(March 24): Malaysia’s central bank will crack down on wrongdoing in the foreign-currency market, such as fixing of the exchange rate, to ensure stability in the ringgit, Governor Muhammad Ibrahim said. Authorities plan to name and shame banks from next year that have been found guilty of misconduct, Muhammad told reporters in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday. In January, Bank Negara Malaysia said it imposed a 1.4 million ringgit (US$316,000) fine on a lender, which it didn’t name, related to a case of currency fixing. The central bank has also clamped down on foreign banks using offshore forwards to bet against the ringgit. To bring more stability to the Malaysian currency, the central bank also imposed rules in December that capped the amount of foreign-currency proceeds exporters can hold at 25%.
LONDON (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur have been given approval to play the majority of their home matches next season in front of a capacity crowd at Wembley if they take up an option to play at the stadium, British media reported on Thursday. Brent Council's planning committee passed the Premier League club's application to use the full capacity at Wembley by a majority of 5-1, meaning Spurs can fill up to 90,000 seats for at least 27 matches next season. Tottenham have until March 31 to decide whether to play at the national stadium or stay at White Hart Lane for next season. The FA had already approved the club's use of the stadium. If not, they could delay the temporary move to Wembley until that season.
THE Cabinet has agreed to review the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 to allow judges to use their discretion in sentencing offenders instead of imposing the mandatory death sentence. Azalina said the review was presented to the Cabinet on March 1 by Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali. She said the implementation had to be done through the legal process, and added that many countries had also made changes on the death penalty. Gobind Singh Deo (DAP-Puchong) also asked if there could be a moratorium in place on pending cases until the Act was amended. Azalina also said that according to Prison Department statistics, there are almost 800 prisoners on death row for drug trafficking offences under Section 39(B).
LOS ANGELES (March 24): Family members of Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho were allowed to challenge U.S. attempts to confiscate hundreds of millions in real estate and other investments allegedly acquired with money siphoned from a state investment fund. A federal judge in Los Angeles this week granted requests by the holding companies that control the assets on behalf of Low to file late claims in eight forfeiture lawsuits. The holding companies asked for permission to file claims after courts in New Zealand and the Cayman Islands allowed them to swap out the Swiss trustees that had refused to fight the U.S. allegations. The U.S. has asked for default judgments against some of the assets because no valid claims had been filed in time. Low has said he provided consulting to 1MDB that didn’t break any laws, while the fund and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak have both denied wrongdoing.
PETALING JAYA: The new petrol and diesel price to be announced weekly should not pose a problem if the change to the weekly ceiling price is not too high, Petrol Dealers Association president Datuk Khairul Annuar says. Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin announced on Wednesday that weekly fuel prices will be announced every Wednesday and the new price will be enforced the next day. Khairul said if the weekly change was not too high, consumers’ buying pattern would not be adversely affected. Petrol dealers were initially worried that the measure would cause an intense price war as it would be a free for all. The Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumer Affairs Ministry had assured they would control the price war as any changes in pump price from the ceiling price requires the ministry’s approval, he said.
PETALING JAYA: Tighter lending policies have played a key role in mitigating risks to household debts, according to Bank Negara’s Financial Stability and Payment Systems Report 2016. To continue reducing risks, the central bank said continued vigilance in lending practices must be maintained as well as support for households to effectively manage debt through sustained education and debt assistance programmes. “The average debt level for borrowers in this group is more than twice that observed for other borrower groups. The debt servicing capacity of this group is reasonably healthy as indicated by more prudent debt service ratios. “This is somewhat mitigated by the lower proportion of debt financed under floating or variable rate schemes compared to other income groups.
Malaysia’s total external debt rose 9% to RM908.7bil in 2016, Bank Negara said, which is equal to 73.9% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Slightly less than two-thirds of the country’s external debt are denominated in foreign currencies. In its 2016 annual report, the central bank said the country’s external debt remained manageable, given its currency, maturity and balance sheet profiles. “The profile of Malaysia’s external debt remained healthy with more than one-third of total external debt being denominated in ringgit, thus limiting the risks arising from foreign exchange fluctuations. Bank Negara said the rollover risks were also contained, as 58.6% of the total external debt was of medium to long-term maturity.
LONDON: The man who mowed down pedestrians and stabbed a policeman in Wednesday's deadly assault outside Britain's parliament has been identified by police as 52-year-old former convict Khalid Masood. -'A nice guy' -Masood rented the car used in the attack from the Solihull branch of Enterprise, on the outskirts of Birmingham, the company confirmed in a statement. A spokeswoman for Britain's education ministry told AFP Masood was not a qualified teacher and had therefore not taught in any state schools. British media described Masood as a Muslim convert, with one source telling Sky News he was a "very religious, well spoken man". I used to see him outside doing his garden," Iwona Romek, a former neighbour of his told the Birmingham Mail.
Mumbai: An Indian politician brazenly admitted that he hit a steward on an Air India flight 25 times with his slipper during a row over a seat. I hit him 25 times with a slipper,” an unrepentant Gaikwad told ANI news agency in video footage posted on its Twitter page and aired on Indian news channels yesterday. Indian media reports said Gaikwad claimed he had a business class ticket but that Air India put him in an economy seat for the flight to India’s capital. “(The steward) said ‘I will complain to (Indian Prime Minister Narendra) Modi’, so I hit him,” said Gaikwad. Politicians from other political parties roundly condemned Gaikwad’s actions while a spokesman for Air India said the airline was investigating the incident.
For the year-to-date period, the group saw revenue rising 30.6% to RM1.36bil, while net profit increased by 2.2% to RM328.4mil. It cited the same reasons for the higher profit and revenue during the period. During the first half, the group’s property division also recorded an increase in revenue due to the higher sales performance of its properties in Vietnam. However, it saw a decrease in profit before tax due to the softening of the property market in Malaysia. The group’s profit before tax of RM219mil for the latest quarter was marginally higher than the preceding quarter’s profit before tax of RM206mil.
KUALA LUMPUR (March 24): Malaysian shares may today take the cue from overnight US equity losses after policymakers there delayed a healthcare bill vote. Yesterday, the FBM KLCI fell 1.3 points or 0.1% to close at 1,747 points. US shares fell overnight after policymakers postponed the vote on a healthcare bill to repeal existing US healthcare laws. In Malaysia today, the Statistics Department will announce the country's February 2017 inflation numbers at 12 noon. In January, inflation, as measured by the consumer price index, rose 3.2% from a year earlier.
PETALING JAYA: The proposed Malaysia-European Union (EU) Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) is expected to boost total trade by 20% to 30% from the current 10%, said EU ambassador and head of delegation to Malaysia Maria Castillo Fernandez. She said this was based on the EU’s FTA with South Korea for the past five years, which rose 35%. “We (EU) have similar volume in terms of trade with Malaysia, so, certainly it will increase to that level. Asked when the FTA can be concluded, Castillo said it would be before year-end based on a constructive meeting between European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrm and International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed in Manila on March 10. Meanwhile, Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Chua Tee Yong said Malmstrm and Mustapa touched on possible areas of cooperation, particularly on small and medium enterprise development, women and youth entrepreneurship, and sectoral legislative enactments involving vegetable, oils and fats.
PETALING JAYA: A handful of logistics and e-commerce-related stocks continued to rise following the Wednesday launch of the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ). The next largest market-cap gainer was business process outsourcing solutions provider Efficient E-Solutions Bhd, which saw its share price rising by 96.08% from 25.5 sen last Friday to end yesterday at 50 sen. It is worth noting that Singapore Post Ltd is the largest shareholder in Efficient E-Solutions with a 20.8% stake. But Efficient E-Solutions remains a loss-making company, posting an RM10mil loss for its financial year ended Dec 31, 2016 (FY16). Meanwhile, software solutions provider Cuscapi, which is primarily involved in business management solutions software for the food and beverage industry, also saw its share price rising 26% to 31.5 sen.
PETALING JAYA: The undersupply of affordable homes in the local property market is expected to worsen, going forward, due to demographic factors and current income trends. This is primarily attributable to a gross mismatch between housing supply and demand amid diverging expectations between households and developers. “Among the four states with the highest concentration of urban population, the shortage of affordable housing was largest in Kuala Lumpur, followed by Penang and Johor. “Meeting the demand of affordable housing units, going forward, will require the commitment of both the Government and the private sector. The establishment of a central agency to consolidate the provision of affordable housing as well as a central repository is key.
The 52-year-old founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group made the promise during a meet-the-press session. He will also bring more partners here to work with Malaysia. For this trip, he brought along 16 Chinese logistics companies whose businesses account for 43% of the world’s deliveries. If 10 people start to think differently, these people will make Malaysia different,” he said. Under a memorandum of understanding signed, Alibaba Group’s units will work with Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd to develop a regional e-commerce and logistics hub in KLIA Aeropolis.