1. Loan approvals in May soar 13 per cent after OPR cut
  2. Chinese companies invest in 422 projects in Malaysia
  3. Malaysia leads Taiwan´s halal target market
  4. MIA proposes IR 4.0 initiatives for services sector
  5. Meet the laksa robot for hire that dishes out 80 bowls an hour

Loan approvals in May soar 13 per cent after OPR cut
Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM)’s decision to cut the overnight policy rate (OPR) by 25 basis points had pushed loan approvals by 13 per cent in May compared with the previous month. Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah told the Dewan Rakyat that April’s loan approvals, a month before the OPR cut, recorded a decrease by one per cent compared with March. “At the same time, sales for motorcycles and passenger cars also soared by 7.8 per cent and 23.3 per cent respectively,” he said. Datuk Amirudin said for the period of April-May 2019, monthly growth in total loan payback was -6.8 per cent, while March-April monthly growth was -0.4 per cent. “Lower payback on loans resulted in positive implications to investment activities and private consumption,” he said, adding that the households benefited through higher disposable income, while corporate sector enjoyed lower costs in doing business.

Chinese companies invest in 422 projects in Malaysia
Chinese companies invested in 422 projects in the manufacturing sector in Malaysia as of end-2018 and with about 73,000 jobs also created since the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was introduced. China’s Ambassador to Malaysia, Bai Tian said the Chinese foreign direct investments in manufacturing in Malaysia had grown more than four times in the past five years, while being the largest source of foreign investments in the sector for three consecutive years. “We believe that with the passing of time and the synergy between all parties, the BRI cooperation will definitely become deeper, steady and extensive. “The Belt and Road will become a road of peace and prosperity, while opening up green development, innovation, connecting civilisations and a clean government,” he said at the Malaysia-China Outlook Forum 2019 in Kuala Lumpur. Citing some examples, Mr Bai Tian said the China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park and the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park, often referred as “Two Countries Twin Parks”, and other projects such as the Gemas-Johor Bahru Railway were advancing steadily. After friendly consultations, the East Coast Rail Link is also back on track. The China Railway Rolling Stock Corp has set up its rolling stock plant in Perak, with the plant having the highest technological level and largest production capacity among ASEAN countries.

Malaysia leads Taiwan´s halal target market
Malaysia has become one of Taiwan’s most important halal target markets. The long-standing friendly relations between Malaysia and Taiwan has provided considerable room for further cooperation in the halal sphere. Recently held in Penang, the Taiwan Expo 2019 featured the best halal products from that country at the Taiwan Halal & Bubble Tea Pavilion. As the Penang Government actively develops its halal industry, there are plenty of business opportunities between Taiwanese halal product manufacturers and Malaysian businesses waiting to be explored. Taiwanese halal products are highly regarded for the high-quality production and attractive packaging, and the products displayed at the expo included many halal food & beverage items, beauty and agricultural produce. The main exhibitors at the halal pavilion include five of Taiwan’s most iconic halal products and bubble tea makers, namely Shih Chen Foods, Yilan Anyong LOHAS, FuFann Enterprise, Kuojer Enterprise and Yung Soon Lih Food Machine. As of today, Taiwan has more than 1,000 halal-certified manufacturers and eateries compared to the 500 in Japan and South Korea each.

MIA proposes IR 4.0 initiatives for services sector
The Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) has proposed for the country’s services sector to have a national initiative on the Fourth Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0) to drive digital transformation among the segment. Chief executive officer Dr Nurmazilah Mahzan said a proposal was submitted to the International Trade and Industry Ministry (MITI) a few weeks ago to enable the initiatives to be mapped to support nation-building. “Last year, MITI introduced the IR.40 initiative, Industry4WRD for the manufacturing sector and has done a lot of programmes on this. “So, for the future, we are proposing that MITI looks at the IR.40 agenda for the services sector. We are very happy to support the agenda and would like to be part of the conversation,” she told the media in Kuala Lumpur. Launched in October last year, the Industry4WRD is tailored to facilitate the manufacturing and manufacturing-related services sector, to embrace the IR 4.0 in a systematic and comprehensive manner. “We are very encouraged by the government’s initiative in various aspect in term of the moving the agenda on IR.40. “While the government did a lot of initiatives by bringing business owners and communities into the digital agenda, we are preparing the accountants, who are the business advisors, to also move in tandem. Dr Nurmazilah said among technologies required by the accountant’s profession to adopt are artificial intelligence, data analytics, blockchain, virtual reality and 3D printing.

Meet the laksa robot for hire that dishes out 80 bowls an hour
Singapore catering group Neo Group recently unveiled its latest innovation, where you can have a piping hot bowl of the yummy Singapore dish in just 45 seconds. The new innovation was announced last Friday at the group’s first catering showcase held at SMU School of Law. So how does the laksa station (pic) work? Customers simply select their noodles and add-ons such as sliced fishcake and beansprouts. The robotic station will then blanch the noodles and serve up the laksa gravy. All in all, it takes 45 seconds to serve one bowl. Jointly developed with Orange Clove and built by a local engineering company, the robot noodle station is available for hire, whether for small-scale events or large corporate ones. Those who rent will be able to activate it within just three hours, since it doesn’t rely on live demo chefs. No rental price has yet been set for the new concept but there are already plans to cater to new dishes and recipes.


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