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Daily Archives: February 1, 2020

Malaysia’s exports of halal products to Japan to see positive growth

TOKYO, Malaysia’s export of halal products to Japan is expected to see a positive growth this year, driven by the collaboration between the Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC) and AcrosX Japan Inc.

Malaysian Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said this collaboration will augment Japanese businesses to tap into the halal industry as a new revenue stream in view of the exponential growth of the Muslim-friendly segment in the region.

“This collaboration between HDC and Acrosx will open new opportunities for Malaysian SMEs (small and medium enterprises) to penetrate the Japanese halal market and explore new market opportunities for export of Malaysian halal products to Japan,” he said at the signing of memorandum of understanding (MoU) between HDC and AcrosX Japan Inc here Saturday.

The signing ceremony was witnessed by Malaysian Ambassador to Japan Datuk Kennedy Jawan.

The Muslim-Friendly Standards by HDC and Acrosx Japan was also launched at the event.

Azmin said RM2.5 billion worth of halal goods were exported to Japan in 2018, of which 90 per cent consists of halal food products and halal ingredients.

“The global halal industry today is estimated at a staggering US$3.23 trillion in 2018, with an estimated annual growth rate of 7.49 per cent.

“The MoU will enable HDC and Acrosx to develop and establish a framework for strategic cooperation between both organisations through advisory, capacity-building and technical assistance to create a vibrant and sustainable business landscape for the Muslim-friendly consumer segment in Japan,” he added.

For Malaysian enterprises, he said the MoU represents a valuable opportunity to increase bilateral trade, especially through the supply of halal ingredients and semi-processed products which were in great demand all over the world.

Azmin said HDC is the custodian of the Malaysian halal economy, and is responsible for spearheading economic development of the halal industry in Malaysia.

As such, today’s collaboration can be seen as the beginning of a new segment for economic development in Japan, leveraging Malaysia’s expertise in halal and Japan’s industrial strength, where powerful synergies can be realised, unlocking new economic potential for both countries.

“Furthermore, with Tokyo hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics, this collaboration is poised to enable various businesses to cater to the considerable influx of Muslim tourists expected, further accenting the growing demand of halal as a key economic driver.

Such a robust halal landscape also extends beyond the Games, supporting the growing Muslim consumers in prefectures and cities.

It is also remarkable to note that this growth is occurring at a time where environmental sustainability, ethical responsibility and social impact are given greater emphasis in socio-economic development,” he said.

Malaysia recognises that the fulfilment of a well-structured halal ecosystem could not manifest in isolation, he said, adding that it has, and continues to rely upon the spirit of harmonious cooperation among public and private sector stakeholders.

“This is further reflected in Malaysia’s Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth along with fair and equitable distribution across income groups, ethnicities, regions and supply chains,” he said.

In his opening remarks, HDC chairman Datuk Mahmud Abbas said the partnership with AcrosX will assist in further strengthening the domestic halal ecosystem by furnishing greater access to credible and meaningful Muslim-Friendly Standards.

“This initiative ultimately aims to offer greater depth, transparency, assurance and pragmatism in servicing both consumers and businesses alike.

More specifically, the Muslim-Friendly Standards will steer its focus towards service-based companies such as hotels, restaurants, tourism spots and hospitals.

Furthermore, I’d like to share that the new Standards will be partly implemented in Japan’s national halal training that is initiated by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare under the Halal Training Expert Committee.

This is significant step as it will offer the appropriate locus for further integration and recognition,” Mahmud said.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

MCCC cancels Lunar New Year celebration due to nCoV

KUALA LUMPUR, The Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce (MCCC) has called off its Lunar New Year Celebration tomorrow amid the outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019 – nCoV) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaring it a global health emergency.

In a statement, MCCC president Datuk Tan Yew Sing said that over the years, MCCC has been organising Lunar New Year celebrations to invite members and entrepreneurs from home and abroad to join in and celebrate the festival together.

However, due to the coronavirus outbreak, MCCC has resolved to cancel the Lunar New Year celebration originally scheduled to be held on Sunday Feb 2 at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall.

China is at a challenging moment now, and as a show of concern and support, MCCC has purchased 10,000 medical gloves to be sent to the epidemic areas, he said.

Tan however expressed optimism that with the highest concern of WHO and the stringent safety measures of the governments of Malaysia and China, the epidemic situation will be under control.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

Rattled by bribery and corruption claims, Airbus says it has taken necessary reforms

KUALA LUMPUR, Europe’s Airbus, which has been investigated for allegations of bribery and corruption that among others involved Malaysia’s AirAsia Group Bhd and AirAsia X Bhd, says it has taken significant steps to reform itself and to ensure that this conduct will not recur.

In a statement, Airbus said it has significantly enhanced its compliance system under the supervision of an Independent Compliance Review Panel.

The company is committed to conducting business with integrity, it said.

Denis Ranque, chairman of the Board of Directors of Airbus, stated: The settlements we have reached today turn the page on unacceptable business practices from the past. The strengthening of our compliance programmes at Airbus is designed to ensure that such misconduct cannot happen again.

The agreements also reflect that the decision to voluntarily report and cooperate with the authorities was the right one. The commitment from the Board, and its Ethics and Compliance Committee, to provide full support to the investigation and the implementation of globally recognised compliance standards, have paved the way to today’s agreements.

Guillaume Faury, chief executive officer of Airbus, added: The agreements approved today with the French, UK, and US authorities represent a very important milestone for us, allowing Airbus to move forward and further grow in a sustainable and responsible way. The lessons learned enable Airbus to position itself as the trusted and reliable partner we want to be.

Airbus will continue to cooperate with the authorities in the future, pursuant to the agreements, and to install a strong ethics and compliance culture within the company, it added.

The plane maker has reached final agreements with the French Parquet National Financier (PNF), the U.K. Serious Fraud Office (SFO), and the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) resolving the authorities’ investigations into allegations of bribery and corruption.

It has also reached final agreements with the U.S. Department of State (DoS) and the DoJ to resolve their investigations into inaccurate and misleading filings made with the DoS pursuant to the U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).

Airbus has agreed to pay penalties of Euros 3.598 billion (Euros 1 = RM4.52) interest and costs to the French, U.K. and U.S. authorities. The settlements with each authority are as follows: PNF Euros 2.083 billion, the SFO Euros 984 million, the DoJ Euros 526 million and the DoS Euros 9 million, of which Euros 4.50 million may be used for approved remedial compliance measures, it said.

Airbus received credit from the authorities for having reported and for its consistently strong cooperation during the investigations.

According to a UK legal document sighted by Bernama, an improper payment of US$50 million (US$1 = RM4.09) was allegedly paid by Airbus to directors and/or employees of AirAsia and and AirAsia X airlines as sponsorship for a sports team.

The 32-page document said the sports team was jointly owned by AirAsia Executive 1 and AirAsia Executive 2 but was legally unrelated to AirAsia and AirAsia X.

An additional improper payment of US$55 million was prevented by the October 2014 freeze on payments, it said.

The legal document alleges that contrary to section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010, between July 1, 2011 and June 1, 2015, Airbus failed to prevent persons associated with Airbus from bribing others concerned with the purchase of aircraft by AirAsia and AirAsia X airlines from Airbus, namely directors and/or employees of AirAsia airlines where the said bribery was intended to obtain or retain business or advantage in the conduct of business for Airbus.

AirAsia and AirAsia X are two major airlines in Southeast Asia headquartered in Malaysia, and were significant customers of Airbus at the time of the offences.

Between October 2005 and November 2014, AirAsia and AirAsia X ordered 406 aircraft from Airbus, including 180 aircraft secured during the indictment period by way of improper payment (made by EADS France SAS, later Airbus Group SAS), and the offer of a further improper payment.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has said that it has commenced its investigation on the said corruption allegations.

MACC chief commissioner Latheefa Koya said: Under the MACC Act we are empowered, and have jurisdiction, to investigate any act of corruption committed by any Malaysian citizen or permanent resident in any place outside Malaysia.

In the case of the Airbus-Airasia disclosures, I confirm that the MACC is in touch with the UK authorities and is already investigating the matter, she said in a statement.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

AirAsia denies wrongdoing in sports sponsorship case

KUALA LUMPUR, AirAsia has denied corruption and bribery allegations against it, saying it was neither involved in any way whatsoever with the U.K. Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation of Airbus nor given any opportunity to provide any information or clarification to the SFO.

AirAsia was referring to the article entitled AirAsia directors/staff got RM240 mil bribe from Airbus, court docs say on the focusmalaysia.my website, as well as other articles in the press regarding the Deferred Prosecution Agreement entered into by Airbus SE and the SFO on Jan 31, 2020.

The articles referenced above allege that certain agreements by AirAsia to order Airbus aircraft were improperly linked to sponsorship by Airbus of a sports team jointly owned by AirAsia executives.

AirAsia vigorously rejects and denies any and all allegations of wrongdoing, it said.

The entering into of each aircraft purchase agreement was never made by any single individual decision, but instead arrived at through careful evaluation, deliberation and the collective decision of the board members after taking into account technical specifications, aircraft flight performance and operating economics, the low-cost carrier explained in a statement released here today.

The superiority and reliability of the aircraft and increasingly attractive pricing being offered to maintain its competitive edge in the airline business were key considerations, AirAsia said, adding as a customer of Airbus since 2005, it never made purchase decisions that were premised on an Airbus sponsorship.

We also wish to emphasise that all negotiations and dealings leading to the signing of any aircraft purchase agreement have been undertaken directly with Airbus on an arm’s length basis, and without the involvement of any third parties or intermediaries.

AirAsia executives negotiated rigorously in the interests of the company and had at all times acted in good faith, it said.

In any event, AirAsia said it is aware that correspondence between the company and Airbus dating back more than a decade has been reported in the press without proper context or review, noting with concern that views and opinions on the matter may have been formed unfairly and prematurely.

Furthermore, the involvement of Airbus in the sponsorship of the sports team was a well-known and widely-publicised matter bringing branding and other benefits to Airbus, it added.

AirAsia said its own sponsorship of the sports team went through due internal assessment and approvals before being considered and approved by the board.

As AirAsia and its executives have no visibility on Airbus’ internal processes, we cannot comment on or be associated with any alleged failures or lapses on the part of Airbus to comply with its own policies or applicable legal requirements.

AirAsia is deeply concerned that these allegations will have an adverse and negative impact on the AirAsia brand, reputation and goodwill.

AirAsia is monitoring developments in this matter and will review any allegations or negative inferences concerning or affecting AirAsia and/or any of its executives and will fully cooperate with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the relevant authorities where required, it added.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

JDT launches new home and away kits

JOHOR BAHRU, The Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) football club launched its new home and away jerseys for the 2020 season at Dataran Bandaraya, here tonight.

The new kits come in two designs – the blue and red jersey as the home kit, and a white jersey as the away kit.

The absence of the sponsor’s name on the front of the jerseys reflected the club’s mission to become a one-billion-ringgit club.

The official launch of the new jerseys was graced by Tunku Putera of Johor Tunku Abu Bakar Sultan Ibrahim and was attended by nearly 5,000 fans.

Also present were Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal and the state Youth, Sports, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Mohd Khuzzan Abu Bakar.

Meanwhile, Nike Malaysia and Thailand Sports Marketing Manager Ernest Rodrigues said the sports apparel company was pleased to extend its sponsorship for the club until 2023.

He noted that the home kit for this season represents the team’s official colour which was inspired by the Johor flag, the same as in the previous season.

The white away kit symbolises JDT’s new turf, that is the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium in Gelang Patah, while the gold lining symbolises the success of the club, he said when met by reporters after the event.

The new jerseys will be used by all players of JDT in their Super League campaign as well as Johor Darul Ta’zim II (Premier League), Johor Darul Ta’zim III (President Cup) and Johor Darul Ta’zim IV (Youth Cup).

JDT fans can also get the latest club jerseys at RM185 each.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

Malaysian shuttlers in Thailand taking precautions, China masters postponed

KUALA LUMPUR, The national women’s badminton team, currently undergoing training in Bangkok, Thailand, is taking all necessary precautions in the wake of the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak.

Yesterday, Thai authorities confirmed its first local human-to-human transmission of the virus, comprising a Thai taxi driver, with the total number of coronavirus cases in Thailand standing at 19, the most outside of China so far.

Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) coaching director Wong Choong Hann told Bernama the team was taking the preventive measures and precautions recommended by the health authorities and the World Health Organization (WHO). On Thursday, WHO declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

The Malaysian players in Thailand are singles shuttlers Soniia Cheah and S. Kisona with coach Chin Eei Hui, as well as doubles pairs Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah and Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean who are under the supervision of Rosman Razak.

Choong Hann said the shuttlers continued with their stay in Bangkok after the Thailand Masters, held from Jan 21 to 26, to prepare for the Badminton Asia Team Championships from Feb 11 to 16 in Manila, Philippines.

They are undergoing intensive training there and after their training sessions, they go directly to their hotel rooms. They have minimal exposure to the risk (of infection) as the training centre and hotel are safer than other places.

We have informed the players to take all the precautions recommended such as washing hands frequently. They will return to Malaysia on Wednesday, before heading to Manila, he said.

Despite the outbreak, Choong Hann said all national shuttlers are preparing well and are focused on achieving their objectives of finishing in the top four in Manila to qualify on merit for the 2020 Thomas Cup and Uber Cup at Aarhus, Denmark from May 16 to 24.

The men’s team has been drawn with Taiwan and Singapore in Group C, while the women’s team is placed with Japan and Hong Kong in Group W, in the Manila championship.

As for the Badminton Asia Championships (BAC) scheduled to take place from April 21 to 26 in Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus, Choong Hann said he believed the best option would be for the tournament venue to be changed if the outbreak still poses a high risk.

Postponing or cancelling the tournament won’t be a good move because that is the last tournament offering Tokyo 2020 Olympics qualification points. It is too early and up to the BWF (Badminton World Federation) to decide, but the tournament is the last opportunity for players from Asia to get valuable ranking points, he said.

Meanwhile, the BWF in a statement, confirmed the postponement of the China Masters, one of the Tokyo qualifiers scheduled from Feb 25 to March 1 at the Lingshui Agile Gymnasium in Sanya, to a date that has yet to be announced.

The BWF said new time slots are being discussed with the Chinese Badminton Association (CBA) with options available from May onwards. This means that ranking points from the event will no longer contribute towards qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics, as the Masters will be held outside the qualification window which ends on April 29.

The BWF and CBA have considered all necessary health, safety and logistical risks, and both parties believe it is sensible to postpone the tournament at this time. It may be noted that many players have already withdrawn from the tournament.

The BWF is continuing to monitor all official updates on the coronavirus and is mindful that the BWF World Tour (in Guangzhou from Dec 9-13) and other BWF-sanctioned tournaments may be affected, but there are no concrete plans or decisions at this point to change the status of any other events, the statement read.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

Malaysian divers back in M’sia from China are free of coronavirus, undergoing further tests

KUALA LUMPUR, The Malaysian diving squad which was training in Chengdu, China, and returned to Malaysia yesterday following the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak there, is confirmed to be free of infection, said Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (ASUM) honorary secretary Mae Chan.

“They returned in good health with no fever or coughing. They were sent to the National Sports Institute (NSI) this morning to undergo further tests.

“They will not go to China until the situation there returns to normal,” she told Bernama when contacted today.

The divers who returned comprise Leong Mun Yee, Pandelela Rinong, Wendy Ng Yan Yee, Kimberly Bong and Enrique Harold, while 2017 world champion Cheong Jun Hoong has stayed back to continue training under former national coach Yang Zhuliang in Qinhuangdao.

Mae Chan said the national squad was well cared for during their time in China, with preventive measures put in place and body temperature checked every day.

The divers will undergo intensive training in Malaysia until the Grand Prix in Rostock, Germany to be held from Feb 20-23, and the World Series in Montreal, Canada from Feb 28 to March 1.

Meanwhile, National Sports Council (NSC) director-general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail said Jun Hoong had not yet decided on the date of his return to Malaysia.

“Jun Hoong still wants to be there and is comfortable training there. The place where he is training is located far from areas affected by the coronavirus,” Ahmad Shapawi said, adding that the diver and his coach were continuously monitoring the situation over there.

“If there are any concerns, Jun Hoong will definitely return to Malaysia”, he added.

According to previous plans, Pandelela and Mun Yee were supposed to have returned to Malaysia on Feb 2 to renew their visas, followed by the return of Wendy, Kimberly and Enrique on Feb 13. Jun Hoong was scheduled to return on March 14.

The South China Morning Post has reported that the death toll in China as a result of the coronavirus outbreak has risen to 259, with 11,791 cases confirmed.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)