1. Economists hail ´Shared Prosperity´ economic model
  2. Economic Affairs Ministry to focus on developing new industries
  3. Malaysia’s tourism receipts hit record high of RM84.1 bln in 2018
  4. MATRADE’s export mission to Makassar may result in over RM30 mln sales
  5. US escalates trade war amid negotiations, China says will hit back
  6. Singapore has 11 bars in Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2019 list

Economists hail ´Shared Prosperity´ economic model
Economists in Malaysia have hailed the ‘Shared Prosperity’ economic model announced by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday. ASLI’s Centre for Public Policy Studies, Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam said the policy provides a radical breakthrough for fundamentally new socio-economic policies. He added that the new economic model gives all Malaysians new hope after nearly 50 years of the previous government’s implementation of the New Economic Policy (NEP. In a statement today, he pointed out that this new policy will enable Malaysians to continuously experience sustainable and equitable growth at every level of society, regardless of race, class or location. He said solutions to achieve the new economic model’s objectives should include raising new wealth taxes, increasing expenditures to provide more for the welfare of the poor as well as providing better salaries and wages. Other areas include enhancing training and technology levels to raise productivity, focusing more on meritocracy and competition to better manage the excessive brain drain, treating all Malaysians equitably regardless of race and religion, and protecting the environment and especially the 17 United Nation`s Sustainable Goals.

Bank Islam Malaysia’s chief economist Dr Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid affirmed that the aim of shared prosperity is the right narrative as the income gap is still wide and deserves special attention. Otherwise, he said it will lead to social problems which can compromise economic growth. “In this regard, focusing on education, healthcare and infrastructure is very critical to ensure inclusive growth can be realised. “Additionally, the impact of Industrial Revolution 4.0 would also need to be managed as technological changes are an unstoppable force,” he told Bernama. Dr Mohd Afzanizam added that failure to manage could also result in widening the income gap as low-skilled workers will be replaced and lose their income, while stressing the crucial importance of retraining and reskilling workers.

Yesterday, Tun Dr Mahathir announced that the nation’s development will be based on the concept of “shared prosperity”, where the country grows sustainably and distribution of economy is fair and inclusive. The Prime Minister said the aim is to ensure “every level of the value chain, class, race and geography” can enjoy equitable growth. He said the result of the shared prosperity vision will be fully realised by 2030, and is aimed at fostering unity among the people and celebrating cultural diversity. The prime minister outlined three objectives under the shared prosperity vision – tackling income and wealth disparity, creating a progressive economy that is of high value and knowledge-based; and for Malaysia to emerge as a leading economy in Asia.

Economic Affairs Ministry to focus on developing new industries
The Economic Affairs Ministry will focus on developing new industries to drive the nation’s economy to a higher level and in tune with current developments. Its Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said the generation of new growth sectors was one of the seven strategic thrusts in the shared prosperity economic model outlined by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in his keynote address in conjunction with the Pakatan Harapan government’s one-year anniversary yesterday. “The emergence of new technologies in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) requires investments and capacity creation in 15 proposed sectors as the main economic growth areas, among them, content industry (entertainment and digital), ASEAN hub (logistics, technology, research and regional offices) as well as smart and high-value agriculture,” he said. In a statement today, he said the ministry had also embarked on implementing an inclusive regional development to address the development gap between the regions. To that end, he said the ministry had approved development and infrastructure projects worth RM4.8 billion in Kedah and RM1.4 billion in Kelantan for the development of comprehensive economic centres nationwide.

Malaysia’s tourism receipts hit record high of RM84.1 bln in 2018
Malaysia’s tourism receipts hit a record high of RM84.1 billion in 2018, an increase of two per cent from a year earlier. According to Maybank Investment Bank Bhd Reseach, the 2018 tourism receipts per capita also hit a record high of RM3,300, up three per cent from the previous year. “The achievement was thanks to a weaker ringgit and partially due to more Chinese visitors whereby the average Chinese visitor to Malaysia spent RM4,200, more than any other major source of visitors,” it said in its 2019 ASEAN Tourism Report released today. The report also said that last year’s tourism performance showed visitor arrivals and tourism receipts were not necessarily perfectly correlated. Last year, total visitor arrivals to Malaysia eased 0.4 per cent year-on-year to 25.8 million, mainly attributable to the fewer visitor arrivals from Singapore and the recovering of the ringgit against the Singapore dollar.

Commenting on the overall drop in tourism sector last year, regional head of institutional research Wong Chew Hann said the lack of promotion over the past few months partly contributed to the decline. “That is something that the government needs to do…step up its efforts,” she said while presenting the report today.

MATRADE’s export mission to Makassar may result in over RM30 mln sales
An export mission organised by the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) to Makassar, Indonesia, last month has resulted in a potential export value of more than RM30.1 million. The Export Acceleration Mission (EAM) last month to the second-tier Indonesian city saw the participation of 17 Malaysian companies from various sectors such as food and beverages, lifestyles, construction services, healthcare and textiles and apparels. MATRADE said in a statement that the Malaysian small and medium enterprises, with the help of the agency’s Jakarta office, were matched with potential partners from the South Sulawesi region. A total of 121 business meetings took place. The EAM was part of MATRADE’s strategy to expand Malaysian companies’ footprint in Indonesia. Director of ASEAN and Oceania Section, Raja Badrulnizam Raja Kamalzaman, said the agency viewed Makassar as a gateway to penetrate the Sulawesi market, which has a population of 18 million people.

US escalates trade war amid negotiations, China says will hit back
The United States escalated a tariff war with China on Friday by hiking levies on US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods amid last-ditch talks to rescue a trade deal. US President Donald Trump signalled that talks could drag on beyond this week. In a series of early morning tweets on Friday, President Trump defended his decision to raise tariffs, saying there was no need to rush into a deal and adding that the American economy would be boosted more by the levies than by an eventual deal. China’s Commerce Ministry said it would take countermeasures, without elaborating. Negotiators however agreed to stay at the table in Washington for a second day, keeping alive hopes of an agreement that would remove a major threat to the global economy. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin talked for 90 minutes on Thursday and were expected to resume efforts on Friday to rescue a deal that could end a 10-month trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

Singapore has 11 bars in Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2019 list
Singapore has a whopping 11 bars on the list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2019, including the No 2 spot, which went to Manhattan at The Regent Singapore. The Old Man in Hong Kong took top spot, while No 3 went to Taipei’s Indulge Experimental Bistro. Rounding out the Top 5 are Singapore’s Native and Atlas. Manhattan also netted two other awards: The Best Bar in Singapore and The Legend of the List Award, which celebrates the bar that has most consistently proven its excellence over the history of the list. Jigger & Pony at The Amara Hotel earned the Highest Climber Award for jumping 33 spots to make it to No 9. This is the 4th edition of the annual ranking. It was introduced in 2016 as an extension of The World’s 50 Best Bars, which was launched in 2009. The list is compiled from the votes of the Asia’s 50 Best Bars Academy, a group of 200 influential leaders in the bar sector across Asia. The panel comprises drinks journalists, bartenders, bar owners and cocktail aficionados.