1. Calls for fresh polls in UMNO as exodus continues
  2. PKR closes its door to ex-UMNO leaders
  3. IMF projects Malaysia’s 2018 real GDP growth at 4.7%
  4. MATRADE to promote Malaysian construction capabilities in India
  5. Sarawak agrees to amend Labour Ordinance
  6. Singapore’s labour market showed further signs of improvement

Khairy Jamaluddin wants fresh Umno polls amid exodus
Datuk Khairy Jamaluddin has called for new Umno elections amid a stream of lawmakers quitting the party under newly elected Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s presidency. Khairy, who lost the race for Umno presidency to Datuk Seri Zahid in the party elections earlier this year, retweeted a tweet that demanded Zahid’s resignation and fresh polls. Tanah Merah MP Datuk Seri Ikmal Hisham Abdul Aziz from Kelantan reportedly resigned from Umno today, following the resignations of four MPs and nine assemblymen from Sabah Umno. Previously, six MPs left Umno. From 54 parliament seats won in the 14th general election, Umno is now only left with 43 seats with Ikmal Hisham’s resignation.

Meanwhile, PKR President Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the party will not consider requests by former UMNO leaders to join the party, despite several requests being made. He said PKR was currently focused on its reformation agenda championed by the party for the past 20 years. “I made it very clear to them (that) they could remain in their party, (or) become independent but it would be difficult at this juncture for us (PKR) to accept because the general mood of the public as I understand is to support the Pakatan Harapan in our reformasi agenda,” he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.

IMF projects Malaysia’s 2018 real GDP growth at 4.7%
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is projecting Malaysia’s real gross domestic product (GDP) growth at 4.7 per cent for 2018, compared with an earlier forecast of 5.3 per cent made on March 7. The IMF said headline inflation was declining and expected to average around 1.1 per cent this year. “Credit growth has rebounded recently and capital outflows have been manageable. The current account surplus is projected to decline to 2.1 per cent of GDP,” it said in a statement today.

MATRADE to promote Malaysian construction capabilities in India
The Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) is organising its export promotion initiative, the Export Acceleration Mission (EAM), in New Delhi, India to promote Malaysian capabilities in construction and building materials. In a statement today, MATRADE said the mission features pre-arranged business meetings between Malaysian companies with potential clients, a briefing by KPMG New Delhi on insights of doing business in India and site visits to related associations and retailers in India. “Such business-to-business matching is considered the most effective platform for Malaysian companies to secure export sales,” said Construction and Business Services Section Director Datin Rusiah Mohamed.

Sarawak agrees to amend Labour Ordinance
Human Resources Minister, M. Kulasegaran says Sarawak has agreed in principle to a proposal to amend the Sarawak Labour Ordinance to ensure the uniformity of the implementation of labour laws in Malaysia. He said the agreement was reached during his meeting with Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg in Kuching. He added that Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari had suggested that a joint technical committee be formed to discuss the laws that had been amended so far, as well as those which remain to be changed. “The Chief Minister was in agreement that if it is related to labour and it is for the protection of labour in this country, there should not be any delay or hindrance. “In this respect, all those amended Acts that had been passed in Parliament and those that we plan to amend will be discussed at the technical stage before proceeding. We are happy that the formation of the technical committee will be taking place as soon as possible,” he told reporters.

Singapore’s labour market showed further signs of improvement
Singapore’s labour market showed further signs of improvement in 3Q 2018. The Ministry of Manpower said total employment grew at a faster pace and retrenchments were lower. Resident and citizen unemployment rates held steady over the quarter, and the resident long-term unemployment rate declined. However, the ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons dipped, suggesting some easing in the tightening of the labour market. Nonetheless, there continues to be more vacancies than job seekers for the third consecutive quarter. The Ministry’s Labour Market Report 3Q 2018 said going forward, hiring momentum may moderate against a backdrop of external trade tensions and slowing growth in Singapore’s key final demand markets. Job opportunities continue to be available in sectors such as Information & Communications, Financial & Insurance Services, Healthcare, Professional Services, Wholesale Trade, and Built Environment. The report concluded that given the ongoing economic restructuring and the corresponding challenge of jobs skills mismatch, it is important that workers and businesses stay agile and responsive to market demands.