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Young agropreneurs urged to seize opportunities in industry

market which is seen to have great potential to grow, Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee said.


He said the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) had been providing various assistance, including setting up an essential oil production facility at the Kuala Linggi MARDI Station to help entrepreneurs venture into the essential oil market.


He said demand for essential oils produced by this MARDI Station had been well received overseas  including the Australian market, adding that various programmes are being organised by MARD to help agropreneurs explore the industry.





“Malaysia has great potential in the herbal industry especially in essential oils. With technology,  financial and other forms of assistance from the government through MARDI, I believe more Malaysian entrepreneurs would seek opportunities in this field or even export their essential oils overseas.


“The herbs can be processed to produce a variety of products such as soaps, lotions and so forth. As such, we  hope more entrepreneurs would develop products based on MARDI research findings,” he told reporters here today.


Earlier, Kiandee toured the essential oil production facility at the Kuala Linggi MARDI Station accompanied by Deputy Minister 1 Datuk Seri Ahmad Hamzah.



Meanwhile, according to a MARDI media statement, this year alone 79 entrepreneurs attended courses and trainings at the Mardi Essential Oil Incubator at the Kuala Linggi Station and from 2016 the station has produced 169 young agropreneurs.


The Mardi Essential Oil Incubator was launched in June 2009 to provide incubators for the processing of herbs and production of essential oils and to provide training to soap and essential oil entrepreneurs.




Source: BERNAMA News Agency


Pasar Chowrasta first market in Penang to be available on GrabMart

Pasar Chowrasta here has been selected as the first market in Penang to be available on GrabMart.


Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said currently, there are four market vendors who are participating in the initiative, which is a collaboration between the state government and Grab Malaysia (Grab).


“It is aimed at enhancing digitalisation for business transactions among traders as well as expanding cashless transaction initiative among the people of Penang,” he told reporters after launching the Pasar Chowrasta on GrabMart programme here today.




Meanwhile, Grab Malaysia Northern & East Coast senior regional manager Teoh Tsin Yok said Pasar Batu Lanchang and Pasar Bayan Baru would also be available on GrabMart by August.


“In March, during the Movement Control Order (MCO) we have launched our very first pasar on GrabMart which is Pasar Besar TTDI, to help safeguard Malaysians livelihoods and small local businesses who were severely impacted.


“Since March, our market vendors have grown by three times, with one of them receiving more than 40 orders in just 15 minutes,” he said.



Consumers in the areas will be able to purchase fresh produce, poultry, seafood and meat from the Grab app, pay directly using their GrabPay e-wallet, and have them delivered right to their doorstep, Teoh added.



Source: BERNAMA News Agency


Kundasang set to undergo agricultural revolution – Junz Wong

RANAU Kundasang is set to undergo an agricultural revolution as the state government decided to implement modern technologies on the agriculture sector, said Sabah Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Datuk Junz Wong.


“The ministry is in the midst of revolutionising the Kundasang area. I think many Sabahans are aware of how conventional farming has damaged the environment.


“We have seen soil erosion due to forest cutting, the weather is not as cold as before and the soil is getting laced with more and more harmful chemicals.




“The Sabah government is aware. That is why apart from implementing plans to help farmers, we are also making sure it is sustainable,” he said in a statement here, today.


Wong said this includes implementing the fertigation pilot programme at Permanent Food Production Area (TKPM) as an efforts to solve the problems faced by farmers and problems that threatening the environment.


“In the Mesilau TKPM for example, we decided to test run a fertigation pilot programme, so that participants can increase their income and at the same time avoid more pollution to the environment.



“We are seeing extremely positive results. The first batch of eight participants who have joined the pilot fertigation programme are consistently earning five-figure income,” he said.



Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Vacation incentives to revive tourism in Thailand

BANGKOK Authorities implement stimulus packages to revive tourism. Hoteliers can join them right away and people can register their participation on July 15, Thai News Agency (TNA) reported Saturday.


Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said that in the “Let’s Travel” package the government paid 40 per cent of room rates but the subsidy was limited at 3,000 baht per room per night.


It also gives E-Vouchers worth 600 baht per night for tourists to pay for their meals and admission to tourist destinations. The government also pays 40 per cent of air fares but the aid is capped at 1,000 baht per seat.




TNA report said th “Moral Support” package is to thank local health volunteers and staff of sub-district hospitals. The government pays for their domestic trips lasting two days and one nights. The subsidy is limited at 2,000 baht per person.


Both packages will cost 22.4 billion baht and be available from July to October, the report added.


Source: BERNAMA News Agency


COVID-19 has marginal impact on Labuan Financial sector: Labuan FSA Dg

LABUAN The COVID-19 pandemic has slightly impacted Labuan’s international financial sector as the leasing segment has felt the pinch over the first few months of 2020.


Labuan Financial Services Authority (Labuan FSA) director-general Datuk Danial Mah Abdullah said the situation was rather akin to a ‘double whammy’, owing to the uncertainty of the global economic landscape.




“COVID-19 has affected our sector and this is unprecedented…we are not sure of the business landscape moving forward, there’s so much uncertainty…you’re not sure how it’s going to be played out, so to speak.


“We are the regulator, a member of all these various multilateral kind of organisations that comprise all these regulators…(there’s) a lot of all sharing of information, sharing of knowledge, and so on, how to handle this situation, and what other jurisdictions are doing.


“We have been scanning around and we have been attending Zoom meetings, with all these other regulators in terms of how we are managing the situation,” he said.



Mah said some form of impact on the industry were seen in the first few months of this year, but were not on a large scale, but some sectors would be affected such as the leasing business.


“It’s like a double whammy, because last year there was a significant drop in oil prices that has affected the oil and gas sector in Labuan…and the situation is now compounded with COVID-19, that doubles the burden,” he said during a recent interview with Labuan International Business Financial Centre (IBFC) chief executive officer Farah Jaafar-Crossby in conjunction with Labuan IBFC’s 30 Years of Intermediating Asia.


The excerpts of the interview were released to Bernama today.


Mah however said there were also some pockets of positive impact as the new norms are taking its shape in the financial sector.


“You talk about digital related businesses…we have been focusing on that industry in the last couple of years, and we are seeing some increase again in that area.


“Of course, in the insurance side, there’s one element of captive business. We are seeing a lot more players in that spectrum as well. But overall, we will continue to scan the region to see what else that we can do, in terms of moving Labuan IBFC forward,” he said.


Mah said the authority had offered relaxations to the industry players who had been affected by the Movement Control Order such as temporary regulatory reliefs.


“This relates to administrative governance. So, there are some reliefs provided to them, in terms of submitting documents to us, and also in terms of how they compute their solvency margin. Of course, the relief is not exhaustive.


“We are also working with the players, (to see) what else we can do for them, to manage the situation. But like I said, when we say we scan the environment, we’re not just looking at businesses…as a regulator, we need to see what are the risks we need to manage to make sure we remain sustainable, as well as to make sure that our resilience is maintained,” he added.


Mah said the Labuan IBFC needed to remain agile and continue monitoring the situation and ensure it is able to provide the best services to the industry players to enable them to operate without any hindrance.




Source: BERNAMA News Agency


RMCO: Pahang allows business premises to operate from 7 am-10 pm

KUANTAN The Pahang government has agreed to allow all business premises in the state to operate from 7 am to 10 pm during the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) period.


Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail said the decision was made after receiving feedback from associations and traders especially those operating food business on the matter.


“We will review the matter from time to time, taking into account the COVID-19 situation in Pahang as well as compliance of guidelines and standard operating procedures (SOP) issued by the government.




“I hope that we will not lose focus in our efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19,” he said in a statement here today.


However, Wan Rosdy said the limited operating hours are not applicable for businesses listed as essential services such as clinic, petrol stations and factories, which are allowed to operate according to the times stipulated in their business licence.



Source: BERNAMA News Agency


PENJANA: Employers must utilise financial aid to ensure workers’ wellbeing

KUALA LUMPUR Employers’ integrity and sincerity play an important role in ensuring holistic and fair management of the financial aid allocated by the government under the National Economic Recovery Plan (PENJANA).


Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said employers who received the financial aid should not deviate from its objective, that is to encourage employment and save jobs.


“The initiative is to help companies to stay afloat during this challenging situation of COVID-19, but most importantly, to enable them to keep their workers. Employers must be sincere and not retrench their workers despite getting the aid.




“Furthermore, if we lay off our well-trained workers and the economy bounces back later, the company will have to recruit new workers and train them. All these processes will cost money,” he told Bernama.


Shamsuddin also said that it was only right that the government trusts the employer or company in managing the aid without having to set up an monitoring body to monitor it, and with action can still be taken through existing mechanisms against the errant employers.


“For example, an employer may name 100 workers to receive a salary subsidy under the aid allocation, but if the employer is later found to have retrenched one or some of the workers, it will be an offence. In this case, the Social Security Organisation (Socso) through its Employment Insurance Scheme (EIS) can take action against the company,” he said.



Meanwhile, Shamsuddin also described the initiatives featured in PENJANA as the right move to stimulate the economy, especially the tourism sector which was the most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Among other related challenges is the low demand for goods and services as the people are not so sure of spending their money especially when their jobs are not so secured amid this economic uncertainty.


Economic analyst Dr Baayah Baba, on the other hand, said the factories or the manufacturing sector should make optimal use of the financial initiative to keep afloat, if not bounce back, from the effects of the Control Movement Order (MCO) to curb COVID-19 in the country.


She said the expansion of the extension of the wage subsidy programme for a further three months to September which was set at RM600 per employee per month for up to 200 workers per company was very practical to help employers manage their workers’ salaries.


“During this economic uncertainty, we can see that people are spending more on necessities rather than buying furniture for example, so when the government announces this financial initiative, the affected sectors need to take the opportunity to revitalize their businesses.


“I believe the initiative will help employers continue to employ and pay their workers’ salaries. I believe with this effort, companies can recover their sales and launch corporate management,” she said.


Nevertheless, Baayah said employers who receive the aid from the government need to be honest and transparent in order to help stimulate the country’s economy.


Last Friday, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin unveiled the employee-related initiatives, which include the extension of the wage subsidy programme for a further three months with an allocation of RM5 billion and the re-introduction of the employee recruitment incentive programme (RM1.5 billion) under PENJANA, which will benefit three million workforce in the country.


The Prime Minister said, according to the Malaysian Statistics Department on May 14, the rate of unemployment in the country is expected to increase to 5.5 per cent or more than  860,000 jobless persons this year.


The two programmes, which will run until December 2020, will see youth receiving an allowance of RM600 a month, unemployed below the age of 40 to receive RM800 a month, unemployed above the age of 40 to receive RM1,000 a month, and the unemployed person with disabilities (OKU) to receive RM1,000 a month, all for a maximum period of six months. Also provided is a training allowance of RM4,000 for those who have lost their job during the MCO.



Source: BERNAMA News Agency