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Daily Archives: May 12, 2019

SRG Agro encourages entrepreneurs to grow straw mushrooms

BAGAN SERAI, SRG Agro Berhad is encouraging entrepreneurs to grow straw mushrooms as they are in high demand, especially in China.

The company’s chief executive officer Shah Mohd Radzi, 39, said this was because the mushrooms could produce downstream products such as tea, burgers and food flavourings.

“The ‘Volvariella (volvacea)’ variety of mushroom which uses tissue cultures are easy to grow on rotten oil palm trunks. It multiplies easily and within two weeks we can get the results,” he told the media when met at the Contract Farming Entrepreneur Programme at Selinsing near here today.

The ceremony was officiated by Perak Public Utilities, Infrastructure, Agriculture and Plantation Committee chairman Abdul Yunus Jamahri.

Shah said the ministry had allocated RM1.5 million for the first phase of the crop in five states, namely Perak, Johor, Pahang, Negeri Sembilan and Kelantan with each state having 400 to 500 participants who have been provided with funds for courses, seeds and cultivation sites to grow the crop.

“The retail price for the mushrooms is between RM16 and RM20 per kilogramme.

“Entrepreneurs can earn RM2,400 a month but they are not allowed to sell the mushrooms to third parties. We will buy the mushrooms and we will process them to produce downstream products such as tea, burgers and food flavouring,” he said.

He said the company also plans to export the products to Korea, Taiwan, Japan and China in the future.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

Fast rebuttal on factually wrong claim about Malaysias economy is crucial

SINGAPORE, A fast rebuttal with concrete facts to mitigate any factually wrong claim about Malaysia’s economy, which is currently under the administration of a year-old Pakatan Harapan government, is crucial.

Whichever side the rebutters are from, the honour of a country with 32 million people is at stake if the wrong facts about its economy are spreading like wildfire.

Kudos to Dr Ong Kian Ming, Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry, who was pretty fast in rebutting with the facts.

Tony Pua, political secretary to the Minister of Finance, had quickly done the same.

These rebuttals were in relation to an interview by Bloomberg TV with Kelvin Tay, chief investment officer for the Southern Asia and Pacific region at UBS Wealth Management based in Singapore who spoke on Malaysia’s economy.

Subsequently, UBS had clarified and said that Tay had inadvertently used some wrong terms given the short duration of the live interview.

Recently, Datuk A Kadir Jasin, special media adviser to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad took centre stage in Singapore to express disappointment over a series of misinformation about the country’s economy.

We don’t mind if our people are upset with us because the cost of living has gone up or prices of fish have not come down as it is very hard to explain to them about the problems with the whole economy of the world.

It is hard to explain to them that China and America is at war over trade. It is hard to explain to them that Europe is in some trouble as the United Kingdom is leaving. We can’t tell them the stories. It (is) just either they can’t understand or they (are) just not interested. They said, well we don’t have enough money for three square meals a day.

(But) what makes us quite unhappy and sad even is that we are being punished by some of the smartest, cleverest, and swankiest people on earth, said Kadir who was alluding to the fund managers, private bankers and analysts.

We are being downgraded in all areas because to them we are not stable. We are not able to generate growth as they expected us to do so. We are suffering a quite a bit now, he said.

Kadir was here speaking at a seminar on ‘Challenges Facing the New Malaysia’ organised by the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute on April 24.

In its latest Monetary Policy Statement, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) said the baseline projection is for the Malaysian economy to grow within the projected range of 4.3 per cent to 4.8 per cent this year.

Domestically, stable labour market conditions and capacity expansion in key sectors will continue to drive household and capital spending, it said.

The central bank also said the domestic financial markets have remained resilient, despite periods of volatility primarily due to global developments.

On May 7, BNM cut its Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) by 25 basis points to 3.00 per cent from 3.25 per cent, becoming the first central bank in ASEAN to do so.

Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd chief economist Dr Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid had reportedly said the move would support the revival of mega projects such as the RM44 billion East Coast Rail Link and Bandar Malaysia, which would see higher demand for corporate financing.

Additionally, the lower OPR would mean a slightly lower monthly commitment for the existing mortgages or any financing contract that have variable rate features.

These impact, he said, should also help the ringgit to appreciate over time.

Malaysia’s fiscal policy in 2019 will focus on strengthening the government’s fiscal position with a medium-term plan which targets fiscal balances at -3.4 per cent and -3.0 per cent of gross domestic product for the year and in 2020, respectively.

In its 2018 Annual Report released in March, BNM said this can be achieved through gradual fiscal consolidation, paring down debt and liabilities, as well as promoting economic inclusiveness.

Highlighting on what the PH government had done and will do which many may not realise, Kadir said that this government has come down to the most basic needs.

Citing sugar subsidies for instance, Kadir said the government had done away with it and will later tax sweet drinks’ producers.

Now the government is going to tax Pepsi and Coca Cola and all other sweet drinks. That money will be used to fund breakfast programme for poor children.

In fact, we reckoned that by taxing sweet drinks, we have enough money for breakfast programme for all school children in the country.

These are little little things that we are doing, he said.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

TNB excited over growth prospects, says Moggie

KUALA LUMPUR, Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) is excited over growth prospects that will see it delivering even better services, catalysing new market growth by unlocking the value of network assets and improving sustainable value for its stakeholders, says chairman Tan Sri Leo Moggie.

We see this as part of our unwavering commitment and contribution to realise the nation’s ambitions, he said in TNB’s financial year 2018 (FY2018) integrated annual report, which also detailed much of the power utility’s progress over the past 70 years.

Through the strategic efforts initiated under its Reimagining TNB (2017-2025) blueprint, Moggie said TNB continued to register revenue growth and healthy profits, fostered by a conducive regulatory environment.

TNB’s group revenue grew 6.3 per cent from FY2017 to RM50.39 billion for the year ended Dec 31, 2018, driven mainly by higher electricity demand which peaked in August 2018 to 18,338 megawatts, a rise of 3.1 per cent over FY2017.

Net profit for FY2018 was lower at RM3.75 billion compared to RM6.91 billion in FY2017, mainly due to regulatory adjustment as a result of regulatory changes in the Second Regulatory Period (RP2) (2018-2020), impairment, and foreign exchange translation.

Electricity demand continued its positive momentum in FY2018, with annual electricity sales increasing 1.4 percentage points than initially projected under the RP2 of the Incentive Based Regulation (IBR) framework.

Moggie said the sustainable ecosystem afforded by the IBR framework and the Imbalance Cost Pass-Through (ICPT) mechanism implemented in the last four years by the Energy Commission had resulted in Malaysia having one of the most reliable energy networks in the region that was on par with other advanced countries.

By taking a proactive and forward-looking approach, he said TNB had undertaken preparatory works to gear itself for the Third Regulatory Period (RP3) (2021-2023) and it was expected to submit its IBR RP3 proposal by December this year.

With constant technology disruptions affecting the industry, Moggie said TNB, which recorded a commendable 99.97 per cent system availability in 2018, believed that it was important for the Malaysia Electricity Supply Industry (MESI) to be prepared for the oncoming fundamental shifts impacting the global electricity industry.

Saying that the government’s timely reform efforts through MESI 2.0 was a key step to prepare the industry ahead of global trends, he said there was a rising need to future-proof Malaysia’s industry structure and regulations, and to empower consumers to make smarter choices in a more democratised and decentralised setting.

Having anticipated these market-wide reforms, he said TNB had launched its strategic plan under Reimagining TNB by putting in place a solid foundation and transforming its internal processes and structure to enable the power utility to be more technologically-advanced and cost-optimised compared to four years ago.

As electricity demand continues to increase in Peninsular Malaysia, TNB has been building a 500kV Grid Superhighway costing RM2 billion since 2015.

The 500kV Grid Superhighway, expected to be ready next year, will enable adequate and safe power transfer from other regions into TNB’s Central Area of Peninsular Malaysia, which accounts for about 45 per cent of the entire peninsula’s electricity demand.

The grid network will function as the backbone of TNB’s electricity supply chain, transporting bulk electricity from power generators to the distribution network to brighten homes, offices and commercial spaces, while supplying directly to industries for manufacturing.

In terms of dividend payout, Moggie said TNB remained committed to creating long-term value for shareholders by consistently delivering optimum dividends for each financial year.

For FY2018, TNB had approved a single-tier interim dividend of 30.3 sen per ordinary share amounting to a dividend payout of RM1.72 billion (paid in October 2018) and a final single-tier dividend of 23.0 sen per ordinary share amounting to a dividend payout of RM1.31 billion.

With this, TNB’s total dividend in FY2018 amounted to 53.3 sen per ordinary share at a total value of RM3.03 billion. The dividend payout was equivalent to 55.8 per cent of the adjusted group profit after tax and minority interests (PATAMI) (excluding extraordinary and non-recurring items) for FY2018, which was in line with TNB’s revised dividend policy of between 30 per cent and 60 per cent of Group PATAMI.

Moggie said TNB, which aspires to be among the Top 10 Global Utility Companies by market capitalisation in 2025, was confident that its highly-skilled workforce, coupled with the measures executed under its Reimagining TNB strategy would position the Group favourably to capture new opportunities in the future.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

Safer and secure cyber space protects businesses – CSM

CYBERJAYA, There are various cybersecurity-related risks that could jeopardise businesses these days if the importance of cybersecurity is ignored, CyberSecurity Malaysia’s (CSM) chief executive officer, Datuk Dr Amiruddin Abdul Wahab said today.

Currently, he said cybersecurity is being perceived as a cost rather than an investment.

Such a mindset should change, he said, adding that having a good security system is not only crucial for businesses to be secured but will also able to instil confidence among its stakeholders.

Businesses cannot ignore cybersecurity issues, especially now that we are all talking about the Fourth Industrial Revolution, where industries are trying to adapt to fast-changing technologies, he told Bernama in a special interview at the agency’s new building in Cyberjaya.

Hence, cybersecurity should be a default feature in all businesses regardless of the size, and not as an afterthought, he stressed.

However, that does not mean that Malaysia would be isolated from cybercriminals, but having a secure cyber space would reduce the impact of potential cyber attacks that are getting more sophisticated day by day, he added.

Even though Malaysia has expertise (in cyber security) and good infrastructure, this does not mean we can avoid threats from malware, and this includes the United States, a country which has sophisticated technology.

Because of this sophistication, we are favoured by criminals. Of course, they won’t go to countries with under-developed infrastructure, with slow broadband, he explained.

According to CSM’s general incident classification statistics, there were nine categories of cybercrime, namely content related, cyber harassment, denial of services, fraud, intrusion, intrusion attempt, malicious code, spam and vulnerabilities report.

Out of 2,977 total reports received from January-April this year, fraud was the highest with 1,963 reports, followed by malicious code (390), intrusion (339), content related (100), cyber harassment (88), spam (37), intrusion attempt (34), vulnerabilities report (21), and denial of services (five).

In 2018, reports related to fraud was the highest at 5,123, followed by intrusion attempt (1,805), and malicious code (1,700).

According to Microsoft’s Security Intelligence Report released recently, Malaysia continues to be an attractive region for cybercriminals although businesses had capitalised on the latest security intelligence and protections to stay ahead in the evolving cybersecurity landscape.

With the rise in the value of cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, cybercriminals seeking illicit profits have turned to malware that lets them use victims’ computers to mine cryptocurrency coins, said the report.

Amiruddin said Malaysia is among the countries in ASEAN that has advanced infrastructure in terms of Internet penetration, coupled with high bandwidth.

CSM’s digital forensics lab is the most experience lab and the first in Asia-Pacific to be recognised by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors, the same body that accredited the United States-Federal Bureau of Investigation’s lab.

Established in 2005, CSM provides specialised cybersecurity services, namely Cyber Security Responsive Services, Cyber Security Proactive Services, Outreach and Capacity Building, Strategic Study and Engagement and Industry and Research Development.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

EU-Malaysia ties to remain strong despite palm oil issue – EU Ambassador

KUALA LUMPUR, The European Union (EU) is optimistic that its relationship with Malaysia will remain strong even in the midst of the discord regarding the palm oil issue.

EU Ambassador and Head of Delegation to Malaysia Maria Castillo Fernandez said while currently there is no ban of the palm oil going into the EU, it is open to dialogues with Malaysia in order to overcome their differences on the matter.

Our relations is more than palm oil and we shouldn’t let it hurt the relationship that had been forged for so long. We have to look at the middle and long term solutions and we are always open to dialogues, listening to our partner in Malaysia, she said.

She said this to Bernama International News Service during the Europe Day celebration here, on Wednesday. Europe Day is celebrated annually on May 9 by its 28 member states to mark the Schuman Declaration � signed on May 9 in 1950 � that gave birth to the European Union.

Malaysia and the EU had been at loggerheads over the latter’s proposed plan to restrict palm oil in biofuel starting 2021 and to completely phase it out by 2031.

The 28-member bloc had said that the cultivation of the crop had led to deforestation and climate change. However, Malaysia refuted the claims, calling it misleading and economically detrimental to the industry, especially to some 650,000 oil palm smallholders in the country.

Malaysia is the world’s second largest palm oil producer after Indonesia.

Data from the Malaysian Palm Oil Board showed that the country exported a total of 1.91 million tonnes of palm oil to the EU in 2018, down by four per cent from 1.99 million tonnes recorded in 2017.

The EU is the second largest importer of Malaysian palm oil after India, buying 12 per cent of the total palm oil produced in 2018.

Fernandez said the EU representatives in Malaysia will continue to engage with relevant authorities, oil palm smallholders and local communities besides visiting plantations to gain first-hand knowledge of the issue.

On another note, Fernandez said the EU will continue to support Malaysia’s democracy, it’s ongoing efforts on institutional reforms agenda as well as to improve its human rights standing among others.

Apart from the political, trade and economic sector, the EU collaborates with Malaysia and its civil society in a wide range of fields such as education, culture, environment, and sustainable development.

“We are Malaysia’s very close partner and we need to work for our relations and try to overcome the challenges like the palm oil issue.

“We are already doing much together and there’s many more we can do together, she said.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

Safer and secure cyber space protects businesses – CSM

CYBERJAYA, There are various cybersecurity-related risks that could jeopardise businesses these days if the importance of cybersecurity is ignored, CyberSecurity Malaysia’s (CSM) chief executive officer, Datuk Dr Amiruddin Abdul Wahab said today.

Currently, he said cybersecurity is being perceived as a cost rather than an investment.

Such a mindset should change, he said, adding that having a good security system is not only crucial for businesses to be secured but will also able to instil confidence among its stakeholders.

Businesses cannot ignore cybersecurity issues, especially now that we are all talking about the Fourth Industrial Revolution, where industries are trying to adapt to fast-changing technologies, he told Bernama in a special interview at the agency’s new building in Cyberjaya.

Hence, cybersecurity should be a default feature in all businesses regardless of the size, and not as an afterthought, he stressed.

However, that does not mean that Malaysia would be isolated from cybercriminals, but having a secure cyber space would reduce the impact of potential cyber attacks that are getting more sophisticated day by day, he added.

Even though Malaysia has expertise (in cyber security) and good infrastructure, this does not mean we can avoid threats from malware, and this includes the United States, a country which has sophisticated technology.

Because of this sophistication, we are favoured by criminals. Of course, they won’t go to countries with under-developed infrastructure, with slow broadband, he explained.

According to CSM’s general incident classification statistics, there were nine categories of cybercrime, namely content related, cyber harassment, denial of services, fraud, intrusion, intrusion attempt, malicious code, spam and vulnerabilities report.

Out of 2,977 total reports received from January-April this year, fraud was the highest with 1,963 reports, followed by malicious code (390), intrusion (339), content related (100), cyber harassment (88), spam (37), intrusion attempt (34), vulnerabilities report (21), and denial of services (five).

In 2018, reports related to fraud was the highest at 5,123, followed by intrusion attempt (1,805), and malicious code (1,700).

According to Microsoft’s Security Intelligence Report released recently, Malaysia continues to be an attractive region for cybercriminals although businesses had capitalised on the latest security intelligence and protections to stay ahead in the evolving cybersecurity landscape.

With the rise in the value of cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, cybercriminals seeking illicit profits have turned to malware that lets them use victims’ computers to mine cryptocurrency coins, said the report.

Amiruddin said Malaysia is among the countries in ASEAN that has advanced infrastructure in terms of Internet penetration, coupled with high bandwidth.

CSM’s digital forensics lab is the most experience lab and the first in Asia-Pacific to be recognised by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors, the same body that accredited the United States-Federal Bureau of Investigation’s lab.

Established in 2005, CSM provides specialised cybersecurity services, namely Cyber Security Responsive Services, Cyber Security Proactive Services, Outreach and Capacity Building, Strategic Study and Engagement and Industry and Research Development.

CSM officially reports to the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

Sandakan by-election: the people have shown they prefer PH – Hajiji

KOTA KINABALU, DAP’s victory in the Sandakan parliamentary by-election shows the people’s insistence for Pakatan Harapan (PH) and the state government under Parti Warisan Sabah to continue their rule.

Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) Sabah chief coordinator Datuk Hajiji Noor added, the win further showed that the constituents wanted Vivian Wong Shir Yee to carry on with the agenda of her late father Datuk Stephen Wong Tien Fatt.

She not only helped the PH government retain the seat but secured a bigger majority of 11,521 votes, he noted in a statement today.

The Sandakan seat fell vacant following Stephen Wong’s passing due to a heart attack on March 28 this year. He was into his second term after retaining the seat for DAP in the 14th general election.

Meanwhile, Hajiji said Bersatu Sabah was grateful to the Sandakan election machinery for allowing it to assist in the campaign at two of the district polling centres during the by-election.

“We are also proud that the district polling centres such as Sim-Sim and Pulau Berhala, where the majority of voters are Muslim Bumiputera and PH had lost then, were this time won by PH. At the same time, the win proves that the people’s support for UMNO has deteriorated since Bersatu’s entry into Sabah.

Vivian Wong obtained 16,012 votes to defeat Parti Bersatu Sabah’s Datuk Linda Tsen Thau Lin (4,491 votes) in the five-cornered by-election.

Three independents, Parti Amanah Negara, Sabah ex-chief Hamzah Abdullah, Sandakan Parliamentary Service Centre ex-administrative officer Sulaiman Abdul Samat and businessman Chia Siew Yung lost their deposits.

They obtained 788, 126, and 178 votes respectively.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)