Company Notes 2017.12.22

Berjaya Sports Toto Q2 FY2018 Results

H.R. Owen recorded a decrease in revenue of 8% as compared to the previous year corresponding quarter primarily due to drop in sales from the new and used cars sector during the current quarter as a result of softening demand in the United Kingdom car market as well as the product life cycle of the car models available for sale. It recorded a pre-tax loss of RM4.0 million as compared to pre-tax profit of RM5.1 million reported in the previous year corresponding quarter mainly due to the decrease in revenue and also lower profit margins earned from certain new car sales during the current quarter under review.


Top Glove Q1 FY2018 Results

The improved results followed strong demand growth stemming from developed and emerging markets, where glove demand is rapidly on the rise. Further contributing to demand was the disruption in vinyl glove supply following China’s strict enforcement against polluting industries which benefited both natural rubber and nitrile glove sales. Internally, new capacity coming onstream, as well as continuous improvement initiatives in terms of automation, better production lines and cost-saving were also instrumental in contributing to the strong performance.


Poh Huat Resources Q4 FY2017 Results

In line with the sustained demand for furniture in the US market, our operations continued to enjoy strong orders from customers from the US for both the office and home segment. In particular, shipment of our new ranges of panel based home products from our Malaysian operations to the US has rammed up over the last 12 months as our efficiency improves. In Vietnam, we also commenced shipment of several newer ranges of bedroom sets for which production runs is expected to smoothen over the next few months. Overall the Group expects this trend to continue for the remaining financial year.


Comfort Gloves Q3 FY2018 Results

Nitrile glove now accounts for 61% of Malaysian rubber glove export. As overall demand for nitrile gloves increases, the market is seeing increase segmentation and differentiation leading to an increase demand for specialty gloves. Through dedication to process rationalization and improving operational agility, the Group is confident in capturing greater market share and strengthening margins. The Group is confident that meeting customer expectations and continuous innovation will strengthen our position as the bespoke specialty glove manufacturer.

CAB Cakaran set to fly even higher after record year

Next year, Chuah said the group intends to increase broiler meat capacity to about 7.5 million birds per month, and up to 11 million birds a month for day-old chick. “We will not expand for the sake of expanding. For the broiler business, expansion is not an issue as long as we got the money and the land. But the key question is whether the demand is there,” he said.

Chuah said CAB has budgeted a sum of about RM50 million as capital expenditure for FY18, to upgrade the group’s facilities and machinery. “These upgrades are meant to cater for additional market demand. If we want to grow on a larger scale, we will have to look into the existing market, so we are also on the lookout to buy medium or smaller broiler businesses, especially those businesses that have no second generation successors,” he said.

“The construction will take about 12 months to complete and contribution will likely begin in 2019. We are targeting 4.5 million birds per month for the broiler and three million eggs per day for the layer in 2019. We currently hold 10% of the joint venture, and over the next five years, we have an option to increase our stake to 30% based on the inception price. In that way we don’t have to incur so much expenditure now.”


Kulim plant to boost Osram’s output to near market-leader’s level

“For more than one decade, Osram has been a strong number two in the market for opto semiconductors for lighting with a market share of more than 8%. With our new capacities in Kulim, the gap to the number one (Nichia Corp) will shrink further.”

“In our opto-semiconductor business, we have reached an operating margin of more than 28% before the opening of our new fabrication plant (in Kulim). Our target for the coming years is between 25% and 29%. Of course, the cost factor in Malaysia plays a role but our venture in Kulim is more about raising capacity for a still growing demand.”

“The market continues to be dominated by the replacement of traditional lighting with efficient LED lighting, while the LED share in the automotive segment is growing rapidly in interior lighting, and headlights. We also are developing exciting technologies for autonomous vehicles and using our LED chips; we are enabling new technologies for vehicle sensing, orientation and navigation. Our horticulture lamps are designed to grow leafy greens and herbs in a controlled environment, ensuring plants receive the best light to grow to their fullest potential with improved flavour.”


Techfast to source chemical products from China’s Tecore

Cape and Oriem will be Tecore’s Malaysian business partners to engage in the supply and sale of Tecore’s products, including clear epoxy molding compound and silicone phosphor film.

Techfast said Cape and Oriem will sell these products to its customers, which are multinational companies that engage in the LED business.

The group said Cape and Oriem’s services also include product evaluation testing, customer demand information collation and customer supply chain co-ordination on behalf of Tecore as its local business partners.

e-Conomy SEA spotlight 2017: Unprecedented growth for Southeast Asia’s $50B internet economy

There will be 330M monthly active internet users by year-end 2017, adding over 70M new users since 2015 at 13% CAGR. In Southeast Asia, mobile is the internet, as more than 90% of Southeast Asia’s internet users are on smartphones. It is hard to overestimate the absolute prominence of mobile as the access point and driver of Southeast Asia’s internet economy. Users in Southeast Asia are incredibly engaged, spending an average of 3.6 hours per day on mobile internet,1 more than in any other region in the world.

We estimate that Southeast Asia’s internet economy will reach $50B in 2017. Growing at 27% CAGR, it has outpaced the 20% 10-year CAGR projected in Google-Temasek e-Conomy SEA and is on a solid trajectory to exceed $200 B by 2025. All sectors of the internet economy have experienced solid growth in 2017. Online travel reached $26.6B led by growth in airline and hotel online bookings. Online media touched $6.9B driven by online ads and gaming. E-commerce and ride hailing have been under the spotlight growing the fastest at over 40% CAGR, capturing consumers’ preferences with evolving business models, and attracting the majority of the investments in the region. As a result, they are the focus of Google-Temasek e-Conomy SEA Spotlight 2017.

GLCs are crowding out private investment — IDEAS

“An often-cited concern relates to the preferential treatment that they receive with respect to government procurement. They could also enjoy various other benefits, including direct subsidies, concessionary financing, state-backed guarantees, and exemptions from antitrust enforcement or bankruptcy rules. Hence, GLCs find it easier and more profitable to increase investment in sectors which they already have a significant presence — a level of involvement usually made possible by their special and preferred status to begin with.”

“The results revealed that when GLCs account for a dominant share (60% or more) of revenues in an industry, investment by private firms in that industry is significantly negatively impacted. Conversely, when GLCs do not dominate an industry, the impact on private investment is not significant.”

Company Notes 2017.12.01

GHL Systems Q3 FY2017 Results

The Group has successfully deployed since 2015, its TPA merchant acquiring tie-ups with CIMB (physical merchants) and Global Payments (online and physical merchants) and in 2016, additional tie-ups with Alipay (Thailand) and RCBC group (Philippines). GHL group has commenced merchant acquiring for Alipay in Malaysia in 2Q17 and AFPI (Beep card) in Philippines for merchant acquiring in expected in 4Q17. The group remains optimistic of further developing TPA as a key growth engine for the group given the changes in the payment landscape as e-payments gain further traction as driven by not only regulatory directives but also positive changes in consumer preferences towards e-payments.


JHM Consolidated Q3 FY2017 Results

The declined in revenue was mainly due to worldwide components shortage and extended lead times in the supply chain.

The average inventory turnover days has reduced from 53 days to 39 days as a result of the continuing efforts of the Group in improving the inventory turnover efficiently.

Despite of facing the worldwide shortage of raw materials, particularly the passives, the Group’s outlook remains strong and bright with the growing acceptance of LED lamps in automotive market.


Dufu Technology Q3 FY2017 Results

We expect sales to continue to remain favorable towards end of 2017 as our major product is driven by the growth in high-capacity nearline HDDs as well as stabilization of client storage demand. The long-term future of HDDs are likely rests with high capacity HDDs, particularly in data centers serving cloud storage applications. The demand for high capacity storage drives, enhanced performance, and lower storage cost is set to rise. Global internet penetration, the rise in e-commerce in emerging markets, and the current trend for high-resolution media standards are the likely drivers for the continuing rise in global data storage demand.


Perak Transit Q3 FY2017 Results

The outlook of integrated public transportation terminal operations segment is expected to the favourable driven by the Group’s plans for expansion in other part of Perak, whereby the construction of the Terminal Kampar has commenced and it is on schedule. It is expected to be completed by 4th quarter of 2018. In addition to Terminal Kampar, the Group’s plans include similar integrated public transportation terminal in Bidor and Tronoh. As of this juncture, the Group is unable to determine the construction cost for the terminals to be built as the construction project is still at its preliminary stage and the approvals for construction have yet to be obtained from the relevant authorities. In this regards to the status of the Bidor and Tronoh lands, the acquisition of the lands are pending completion subject
to the fulfilment of the condition precedent as announced on 19 January 2017 (Bidor), 18 September 2017 (Bidor), 28 March 2017 (Tronoh) and 27 November 2017 (Tronoh) respectively.

The Group’s bus operations segments outlook is also positive driven by Stage Bus Service Transformation programme as the operation runs all the 19 approved routes since September 2016 with 45 express buses fully delivered in March 2017.


Pos Malaysia Q2 FY2018 Results

The Group’s prospects remain positive as our business continues to be largely driven by the strong e-Commerce growth in Malaysia and we are optimistic that the establishment of the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) will drive cross-border e-Commerce volume, especially for Malaysian small and medium enterprises (SMEs). This is expected to be positive for the prospects of our e-Commerce related businesses, namely our courier, eFulfilment, air cargo logistics and international mail business.

On the digital front, we are looking to introduce digital services that are relevant to our customers as digitalisation and demographic changes have encouraged us to be more innovative in providing services that suit the changing lifestyle needs of the Malaysian public, especially the younger generation. Accordingly, we expect to launch our Digital Mailbox product in early 2018 that will provide a range of digital services catering to mobile lifestyles. We are confident that our Digital Mailbox will, over time, become a key digital product offering.


EG Industries Q1 FY2018 Results

The Group is in the midst of construction of the IPC hub and expects to begin its IPC operations in December 2017. With the commencement of IPC operations, the Group is expected to obtain more competitive raw material prices through larger scale of procurement activities to maintain its competitiveness in global Electronic Manufacturing Services (“EMS”) market.


CAB Cakaran Q4 FY2017 Results

The integrated poultry farming and processing division’s performance in the next quarter may be moderately affected by the lower average selling price of broilers but will be mitigated by the lower cost of feeds. The recent strengthening of the Malaysian Ringgit and the world wide over supply of corn and soya, has contributed to the lower cost of feeds.

The value added food products manufacturing and trading division’s performance will be impacted by the continuous losses at Farm’s Best Food Industries Sdn. Bhd.. Management expects the performance of this division to show improvement after the measure undertaken to improve operational efficiency as well as the upgrading of facilities are completed over the next few months.


Ta Ann Q3 FY2017 Results

Performance for the palm oil sector is expected to remain as the main profit contributor in the coming quarter. For timber sector, the underperformance is due to the low logs production in compliance with the certification exercise as well as the restricting logs export quota of 20% that took effect in July 2017.

Given to the low plywood inventory in Japan coupled with the infrastructure construction works for the coming Olympics which has accepted the Company plywood products for the said construction works, we expect the timber market to rebound.


OCK Group Q3 FY2017 Results

The Group aims to grow its recurring revenue business via build-own-and-lease and acquiring existing tower sites operators in ASEAN. For our tower leasing business expansion, the Group is leveraging on its established presence in ASEAN and its vast experiences in building telecommunication infrastructures and site maintenance of telecommunication infrastructure. The build-own-and-lease business model is based on building, owning and leasing back the tower sites to telecommunication operators over a long-term period.


Notion Vtec Q4 FY2017 Results

The auto braking plungers business is expected to have a double-digit growth in FY2018 especially in electric and hybrid cars. The production for the lifestyle consumer electronics segment will take to production as soon as possible as it is a high volume product. We have also made inroads to a major MNC production equipment maker in the semi-conductor space which has good prospects. The Group continues to invest in new technologies and diversifying its customer and industry bases.

Finally, due to the need to conserve cash in the light of the fire incident the Board has decided to defer any dividend payment for this and next quarter until things are back to normal.


IQ Group Q2 FY2018 Results

The Group’s first half year performance has been below expectations. Sales slowed during this period and performance was further impacted by some delays in the conclusion of new product sales. IQ is however blessed with considerable opportunity from both new and established business relations with on-going product development and related planned launches in the pipeline. The current volume of product development requirements is good from a new business perspective, but challenging from a resource and timing standpoint. We see that the current conditions will remain throughout the remainder of this financial year, but going forward thereafter we anticipate positive performance as the various new products are rolled out into the market. Improvements to IQ’s R&D structure are already implemented to accelerate results and to better position our speed to opportunity going forward.

Paper mill operations to boost BHS Industries’ earnings

As it stands BHS earlier this month signed a memorandum of understanding with China Nuclear Industry Huaxing Construction Co Ltd to jointly develop the second and third phases of the project. Phase 2 involves a factory with the capacity to produce 100,000 tonnes of box liner paper as well as 120,000 tonnes of corrugated paper. Meanwhile, Phase 3 will involve another factory with a capacity to produce 65,000 tonnes of tissue paper. Interestingly, Lim added that, “We are targeting to give the award on the final negotiation to the Chinese party for the main building of the factory (Phase 1 for 10,000 tonnes wood-free pulp and paper plant).”

Note that BHS has secured a five-year contract from the Malaysian government to publish past examination papers. It also disposed of a plot of land (from the 410-acre GTP project) for RM5.3 million to a third party to develop. The group is still looking for potential partners to jointly develop the project’s fourth and fifth phases. Phase 4 will involve the construction and development of a feed mill with production capacity of 30,000 tonnes of agro-feed using the microbial fermentation technology, as well as a fertiliser plant with a production capacity of 50,000 tonnes of fertiliser using the by-products produced from the biogas plant.

Phase 5 has been earmarked for light industries involving the construction and development of packaging and printing factories. Additionally, BHS is also looking to expand the GTP model to other states. The group signed a memorandum of understanding with Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority subsidiary Bau Palm Oil Mill Sdn Bhd (Bapom) on Nov 10 to jointly develop, implement and finance a waste management project to convert the palm oil biomass, which is supplied by Bapom into commercially viable products. On top of that, BHS is actively looking to develop a third GTP in Johor in the near future; a first step before spinning off the concept to other states as well. “We are targeting Johor as there are many palm oil mills over there,” explained Lim, adding that in the next four years the group could be looking at Indonesia for expansion as well.”

Printing and publishing remain the core business of the group, accounting for about 80% of its revenue in FY17. The remaining 20% came from park development and management activities. “[Revenue] contribution is mainly from our book printing and publishing [business] now, but you will soon see it overtaken by GTP Phase 1,” said Lim. He expects the revenue contributions to invert, with 80% of the revenue coming from GTP Pekan and 20% from the existing printing and publishing business.


Top Glove wants to buy Aspion for RM1.3bil to boost profits

Aspion is currently the second-largest producer of surgical gloves in the world, with an annual production of 1.4 billion pieces or an 18% market share. Lim said production at Aspion is projected to increase by another 1.6 billion pieces by 2019 due to the ongoing capacity expansion at its Kulim plant in Kedah. Top Glove has a 12% global market share in this segment, producing 665 million pieces a year. The surgical glove segment, prior to the acquisition, contributed about 5% of Top Glove’s revenue.

Aspion’s Kulim plant houses the company’s most recent technology and research and development centre. It also has manufacturing facilities in Kluang, Johor and Kota Bahru, Kelantan, catering mainly for examination gloves. Aspion owns cutting-edge technology, namely, its Finessis surgical glove which is known to be the only technology capable of reducing the number of viruses (such as HIV) transferred in cases of percutaneous injury.


EG Industries allocates RM30mil for plant expansion

Group chief executive officer and executive director Alex Kang said the expansion, to be funded through bank borrowings and internally generated funds, was to cater to the strong enquiries from customers for box-build contracts, reiterating the company’s stronger proposition in this segment.

“Not only has our box-build segment improved, but also our printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) segment as it remains the main revenue generator for EG Industries.”


Kim Teck Cheong Consolidated to realise its investments in FY19

In March, KTC acquired a 60% equity interest in Grandtop Marketing Sdn Bhd for B$600,000, which is principally engaged in the business of distribution of CPG in Brunei. He said the group plans to further invest in its infrastructure in FY18 — albeit with a smaller allocation — to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. He added that KTC is currently in talks with five to six notable third-party CPG brands in Sabah and Sarawak, which may come on stream in FY18.


Freight Management sees 10% growth in FY18 profit

“There is no such thing as saturation in the market as there are no more avenues to grow. There will always be customers who are looking for improvements in service. We just have to take advantage of our strength to gain market share.”

The sea freight segment will remain the group’s core business. “We have always been very strong in our sea freight segment, so it’s only natural that we try to keep building and growing this particular segment.”

On the group’s e-commerce segment under 65%-owned FM Hubwire Sdn Bhd, Chew said although there is an opportunity to grow, the loss-making business remains a challenge as it is a relatively new area for the group. “We started this about a year ago, but honestly the business has not really gained traction. We are exploring ways to boost the business. Although it may take a while, if we don’t get involved now it will be too late later. It is a challenge now, but we have the resources [to sustain it],” he said. The group, he added, hopes to see some traction in the business by end-FY18, and to turn a profit by FY19.

Company Notes 2017.11.10

PIE Industrial Q3 FY2017 Results

One major customer of our EMS segment changed its receiving system in March 2017. As there was a major technical glitch discovered in their new system, the customer is unable to process their payments to the Group. Based on our Group’s policy on credit control, we are required to provide impairment for doubtful debts which are overdue over a certain period, therefore a provision of RM11.243 million is made during this quarter. Management estimates that these debts will be able to collect by the fourth quarter and maintaining such provision during this quarter is necessary in accordance with our Group’s policy.

The major source of revenue and earning of the Group comes from its manufacturing segment (98%). For EMS activities (77%), orders are expected to increase steadily from existing customers and potential customers through its fully built-up vertical integrated manufacturing facilities which have been in operation for the past 5 years.

Revenue derived from the manufacturing activity of raw wire & cable (18%) will continue to grow, with consistent profit margin for the rest of the financial year. The cost of its two main raw material i.e copper and PVC are expected to increase in the near future, enhancing its selling price and securing more orders from its customers.


Hartalega Q2 FY2018 Results

Prospects for the rubber glove manufacturing sector remain strong with increasing demand arising from switching trends towards nitrile glove. Nitrile glove now accounts for 61% of Malaysian rubber glove export. Hartalega NGC is on-schedule to meet this rising demand with progressive commissioning of Plant 4 and started the construction of Plant 5. The increasing contribution of NGC to Group sales revenues would help to consolidate margins and contribute further to Group earnings.


Tasek Q3 FY2017 Results

The Board expect the prospects for the rest of the financial year to remain challenging due to the weak prices of cement caused by the intense pricing competition and over capacity. Infrastructure roll-outs may be insufficient to make up for the present lull in demand for cement primarily caused by the soft property market.


Shangri-La Hotels Malaysia Q3 FY2017 Results

In particular, Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur is expected to achieve improved operating results for 2017 as it continues to reap the benefits of its newly renovated banqueting facilities and all-day dining restaurant. In addition, Hotel Jen Penang should continue to grow well, after the completion of its major renovation programme in June 2017. The hotel’s enhanced room product and facilities should support further increases in occupancy and room rates.


Petronas Dagangan Q3 FY2017 Results

In the current quarter ended 30 September 2017, the Group has disposed 100% equity interest in a subsidiary, PETRONAS Energy Philippines, Inc (“PEPI”) and 40% equity interest in an associated company, Duta Inc to P-H-O-E-N-I-X Petroleum Philippines, Inc., an external party of the Group for a fair value consideration of RM560.5 million resulting in a gain on disposal of RM424.6 million.

Malaysian CAB’s Indonesian venture to start

While the construction of the entire farm will take up to five years, it is hoped that by the second year of construction, the Indonesian operations will have the capacity to produce some four million broilers per month and three million eggs per day.

“According to an Orissa International report, global poultry consumption is predicted to grow by 27% to 28 million tonnes by 2023 – with 40% of that growth in Asia. In South-East Asia, the growth of incomes, population, urbanisation has translated into a growth of demand for animal products. The surge in demand for animal protein resulted in a significant increase of meat – mainly poultry and pork. Poultry is the largest livestock sector in Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. Malaysia’s poultry meat per capita consumption is among the highest in the world, consumed 1.8 million chickens and 2.8 million chicken eggs daily.”

“Indonesian poultry production is estimated at €10bil (RM49bil) in 2015 with broiler meat accounting for three-quarters of the total. The poultry meat sector is projected to grow 70%-90% by 2020 if GDP increases by 6% per annum. The layer industry is also projected to grow at 50%-60% of the broiler sector.”


Not your typical manufacturer

Being a Tier-1 manufacturer, with research and development (R&D) and engineering capabilities that match that of a design house’s, Lim said Salutica co-develops products with brand owners instead of just manufacturing based on specifications given by clients.

However, maintaining that Tier-1 manufacture’s standard comes with a high cost, Lim admitted. Unlike many second- or third-tier manufacturers, Salutica is Responsible Business Alliance (RBA)-compliant, a code of conduct that Lim said the top 100 technology companies in the world — including many of its customers — subscribe to and impose on their Tier 1 suppliers.

“Fobo Ultra for commercial vehicles was more complicated than we initially thought. Negotiations with fleets and logistics firms took longer than expected because most fleet owners were sceptical about a product that was made in Malaysia. But [sales] have picked up slightly at home,” said Lim. All MRT (mass rapid transit) feeder buses in Malaysia under the Volvo brand, according to him, have been equipped with Fobo Ultra since the end of last year.


Kronologi to enlarge footprint through Quantum

“With this development, we could leverage on the collective experience of the enlarged team for best practices for vertical solutions and provide additional analytics, which include artificial intelligence. Currently, we’re collaborating with some other technology players to provide these additional solutions. We’re anticipating some form of AI solutions by next year but it’s an ongoing process for us.”

“Moving forward, once the acquisition is completed, Hong Kong will play an important role. Similarly, earnings growth should be quite evenly distributed among Singapore, India, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia (excluding Singapore).”


Hexza’s bottom-line to take a hit from RM28.5mil provision

This is not the first time Hexza has made an impairment loss of finance lease receivable due to the Tembusu Industries Pte Ltd’s payment default. In FY17, the Ipoh-based company made an impairment loss amounting to RM6.95mil, being the amount due but not paid by the lessee.

To recap, on Jan 30, 2015, Hexza inked an agreement with Tembusu to buy part of the equipment for a 8MW heavy fuel oil power generation system located in Myanmar from Tembusu for US$6mil (RM25.3mil), after which Tembusu would lease back the equipment from Hexza at a monthly rental of US$130.205 (RM549,937) for 10 years.


F&N poised for stronger FY18 after restructuring

“Now we want to build exports as our third pillar on top of our existing markets in Malaysia and Thailand,” said Lim. The company is looking to achieve stronger top and bottom lines — at levels seen in FY16 — next year, he added. “We have set a target for annual exports to hit RM500 million by FY20,” said Lim. The company is not looking to export excess capacity, he said, but will instead increase its output for the segment.

F&N is undergoing a three-year RM500 million capacity expansion plan which it initiated in FY17. It has completed four milestones with five more upgrades to go, which Lim said are on track to be completed separately in FY18 and FY19.

“We are also de-bottlenecking some facilities. These require much smaller capex (capital expenditure) at around RM5 million per project,” said Lim. “While the value is smaller, a simple upgrade can increase the annual output of our dairy product manufacturing plant in Pulau lndah by one million crates, for example,” he added.

F&N foresees the bulk of its exports to revolve around dairy products, said Lim, which provide higher margin — at between 10% and 12% — compared with other products such as packed beverages.

Over-regulation a hurdle for free zone operators

The PKFZ was initially modelled after Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone, which is such a success that it contributed over 20% of Dubai’s gross domestic product. More than 30 other free zones have been set up in the United Arab Emirates, which were modelled after it.

The GST Act is deemed to have superseded the Free Zone Act 1990, taking away some advantages available under the Free Zone Act for free trade zones such as the PKFZ.

“So today, as far as free zones are concerned, the supply of goods is not an issue, but [the] supply of services is — as tax is applicable. They (customs) say it can be claimed back. But do you understand how business is done in the free [trade] zone? There are foreigners there. If you tell them that in order for them to claim back the tax, you have to employ an agent and other requirements, they will say ‘Why is it so difficult? In Singapore, there is no such issue’.”

Malaysia signals shift to tightening stance on growth view

Southeast Asian policy makers face rising pressure to start preparing for rate increases in the face of higher U.S. borrowing costs. Bank Negara Malaysia is forecast by economists as among the first to move. The economy is stronger with the government predicting growth of at least 5 percent until 2018 as it boosts infrastructure.

Inflation quickened to a five-month high of 4.3 percent in September, but is projected by the government to average between 3 percent and 4 percent this year. A general election due to be held by August 2018 is among reasons the central bank may hold off from raising borrowing costs just yet.


Focus on affordable housing may hurt private developers

“Over the past three years, government agencies’ participation filled the gaps nicely as private developers went through a gestation period to move towards the smaller-margin affordable housing segment. But moving forward, when supply keeps up with demand, government agencies and private developers will begin to compete on an unlevel playing field.”


Malaysia’s giving working moms a better maternity deal than U.S.

In a country where women are likely to drop out of the labor force when they have children, Najib is making a push to reverse that. He’s giving women a one-year tax exemption if they return to work after a break of two years or more, offering longer paid maternity leave for some and reducing working hours for others. In the U.S., there’s no national requirement for paid maternity leave.

Malaysia is losing out to low-cost and low-end manufacturing newcomers like Vietnam, but lacks the kind of skills and innovation that’s propelled Singapore and South Korea to more advanced status. Najib’s target is to make Malaysia a high-income country in the next three years, a feat that would require boosting per-capita income to $12,476 — which is the level the World Bank uses to define a high-income nation — from about $10,000 now.