Malaysia Institute Of Economic Research Forecasts Economy To Grow 4.5% In 2019

© Nikkei Markets

KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 30) — Malaysia Institute of Economic Research Wednesday forecast the country’s economy to grow 4.5% in 2019 and between 4.5% and 5.5% next year.

“We are on track to be a high-income economy. No doubt about it,” said MIER Executive Director Zakariah Abdul Rashid.

Meanwhile, Malaysia’s consumer sentiment index fell to 96.8 points in the final quarter of 2018 from 107.4 points in the preceding quarter, MIER said. 

– By Gan Pei Ling
– Edited By Abhrajit Gangopadhyay

Malaysia Finance Minister Hopes Developers Can Offer Up To 20% Discount On Home Prices

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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 31) — Malaysia’s finance minister Thursday said he hopes that property developers can offer up to 15%-to-20% discount on home prices during the first six months of 2019.

“I hope they can offer a discount of 15%-20%. We will let the market forces decide,”Lim Guan Eng said at a news conference in Selangor.

He also hopes developers could sell as many units as possible of 19.50 billion ringgit ($4.77 billion) worth of unsold units.

Malaysian banks have ample funds to lend to prospective buyers, and the government will also offer stamp duty exemption for first-time home buyers between January and June this year for units priced between 300,000 ringgit to 1 million ringgit, Lim said.

In November, the state announced that developers have agreed to offer at least a 10% discount on unsold units to boost sales.

– By Gan Pei Ling
– Edited by Sayantika Bhowal

Malaysia Fraser & Neave To Invest MYR30 Mln To Expand Capacity, Sugar Tax Looms-CEO

© Nikkei Markets

KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 23) — Malaysia’s Fraser & Neave Holdings will invest 30 million ringgit ($7.3 million) to expand production capacity as part of its capital expenditure program for this fiscal year that started Oct. 1, even as the beverage maker seeks to absorb higher cost due to a proposed sugar tax, its chief executive said Wednesday. 

“More than 90% of the existing products will be affected by the sugar tax,” Lim Yew Hoe said at a news conference. “Raising product prices will be our last resort.”

The company is exploring alternatives to sugar after Malaysia announced move to tax sugary drinks from April, Lim said. 

The company may offer its products in smaller pack size or reformulate some of its products to reduce the sugar content, he added. 

– By Gan Pei Ling
– Edited By Abhrajit Gangopadhyay

Malaysia Automotive Parts Exports Forecast To Grow To MYR13.03 Bln This Year-Govt Body

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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 18) — Malaysia’s exports of automotive parts are forecast to grow to 13.03 billion ringgit ($3.17 billion) this year after rising 4.3% to 12.1 billion ringgit in 2018, a government agency said Friday.

Exports of automotive parts and components have grown consistently from 4.7 billion ringgit in 2014 and remain on the uptrend, said Madani Sahari, chief executive of Malaysia Automotive Robotics and IoT Institute.

The export value of completely built units is also forecast to grow to 2.5 billion ringgit this year from 2.08 billion ringgit in 2018, Madani said. The automotive industry accounts for about 4.2% of Malaysia’s GDP in 2018, he added. 

– By Gan Pei Ling
– Edited By Abhrajit Gangopadhyay

Malaysian Automotive Association Sees 2019 New Vehicles Registrations At 600,000

© Nikkei Markets

KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 16) — Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) expects new vehicles registrations to reach 600,000 in 2019, its president said Wednesday.

“We foresee 2019 as another very challenging year,” said Aishah Ahmad at an event. “Lot of consumers have brought their purchases during the GST tax holiday period.”

Cautious consumer sentiments, weak ringgit and delayed approvals from authorities for new models’ pricing are few factors that will hamper sales, she said. The demand for new vehicles is expected to grow 2% to 2.3% between 2020 and 2023.

“Car companies will continue with their strategy of aggressive promotional campaigns to maintain market share,” she added.

In 2018, the registration of new passenger vehicles was up 3.6% to 533,202 units, she said. The total industry volume of new vehicle sales was also up 3.8% to 598,714 units.

– By Gan Pei Ling
– Edited by Sayantika Bhowal

Malaysia Tabung Haji Can Pay Dividend Post Under-Performing Post-Assets Transfer-CEO

© Nikkei Markets

KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 15) — Malaysia’s state-run Muslim pilgrimage fund board, Lembaga Tabung Haji, is now is a position to pay dividend after it transferred under-performing assets totalling 19.9 billion ringgit ($4.76 billion) to a special purpose vehicle of the finance ministry, its chief executive said Tuesday. 

“We have completed the transactions, which puts us in a position to pay hibah (dividend) for 2018,” Zukri Samat said at a news conference.

According to a previously stated proposal, Tabung Haji transferred under-performing assets including 106 listed equities, one unlisted plantation company, 29 properties and land to the special purpose vehicle. The company, in turn issued 10 billion ringgit worth of sukuk, or Islamic bonds and 9.9 billion ringgit worth of Islamic redeemable convertible preference shares to Tabung Haji. 

Zukri said moving forward, the fund will focus on its initial objective of assisting Muslim pilgrims to perform the haj. 

The fund will reduce its exposure to equities and aim to maintain 60%-70% of fixed income assets in its portfolio, he added. 

The fund has been in the limelight for allegedly issuing dividends to its depositors since 2014 even as its liabilities exceeded the value of its assets as of the financial year 2017, the Islamic affairs minister had informed the parliament in December.  

– By Gan Pei Ling
– Edited By Abhrajit Gangopadhyay