1. Policies that encourage imports need to be changed
  2. More deals from China following ECRL renegotiation
  3. MCMC will prepare 5G Testbed report by year end
  4. Notre-Dame blaze being treated as accident, not arson
  5. STB and Traveloka in Partnership to Attract More South-East Asian Visitors to Singapore

Policies that encourage imports need to be changed
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the current government policies which encourage imports rather than exports need to be changed. This, he said, might involve a change in the tax system. He was responding to a question on whether the government would consider some tax reduction for the rail industry in Cyberjaya. Dr Mahathir said although the government can change the policy on reducing taxes, it cannot force the people to buy local products. Taking local cars as an example, Dr Mahathir said Malaysians tend to look down on their own achievements, and expressed hope that Malaysians would emulate the Japanese in buying their own products. “If you prefer local products, over time the quality of the products will improve, but if you don’t encourage local products and you buy imports, there is no opportunity for the product to be of an international standard,” he added.

More deals from China following ECRL renegotiation
Malaysia’s trade policy adjustments and refinements are expected to result in a higher engagement with Chinese companies, particularly after the recent renegotiation on the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project. Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Dr Ong Kian Ming said the latest development on the ECRL would have cleared uncertainties among investors and Chinese companies over the country’s trade policies. “(Prior to this), these companies might have some reservations about coming to Malaysia, but I believe there will be more Chinese companies engaging with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad following the recent renegotiation,” he told reporters after a forum titled “PM Revisit China: Expectations and Opportunities” in Kuala Lumpur. The forum was held in conjunction with the upcoming China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) forum in Beijing, scheduled to take place on April 25 and April 26, which would be attended by Tun Dr Mahathir. Dr Ong said the Prime Minister’s presence would send a strong signal to other countries participating in the BRI project.

MCMC will prepare 5G Testbed report by year end
Minister Gobind Singh Deo said the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) will prepare the final report on the 5G Testbed and Trials by the end of this year. He said the outcome of the trials from April to October this year would be presented to the government and that the initiative was to ensure that the country was ready for the implementation of the high-speed network and technology. “The report will be released regarding the results of 5G test bedding, which includes strengths, weaknesses and suggestions on what the government should prepare to ensure our country is ready to step into the 5G era, especially with the emerging of Industrial Revolution 4.0. “Although there isn’t a set date as to when 5G will be fully available across the country, we can safely say that we are heading in that direction,” he told in Putrajaya. Earlier this month, two 5G networks were established in Putrajaya at four launching locations, while five networks will be set up for launch on April 18.

Notre-Dame blaze being treated as accident, not arson
French prosecutors said the fire that tore through the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris (pic)  last night was probably caused by accident. “We are favouring the theory of an accident,” Paris public prosecutor Remy Heitz said, adding that 50 people were working on what was expected to be a long and complex investigation. More than 400 firemen were needed to tame the inferno that consumed the roof and collapsed the spire of the eight-centuries-old cathedral. They worked through the night to bring the fire under control some 14 hours after it began. Briefing reporters in front of the cathedral in Paris, Mr Plus Gabriel Plus, a spokesman for the fire service said firefighters had focused on the cathedral’s two massive bell towers on Tuesday morning and making sure they had not been damaged. The task now is to monitor the structure to see if it has moved at all and to put out remaining hot spots, he added. About 100 firemen will remain on site for the whole day. The Paris prosecutor has opened an investigation into “involuntary destruction by fire”.  Police on Tuesday began questioning the workers involved in the restoration, the prosecutor’s office said.

STB and Traveloka in Partnership to Attract More South-East Asian Visitors to Singapore
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Traveloka, Southeast Asia’s largest technology company in the travel and lifestyle industry, have signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) to promote Singapore as a preferred destination for visitors from five major Southeast Asian markets: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. The MOC, which was signed at the sidelines of the Tourism Industry Conference 2019 in Singapore, will cover three broad areas – information sharing, marketing campaigns and content generation. This is the first strategic partnership between STB and Traveloka, and also the first time that STB is signing a pan-SEA partnership. The cross-sharing of knowledge between STB and Traveloka is expected to generate new insights that will enable STB and Traveloka to target Southeast Asian travellers with more relevant products and experiences, as well as to enhance their overall experience in Singapore. Southeast Asia is an important source region for Singapore’s tourism sector, with Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam among the top twelve source markets to Singapore in 2018. Tourists from these five major markets made up a third of total visitor arrivals in 2018, contributing over S$4.17 billion in tourism receipts.