TAPiO Newsletter – December 2019 Issue

DIPLOMATIC SPHERE

Menteri Besar: Kedah to release tourism brochures in Mandarin

Kedah will release brochures in Mandarin for tourism products in the state to facilitate visitors from China. Menteri Besar Kedah Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir said this was in line with the increasing number of Chinese tourists to Malaysia, thereby attracting them to visit Kedah. The government will look at the places of focus to promote to tourists. The government will change the menu to Mandarin too as the tourists may not know how to eat Malaysian food. Mukhriz launched the Kedah Tourism Directory, which is one of the platforms to introduce the state’s tourism and cultural products through a package provided in conjunction with the Visit Malaysia Year 2020. It was stated by Mukhriz that the directory is one of the efforts to tell the world about all the tourist attractions in Kedah Darul Aman.

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Shireen Ann to join Khazanah’s board

Datuk Shireen Ann Zaharah Muhiudeen, a professional fund manager will be joining the board of Khazanah Nasional Bhd. Shireen is currently the chairman of Bursa Malaysia, an independent director of the Federal Land Development Authority, and a founder and principal fund manager of Corston-Smith Asset Management Sdn Bhd. Since the 14th general election, Shireen has been sought after by the government to take up various roles in government-linked companies (GLCs) due to her vast experience in asset management. She is also a member of the Economic Action Council (EAC), alongside Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his economic adviser, Dr Muhammed Abdul Khalid, as well as Permodalan Nasional Bhd, Chairman Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Cabinet ministers and other prominent figures. In announcing her appointment as chairman of Bursa, the stock exchange said Shireen had more than 31 years of focused fund management experience in emerging Asia equity markets.

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BUSINESS

Malaysia’s Northern States Boosted by Infrastructural Aid, U.S.-China Trade War

The Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER), is second only to Johor’s Iskandar, in terms of investments, among Malaysia’s five development corridors. A combination of widening infrastructural support and the United States-China trade war has boosted the influx of investment into the northern region. Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA) mentioned that the states are ready to seize any opportunity arising from global shifts to position NCER as the crucial manufacturing base in Malaysia. A new Northern Corridor Highway is in the works and Penang Port is also in the midst of expanding to 7.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units, nearly quadrupling its current capacity. Even Perlis is set for the upcoming Chuping Valley Industrial Area, which will focus on green technology and the government has dedicated RM50 million ($12 million) in its budget on the year 2020 to develop the area.

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Azmin: Malaysia to realign economy in the next decade

Malaysia will push for a realignment of the country’s economy over the next 10 years as the old economic model of manufacturing, commodity and labour-intensive operations would hamper future growth. The country for decades had been dependent on manufacturing from investment abroad, which created jobs but had failed to push for innovation and development of own home-grown products and had stifled salary growth and high-paying jobs. Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali mentioned that all the initiatives to realign the country’s economy will be outlined in the 12th Malaysia Plan. RM56 billion allocated for the country’s development expenditure in 2020 will be utilised for 5,466 development projects to generate momentum and strengthen Malaysia’s long-term economic capacity. In boosting economic activities in the country, the government has identified 15 Key Economic Growth Areas as the new fundamentals of growth, including Islamic finance hub 2.0, Commodity Malaysia 2.0 and the Industrial Revolution 4.0. Malaysia will also continue to leverage on its open trade policy in pursuing a greater unification with ASEAN by continuing to adopt an open trade and investment policy.

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European hemp group joins Asian Summit to advance international goals

The European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) has entered a cooperation agreement with organizers of the Asian Hemp Summit set Jan. 31 till Feb. 1, 2020 in Nepal. Asia’s vibrant hemp market will be in focus when leading stakeholders from all over the world for the second annual Summit. EIHA Managing Director, Lorenza Romanese mentioned that many of their members already have working relationships in Asia, so they recognize the opportunities the region represents and as an Association, they have common interests with similar trade groups across the region. The Summit is in line with EIHA’s goal to be a leader in advancing international cooperation among nations and industry stakeholders all over the world. Sessions on entrepreneurship, investing and public service will highlight the event, covering a wide range of hemp sectors and hemp-specific processing technology along with market reports on select Asian countries. Other organizers of the Asian Hemp Summit are HempToday and Czech-based Hempoint, a vertically integrated producer and consultancy.

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TNB’s second large scale solar project ready next year

Tenaga Nasional Bhd’s (TNB) second Large Scale Solar (LSS) project, located in Bukit Selambau, Kedah, is on track for completion before the end of 2020, as over 84 percent of the project has been completed to-date. The RM180 million project involves the installation of 134,880 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, capable of generating up to 30 megawatts (MW). The project is developed by TNB Bukit Selambau Solar Sdn Bhd and was launched in March 2019. During its construction, the project’s spillover effect on the surrounding areas includes the creation of about 250 jobs in various capacities. TNB is also installing solar panels on the rooftops of the educational institution and government buildings, as well as residential, industrial and commercial properties and has managed to secure approximately 26-megawatt peak (MWp) generation capacity through more than 100 projects. With the LSS, solar PV installations on rooftops and other renewable energy (RE) projects, TNB aims to generate up to 1,700MW from RE by 2025. These RE initiatives are in line with the government’s target of having 20 per cent of the country’s electricity generated from renewable sources by 2025.

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Malaysia calls for greater trade among Muslim countries

Muslim countries should activate greater trade and investment to create economies of scale by adopting the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0) to generate wealth and prosperity. Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali stated that joint pacts and strategic geo-economic alliances must be established to create new jobs, wealth and unlock new economic potential. He added that it is imperative that the richer and better resourced Muslim countries mobilise their resources to advance the development of new high-skill human capital of the less developed Muslim countries. Currently, he said Malaysian private companies are implementing several projects with their counterparts in Qatar, Turkey and Pakistan. He mentioned that Malaysia will set up its largest dairy farm in close cooperation with Qatar, leveraging on its technology and expertise and look forwards enhancing cooperation with Turkey, which has an advanced defence industry and now produces over 70% of its military equipment.

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Facebook partners with local telco to enhance connectivity in Malaysia

The network infrastructure project is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2020 and will be used to support Facebook and other Facebook-owned services. The partnership will allow FB to build a faster and more efficient network to better support their family of apps and services. Chiew Kok Hin, Time’s head of OTT looks forward to the prospects that this partnership offers, as it opens the door for Malaysia to establish itself as a regional technology hub. More international connectivity and a robust domestic backbone will attract sizeable investments into Malaysia. It only makes sense to capitalize on the strategic location of Malaysia in Southeast Asia, ease of access and relatively lower cost of entry.

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MOBILITY

4.2 million Passengers at Senai Airport this year

Senai Airport Terminal Services Sdn Bhd (SATS) had successfully handled four million passengers in a single year for the first time since its opening in 1974. SATS chairman Datuk Seri Che Khalib Mohamad Noh said there has been a steady upward demand combined with the commitment by its airline partners to increase capacity that make this achievement possible. SATS chief executive officer Md Derick Basir said passenger volume for the full year 2019 will hit 4.2 million, a significant increase of 20 per cent as compared to 3.5 million passengers handled in 2018. The airport is currently operating at its maximum capacity of 4 million passengers per annum and is expanding its terminal to create more capacity in future. The RM20 million terminal expansion project will include the extension of the existing arrival and departure halls towards the south of the terminal building. The Johor state government has set a target of 8.4 million over-nighting tourists and a total of RM18.4 million visitors for 2020 and are hoping to see an economic spillover of RM29.4 billion.

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PETROCHEMICAL

Malaysia to publish oil-palm concession maps in traceability bid

According to the Malaysian Palm Oil Certification Council, Malaysia plans to publish concession maps and make them accessible to the public. It aims to achieve 100 per cent traceability at the farm level via the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil certification scheme by 2025. The move is another step in making the industry more transparent as oil palm growers face increasing scrutiny over the production of the tropical oil as it is important to convince the international community that palm oil produced in Malaysia is guaranteed in terms of its sustainability and quality. In mid-November, MPOCC launched a mobile-phone app that can trace palm along its supply chain and identify locations of estates and processing facilities that have gained sustainable certification. QuickTake International industry standards group Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil stated that the Malaysian government granted it permission to make members’ concession maps public for Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak. The maps weren’t published before because of ambiguity and legality issues in making them publicly available.

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