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Rossana Annizah is new BSN chairman

KUALA LUMPUR, Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) has appointed Rossana Annizah Rashidi as chairman effective Feb 1.

Chief executive Datuk Yunos Abd Ghani said Rossana is no stranger to the banking and telecommunications industry, having previously served in various senior management roles with RHB Bank Bhd after starting her banking career with Citibank Malaysia.

She also served in various senior management roles in TIME dotCom Bhd and Maxis Bhd.

“Rossana brings a diverse perspective to our board. Her extensive experience, derived from serving as well as leading the boards of multinational corporations, will provide BSN with board direction to continue delivering our mandate and to accomplish the bank’s strategic plans,” he said in a statement today.

The BSN chairman position has been vacant since Tan Sri Abu Bakar Abdullah retired in February last year.

Rossana, the first woman to become BSN chairman, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Canberra, Australia, and a member of CPA Australia.

She is currently chairman of Jardine Matheson (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd and a member of the EPF Investment Panel.

Rossana is also an audit committee chairman of IHH Healthcare Sdn Bhd and sits on the boards of IHH subsidiaries in Singapore and Turkey. She is also a board member of Celcom Axiata Sdn Bhd and edotco Group Sdn Bhd.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

First batch of 1 mln gloves on way to Wuhan, next batch on Wednesday

KUALA LUMPUR, The next batch of one million medical gloves is scheduled to be sent to Wuhan, China onboard MASkargo this Wednesday, Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok said.

This followed the first batch of one million gloves dispatched to Wuhan onboard AirAsia flight commissioned by the government to bring back Malaysians from the 2019 novel coronavirus-hit city today.

This is the first batch of medical gloves to be sent after my announcement on the donation of 18 million medical gloves to China last week, she said in a statement today.

The one million pieces of latex examination gloves would be received by the Hubei Charity Federation, a Chinese government-designated donation recipient, that would distribute the medical glove supply to healthcare facilities in Wuhan.

The gloves, packed in specially designed boxes by Supermax Glove Manufacturing Sdn Bhd, are being transported via a special flight that would bring back 141 people, comprising 116 Malaysians and 25 non-citizens who are their spouses and children.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail had earlier said that only those who have been certified healthy after undergoing an exit screening by the local authorities at the Wuhan Tianhe International Airport would be brought back.

Kok said the government is aware of the need for fast response and with the coordination with the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Malaysia, the National Disaster Management Agency, Malaysian Rubber Export Promotion Council, and Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association have managed to send aid with utmost urgency.

We are deeply thankful for AirAsia for enabling such a quick response to our government’s request to bring Malaysians home from Wuhan and to transport the urgent medical gloves supply to the healthcare workers in Wuhan who are managing a very large, complex situation.

As I had announced last Friday, the Malaysian Rubber Export Promotion Council (MREPC) and nine rubber glove manufacturers in Malaysia have stepped forward to pledge 18 million pieces of medical gloves to Wuhan, she said.

Besides Supermax, the other companies are Smart Glove, Top Glove, Hartalega, Kossan, YTY, Brightway, Koon Seng, and Careplus.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

APEC 2020: First Senior Officials’ Meeting begins today

PUTRAJAYA, The first Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM1) and related meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2020 Summit kicked-off in Putrajaya today, as policymakers and officials meet till Feb 22 to deliberate on priorities agenda for the region.

APEC 2020 National Secretariat in a statement today said a total of 102 meetings, workshops, activities and field trips have been lined up by various ministries and agencies for the delegates.

Over 1,700 delegates from 21 economies have registered for these meetings, it said.

“Discussions in the meeting will be centred on setting the work plan for their respective committees and working groups, in progressing the Shared Prosperity agenda aligned with the APEC 2020 theme,” it said.

Malaysia is hosting the 2020 APEC, themed Optimising Human Potential towards a Future of Shared Prosperity.

Through the identified priorities of ‘Improving the Narrative of Trade and Investment’, ‘Inclusive Economic Participation Through Digital Economy and Technology’, and ‘Driving Innovative Sustainability’, Malaysia planned to bring all the economies together for an in-depth discussion towards delivering substantive and effective deliverables for APEC 2020, it said.

The secretariat said officials, together with the private sector, would be deliberating on issues that included business mobility, food security, sustainable development, customs procedure, standards setting, health, and intellectual property rights.

In managing the risks and threats of the 2019 novel coronavirus, the APEC 2020 National Secretariat said it was working closely with Malaysia’s Health Ministry and other relevant authorities to ensure the safety of delegates and all parties involved in the meetings.

Various safety and precautionary measures undertaken included providing liquid sanitisers at various locations at meeting venues and accommodations, providing suitable surgical disposable face masks for all delegates and working members, and providing non-contact thermometer to check body temperatures at all information counters, it said.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

Toll reduction: don’t be misled by opposition – Lim

GEORGE TOWN, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng today wanted the people to evaluate for themselves the benefit they will receive from the 18 per cent toll reduction and not to be misled by calculations made by the opposition.

He said the opposition was out to confuse people by raising questions on the longer concession period.

There are certain quarters who do not know how to calculate by saying that people are losing when we (the government) extended the concession period for another 20 years (to 2058) and reduced toll rate by 18 per cent.

They failed to mention that during their time in the government, they didn’t reduce the toll rate. Instead, they increased it by five per cent for every three years, Lim told reporters after attending Chinese New Year Open House hosted by Bukit Gelugor Member of Parliament Ramkarpal Singh, here.

Lim explained that by reducing the toll rate, the government would be saving RM28 billion in terms of compensation.

The opposition has been asking why the government didn’t abolish the toll, we can abolish it but in order to do that, we have to come out with money to be paid to concessionaires amounting to tens of billions. If the previous Barisan Nasional government didn’t ‘kebas’ the money, we could afford to buy out the entire concessions.

That’s why we were looking for another alternative, extending the concession period for another 20 years with a toll reduction of 18 per cent and it will not increase until 2058, he explained.

Lim pointed out that the opposition omitted the fact that the government had to pay compensation to the concessionaires if toll increase was refused.

Yesterday, millions of Malaysians began to enjoy the 18 per cent toll rate reduction at New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE), North-South Expressway Central Link (ELITE), Second Link Expressway (Linkedua), East Coast Highway Phase 2 (LPT2). Seremban-Port Dickson Highway and Kulim-Butterworth Highway (BKE).

The toll reduction decided at the Cabinet meeting on Jan 15 is for all the passenger vehicle, bus and taxi.

The same discount is also given to category 2, 3, 4 and 5 vehicles using Penang Bridge.

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)

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)

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)