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=MALAYSIA PRESS: News Headlines On Friday, January 11

KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 11) -- Here’s a roundup of local news:

*Malaysia Hits Back At Nomura's Equity Market Downgrade

The Malaysian government sought to reassure investors Thursday following critical reports on the country's economy, saying that continuing reforms were adequate to deal with external uncertainties, in particular those brought about by the recent decline in crude oil prices. The reassurance came after Japan investment bank Nomura downgraded Malaysia in an equity strategy report Wednesday to 'underweight,' from 'neutral,' citing "poor earnings growth prospects amid higher valuations and on lack of major expansionary reforms so far." - Nikkei Asian Review

*Moody's Sees Increased Fiscal Challenges In Malaysia

Moody's Investors Service sees increased fiscal challenges in Malaysia with the abolishment of the goods and services tax and introduction of the sales and services tax. Sovereign Risk Group vice-president and senior analyst Anushka Shah said the GST abolishment in favor of a narrower SST would shrink the government's tax base. - The Star

*Proof Needed Before Malaysia Investigates China-1MDB Reports, Mahathir Says

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has questioned a recent news report claiming China had offered to bail out the 1Malaysia Development sovereign wealth fund in 2016 in exchange for projects, saying proof was needed before his administration could look into the matter. “There are documents I suppose, but [they] must be in our hands before we can accept the statement made. So until then we cannot take action,” the premier said. “We need to find this document and make use of the document as proof that this thing actually happened. At the moment it is just a story in the press, that’s all.” - South China Morning Post

*Singapore, Malaysia Maritime Dispute: 2 Malaysia Vessels Still In Singapore Waters

As many as five Malaysian government vessels have been seen in Singapore territorial waters in the wake of a positive meeting between Singapore and Malaysia's foreign affairs ministers. The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore confirmed that there were two Malaysian government vessels in Singapore waters off Tuas at 6 p.m. Thursday, MPA said. - Channel News Asia

*Malaysian Electronics Firms Face Hit From China

Malaysia’s electronics sector is bracing for a lesson in over-reliance on a key trading partner as slowing growth and the lingering threat of a trade war put a drag on all-important shipments to China. Even if Beijing and Washington agree to resolve their dispute, China’s economy is expected to slow in 2019, meaning tougher times ahead for Malaysian electronics companies. “2019 will see multiple headwinds from the trade war, slower economic growth and reduced capital expenditure from major IT companies,” said Firdaus Abdullah, chief executive of Silterra Malaysia, one of the country’s largest semiconductor manufacturers. Last year, China bought about 30 per cent of the exports of Malaysian electronics manufacturers. - Financial Times

- By Kuala Lumpur Newsroom; kleditorial@nikkeinewsrise.com; +60320267363
- Edited by Glen Nicol Perkinson
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