Monday, March 15, 2010

20100315 0936 Malaysian Economic News.

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) said it may increase interest rates further to avert asset bubbles and discourage risky investments by people seeking better returns, even as inflation will likely remain “modest” this year. “We will review the conditions at our next monetary policy meeting and work towards further normalizing if necessary. Inflation will continue to be modest and therefore it would not prompt us towards tightening, but that does not preclude that we will continue to normalize interest rates,” Governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz said. (Bloomberg)

Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir said the government intends to increase the number of Bumiputera exporters under the Tenth Malaysia Plan (10MP) through various programmes. The number was expected to increase two-fold from some 2,500 currently registered with the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade). “We aim to have between 800 and 1,000 more Bumiputera exporters each year of the 10MP and hit 5,000 by 2015,” he said. (NST)

Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill would not be tabled for second reading in the March/April session of Parliament so as to gather more feedback from the people. There was a lack of feedback, which he described as vital prior to the implementation of any policy by the government. No time frame had been set for the public to provide their input, but much time to engage the people. “We have had discussions with the private sector and we find that the sector generally understands and supports the move (to introduce the GST) except for several organizations which have given critical views,” he added. (Bernama, Financial Daily)

Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob advised the people not to believe rumours of an impending increase in the prices of fuel and essential goods. He said speculation on prices increases would give rise to a panic situation among consumers and irresponsible wholesalers and retailers would take advantage of the situation to reap excessive profits. (Bernama)

International Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Datuk Mukhriz Tun Dr Mahathir said that a 37.0% surge in exports for January is indication that the economy has recovered. The government will not make such statements without facts to support them, he said. He also said the New Economic Model (NEM) which will focus on biotechnology, innovation, renewable energy, aerospace, medicine and education to rid of elements that can prevent rapid economic growth under the Tenth Malaysia Plan (10MP). As such, entrepreneurs and exporters should be prepared for the removal of subsidies to face competition with implementation of the Asean Free Trade Area (AFTA). (Bernama)

Malaysia Industrial Development Authority’s (MIDA) director-general Datuk Jalilah Baba said that the government should give out more incentives under the New Economic Model (NEM) in order to encourage and attract more local and foreign investments into the country. She said the government should also encourage more mergers and acquisitions (M&As) especially in the high-tech industry and green technology industry that had been growing steadily in the country. The M&As with foreign firms would provide a catalyst for local firms to grow, she added. (Financial Daily)

PM Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is targeting to achieve not less than 6.0% economic growth for this year. Najib said he would go all out and put all the efforts possible to achieve the highest possible growth rate for the nation. "I have been informed by Treasury officials that the World Bank is likely to revise its growth projection for Malaysia this year,” he added. (Bernama)

PM Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said that the country needs to transform its economy into one that is highly competitive, rich in knowledge and technology, and driven by ideas, innovation and talent. “As the World Bank points out in its latest assessment of the prospects for 2010, it will continue to be a challenging year despite the recovery. But Malaysia has turned the corner and we are back on the road of economic growth. I am determined to ensure that growth gathers momentum and remains robust and sustainable despite continuing challenges to the global economy," he added. (Bernama)

The government will introduce the old-age and self-employed pension schemes, possibly by the middle of next year, under the government's caring concept, Human Resource Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam said. The Social Security Organisation (Sosco) has been tasked to conduct actuarial studies on the two new schemes before their implementation and it would have to determine the minimum age and period of payment for its contributors. "We are already in the process of introducing the Retrenchment Fund for private sector workers," he added. (Bernama)

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