outcomes.

“Recognising that better boards will create better values, the establishment of ICDM will add to the already rich and diverse CG ecosystem to enhance director effectiveness and board leadership in the country,” Ranjit said.

On a separate development, Lim said he hoped to receive positive response from the housing industry by month-end to reduce property prices.

He said it was only fair that the savings from the Sales and Service Tax (SST) exemptions on construction services be passed to consumers.

“If they do not reduce house prices, there will be no point to this exemption. We might as well reimpose SST, so that the government can have this revenue,” he said.

Responding to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s Facebook post that the biggest cost factor for housing was not construction cost but the price of land, Lim said land prices were beyond government control.

“Land prices are decided by market forces, and are too big for the government to really influence their prices.

“Hence, what we can do is to try to save cost for developers, with the hopes that industry will give positive responses and pass back (the savings) to consumers,” he said.

Concerning the RM10,000 levy on foreign workers after their tenth year in the country, Lim said employers must be willing to pay for these workers if they wanted to retain them.

“The government wants to cut down on the number of foreign workers in Malaysia (by imposing the levy) and we don’t want to be caught in a cycle of bringing in more and more foreign workers.

“We hope employers can understand this,” he added. – Bernama