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US OFFERED US$151 MLN IN HUMANTARIAN AID TO RAKHINE SINCE EARLY 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia � The United States has provided nearly US$151 million (RM634.2 million) in humanitarian aid for displaced people in and from the Rakhine State, Myanmar since early this year.

US Embassy in Malaysia in a media statement yesterday said the US was also engaging with the Myanmar government to address the crisis and long term challenges in the Rakhine State.

This include to demand the end to violence and mass atrocities and resolve the human rights and humanitarian crisis in the Rakhine State, to ensure safe, voluntary and dignified return of displaced persons.

“The US supports a peaceful, prosperous and democratic Myanmar that respects the human rights of all its people. We are working to immediately address the human rights and humanitarian crisis in the Rakhine State, the statement said.

It added that the US was also working to hold accountable those responsible for mass atrocities and human rights violations and abuse and advocating for the Myanmar government to implement the recommendation made by the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State.

The statement also said that the US had helped to train over 225,000 smallholder farmers in modern farming techniques in 2017, distributed bed nets last year to protect one million people in the country with the aim to eliminate malaria.

In supporting the national peace process, the statement said the US had provided over US$60 million (RM244 million) since 2012 to deepen and sustain reform, and to foster legitimate and inclusive peace building nationally and US$1 million (RM4.2 million) to implement a peace education curriculum in secular and faith-based schools as well as to conduct research on religious and ethnic issues in the political dialogue.

The US is also working with civil societies, ethnic armed groups and political parties to build a culture of dialogue and move towards an inclusive, sustainable end to armed conflict.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

MALAYSIA: GOVT ON TRACK TO GET RM2 BLN IBS-BASED PROJECTS

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — The government, through the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), is on track to achieve an additional investment of RM2 billion for approved projects that adopt the industrialised building system (IBS) by 2020.

International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed said until October 2017, MIDA had approved investments worth RM1.8 billion for IBS-related projects in the country.

“The implementation part is important. We have approved so much, yet, we have to ensure that those projects can be realised,” he told a press conference after launching the “IBS and Building Materials Supply Chain 2017/2018 Directory”, here yesterday.

Mustapa said IBS was important as it could further improve the productivity of the local construction sector to enable it be more efficient, shorten its completion and reduce dependency on foreign workers.

The minister said most of the current 260 local IBS companies were small and medium enterprises (SMEs) producing basic components.

He said MIDA has approved four IBS-related projects with tax incentives to further support the adoption of materials for the construction industry.

He cited two large-scale ongoing projects worth referred to on efforts in achieving the economies of scale, productivity and efficiency upon using IBS.

Firstly, Gamuda Bhd’s wholly-owned Gamuda IBS, which was granted an investment tax allowance by MIDA, is developing a RM500 million IBS plants at two locations — Sepang and Banting, secondly, China-controlled Country Garden Pacific View Sdn Bhd is building an IBS factory worth RM2.6 billion in Forest City, Johor.

Mustapa said IBS adoption would be more efficient and cost effective in large-scale projects like Gamuda and Forest City.

The directory, co-developed by MIDA and the Construction Industry Development Board, which contains contact details of over 4,000 companies and relevant stakeholders, acts as a comprehensive point of reference for the construction industry, particularly in the area of IBS and building materials.

Also present were MIDA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Azman Mahmud, CIDB Chairman Ahmad Tajuddin Ali and CIDB CEO Ahmad Asri Abdul Hamid.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

PALESTINE WANTS TO EMULATE 1MALAYSIA SPIRIT

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia � Palestine hopes to emulate the 1Malaysia spirit � a concept mooted by Prime Minister Najib Tun Abdul Razak, that encapsulates the very idea of unity in diversity � as it works towards full reconciliation between warring factions, Palestine Ambassador to Malaysia Dr Anwar Al Agha said.

“We (Palestinians) have to be united despite all the situation and that’s why we call upon all parties in Palestine to come together.

“We don’t want to look into private benefits of individuals, but we want to have what Malaysians always say…Just like 1Malaysia, (we want) 1Palestine,” he said.

Al Agha thanked the Malaysian government for “doing its best” and using every avenue possible to highlight the Palestinian issue at the international level, as well as the Malaysian people for being so passionate about the Palestinian cause.

“We would like to personally thank the Prime Minister Najib Tun Abdul Razak and his deputy, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for their real support to Palestine. There are no international events (that they went) without mentioning about Palestine,” Al Agha said.

The 1Malaysia concept, introduced by Najib in 2010 emphasises the importance of national unity regardless of race, background, or religious belief for a better future.

Al Agha said the Palestinian leadership under President Mahmoud Abbas are very much keen on the reconciliation efforts ongoing between his Fatah movement and Hamas under the strong support of the Egyptian government.

According to reports, the reconciliation agreement reached between the two sides was signed in Cairo on Oct 12, in which they agreed on a complete handover of Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip to Fatah by Dec 1 and to enable the consensus government, the Palestinian Authority, under Fatah to have full control of the enclave.

As part of the agreement, the Gaza Strip’s border crossings with Israel and Egypt were handed over by Hamas to the Palestinian Authority on Nov 1, reports said.

Speaking at the event organised by the embassy to commemorate the 13th Anniversary of Yasser Arafat’s death here today, Al Agha said the current leadership under Mahmoud Abbas will continue Arafat’s fight to have an independent Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital.

“We also hope the United Nations, the international community will pressure the Israeli government to come and make real peace. We want to see the existence of the independent state of Palestine as announced by Arafat in 1988,” he added.

Arafat, the first President of the Palestinian Authority died on Nov 11, 2004 at the age of 75.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

3.8 MLN MALAYSIANS HAVE DIABETES, 1.8 MLN PROBABLY NOT AWARE THEY HAVE IT

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Diabetes cases are on the rise In the country with 3.6 million Malaysians out of a population of 32 million suffering from the non-communicable disease.

Health Minister Dr S. Subramaniam said about another 1.8 million Malaysians might be having diabetes but were unaware they have it because they never went for health screening.

With regular screening, diabetes can be detected at the early stage and optimum treatment given, he said in a statement in conjunction with World Diabetes Day 2017 yesterday.

This will reduce risks attributed to diabetes and allow patients to lead normal lives, he said.

He said with increased awareness by the public on diabetes, its risks and the importance of health screening, it was hoped it would change Malaysians’ behaviour on prevention and control of the NCD.

This will lead to a reduced risk of premature death as a result of diabetes complications, he said.

In a separate statement, Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said of the 3.8 million figure,1.78 million were women.

He also said the ministry ensured extra care for women diabetes patients especially pregnant women to minimise risks to them and their unborn children.

As for diabetic women who wanted to get pregnant, they were required to undergo pre-pregnancy counselling, he said.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

MALAYSIA’S KHAZANAH EYES INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN CENTRAL ASIA

ASTANA, Kazakhstan– Khazanah Nasional Bhd, the national investment corporation, plans to widen investment activities beyond Turkey and is eyeing potential opportunities in Central Asia, a region it has no presence yet.

Executive Director of Finance/Chief Financial Officer, Mohd Izani Ghani said the investment could be varied, with the exception of the oil and gas and plantation sector, as the national strategic fund is not involved in both.

“We are already big in Turkey, with various investments such as in an airport and hospital. We can extend our healthcare business to here (Central Asia).

“We have also investments in hospitals in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and soon, in China. It’s good to complete the whole geography. Central Asia has been on our radar,” he told Bernama on the sidelines of the Malaysia-Kazakhstan Energy Business Forum held here today.

He was a panellist at the Session 1 titled, Investment Opportunities and Collaborations Between Malaysia and Kazakhstan, which was moderated by Malaysia’s Ambassador to Kazakhstan, Syed Mohamad Bakri Syed Abd Rahman.

Mohd Izani did not rule out investment possibilities in Kazakhstan, Malaysia’s fourth largest trading partner among the Commonwealth of Independent States countries.

“Kazakhstan’s sovereign fund has been to our office to understand the way we undertake transformation. The meeting was more of a business engagement,” he said.

The one-day business forum was held as a culmination of Malaysia’s participation at the Astana Expo 2017, spearheaded by the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water.

The expo provided an unique platform for the public and private sectors to explore business opportunities during the business matching sessions at the Malaysia Pavilion.

It included pocket talks highlighting Malaysia’s strength in various fields of energy, green technology and the economy.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

MORE CROSS-BORDER ACTIVITIES TO ENHANCE MALAYSIA-THAI BILATERAL TRADE

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Encouraging greater cross-border trade and investments will help both Malaysia and Thailand in achieving US$30 billion (US$1 = RM4.29) worth of bilateral trade by 2018, said the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (NCCIM).

Vice-President Liew Sew Yee said the Thailand Chamber of Commerce and Board of Trade (TCC/BOT) had submitted proposals to boost border trade, which accounted for over 60 per cent of the current trade between both countries.

He said they have proposed for a 24-hour custom operation at the border to facilitate movement of goods.

“Both countries should also improve facilities such as transportation and logistic infrastructure at the border to further improve trade. We will study these requests and speak to the government,” he told reporters after a visit by a 60-member trade delegation from the chamber and the board here today.

During the half-day visit, delegation members were briefed by NCCIM on investment opportunities in Malaysia and the local halal market including networking sessions.

Yee said trade with Thailand, the country’s fifth largest trading partner, amounted to US$20.83 billion in 2016, and Malaysia-Thailand border trade accounted for over 60 per cent of this figure.

The border trade brings in an average of US$14.4 billion, annually, he said.

Thailand mainly exports petroleum, auto and computer parts, food products and electrical appliances to Malaysia while Malaysia’s exports comprised crude petroleum, transport equipment, steel products, processed food and, chemicals and chemical products, said Yee.

He said ASEAN border trade activities — such as the border trade fairs held in Hatyai in 2015 by the Thai government and in Kelantan last year by the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation should be turned into an annual event.

Yee also said while Thailand was a top global food exporter, the issue of halal status was the key reason preventing food products from the kingdom to penetrate the Malaysian market.

Thai entrepreneurs should emulate many multinational companies that have invested in obtaining halal certification from the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia and set up their hub in Malaysia to convince local consumers, he said.

Meanwhile, NCCIM Secretary-General Syed Hussien Al Habshee said this year’s border trade fair will be held in Thailand.

He also said the TCC/BOC delegation had reiterated their proposal to build a bridge to connect Golok in Thailand to Rantau Panjang in Kelantan, on a shared-cost basis, in order to create more opportunities to boost border trade, he said.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

MALAYSIA’S KHAZANAH EYES INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN CENTRAL ASIA

ASTANA, Kazakhstan– Khazanah Nasional Bhd, the national investment corporation, plans to widen investment activities beyond Turkey and is eyeing potential opportunities in Central Asia, a region it has no presence yet.

Executive Director of Finance/Chief Financial Officer, Mohd Izani Ghani said the investment could be varied, with the exception of the oil and gas and plantation sector, as the national strategic fund is not involved in both.

“We are already big in Turkey, with various investments such as in an airport and hospital. We can extend our healthcare business to here (Central Asia).

“We have also investments in hospitals in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and soon, in China. It’s good to complete the whole geography. Central Asia has been on our radar,” he told Bernama on the sidelines of the Malaysia-Kazakhstan Energy Business Forum held here today.

He was a panellist at the Session 1 titled, Investment Opportunities and Collaborations Between Malaysia and Kazakhstan, which was moderated by Malaysia’s Ambassador to Kazakhstan, Syed Mohamad Bakri Syed Abd Rahman.

Mohd Izani did not rule out investment possibilities in Kazakhstan, Malaysia’s fourth largest trading partner among the Commonwealth of Independent States countries.

“Kazakhstan’s sovereign fund has been to our office to understand the way we undertake transformation. The meeting was more of a business engagement,” he said.

The one-day business forum was held as a culmination of Malaysia’s participation at the Astana Expo 2017, spearheaded by the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water.

The expo provided an unique platform for the public and private sectors to explore business opportunities during the business matching sessions at the Malaysia Pavilion.

It included pocket talks highlighting Malaysia’s strength in various fields of energy, green technology and the economy.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK