Malaysia’s Tax Budget 2020 highlights


KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 11): The following are the highlights of Budget 2020:

Malaysian economy

Government

  • The Bureau of Public Complaints will be replaced by the Malaysian Ombudsman to enhance govt’s governance and delivery systems
  • Govt to move forward with the formation of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to increase public confidence and trust in police.
  • Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) offers to guarantee additional tranche of Samurai bonds with lower interest rate of less than 0.5% compared with 0.63% previously. The federal government plans to issue the bonds early next year. Issuance size to be determined after further discussion with JBIC.
  • Home Ministry to receive RM16.9 billion boost for 2020.
  • Allocation for Islamic affairs under PM’s Dept increased to RM1.3 billion from 1.2 billion in 2019
  • Govt has set up National Committee on Investments (NCI), chaired by Minister of Finance and Minister of International Trade and Industry
  • Allocation for Defence Ministry raised from RM13.9 billion in 2019 to RM15.6 billion in 2020

1MDB

Corporate, finance and fintech

  • Govt will continue to ensure at least 30% of tenders of each ministry are reserved for only Bumiputera contractors
  • 50% matching grant of up to RM5,000 to increase the digitalisation of operations for Malaysian small and medium enterprises (SME)
  • RM50m allocation proposed to encourage SMEs to engage in more export promotion activities
  • Govt to provide extra RM50m for SC’s My Co-Investment Fund (MyCIF) to assist SMEs that have difficulties in getting financing
  • Govt to merge Bank Pembangunan Malaysia, Danajamin Nasional, SME Bank and EXIM Bank Malaysia to restructure development financial institutions (DFI)
  • Govt allocates RM1 billion in investment incentives to attract Fortune Fortune 500 companies and global unicorns
  • Govt to offer special investment incentive package worth RM1b per year for five years to local companies capable of penetrating overseas market
  • Additional RM10m allocation to be set aside for MITI to increase monitoring to ensure approved investments are realised
  • Government evaluating Carey Island development feasibility for next growth phase
  • Govt intends to develop a 100-acre logistics hub at Special Border Economic Zone at Kota Perdana in Bukit Kayu Hitam to strengthen trade relations with Thailand
  • National Fiberisation & Connectivity Plan will adopt public-private partnership approach involving total investment of RM21.6b
  • RM20m allocation for Cradle Fund to train and offer grants to high-impact technology entrepreneurs
  • Licensing for digital banks to be opened for public consultation by year end. A framework is expected to be released in 1H2020
  • Digital bank licensing framework will be finalised by Bank Negara and open for application in the first half of 2020
  • Govt to allocate additional RM50 million to Malaysia Co-Investment Fund (MyCIF) to benefit equity crowdfunding platforms and peer-to-peer (P2P) financing platforms.
  • Ceiling on Market Development Grant (MDG) by Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) raised to RM300,000. Cap on entry to export exhibitions also raised to RM25,000. RM50 million allocated to encourage SMEs to join promotional activities.

Entrepreneur

  • RM445m Bumiputera entrepreneur development grant for access to financing, provision of business premises, entrepreneurship training
  • Govt to provide loans worth RM100m under Small Industries Entrepreneurs Financing Scheme for Chinese community
  • Govt to provide RM20m in loans under entrepreneur development scheme for Indian community
    Govt to allocate RM500m as guaranteed facility for women entrepreneurs via Syarikat Jaminan Pembiayaan Perniagaan Bhd (SJPP)
  • Skim Jaminan Pinjaman Perniagaan will be enhanced, with the government guarantee raised to 80% of the loan amount while the guarantee fee is reduced to 0.75%. A RM500 million guarantee facility has been set aside especially for women entrepreneurs.
  • SME Bank will introduce two new funds: a RM200m fund specially for women entrepreneurs, and a RM300m fund to support SMEs with potential to become regional champs
  • Ministry of Entrepreneur Development to give RM10 million for advisory services and awareness for the halal industry
  • Tax incentives for venture capital and angel investors will be extended until 2023
  • Govt jobs worth RM1.3b dedicated for Bumiputera contractors

Internet and tech

  • Mandatory Standard on Access Pricing (MSAP) has successfully reduced broadband prices by 49% and increased speeds by three times
  • RM250m will be set aside by MCMC to prepare broadband access via satellite technology to increase connectivity in rural Malaysia, especially Sabah and Sarawak
  • Matching grant fund of RM25m will be set aside to encourage more pioneer digital projects that benefit fibre optic infrastructure and 5G
  • RM20m allocated to MDEC to groom local champions in producing digital content
  • RM50 million grant to develop 5G ecosystem to prepare for  5G transformation worldwide
  • Smart automation matching grant (up to RM2m) for 1,000 local manufacturers and 1,000 services companies to automate business processes
  • To boost use of e-wallets, govt to offer one-time RM30 digital stimulus to qualified Malaysians aged 18 and above with annual income less than RM100,000
  • 14 one-stop digital improvement centres to be set up in every state to faciltiate access to financing, development of business capacity
  • RM10m to be set aside for MDEC to train micro-digital entrepreneurs and technology experts to leverage e-market places, social media platforms
  • Digital Social Responsibility (DSR) is commitment from business sector to enhance workforce with digital skills needed by society. Contributions from the private sector to the DSR will be given tax
  • R&D in public sector to be intensified with RM524 million allocation to ministries, public agencies exemptions.
  • Government to up e-sports allocation to RM20m due to high potential
  • Green Investment Tax Allowance (GITA) and Green Investment Tax Exemptions (GITE) extended to 2023 in line with sustainable development

Palm oil

  • Govt has launched palm oil replanting loan fund worth RM550m for smallholders
  • Govt to implement B20 biodiesel for the transport sector by end-2020. This is expected to increase palm oil demand by 500,000 tonnes per annum.

Rubber

  • RM200m set aside for ‘Bantuan Musim Tengkujuh’ to eligible rubber smallholders under RISDA, Lembaga Industri Getah Sabah
  • RM100 million allocated for Rubber Production Incentive in 2020 to enhance income of smallholders faced with low rubber prices

Agriculture

  • Allocation for Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry increased to RM4.9 billion, including RM150 million to support plant integration programmes such as for chilli, pineapple, coconut, watermelon and bamboo.
  • RM855 million allocation under Federal Government Padi Fertilizer Scheme to boost padi yield

Civil servants

  • Civil servants’ emoluments to exceed RM82 billion
  • Civil servant pension will cost RM27.1 billion
  • Civil servants’ cost of living allowance or COLA to be raised by RM50 a month starting 2020 for support group, with an additional RM350 million a year
  • Civil servants will be allowed early redemption of accumulated leaves (gantian cuti rehat) for up to 75 days as replacement pay for those who have served at least 15 years
  • Govt announces RM500 special payment for civil servants Grade 56 and below. Govt retirees to get special payment of RM250, also extended to non-pensionable veterans
  • Govt to allocate RM330 million to the Property and Land Management Division under the Prime Ministers Department to repair and maintain the public service quarters. Meanwhile, RM150 million and RM250 million is set aside to repair and refurbish Malaysian Armed Forces family housing units (RKAT) and PDRM quarters.
  • Fire fighters to get a special allowance of RM200 a month, which will benefit 14,400 personnel under the Fire and Rescue Dept, amounting to RM35 mil.

Highway and tolls

  • The Cabinet has approved the proposed offer to acquire four highways in the Klang Valleyy – Shah Alam Expressway (KESAS), Damansara-Puchong Expressway (LDP), Sprint Expressway (SPRINT) and SMART Tunnel (SMART) to be funded via Government-guaranteed borrowings.
  • Citizens to enjoy average 18% discount on all PLUS highways
  • Effective Jan 1, 2020, toll rates for cars at the Second Penang Bridge will be reduced from RM8.50 to RM7.00.

Public transport

  • RM450 million proposed to acquire up to 500 electric buses for public transport in selected cities nationwide
  • Govt intends to proceed with the Rapid Transit System (RTS) between Johor Bahru and Singapore.
  • It will also invest RM85 million beginning 2020 to ease congestion at the Causeway and 2nd Link by enhancing vehicle and traffic flow through the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex.

Fuel subsidy

  • Individuals owning not more than two cars and two motorcycles can get fuel subsidy for one vehicle. The qualifying criteria are:
    • A passenger car with 1,600cc engine capacity and below, or
    • Any car above 1,600cc must be more than 10 years old, or
    • A qualified motorcycle must be 150cc and below, or
    • Any motorcycles above 150cc must be more than 7 years old.

 

  • From January 2020, the targeted fuel subsidy or PSP will be launched in Peninsular Malaysia with two eligible categories as follows:
    • For eligible recipients of the BSH, the petrol subsidy receivable will be RM30 per month for car owners and RM12 per month for motorcycle owners. This subsidy will be in the form of cash transfer, deposited into the recipient’s bank account every 4 months. The first payment will be made in April 2020 for the period January to April 2020; and
    • For all other motorists who are not BSH recipients, they will receive a special Kad95 which allows them to enjoy the fuel subsidy at a discount of 30 sen per litre limited to 100 litres per month for cars or 40 litres per month for motorcycles when purchasing RON95 at the petrol station. The Kad95 will be implemented progressively during the first quarter of 2020.

Taxes

  • Govt will merge Special Commissioner of Income Tax and Customs Appeal Tribunal into the Tax Appeal Tribunal, to be operational in 2021. Through this, taxpayers unhappy with the decision of IRB director-general or the Customs D-G can appeal
  • Govt proposes that a new band for taxable income in excess of RM2 million be introduced and taxed at 30%, up 2 percentage point from the current 28%. This will affect approximately 2,000 top income earners in the country.
  • Govt has repaid GST refunds amounting to RM15.9b to more than 78,000 companies, and income tax refunds of RM13.6b to 448,000 companies and 184,000 taxpayers

Medical and Healthcare

  • To support local medical device industry, government will introduce an initiative to encourage local producers to upgrade equipment and tools used in public clinics and hospitals, based on a minimum allocation of 30%.
  • RM227m to be set aside to upgrade medical equipment, and RM95m to renovate infrastructure and medical facilities, like in Hospital Pontian
  • RM1.6 billion to build new hospitals and upgrade existing ones. The hospital includes Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Klang, Hospital Kampar, Hospital Labuan and the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital, Sabah Heart Centre.
  • Govt to allocate RM60m for pneumococcal vaccination for all children
  • RM319m to build and upgrade health and dental clinics and quarters facilities; new clinics will be built in Setiu, Sg Petani, and Cameron Highlands, as well as Kudat and Tawau in Sabah, and Lon San and Sg Simunjan in Sarawak
  • Health Ministry to get RM30.6 billion allocation, compared to RM28.7 billion under Budget 2019

MySalam

  • MySalam to be expanded so that those with critical illnesses will get RM8,000 cash; those being treated in govt hospitals can also claim RM50 wage replacement a day for up to 14 days

Islamic finance

  • Islamic Economic Blueprint to be formulated to position Malaysia as centre of excellence for Islamic finance
  • Special Islamic Finance Committee to be set up to develop the Islamic finance ecosystem

FELDA

Property and housing

  • RPGT base year for asset purchase revised to Jan 1, 2013 for asset acquired before that date
  • To reduce supply overhang of condominiums and apartments amounting to RM8.3 billion in the second quarter of 2019, govt will lower the threshold on high rise property prices in urban areas for foreign ownership from RM1 million to RM600,000 in 2020.
  • Govt to extend Youth Housing Scheme administered by Bank Simpanan Nasional from Jan 1, 2020 until Dec 31, 2021. The scheme also offers a 10% loan guarantee via Cagamas to enable borrowers to get full financing and RM200 monthly instalment assistance for the first two years, limited to 10,000 home units.
  • Public Sector Home Financing Board to offer free personal accident insurance for up to two years to new government housing loan borrowers
  • To help those who can’t come up with 10% deposit or get financing to buy homes, govt will collaborate with financial institutions to introduce the rent-to-own (RTO) financing scheme, where up to RM10 billion will be provided by the financial institutions, with the governnment supporting via a 30% or RM3 billion guarantee.
    • This RTO scheme is for purchase of first home up to RM500,000 property price.
    • Under this scheme, the applicant will rent the property for up to 5 years and after the first year, and the tenant will have the option to purchase the house based on the price fixed at the time the tenancy agreement is signed.

Gaming Industry

  • To curb illegal gambling, govt proposes a higher minimum mandatory penalty of RM100,000 for illegal gamblers, along with a minimum mandatory jail sentence of six months.
    • For illegal operators, a higher minimum mandatory penalty of RM1 million and a 12 month minimum mandatory jail sentence will be imposed.
  • To curb illegal gambling, govt proposes a higher minimum mandatory penalty of RM100,000 for illegal gamblers, along with a minimum mandatory jail sentence of six months.
  • Starting 2020, total number of special draws for Numbers Forecast Operator (NFO) will be reduced from 11 to 8 times a year..

 

Employment

  • Hiring fresh graduates: Two-year pay incentives of RM500 a month. Hiring incentive of RM300 a month.
  • Incentives to get women into the workforce:
    • Two-year pay incentive of RM500 a month
    • Hiring incentive of RM300
    • Tax exemption for women returning to work will be extended until 2023.
  • Govt revises Employment Act, including increasing maternity leave from 60 days to 90 days from 2021
  • Govt proposes to raise minimum wage in urban areas to RM1,200 a month in 2020
  • Govt to launch Malaysians @ Work initiative aimed at creating better employment opportunities for youth and women, reducing over-dependence on low-skilled foreign workers
  • Malaysians who replace foreign workers will get a monthly wage incentive of RM350/RM500 for two years, depending on the sector. Employers will get a monthly incentive of RM250 a month throughout the same period.

Tourism

  • RM25 million allocated to Malaysia Healthcare Tourism Council to strengthen Malaysia’s position as the preferred destination for medical tourism in Asean for oncology, cardiology and fertility treatments.
  • Govt to contribute RM100 million towards construction of new cable car system to Penang Hill
  • RM1.1 billion allocated to Ministry of Tourism and Culture, of which RM90 million is specifically for VMY2020 promotion and programmes

Sabah and Sarawak

  • Govt plans to double special alowance for Sabah to RM53.4m and Sarawak to RM32m; this to be doubled further to 106.8m for Sabah and RM64m for Sarawak in five years
  • RM587 million allocation for rural water projects, of which RM470 million will be for Sabah and Sarawak
  • RM500 million for rural electrification benefiting more than 30,000 rural households, majority in Sabah and Sarawak

Aid and subsidies

  1. Govt to spend RM24.2 billion on subsidies and social assistance
  2. RM100 million grant proposed for Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit (MITRA) of which 80% will be programme-based
  3. RM57 million provided to Orang Asli Development Department (JAKOA), in addition to RM83 million allocation for the community’s economic development, education and infrastructure.
  4. RM575 million proposed for socio-economic assistance to senior citizens benefiting 137,000 seniors whose household income is below poverty level
  5. RM25 million allocated to manage, administer and expand food bank programme
  6. Allocation for subsidies and social assistance increased to RM24.2 billion, including welfare aid such as Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH). BSH scheme expanded to cover 1.1 million single individuals aged above 40 earning less than RM2,000 per month.

Rural development

  • RM10.9 billion allocated for rural development projects in 2020, from RM9.7 billion in 2019
  • RM738 million provided for Risda and Felcra to implement income generating programme
  • RM1 billion set aside for rural roads throughout Malaysia, primarily targeted at Sabah and Sarawak

Education and training

  • Allowance for KAFA teachers increased by RM100 a month, to benefit 33,200 existing teachers
  • RM735 million proposed for school maintenance and upgrading works
  • Government allocates RM210m to expedite digital infrastructure establishment in public buildings like schools
  • Education Ministry to receive largest allocation of  of RM64.1 billion in 2020 from RM60.2 billion in 2019
  • Allocation for TVET programmes raised from RM5.7 billion in 2019 to RM5.9 billion in 2020
  • RM1.3 billion proposed for education institutions under MARA, a further RM2 billion for student loans benefitting 50,000 students

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Huawei launches ‘fastest’ AI cluster, challenging Google in computing; unveils flagship Mate 30 series, along with Watch GT 2 smartwatch and Vision TV snap on like a pro!


https://youtu.be/bxGdjMLrDho

 Snap on like a pro, Mate

Huawei Launches ‘World’s Fastest AI Training  Cluster

Huawei launches “world’s fastest AI training cluster” – Verdict

Huawei launches Atlas 900, world’s fastest AI training cluster

Focus on computing could challenge industry leaders like Google: analysts

Visitors check out devices at the Huawei Connect 2019 in Shanghai on Wednesday. Photo: Shen Weiduo/GT

Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies on Wednesday unveiled its ambition in the computing sector by laying out its strategy for the $2 trillion sector and releasing what it claims to be the world’s fastest artificial intelligence (AI) training cluster, the Atlas 900, a move that industry analysts said could challenge industry giants like Google.

Huawei’s foray into the computing area also comes after steady progress it made in 5G businesses and the proprietary operating system HarmonyOS, showing the industry giant’s defiance and resilience amid the US intensified crackdown over the past year. it also marks another milestone for the company, said analysts.

“When most people think Huawei, they think connections…But our work doesn’t stop at connectivity. Both connections and computing are key,” Ken Hu (Houkun), deputy chairman of Huawei, spoke of Huawei’s ambitions in the industry at the Huawei Connect 2019, an annual conference held by the industry giant in Shanghai, which runs from Wednesday to Friday.

“In terms of Huawei’s investment, they’re equally important. In the past, we mostly talked about connections. Today I’d like to focus on computing,” Hu said. The future of computing is a massive market worth more than $2 trillion by 2023, where Huawei wants to carve out a space.

Huawei also introduced sectors it will focus on in the industry, including architectural innovation, investment in its all-scenario processors and the construction of an open ecosystem, which will involve an investment of another $1.5 billion in its developer program.

From the launch of its chip series and proprietary operating system to servers, to the computing layout, it is stepping up efforts to build up a comprehensive ability amid the US’ intensified crackdown, Xiang Ligang, a Beijing-based veteran industry analyst, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Xiang said these moves indicate the US crackdown will not contain the company’s growth.

Apart from the official debut of its computing strategy, Huawei on Wednesday also unveiled the Atlas 900, which it claimed is the fastest AI training cluster that combines the power of thousands of its proprietary Ascend processors.

Building on the technical strength it has developed over the past decade, Huawei said that Atlas 900 takes only 59.8 seconds to train ResNet-50, a type of artificial neural network that is the gold standard for measuring AI training performance. This is 10 seconds faster than the previous world record.

“The layout in the computing sector and launch of training clusters mainly aim to serve as rivals to industry giants like Google, which now has the strongest computing power in the world. The world’s major breakthroughs in the AI sector also come from Google,” Jiang Junmu, chief writer at the telecom industry news website c114.com.cn, who covers Huawei closely, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

The biggest barrier to AI development is the lack of computing ability, but this is also where Huawei sees opportunity, Jiang said.


US ban effect

Being on a US blacklist since May 16, which restricts many US companies from selling products to Huawei, has cast a shadow on its businesses. While playing down the US effect, Hu said on Wednesday during the opening remarks that “Huawei has been doing just fine, like the good weather in Shanghai today.”

He told reporters that Huawei has secured more than 50 contracts even amid the baseless security accusations from the US, and the number is still increasing. He estimated that 5G businesses will start contributing to revenue by the end of next year with the full roll-out of 5G services in China.

Still, insiders pointed out uncertainties for the giant. For instance, the company, which is also the world’s second-largest smartphone maker, is scheduled to launch a high-end smartphone Mate 30 series on Thursday. Whether the new handset will be able to run Google’s Android operating system and apps may affect its sales.

Huawei rotating chairman Eric Xu (Zhijun) said last month that while the impact of the US curbs was weaker than previously expected, there would still be at least $10 billion in losses in its smartphone unit’s revenue this year.

An insider told the Global Times on the sidelines of the conference that it’s unclear whether Huawei’s own computing architecture and proprietary HarmonyOS could support its devices and meet consumer expectations.

“The company is doing OK, but it still has holes to be fixed in the face of unclear prospects,” the insider said.
Newspaper headline: Huawei launches ‘fastest’ AI cluster

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Huawei unveils flagship Mate 30 series, along with Watch GT 2 smartwatch and Vision TV


Design-wise, the Mate 30 Pro comes with anarrow notch, slim bezels and an edge-to-edge Horizon Display, whichcurves at an 88° angle, to maximise the screen real estate. — Photos:KHOR SOW YEE/The Star

Huawei has unveiled its latest flagship smartphones, the Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro – along with a Mate 30 Pro Porsche variant and a Mate 30 Pro 5G model – at a launch event in Munich, Germany.

The Mate 30 range is powered by the new Kirin 990 SoC chipset. The 5G models, however, are powered by the Kirin 990 5G chipset – the first to integrate both processing units and a 5G modem on the same chip – making these devices the “world’s first second-generation 5G smartphones that support 4K video calls”, claims Huawei.

“The era of 5G is an opportunity to rethink the smartphone technology and the Huawei Mate 30 series is the ultimate expression of what’s possible,” said Huawei business group CEO Richard Yu.

Design-wise, the Mate 30 Pro comes with a narrow notch, slim bezels and an edge-to-edge Horizon Display, which curves at an 88° angle, to maximise the screen real estate.

It has also eliminated the side volume buttons and replaced them with virtual keys, allowing users to position them on either side of the phone – a handy feature for both left- and right-handed users.

The Mate 30 series sports a triple/quad camera system, with a ring design surrounded by a metallic “halo”.

Mate 30 Pro has a 40-megapixel SuperSensing camera with wide-angle lens, a 40-megapixel camera with ultra-wide angle lens, an 8-megapixel camera with telephoto lens, and a 3D depth sensing camera.

Mate 30 Pro has a 40-megapixel SuperSensing camera with wide-angle lens, a 40-megapixel camera with ultra-wide angle lens, an 8-megapixel camera with telephoto lens, and a 3D depth sensing camera.

For the Mate 30, this comprises a 40-megapixel SuperSensing camera, a 16-megapixel camera with ultra wide-angle lens and an 8-megapixel camera with telephoto lens.

The smartphone also boasts optical image stabilisation (OIS), along with laser focus, which together are capable of 2.5cm macro photography and max ISO of 204800.

Meanwhile, its larger sibling the Mate 30 Pro comes with a 40-megapixel SuperSensing camera with wide-angle lens, a 40-megapixel camera with ultra-wide angle lens, an 8-megapixel camera with telephoto lens, and a 3D depth sensing camera.

The SuperSensing camera features a dual main-camera system with a max video ISO rating of 51200 to capture videos at super slow-motion at up to 7,680fps (frames per second), as well as 4K ultra-wide angle low-light time-lapse video and real-time Bokeh.

The second of the dual-camera system promises brilliant results in low-light conditions with ISO 409600 light sensitivity.

Huawei says that the 8-megapixel camera on the phones offer 3x optical zoom, 5x hybrid zoom and up to 30x digital zoom.

The front-facing camera on the Mate 30 also comes with 3D depth sensing that is purportedly able to deliver pro-Bokeh effects with accurate depth-of-field info for selfies and portraits.

The front-facing camera on the Mate 30 also comes with 3D depth sensing that is purportedly able to deliver pro-Bokeh effects with accurate depth-of-field info for selfies and portraits.

The front-facing camera also comes with 3D depth sensing that is purportedly able to deliver pro-Bokeh effects with accurate depth-of-field info for selfies and portraits.

Other features include an always-on display with a lock screen that changes colour throughout the day, AI gesture control for contactless interaction, HiCar smart travel for seamless connectivity with a car’s on-board communication and entertainment systems, 3D face unlock and in-screen fingerprint sensor (Mate 30 Pro only).

Huawei has eliminated the side volume buttons and replaced them with virtual ones on the Mate 30 Pro (pic) and Mate 30.

Huawei has eliminated the side volume buttons and replaced them with virtual ones on the Mate 30 Pro (pic) and Mate 30.

The 6.62in Mate 30 has a 4,200mAh battery, while the 6.53in Mate 30 Pro has with a 4,500mAh battery. Both support fast wired and wireless charging, while the Mate 30 Pro provides upgraded reverse wireless charging for other compatible devices.

The Huawei Mate 30 with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage will retail at €799 (RM3.700), while the Mate 30 Pro with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage will go for €1,099 (RM5,100) for the non-5G version and €1,199 (RM5,550) for the 5G model.

The phones will be available in Emerald Green, Space Silver, Cosmic Purple, and Black, while the Forest Green and Orange will be available in vegan leather.

The Porsche Design Huawei Mate 30 RS, a variant of the Pro, has 12GB RAM and 512GB storage, and will be available in red or black with leather finishing on the back and will retail at €2,095 (RM9,700).

Local prices and availability have yet to be announced.

Besides the Mate series, Huawei also announced the Watch GT 2, which is powered by the Kirin A1 chip and boasts a claimed battery life of 14 days per charge.

It will also come with new functions such as 15 smart workout modes with 10 training modes just for running, an enhanced music player, and the ability to answer voice calls on the watch via Bluetooth.

The Huawei Watch GT 2 smartwatch will come in two sizes; a 42mm version with a 1.2in Amoled display and a 46mm version with a 1.39in Amoled display, and will be available in October for €229 (RM1,050) and €249 (RM1,150), respectively.

Huawei also announced the availability of its FreeBuds 3 wireless Bluetooth earphones which feature active noise cancellation and ultra-low audio latency.

The black and white versions of FreeBuds 3 will be available in China, Europe, Middle East, Russia, Asia Pacific and Latin America from November at €179 (RM850).

One more device that was revealed was a TV dubbed Huawei Vision, with a 4K quantum dot screen (55in, 65in, 75in) and refresh rate of up to 120Hz, as well as “perceptive AI-eye” function with AI video call, face recognition and tracking features, and control centre for smart home devices. However, no pricing or availability was announced.

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Malaysian talent lost due to racial bigotry


Leng Siew Yeap

Leng Siew Yeap, a Malaysian, a graduate of UMS applied for a scholarship to do a doctorate degree but was refused outright by the local govt.

She was however offered scholarships by University of Edinburgh, London University and Cambridge University. She chose Cambridge University’s Dorothy Hodgkin postgraduate award to study stem cell.

On graduation she accepted the offer from Harvard to study human immunology. She is now working in research for a Shanghai university hospital.

She has successfully helped to create an method/procedure 4 the body to secrete
an antibody to fight HIV. She is now married to a Shanghai citizen, living and working in Shanghai. She and her achievements are never mentioned in any Malaysia newspaper.

View Full Profile – Shanghai Institute of Immunology

 

 

Shanghai Institute of Immunology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University
School of Medicine, China.
Research Interests

Our body is constantly attacked by pathogens. To fight against various pathogens, B cells produce a large antibody repertoire through different processes that involve genomic DNA alterations. During B cell development, a DNA cut and paste mechanism called V(D)J recombination generates a primary antibody repertoire by producing V(D)J exons that
are made up of combinations of different V, D and J segments. Upon activation by pathogens, mature B cells undergo secondary antibody diversification, whereby Somatic Hypermutation (SHM) generates antibodies with higher affinity, while Class Switch Recombination (CSR) generates antibodies with different effector functions. In theory, our body has the capability to generate all necessary antibodies to fight against different pathogens through antibody diversification mechanisms. However, this is not the case. For example, in certain infectious diseases such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection/ acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), only a small percentage of the infected patients were able to produce effective antibodies. Our research aims
to elucidate molecular mechanisms that facilitate approaches in generating highly effective antibodies to fight pathogens and infectious diseases. We employ various approaches including mouse models, cell line systems, CRISPR-mediated genome editing and next-generation sequencing technologies (Yeap et al., Cell, 2015, Figure below) to address our aims.

 

 

Top Malaysian researcher working to wipe out infectious diseases

Dr Yeap heads the antibody diversification team at Shanghai Institute of Immunology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, China.

LIKE many of her peers, Dr Yeap Leng Siew, 39, was raised believing that noble careers only include doctors and lawyers.

So when the Selangorian failed to enter medical school because she didn’t get straight As in the Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM), her childhood ambition of becoming a doctor came crashing down.

She was upset for awhile but remembered that as a secondary school girl, she had done well in Biology.

It encouraged her to take up Biotechnology at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS).

“I passed with flying colors and was the best student at university. If I hadn’t been rejected to do medicine, I wouldn’t have the career that I now enjoy. It was a blessing in disguise.”

Now married to a Chinese national and living in Shanghai, the mother-of-two graduated with first class honours from UMS in 2003, and received the Royal Educational Award and Tunku Abdul Rahman Medal. These awards recognise the country’s best student from each public university. After graduation, she was still unsure about her career path until a research stint at the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) sparked her interest in cell biology.

She went on to do her doctorate in stem cell biology at the University of Cambridge, before continuing as a Harvard Medical School postdoctoral fellow at the Boston Children’s Hospital.

“Initially I wanted to do a Ph.D in Singapore but my GRE score (a US-based graduate entrance exam) was not great.”

Though she did not receive any offers during the first round of application, she was determined to pursue a Ph.D degree.

“People are bitter about rejections because they do not have backup plans. Prof Bing Lim, my supervisor at GIS, once told me to be open-minded because a narrow mind narrows potential. His words were etched in my heart ever since.”

She was later granted the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Dorothy Hodgkin Postgraduate Award – a full scholarship for outstanding students from developing countries to pursue a Ph.D degree at the University of Cambridge.

She continued to make her mark when she was awarded the St Catharine’s College Graduate Prize for Distinction in Research during her stint in Cambridge. She then went on to receive the prestigious Cancer Research Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship in the United States.

Disappointment, she said, is part of life.

“It is how we overcome disappointments and take up challenges that distinguishes us from the rest.”

The former research assistant at GIS now heads the antibody diversification team at Shanghai Institute of Immunology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, China.

“Prof Huck Hui Ng from GIS once told me, ‘work hard, and the sky is the limit’. I now tell my students those very same words.”

In 2017, Yeap was selected by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) to receive the Excellent Young Scientist Fund, which is aimed at nurturing young talents with innovative potential.

She speaks to StarEdu about her work and advises young science students to expand their horizon. The world doesn’t end just because you didn’t get into medical school. There are many opportunities for those interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

> What is your area of research?I am interested in understanding why some people develop effective antibodies to fight diseases while others do not. For example, only a small percentage of HIV-1 infected patients develop potent antibodies against the virus, which is why this remains a major health problem globally. Another example is how despite being vaccinated for the flu or hepatitis B (HBV), some do not develop protective antibodies and are still susceptible to these illnesses. My research group is studying how the antibodies acquire high levels of mutations and other special characteristics. Understanding how these rare antibodies develop will shed light on developing HIV or new vaccines for the flu or HBV.

> How long have you been away from home? Sixteen years. During the final semester of my undergraduate studies, I did a 10-week research attachment at the National Cancer Centre of Singapore. It was a time when biological research was just starting to bloom there. I was very fortunate not to be sent home because of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak, and even luckier, because I landed my first job as a research assistant at the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS).

Seeing that I graduated from a university that didn’t even exist when he left his hometown, Kota Kinabalu, my supervisor at GIS, Dr Bing Lim, decided to hire me. He has been a great mentor ever since. In his laboratory, we were trying to culture human stem cells and I was fascinated by the idea that these cells may be turned into any type of cells for therapeutic purposes.

I realised then that I would have to pursue a Ph.D degree if I want to move further along in my research career. Two years later, I moved to the United Kingdom to begin my postgraduate studies in the lab of Prof Azim Surani at the University of Cambridge. When I completed my doctorate, my parents were expecting me to come home. So when I told them that I had planned on continuing my postdoctoral training in the United States, they were shocked. It took a while to convince them that a Ph.D degree is just the beginning of a career in research and that to have a chance of running my own laboratory one day, I would have to undergo a postdoctoral training as well.

In 2010, I started my postdoctoral training in the laboratory of a top immunologist, Dr Fred Alt at Harvard Medical School. During the five years of postdoctoral training, I met my husband and gave birth to my first child.

In 2015, we decided to move closer to home to start our career as independent researchers.

> What is it about home you miss the most?The food definitely – nasi lemak, durian, and my mum’s cooking.

> You helped find a way for the body to fight HIV. Tell us about that breakthrough.During my postdoctoral training, I developed mouse models to study how different antibody genes undergo mutation. We found that certain DNA sequences are more prone to mutations and that the same DNA sequences are also prone to deletions, another common characteristic of anti-HIV broadly neutralising antibodies.

These results suggest that DNA sequence direct the evolution of antibodies and these results were published in Cell in 2015, a top journal in the biological field. In 2017, we published in Proceedings of National Academy of Science on a related work where we analysed a mouse model carrying a human antibody gene and found that many mutations in anti-HIV antibodies are not easily achieved. Understanding how our bodies are able to elicit these rare antibodies will help in vaccine design strategies.

> What are you currently working on?We are continuously trying to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying highly effective antibody generation and developing approaches to guide our bodies to produce such antibodies during infection. We use animal models, cutting-edge gene editing techniques and next generation DNA sequencing in our research. We hope to one day wipe out infectious diseases like HIV.

> Are there any plans to work with other Malaysian researchers moving forward?We are constantly reaching out to researchers from all over the world, and Malaysia is definitely a priority. On Aug 9, I was in Malaysia with a delegation headed by Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine chancellor Prof Guoqiang Chen, and Shanghai Institute of Immunology director Prof Bing Su, to promote collaborations with Universiti Malaya’s Faculty of Medicine. We also visited the International Medical University (IMU).

With the Chinese government’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative, there are plenty of funding opportunities for academic exchanges and scholarships for graduate studies. Hopefully, more people will come to know about research and academic opportunities in our school.

I have been exposed to different research environments in top laboratories and research institutes around the world, and the current biomedical research environment in Shanghai and other major cities in China, is definitely on par with the places that I have been to.

>What is the most challenging aspect of working in a lab?As an independent researcher, my job is to design and supervise experiments, analyse the results with my students and postdocs, and write manuscripts for publications. I also have to make sure that the lab has enough funding to do research.

Some of the challenging aspects include dealing with failed experiments, manuscripts and grants being rejected, and harsh criticisms by peers. But the satisfaction in being the first in the world to discover something new and potentially textbook-changing, makes all the hard work worthwhile.

> What qualities would a young, aspiring researcher need?Passion, persistence and determination. In the labs I’ve been to, I’ve seen college or even high school students doing research internships during school holidays. These kinds of opportunities allow students to experience the laboratory culture and life as a researcher. Being exposed to different career options at an early stage allows students to make better career choices and develop greater potential. I hope young Malaysians can be more pro-active and seek out such opportunities to enrich themselves in their spare time. I didn’t know there was such a possibility when I was in school.-Source link

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WHO IS A “MELAYU” AS EXPLAINED BY A MELAYU: Melayu by a Melayu


WHO IS A “MELAYU” AS EXPLAINED BY A MELAYU …

The politics of race – Melayu by a Melayu

https://kuncitberagum.wordpress.com/2009/08/26/melayu-by-a-melayu/

 I salute my former colleague Syed Imran….

I got this from a friend and decided to resend it as it explains in great detail what a Malayu really is. It is time we stopped those who corrupt the original meaning in order to use it to divide Malaysian.

Mahathir should know this since he registered himself as an Indian in Singapore where he studied medicine. Inside him, he knows the real reason why he now considers himself a Malay and refuses to acknowledge his Indian roots. There are opportunists everywhere and UMNO has become the platform for them to satisfy their greed.. It will also be the platform on which they destroy themselves.

The Deputy PM expressed disappointment with the Chinese for not voting UMNO but when you look back at recent history, did he thank the Chinese for their role in getting independence for Malaya? The Chinese, Indians and Malays were supposed to be equal partners as a condition for obtaining Merdeka. Then, the Malays asked for 25 years of “Special Privileges” so that they could catch up with the other races. Along the way, they changed the Constitution and it is now an unquestionable “Malay Right” for perpetuity. Look at your genuine history books (not the ones they distorted) to see if I am telling the truth.. Or go to the newspaper archives in the Straits Times and in London to get to the truth.

Because of this, the UMNOputras own the banks, the plantations, petroleum. The Malays are encouraged to start and own their businesses entirely on their own (100%). The non-Malays start their own businesses but when they get big, 30% must be given to bumiputras. Who are these bumiputras? They are selected UMNOputras ( not ordinary Malays) – those who use politics to get what is not rightfully theirs. They use the law to rob others of their wealth. Yet, they will not give a single share to the ordinary Malays in the streets – it is all theirs to keep. They will not do what they ask the non-Malays to do – sharing their wealth.

Not only that, they rob the ordinary Malays daily with the Water Concessions, the Tolls, etc.

CH

Melayu By a Malay-Syed Imran

You may have already read this article I published more than a year ago, below this is another article written by a “Malay” who I salute, that reinforces what I have said.

I’d like to challenge your article on the origins of the word Melayu.

(I hope you will not be emotional about this email and create an issue about it, but rather treat this as an intellectual argument between two matured individuals. I have presented facts here for you to review, and if you disagree please substantiate it. Since you have come out with a blog to attempt to tell us the origins of the word Melayu, and as a Malay, if you are really and truly keen in your own heritage and roots, I am writing to you with the facts of the origins of the word Melayu, in fact there are many scholars of yesteryear’s, Malays, who will tell you that the only original words in the Malay language are “Tanah” and “Melayu”)

Melayu is derived from the Javanese word Melayu, there are many other words in the Malay vocabulary that actually come from the various Asian languages mostly those of Sanskrit Origin.

The Sanskrit in Malay is derived from the Indian influence of the Majapahit, Srivijaya and other Indian influences in South East Asia. This particular word in Bahasa Malaysia is derived from the word Melayu from Javanese. Javanese was the lingua franca of the people in the region having had its own script, which was actually taken from the Arabic script, the bugis and the rest have dialects close to Javanese.

The Malay language in its romanised context only evolved in the early part of the 20th century.

In Javanese the word Melayu means running away, or a runaway, that is why if you go to Java and ask a Javanese if he is Melayu he will feel very insulted. The word Melayu found on the statue as claimed in your URL; http://www.sabrizain.org/malaya/malays4.htm thus denotes that this person was a Melayu, a “Runaway.”

These people, the runaways whether in Sumatra or in the Malay Peninsula referred to themselves as orangMelayu, it is therefore no coincidence that the word orang is placed before Melayu, people who ran away so to speak.

In the Malay Peninsular, it was gradually accepted as the word to describe the Javanese, the Bugis, the Menang, the Achinese etc. and even the Kelantanese who are actually Yunanese and have their origins in China, because they recognized the fact that at the end of the day they were all Melayu, or Run Aways from their respective homelands the word was accepted by all these communities to describe themselves.

In fact, before the formation of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), it is a fact that all the people in the country had referred to themselves as Menang, Achinese, Bugis, Javanese etc. etc. and we all know that the Kelantanese used to treat the other Melayu, that is the Menang, Javanese, the Bugis etc. as foreigners.

Well for that matter, even Mahathir Mohammed was registered as Indian in King Edwards College where he studied medicine.

The Malay therefore very much like the Indians, and later the Chinese are Melayu in the very true sense of the word because they all left their respective countries to come to this location in South East Asia called Malaysia today.

The real natives of the country are the Orang Laut, the Jakun, the Kadazaan, the Iban, the Senoi and the rest, and not the so called Orang Melayu, because these people are actually Javanese, Achinese, Bugis, people from the Mollucas islands, and other parts of neighbouring Indonesia, including those from Cambodia and even China (Yunanese). That explains the word Melayu in various parts of Sumatra too.

The Javanese people in particular were referred to as Java Kontra a term they despised and today in Sumatra they are referred to as Orang Transmigrasi which is more acceptable to the Javanese in Indonesia then the term Melayu.

For Malay citizenship and for permanent residence reasons, the Orang Java, be they Sundanese, Orang Java Barat, Orang Java Tengah or Orang Java Timor, or any other Indonesian for that matter recognises the fact that the day he becomes a Malaysian citizen, he is now an Orang Melayu that is a new word coined by Malaysians of these origins to legitimise their Bumiputraism.

And to become Bumiputra this way, that is by becoming a Melayu, he has to profess the Islamic faith. This privilege is not extended to Dayaks, from Kalimantan, or Christian Filipinos, or for that matter Christians from among the peoples of Sumatra, Java or any other Indonesian Islands.

The irony of all this is the fact that if you look at the real Orang Asli of Malaysia as a whole you’ll find out that the majority of them are not from the Islamic faith, and that is one of the reasons why in Sabah the registration department of the Federal Government legitimised and gave citizenship and permanent residence status to hundreds and thousands of illegal Fillipina immigrants from the Southern part of the Philippines.

I therefore disagree with your attempt to legitimize the term Orang Melayu as a race, it is not and never will be. The so-called Melayu must own up to their own heritage the way the Chinese and Indians in Malaysia proudly do.

And if we are to use this word called Melayu, it should be a term used to refer to all Malaysians except the ethnic Malaysians who are orang Asli.

The term Bumiputera was coined and the Malay placed in that category to legitimize the fact that he is ethnic when he is not.

It is a shame, and in fact a disgrace that they are the only group of people who by this very act, show the world that they are ashamed of their own heritage.

And who else can be so? Only those who run away or are banished from their own lands, for it is only such people who are ashamed of their own heritage.

Even the customs, the traditions, the dressings, the architecture etc. point to the fact that the so calledOrang Melayu of Peninsular Malaysia are actually not one and the same people.

Scroll below and read the next article by Syed Imran a Melayu and an ex Bernama Journalist from Penang

Some time ago I wrote about the Melayu and the origins of the name Melayu, which means runaway.

Today another “Melayu has written” totally unconnected this man, yes he is a man he stands up for the truth has written a similar article.

I am sending both these articles to you for your reading and circulation

All immigrants

Syed Imran, an Arab-Malaysian born in Penang, Malaysia, an ex-Bernama journalist (1971-1998) and former press secretary to the Minister in PM’s Department, posted a great blog days ago, which was translated into English.

Please circulate it and let all Malaysians understand the facts.

*Antara pendatang dan penumpang (English Translation) *

To begin with, I was quite reluctant to comment on the mess created by the statement made by Ahmad bin Ismail, the head of the Bukit Bendera, Pulau Pinang UMNO Division.. Whether he made the statement in reference to Chinese Malaysians is no longer the question, as the issue has spread and has been hotly debated.

If it is not handled carefully and smartly, this issue could make clear water murky, giving opportunity to parties who are keen on seeing this country crash, not to mention falling into the hands of foreigners. In today’s borderless world, international electronic media coverage makes it difficult for any country to hide or deny any given event.

The main issue brought up by Ahmad Ismail revolves around the question of “squatters”, that is, that Chinese Malaysians are squatters in this country. He explained that he was referring to pre-independence days. However, it had hurt the sensitivity of the Chinese Malaysian community.

I don’t know Ahmad Ismail personally, but I was quite close to his late elder brother, Abdul Rahim Ismail, the owner of Rahim Construction Company that was once famous as an “Earth-Prince” (Bumiputra) construction firm in Pulau Pinang. I don’t know what has happened to the company after Abdul Rahim passed away.

Personally, I don’t agree with what Ahmad Ismail said for the following reasons.

To me, nearly 90 percent of Malaysians, especially those in the Peninsula, are immigrants, and all of us are actually squatters in the land of Allah anyways. We are anything but permanent owners, we are merely squatters.

For example, I come from a family that squatted in this blessed land. My paternal grandfather and grandmother migrated from Mecca and Brunei, while my maternal grandmother came from Hadramut, Yaman. We are immigrants and squatters, as are almost everyone else in this country.

As for Ahmad Ismail, he is also an immigrant having descended from an immigrant’s family who squatted in this country. Ahmad Ismail cannot deny the fact that his grandfather and grandmother moved from India to this country in search of a better life in this blessed land.

It is also the case with Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi whose maternal grandfather hailed from Guangdong in southern China. In short, Pak Lah’s grandfather, Allahyarhamah Kailan, whose name was Hasson Salleh or Hah Su Chiang, was an immigrant. He moved to Tanah Melayu from Guangdong in the mid-19th century. He stayed in Bayan Lepas as a rubber estate worker, a padi farmer and later became a diamond trader.

Najib Tun Razak, Deputy Prime Minister, is also a descendant of an immigrant Bugis family that came from Sulawesi, Indonesia. Hishammudin Hussein cannot escape the fact that there is Turkish blood running through his veins.

The Malacca Malay Sultanate was founded by an immigrant coming from Sumatra — Parameswara, a prince who practised Hinduism.

A reading of the history of Malay Sultanates would reveal that some of them were founded by Bugis immigrants, while others were of Hadramut and Minangkabau parentage.

Almost all Malays living in this country are from outside Tanah Melayu, but are defined as “Malay Race” by the Federal Constitution. We are “Malay” in definition by the Constitution, that is, we are Muslims; we practise Malay customs and speak the Malay language. Unfortunately, the Malay language itself seems> to have been killed by the Malays in UMNO when they named it the Malaysian language (Bahasa Malaysia).

Therefore, Arabs like Syed Hamid Albar and myself, Achehs like Sanusi Junid, Indians like Kader Sheikh Fadzir and Nor Mohamed Yakcop, Bugises like Najib, Minangs like Rais Yatim, Jawas like Mohamad Rahmat, and others from Madura, Pulau Buyan, Siam, Myanmar, Yunnan (China) and the Philippines are conveniently categorized as Malays.

They are accepted as Malays regardless of whether they speak Malay or otherwise at home like those of us who speak Arabic, the Jawas that speak Jawa, the Minangs that speak Minang, or the Mamak that speak Tamil..

These languages are anything but Malay if we look at it from the perspective of the Federal Constitution, so they should never have been declared Malays. But for the sake of political correctness, all of them are accepted as Malays and “Earth Princes” (bumiputra).

It is grossly unfair to point to the Chinese as immigrants when the Arabs, Indians, Achehs, Minangs, Bataks, Mandailings, Jawas, Maduras, and Bugises are immigrants no less in this country. We cannot deny the fact that most of the Chinese’s grandfathers and

grandmothers migrated to this country in the days of the Malacca Malay Sultanante, some of whom did so during the period of Kedah Sultanate, Terengganu Sultanate and Kelantan Sultanate respectively. After Francis Light wrested Penang from the hands of the sultan of Kedah in 1786, more Chinese had arrived here.

We are all immigrants squatting in this country. Only the Negrito, Jekun, Semang, Jahut, Orang Laut, Orang Darat, Senoi, and other indigenous people groups (like the Kadazandusuns, ibans and bidayuhs) can be correctly considered the original inhabitants of this country.

We must never forget the contributions and sacrifices made by all the races in building our nation in all its aspects, including the economy, social structure, national defense and, most importantly, national unity. We are all taxpayers whether or not we are descended from immigrants or squatters.

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Leng Siew Yeap

Leng Siew Yeap, a Malaysian, a graduate of UMS applied for a scholarship to do a doctorate degree but was refused outright by the local govt.

She was however offered scholarships by University of Edinburgh, London University and Cambridge University. She chose Cambridge University’s Dorothy Hodgkin  postgraduate award to study stem cell.

On graduation she accepted the offer from Harvard to study human immunology. She is now working in research for a Shanghai university hospital.

She hassuccessfully helped to create an method/procedure 4 the body to secrete an antibody to fight HIV. She is now married to a Shanghai citizen, living and working in Shanghai. She and her achievements are never mentioned in any Malaysia newspaper.

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Why China can take a lead in 5G and AI technology application


China is among the world’s first countries to apply 5G to business services. China’s telecommunications guides the global 5G-technology trend. An open China is becoming the “playground” for global AI businesses and a key landmark for a joint exploration of AI’s direction of end development. Check out this video and have a look at why China can take a lead in 5G and AI technology application.

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Recession fears can by itself be a self-fulfilling prophecy


 

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.

By M. SHANMUGAM , The views expressed here are solely that of the writer. Source link

 

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Malaysia’s Public Universities Falling Behind


Malaysian public universities’ worst nightmare is beginning, with local private universities rapidly rising and making their presence felt in university rankings.

The respected World University Rankings now places Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) as the country’s second-best university just behind its oldest public university, University Malaya (UM). QS International University Rankings this year placed the private UCSI University sixth and Taylors University eighth. Other rankings mention Swinburne University of Technology, International Medical University, HELP University, and Sunway University among others as being in Malaysia’s top 10.

Malaysian public universities and the Ministry of Education have been fixated on rankings for many years. Ang small rise in any ranking is extolled by the media. Malaysia even has its own domestic ranking system SETARA, but this is not without criticisms. In 2017, the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) gave eight universities the highest ranking of six stars and 21 the second highest ranking of five, indicating there is not much room for these universities to improve.

This nonsensical ranking system ignores the wide gulf between Malaysian universities and universities in the rest of the world.

What is hindering Malaysian public universities from achieving their full potential? It seems to be their sense of purpose.

University mission statements are public pronouncements of the institution’s purpose, ambition, and values.The general mission statements of the country’s public universities state the prime purpose as producing graduates who will be skilled and highly sought after employees of industry. This is a mechanistic, utilitarian approach, a discourse that is purely industrial and regimented.

What is absent is the desire to assemble a diverse intellectual community and pursue knowledge and education for the betterment of the individual and society — something more holistic than the narrow education path extolled in these outmoded mission statements.

Many graduate qualifications don’t match the country’s needs. There is a large surplus of graduates with technical degrees that can’t be absorbed into the workforce. Graduate unemployment was 9.6 percent or 204,000 at the end of 2108.

These mismatches and surpluses are the result of the insistence of central control by the Ministry of Education. There is lack of autonomy in public universities about what courses can be taught. The Ministry of Education operates like a ministry would in the Soviet Union during the 1950s.


The Malay Agenda

Malaysia’s public universities are an instrument of the government of the day.

One vice chancellor told Asia Sentinel that an important covert role of public universities is to pursue the “Malay Agenda.” This is reflected in the ethnic mix of academic, administration, security, and maintenance staff, and the high percentage of Malays in university student populations. Public universities prefer to employ foreign Muslim academic staff from India, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Iraq, rather than Malaysian citizens who are of Chinese or Indian origin. Most, if not nearly all office holders at public universities are Malay. Administration staff numbers tend to be bloated and inefficient due to lenient work procedures compared to their private counterparts.

Public universities are Malay bastions. They have become enclaves not demographically representative of the communities they serve. Organization is extremely hierarchical and authoritarian. Expertise is recognised through position and not knowledge. This creates a master-servant, rather than collegiate culture within faculties and administrative departments. In such environments, nepotism over powers meritocracy. Thus, there is little positive within these environments for people with fresh ideas and constructive criticisms. People who question and try to improve things usually don’t last long.

What is holding public universities back is the Malay Agenda, which is not conducive with diversity, critical thinking or intellectualism.


The Islamic Agenda

The appointment of Maszlee Malik as the Minister of Education has exacerbated the furtherance of an Islamic agenda in public universities. This is not in the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015-2025 (Higher Education) or an edict approved by Federal Cabinet. It’s not part of the Pakatan Harapan election manifesto. Malaysian universities are being reformed in Maszlee’s vision rather than the national policy. The minister’s infusion into public universities of his Islamic vision is not the moderate, tolerant and accommodating Islam that Malays have practiced for hundreds of years but a Salafi-Wahabism slant that demands conformity and strict adherence.

This form of environment within public universities runs against the principle of diversity, free expression, critical thinking and creativity. The resulting organizational culture is an authoritarian environment that frowns upon freedom of expression of different ideas and diversity.

Malaysia is now witnessing the opening of a fissure into two completely different philosophies of higher education. On one side are the public universities with a structure and culture purporting to produce industrial fodder, and on the other side a private higher education sector made up of domestic private universities and Malaysian campuses of foreign universities which are beginning to emerge and being recognized in international rankings. One side carries the “Malay-Islamic” agenda of exclusion and the other, the pursuit of meritocracy.


Pursuing Change

The flaws within the public university system need to be firstly publicly acknowledged, then corrected. To date, the government has never conceded that it is pursuing the “Malay Agenda” in public universities. This is the subliminal agenda that is preventing any meaningful change and turning universities inward into their own introspection. Public universities can’t be changed without changing the intentions of the top echelon of government.

The first question is whether public universities should be pursuing Malay-Islamic agenda, or pursuing excellence in education and learning? This is where the reform process must begin.

The second question is whether public universities should follow the mechanistic development agenda or regenerate into something else? This question requires much informed discussion with various stakeholders.

This demands honest discussion. If the government wants to maintain the Malay-Islamic agenda in public universities, just say so and don’t waste time preparing policy blueprints which state otherwise. No change here and the rest is a waste of time.

If the first two questions are resolved, then a third question needs consideration. How can Malaysia’s public universities be fixed?

This has to start at the top. Before any reforms can be made, the culture within universities requires change. There are a number of prerequisites to achieving a positive culture change.

1.Public universities must be truly independent, autonomous, and transparent. A supreme body governing the university, a university council made up of the vice chancellor, deputies, deans, representatives from academic staff, administration staff, students, industry, community, and education should replace university board of directors. This means getting rid of all the deadweight and political crony appointees and replacing them with a committed governance group representing all stakeholders.

2.The university councils should appoint vice chancellors without any interference from the minister. This process should take place without fear or favour, purely on merit. The office holders shouldn’t be restricted to Malaysian citizens. The world should be scoured for the best people with experience in excellent universities to steer Malaysian universities into a new era.

3.Academic and administration staff need to reflect the population demographics of the country. Faculties need diversity, knowledge, experience, and know how. The apartheid approach needs to be ended at universities. The private universities are a  good example of what happens when diversity exists within academic staff. Rankings are quickly reflecting this.

4.The organizational culture of universities and faculties within them needs to be changed to eliminate feudal-like hierarchies, cronyism, and nepotism. These traits have to be replaced with a culture supporting meritocracy. This requires a leadership who shows by example. Deans with experience in reform and building teams will be required to reset these institutions.

5.There needs to be a set of standards that are fair for all to meet for university entry. This doesn’t mean there can’t be special entry programs for the disadvantaged. Many students now attending public universities would have been better off in the vocational system. Stricter entry standards will mean less students attending public universities and more in the vocational system that would better suit many students’ needs. This will help ease pressure on undergraduate teaching and raise standards very quickly.

Maszlee Malik doesn’t appear to have the interest or passion to lead the drive for excellence in public universities. He has been counterproductive through his appointments of vice chancellors. Religious credentials shouldn’t be a factor in selection.

If change can be made at the top, then the new broom can focus on granting full autonomy to public universities and change the Universities & Colleges Act so that university councils can be set up. The minister must denounce covert agendas and start a national dialogue about what Malaysian public universities should become. Finally, the apartheid nature of these insular institutions needs to be dismantled.

Ministers, bureaucrats, vice chancellors and deans don’t have to fly off to see Harvard or Oxford on the pretext to learn and emulate what is being done there.

Fortunately, within the public system there are some success stories. There are the examples within public universities that can learnt from where the elements of success can be transposed to other faculties within the public system. If this is not enough, vice chancellors only need to drive across town and look at some of the vibrant private universities as examples.

By:Murray Hunter,is a development expert based in Southeast Asia and a frequent contributor to Asia Sentinel.
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Best universities in Malaysia

World University Rankings

Explore the best universities in Malaysia, based on data collected by Times Higher Education
March 13 2019
Best universities in Malaysia

Malaysia is a country in South East Asia known for its stunning natural beauty and diverse population.

Made up of two main land masses, the Malaysian Peninsula and Malaysian Borneo, the country is known equally for its cosmopolitan capital and its wildlife-rich rainforests. The jungles of Borneo are home to over 1,000 species of animals, many of which are endangered. These include orangutans, clouded leopards and pygmy elephants.

By contrast, Kuala Lumpur – the nation’s capital – is a bustling metropolis, often used as a stepping stone to many other major South Asian destinations. Featuring the iconic Petronas Towers, the city’s impressive skyline is just one of KL’s many attractions. ​

Others include a canopy walkway 100ft in the air in the heart of the city, as well as the Batu Cave Temple, the stunning National Mosque and a host of museums.

Street food is incredibly popular and you can expect a varied cuisine with Indian,  Chinese and Malay influences.

Among all of this are some outstanding universities, which we have listed below, based on data collected for the THE World University Rankings 2019.

University of Malaya​

The University of Malaya, a public research university in Kuala Lumpur, is Malaysia’s oldest university, founded in 1905.

Initially established to cover the shortage of doctors in the country, the university has maintained its position as a leading medical
school.

It also offers bachelors degrees right through to doctoral qualifications across a range of other disciplines including economics, law, engineering, accountancy, linguistics and education.

The university also partners with several institutions across the globe, with links to Australia, France, Japan and the UK.

Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR)​

Situated across two campuses in Kuala Lumpur, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) is Malaysia’s second best university.

Established as a not-for-profit university in 2002, the initial intake was just 411. This has now risen to 2,500 students, who can choose from over 110 academic programmes of study. When the university first started there were just eight degree programmes.

UTAR is made up of nine faculties, three academic institutes, three academic centres and 32 research centres. ​

There are 56 registered student societies at the university including the yoga society, the international friendship society, the robotics society, the board games club, the  taekwondo club and the first aid society among others.


Best universities in ShanghaiBest universities in TokyoBest universities in Singapore Best universities in Hong KongBest universities in TaiwanBest universities in South KoreaBest universities in China


Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia​

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, or The National University of Malaysia as it is sometimes known, was initially founded to uphold the Malay language.

​Today, the university’s focus has switched to energy, with an emphasis on biotechnology and earth science.

UKM’s Tun Seri Lanang Library is one of the biggest university libraries in Malaysia, housing a collecting of over two million
resources.

The university has three campuses: in Bangi, Cheras and Kuala Lumpur.

And the rest…

You can also choose from a range of other universities in Malaysia.

Other institutions with a focus on energy include Universiti Sains Malaysia and Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN).

Away from Kuala Lumpur, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) is located on the northwest coast of stunning Borneo.

The Universiti Teknologi MARA (UITM) is the best of both worlds, with campuses in each part of Malaysia. ​


The top universities in Malaysia 2019

Click on each institution to see its full World University Rankings 2019 results

Malaysia Rank 2019 World University Rank 2019 University City/Area
1  301–350 University of Malaya Kuala Lumpur
2  501–600 Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) Petaling Jaya
=3  601–800 Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Selangor
=3  601–800 Universiti Sains Malaysia Pulau Pinang
=3  601–800 Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Johor
=3  601–800 Universiti Teknologi Petronas Seri Iskandar
=7  801–1000 Universiti Putra Malaysia Selangor
=7  801–1000 Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN) Selangor
=7  801–1000 Universiti Utara Malaysia Kedah Darul Aman
=10  1001+ Universiti Teknologi MARA Selangor
=10  1001+ Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) Sarawak

Read more: Best universities in Asia

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