enforcement director Datuk Mohd Roslan Mahayudin (centre) giving a press
conference on the raids which yielded luxury vehicles and cash. Despite the crackdown by the authorities, investors continue to patronise M Mall, which is operated by MBI.
THE Penang government should first study the assessment rates for different categories of properties before imposing a blanket tax on everyone which is unfair, says Citizen Awareness Chant Group (Chant) legal adviser Citizen Awareness Chant Group (Chant) (pic).He said the state should look into the categories of assessment rates like those imposed in developed countries before imposing the rates on ratepayers.
“The lowest charged fees should be for the disabled (OKU) owners and those in the B40 group.
“For owner-occupied properties, they should be charged a lower rate and the highest rates should be imposed for commercial and industrial offices, ” he said at a press conference at Jalan Pykett on Wednesday.
Yan Lee said although commercial properties like restaurants and hawker complexes would be paying higher assessment, it is fair as commercial properties have more rubbish to be cleared.
“These premises frequently take up the cost for public health inspection and council cleaning services.
“So, there should be a categorisation of how the rates are charged, like different rates for properties that are also rented out, vacant or used for commercial purposes, ” he added.
Yan Lee said in developed countries, there are categories which include owner occupied, rented out properties, unoccupied properties, rented out long-term or Airbnb properties, residential properties used for offices and industrial properties.
“But, as the state is moving forward and following the footsteps of a developed country, there is also the question of how these categories can be monitored.
“In this case, the state should consider having an enforcement team like in Australia to check on the properties at random.
“With the usage of a digital camera similar to those used for parking fine routines, photos can be taken when checks are done on the properties.
“We hope the state would do a study to look into this and try to implement the system, along with imposing different rates for the different properties, ” he said.
Earlier, it was announced that an assessment rate review would see almost all residential property owners in Penang paying more in assessment taxes.
On the island, a total of 255,280 out of the 263,544 property owners would have to pay more in the revised assessment tax, while the increase would involve 196,347 out of 215,586 houses on the mainland.
Following the announcement, the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and Seberang Prai City Council (MBSP) started hearing sessions for objections against the review in October.
It was reported that MBPP had received a total of 54,459 objections from over 322,000 ratepayers, while MBSP received a total 40,666 objections from 327,000 ratepayers.
Meanwhile, Yan Lee said that in the case of the parcel rent, (previously known as the quit rent), commissions should be applied based on how the land is used.
“The increase in the quit rent was announced earlier from RM10 to RM30. Quantum-wise, the amount is not a lot, but percentage wise, it is a lot, ” he said.
Earlier, the quit rent came into effect where rates are calculated based on the total plot of land which the building was built on and rates for parcel rent are based on the size of each unit.
M Mall in Penang where MBI investors can exchange their virtual coins is now almost deserted.
IT may seem like it was not so long ago that money-game was practically on everybody’s lips especially here in Penang,
My close friend even invested in MBI Group International which was one of the most popular investment schemes then.
At its peak, one would be considered the odd one out for not investing in the scheme.
How times have changed. Now, my friend is telling me that he has not heard from his upline for months.
It was a far cry from the time when the upline would tell him how good the scheme was, and even spell out a time frame to cash in on the investments.
Most investors have now resigned to the fact that their investments are as good as gone. They feel ashamed to lodge police reports and many just suffer in silence for fear of people teasing them.
However, their counterparts from China were less forgiving.
In October, hundreds of them staged a peaceful protest near the Chinese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur. Wailing and sobbing, they urged the Chinese government to help them recover the hundreds of million ringgit they had invested in the Penang-based company.
In Penang, several groups of Chinese investors also vented their frustration at a hotel and the jetty of an island resort here, where both properties are said to be associated with the company.
The last we heard, three of them even went to the extent of dropping fake bombs at a house in Bukit Gambier out of desperation.
The house belongs to the son of MBI Group International founder Tedy Teow. Luckily, no untoward incidents took place.
Another friend of mine told me that he started believing in karma after putting faith in the money- game.
He is now convinced that what goes around, comes around. This is his story.
He put in a sum of money in BTC I-system, a scheme which claimed to invest in bitcoin digital currency.
Without even knowing how the investment works, he managed to get back his capital within two months, plus a few thousand of ringgits extra in the next few months. Then the scheme collapsed.
He then took the plunge again in another scheme. He was confident of easy money again, especially after being told he was among the first few to join the investment. He was not so lucky this time.
The profit that he got in the first investment ended up paying for the second scheme that went bust.
I have seen many people whose relationship with family members had become strained all because of these dubious schemes.
Direct Selling Association of Malaysia (DSAM) president Datuk Tan Chong Guan reminded the public that there is no free lunch in this world.
“Where there is no sales but a return is promised on investments, this is a sign that it is a money-game, or a pyramid scheme, ” he was quoted then.
If you still could not figure out or get a clear explanation on how the investment will make money, then you better opt out.
If it involves any chain-recruitment that offers commissions for bringing in new affiliates, or sophisticated or complicated investment schemes that sound too alien, then you better avoid it.
Always remember that one has to work hard to earn one’s keep.
But believe me, money-game would always re-emerge in other forms, just like the online scams as long as there is human greed.
The US has once again disparaged the Chinese economy to entertain itself. US President Donald Trump on Saturday claimed China’s supply chain was “all broken, like an egg,” and said China wanted a deal more than the US did.
The fact is, however, senior US officials are talking about trade wars and trade deals almost every day, while Chinese officials rarely do this. Anyone who knows a little bit about psychology can figure out that such responses of the US reflect anxiety, rather than calmness.
Is China’s supply chain broken like an egg? Chinese telecom giant Huawei has not begged the US to be “magnanimous.” It is now US companies that are asking to be excluded from US restrictions.
Being placed in the Entity List has certainly caused difficulties for Huawei, but such hardships are far from delivering vital blows to fling the company down. Some US elites are clamoring for knocking Huawei down, but their indecent acts have only stimulated Huawei’s strength and growth. And Chinese people generally believe that this high-tech company will be increasingly strong.
The US cannot even defeat one Chinese enterprise by making full use of its whole country’s power. Now it is claiming it will break the supply chain of all of China as an egg. Is such bragging too exaggerated? We wonder how the public opinion and voters in the US can tolerate such a boast. The voters are seemingly quite gullible.
The US is suffering an economic downturn, and many indicators demonstrate that its good days are coming to an end. US state leaders and senior officials are like cheerleaders, taking turns to cheer up the stock index.
In terms of economic situations, Chinese officials’ description is absolutely more objective and calm than the US side. China recognizes that the trade war has brought negative impacts, and our efforts to eliminate such effects are open and timely. The US, however, is trying to cover up the effects of the trade war it has launched.
China has already focused its efforts on solving its own problems. We will not bet on the idea that reaching a deal will fundamentally change China-US economic relations. Most Chinese believe that whether there is an agreement or not, turmoil between the two countries will not end. Chinese society is in favor of reaching a trade deal, but it is also patient.
Including Chinese companies such as Huawei in the Entity List will cause long-term damages to US business community’s reputation. Foreign companies may be on guard against US enterprises in the future while building their own supply chains, which will certainly offer more opportunities for US competitors.
The US is so keen on imposing sanctions, and is fond of applying sanctions on related third-parties. Betting on US companies may work in a short term, but cannot serve as a long-term strategy. The US has trodden business ethics under foot in this round of China-US games. It is even pleased with itself for overtly destroying China’s supply chain. At the strategic planning in the US, there are no such concepts like honesty and morality. The Chinese society has clearly observed this, as has the entire world.
Fortunately, China has the widest range of manufacturing sectors in the world, which has given the country a special strength in the global supply chain. China is not afraid of any game against the supply chain. Producers without China’s supply chain will certainly feel more pain than China.
US State Sec. Mike Pompeo has heaped unprecedented criticism on China’s government, saying it needs to be “confronted head on” and that it poses a threat to US national security. Sourabh Gupta, of the Institute for China America Studies joins Rick Sanchez to share his expertise. He argues that the US is “way too far ahead with its rhetoric” about China and that Pompeo’s attacks on Beijing are because the US “cannot compete” with China’s meteoric development.
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AS talk of a recession picks up, a veteran fund manager, Ang Kok Heng of Phillip Capital Management Sdn Bhd, correctly points out that the Malaysian stock market has been in “recession” in five of the six years since 2014.
Hence, he does not envisage how it can get worse for the Malaysian stock market if the global economy does go into a recession next year. Fears of a global recession have picked up pace based on the behaviour of the US yield curve.
The yield curve, which charts the spreads of US debt papers of various tenures, has inverted several times in the past few weeks. Most people would not understand what an inverted yield curve means.
Simply put, it means long-dated debt papers of 10 years giving lower returns compared to shorter-term debt papers such as two-year US Treasuries. It causes what is called an inverted yield curve.
It goes against the normal behaviour of US Treasury yields because long-term debt papers should give a higher return than short-term papers.
The consequence of an inverted yield curve is that it will lead to banks reducing their lending activities because their margins are narrow. Eventually, it results in companies reducing their activities and the country going into a slowdown or recession.
An inverted yield curve has been the precursor to all past recessions (see diagram).
However, there are some who are disputing the fears of an impending global recession based on the behaviour of the bond yield curve. Their reason is that the bond yields are not behaving as what they should due to the governments all around the world printing money to keep interest rates artificially low since 2009.
Interest rates have become so low to the extent that European banks are offering no returns on deposits. This means depositors do not get any money for keeping their money in the banks. Borrowers instead get discounts on their installments.
It’s happening in Europe because government bond yields there have turned negative.
For instance, the yield on 10-year Switzerland bonds is negative 0.74%, while German bonds of a similar tenure yield negative 0.52%. From France to Denmark, government debt papers have negative yields.
Only some countries such as Portugal and Spain still have positive yields on their debt papers.
Analysts believe that this has resulted in investors resorting to buying US debt papers that still offer positive yields. Hence, the price of bonds across all tenures in the US has gone up, causing their yields to come down.
The search for yields has also resulted in the narrowing of the difference between what the two-year and 10-year debt papers offer. And there have been several occasions in the last one month when the yield on the 10-year paper was lower than the two-year debt papers.
Apart from the behaviour of the yield curve, the other indicator that is seen as a precursor to a recession is the declining manufacturing sector all around the world caused by the trade war between the US and China. The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which is a leading indicator to assess the state of the economy, has been declining for all major economies.
For Malaysia, the PMI has been less than the 50-point benchmark for almost a year now. The same trend is seen in China, while the indicator has started to decline in the US in the last few months, which some see as a result of the trade war.
The trade war has caused supply disruptions, impacting the manufacturing sector.
However, there are other indicators that do not indicate a recession is imminent.
Banks are fairly well-capitalised and have pulled the brakes on lending. We do not hear of banks being impacted by major corporate defaults except for some financial institutions in China. Malaysian banks, for instance, have weathered the storm quite well so far, thanks to Bank Negara keeping a tight rein on their lending activities.
There has not been any run-up in asset prices. Property prices in countries such as Malaysia have remained subdued since 2015 after Bank Negara pulled the brakes on lending. Since 2014, Bursa Malaysia has closed lower every year, except for 2017.
The only exception of rising asset prices is Wall Street that has soared to record highs. Stock prices are hitting all-time highs due to improved earnings growth.
Technology companies such as Apple and Amazon are US$1 trillion companies. The other technology companies such as Facebook and Alphabet are enjoying growing valuations because of earnings growth.
No other stock exchange in the world has such a large concentration of technology companies than the exchanges on Wall Street. All technology companies, even from China, want to list on Wall Street.
Even Alibaba is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and not in Hong Kong.
It has been 11 years since the last recession, but the world’s central banks have resumed their printing of cheap money to keep interest rates low. The European Central Bank has resumed quantitative easing, while the US Federal Reserve is reducing interest rates. In essence, central banks are taking these measures to prevent a slowing economy going into recession.
In the meantime, it has caused fear among people and companies. Companies are holding back on spending, and in fact, cutting down on their debt.
A clear indicator is in the US where companies raised the most amount of corporate debt. Apple and Disney raised US$7bil worth of debt papers to reduce their borrowings.
In Malaysia, corporations have been deleveraging for the past few years in anticipation of a slowdown. Companies are not expanding, as indicated by the declining private-sector gross capital formation.
It is only reasonable for companies and people to save for the upcoming rainy days. Even governments are cautious in spending. For instance, in the upcoming Budget 2020, many are expecting the government to start spending. But there is also a view that the government will adopt a cautious stance as it continues to strengthen its balance sheet and reduce debts.
If nobody spends for fear of a recession, it would be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Most people are expecting a recession, meaning negative growth. Fear of a recession has translated into a slowdown that the world and Malaysia are experiencing. If this fear continues to perpetuate, a recession would be a self-fulling prophecy.
It is good to be fearful, but being too fearful and conservative will also result in lost opportunity.
As Ang of Phillip Capital puts it, in times when fears of a recession seap in, cash must be held to seize opportunities. Holding cash as an investment is not a wise option.
Recession fears hit Asian region including Singapore
Malaysia may, to a certain extent, be less vulnerable with the revival of major construction projects which in view of the country’s strained finances, have been shrunk to cut costs. The Singapore economy may undergo a “shallow, technical recession” in the third quarter.
Unknown future: As Singapore further cut its growth forecast, New Zealand, India and Thailand also cut their interest rates signalling concerns on growth outlook. — AFP
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Stocks fall amid fresh tensions in US-China trade war
KUALA LUMPUR: Asian markets started the week on a weak note amid escalating trade war concerns after the US and China announced plans for additional tariffs against each other.
Locally, the FBM KLCI stayed in negative territory for the whole of yesterday, before paring losses to close 8.8 points or 0.55% lower at 1,600.53 points. Before the closing, the index hovered below 1,595, falling 1.17% to an intraday low of 1,590.51.
Despite the fall, the local index was among the least affected by the regional selldown, compared with other Asian indices. The biggest loser among the regional indices was Japan’s Nikkei 225, falling 2.17% to 20,261.04. This was followed by Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index and the Taiwan Stock Exchange, down 1.91% and 1.74% respectively. India’s Sensex notably closed 2.16% higher.
In Southeast Asia, Singapore’s Straits Times Index was the biggest decliner, down 1.45% at 3,065.33, and the Jakarta Composite index closed 0.66% lower at 6,214.51.
Last Friday, US President Donald Trump announced an additional duty on some US$550 billion worth of targeted Chinese goods, following China’s move to hike trade levies on US$75 billion worth of US goods.
Trump said US tariffs on US$250 billion of Chinese imports will increase from 25% to 30% on Oct 1, while an additional 5% tax on US$300 billion worth of Chinese goods — raising the tariff to 15% from 10% — starts on Sept 1.
The president made it clear that the US was responding to China’s threat of additional tariffs on US$75 billion of goods including soybeans, automobiles and oil.
“This looks like a tit-for-tat [response] and I don’t see an easy resolution to the trade war, as there seems to be no middle ground between the US and China. It is very unsettling for the market because there is no direction from day to day,” said Inter-Pacific Securities Sdn Bhd research head Pong Teng Siew.
However, the tensions eased a bit towards the later part of yesterday, as Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said China was willing to resolve the trade dispute through calm negotiations, stating the nation was against the escalation of the conflict.
Trump responded positively to China’s suggestion and, on the sidelines of a summit in France, had hailed Chinese President Xi Jinping as a great leader and welcomed the latter’s desire for calm negotiations.
It remains to be seen how the trade dispute will be resolved, given the constant retaliatory tariffs between the two economic behemoths since early last year.
Several trade talks between the two nations have not brought any solutions to the trade war, still affecting investor sentiments towards global markets. For the KLCI, the trade war remains a major factor affecting analysts’ forecasts.
Kenanga Research said the index’s underlying trend remains bearish but does not discount the possibility of a technical rebound as the KLCI has been in oversold territory for about a month. “Look out for overhead resistance levels at 1,630 and 1,650. If selling pressure continues, the key support levels to keep an eye on are 1,570 and 1,550,” Kenanga Research wrote in a note yesterday. – Source link
I think it’s necessary to include something Liu once said that also applies here, “The world needs a new America. It needs an America that is free of prejudice and intolerance. It needs an America that understands respect, that matches words with deeds, that understands the principles of benevolence, righteousness, propriety,
wisdom, and faithfulness. The world would be lucky if the new America could become such a country.”
Trump has turned Twitter into a stage for his political show, where he says things to gain votes for reelection. He repeats what he has done for the US – to provide Americans welfare, and to “make America great again.” But he is actually damaging the interests of his own country and people.
In today’s world of production patterns, no country can marginalize China anymore. Whichever country forcibly cuts economic ties with China will only harm itself. After Trump tweeted, he received almost one-sided opposition and doubts, which showed how inappropriate was his unrealistic proposal.
Former U.S. treasury secretary criticizes policies of Trump administration
American expert accuses Western countries of double standard in HK affairs
The past few months have been sad and depressing for those who live in Hong Kong. The safety guaranteed on the streets of Beijing and Xi’an should be available to the people of Hong Kong. China should not be asked to compromise its sovereignty. If Americans want to boycott anyone, they should do so with their politicians who support the
Hong Kong unrest.
Many Hongkongers are confusing right from wrong while Western public opinion constantly delivers the ideological energy that the radical protesters need. The West has shed no tears for Iraq, Syria and Ukraine, which had gone through similar hardships. Now, it is turning Hong Kong into the forefront of the struggle with China, and, as usual, they will shed no tears for the city’s misery.
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SINGAPORE: Singapore slashed its full-year economic growth forecast as global conditions were seen worsening and data confirmed the slowest growth rate in a decade amid mounting fears of recession in the city-state.
The government cut its forecast range for gross domestic product in Singapore – often seen as a bellwether for global growth because international trade dwarfs its domestic economy – to zero to 1% from its previous 1.5%-2.5% projection.
Singapore’s downgrade adds to concerns globally about the effect of increasing protectionism on exports and production.
The deterioration in the global outlook has pushed central banks to cut interest rates and consider unconventional stimulus to shield their economies.
“GDP growth in many of Singapore’s key final demand markets in the second half of 2019 is expected to slow from, or remain similar to, that recorded in the first half, ” the trade ministry said in a statement to the media yesterday.
The ministry flagged a host of growing economic risks including Hong Kong’s political situation, the Japan-Korea trade dispute, the Sino-US tariff war, slowing growth in China and Brexit.
Final second quarter GDP data yesterday showed a 3.3% on-quarter contraction on a seasonally-adjusted annualised basis. That was slightly smaller than the 3.4% decline seen in the government’s advance estimate but deeper than a 2.9% fall predicted in a Reuters poll and a sharp contrast to the robust 3.8% first quarter expansion, which was driven by brisk construction activity.
Yesterday’s data also confirmed annual GDP expanded 0.1% in April-June from a year earlier, its slowest rate in a decade, and lower than poll expectations of 0.2% and the first quarter’s 1.1%.
Singapore’s benchmark stock index fell 1.2% to a two-month low in early trade, underperforming other bourses in the region.
Singapore has been hit hard by the Sino-US trade war, which has disrupted world supply chains in a blow to business investment and corporate profits.
Also yesterday, Singapore cut its full-year forecast for non-oil domestic exports to a 9% contraction from an 8% fall previously.
That comes after a 26.9% drop in electronics exports in the second quarter year-on-year.
“With trade tensions between the US-China unlikely to abate anytime soon, we expect exports and trade-related services to push the economy into technical recession in Q3, ” said Sian Fenner, lead Asia economist at Oxford Economics.
New Zealand, India and Thailand all cut interest rates last week, signalling major concerns about the outlook for economic growth. Last month, the US Federal Reserve cut interest rates for the first time since 2008.
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in an annual speech last week that the government stood ready to stimulate the economy.
“It feels like the storm is coming if you look at the whole macro economic fundamentals softening, ” said Selena Ling, head of treasury and strategy at OCBC Bank.
“All the downside risks are piling up on one side, ” Ling added, pointing to the myriad of global risks flagged in the trade ministry statement. — Reuters
by Wong Ee Lin
KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 1): The economic outlook in Malaysia is looking to be better as the strengthening relationship with China is expected to pave way for rising investment flows from China to Malaysia, according to Manulife Asset Management Services Bhd.
In its mid-year market outlook report today, Manulife Asset Management Services head of total solutions and equities investments Tock Chin Hui said the revival of major infrastructure projects is expected to pump-prime the economy for the second half of the year.
“Malaysia corporates and consumers are expected to spend more due to the progressive disbursements of tax refunds and the resumption of infrastructure projects, which will eventually drive domestic consumption, and investor sentiment is expected to improve as the government continues to embark on structural changes to overhaul the economy and future-proof it.
“Looking ahead, Malaysian equities offer attractive dividend yield and significant defensiveness amid uncertainty caused by trade tension. The Malaysian market is expected to show resilience and could outperform regional peers given its defensive trait and year-to-date laggard performance,” said Tock.
Commenting on the region, Manulife said Asian assets could offer opportunities given their resilience to market volatility in the first half of 2019.
It said Asian equities have held up strongly despite the negative impact of escalating Sino-US trade tensions, and the US Federal Reserve’s increasingly dovish stance has allowed Asian bonds to remain in a good position.
Manulife Investment Management chief economist and head of macroeconomic strategy Frances Donald said central banks have entered a global easing cycle in response to the deteriorating global growth activity and heightened uncertainty surrounding international trade policy.
“This uncertainty has created a confidence shock that is slowing global hiring and business investment along with global trade.
“We expect the Federal Reserve will cut rates at least twice in 2019 as insurance against deteriorating growth in the face of heightened uncertainty but also to stoke inflationary pressures which have been absent.
“Should trade tensions re-escalate in the second half of the year, we would expect the Federal Reserve to respond with more than two rate cuts,” said Donald.
The Tanjong Pagar container terminal in Singapore . Shock contraction in quarterly GDP raises risk of job losses