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BFM :: Morning Brief Cover
BFM :: Morning Brief Profile

BFM :: Morning Brief

English, Finance, 1 seasons, 100 episodes, 19 hours 18 minutes
Opinion and analysis of today’s international and local news that matter to Malaysians. Everything you need to know to start and plan your work.
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Time To Regulate BNPL And Change The HP Act

The Consumer Credit Oversight Board (CCOB) task force which comprises Bank Negara, Securities Commission and officials from the Ministry of Finance has been looking at ways to bring about balance on the consumer credit front. On their radar is Rule of 78 in the Higher Purchase Act and also regulation on BNPL. Hann Liew, founder and director of RinggitPlus, a financial marketplace provider gives us his views on what is required to protect the interest of the borrowers.Image credit: Shutterstock
11/04/202312 minutes 6 seconds
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UMNO Seeking A Pardon, Will It Divide The House?

Umno is seeking a royal pardon for convicted Ex-Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak. What are the repercussions to the relationship between BN and PH? Dr Oh Ei Sun, Principal Adviser at Pacific Research Centre breaks it down for us.Image credit: Shutterstock
10/04/202311 minutes 14 seconds
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China Is Dividing ASEAN

China concluded three-days of military drills in the Straits of Taiwan yesterday, a show of force in response to Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s meeting with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. We discuss whether this ratchets up the likelihood of conflict particularly in ASEAN with security analyst Ridzwan Rahmat of Jane’s, a military defense portal.Image credit: Shutterstock
10/04/202311 minutes 35 seconds
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Consolidated Law Needed To Govern All Public Universities

Last week the government signalled plans to amend the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971, also known by its Malay acronym AUKU, to address complaints by students of administrative restrictions and financial constraints in carrying out activities on campus. Do the AUKU amendments go far enough to empower students or should we be looking to repeal the act entirely? Dr Sharifah Munirah Alatas, Visiting Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences, Indonesian International Islamic University.Image credit: Facebook
10/04/202310 minutes 34 seconds
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Take A Long Hard Look At Rail Demand First

There has been increasing talks of upgrading or setting up new cross-border rail links as its seen as environmentally friendly. Malaysia is not the exception as there are proposals to establish rail links between Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Kunming. Dr Ahmad Farhan Mohd Sadullah, Professor of Transport Engineering at Universiti Sains Malaysia tells us if we should proceed whilst discussing the woes that KTM faces.Image credit: Shutterstock
09/04/202311 minutes 54 seconds
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Vicious Cycle Of Unrest Between Palestine & Israel

Tensions are boiling between Israel and Palestine, following raids by Israeli forces on the Al-Aqsa mosque last week. This has sparked tit-for-tat attacks on civilians in Tel Aviv and the occupied West Bank. Is this the precursor for deterioration into military conflict? We discuss geopolitical developments with Middle East expert Dr. James Dorsey. Image credit: EPA-EFE
09/04/202312 minutes 4 seconds
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Lessons Learned From The Belt And Road Initiative

Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Anwar Ibrahim is keen to revive Belt and Road Initiative projects with China. What lessons can be learned from previous experiences with BRI projects? Economist Jayant Menon gives us his thoughts.Image credit: EPA-EFE
07/04/202311 minutes 14 seconds
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Live Organ Donations Strictly Regulated

Is there a black market for organ donation here in Malaysia? We distill the facts from rumours on organ donation with Dr. Hasdy Haron of the National Transplant Resource Centre.Image credit: Shutterstock
06/04/202311 minutes 20 seconds
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Taiwan Caught In The Middle Of US-China Tensions

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing Wen met with US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy in southern California yesterday. What kind of impact could this have on broader geopolitical tensions between the US and China? We get analysis from Dr. Adrian Ang of the S. Rajaratnam School of International StudiesImage credit: EPA-EFE
06/04/202311 minutes 15 seconds
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Can King Dollar Be Dethroned?

The de-dollarisation debate has circled the block many times, but the argument has picked up steam in recent years and especially in the wake of the war in Ukraine. What are the implications of the move away from US dollar trade, and would the Chinese yuan grow in strength to rival King Dollar? Business commentator Pankaj C. Kumar weighs in with his analysis.Image credit: Shutterstock
06/04/202311 minutes 39 seconds
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Time For Malaysia To Decriminalise Suicide

Law minister on Tuesday announced amendments to the Mental Health Act 2001 that will decriminalise suicide attempts as currently, anyone attempting suicide can be jailed for up to one year, fined, or both. Dr. Ravivarma Rao Panirselvam, Psychiatrist at Hospital Miri Malaysia tells us why this change is much needed and how the public health service can be improved to help those in mental distress.Image credit: Shutterstock
05/04/202311 minutes 33 seconds
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When Sports And Politics Collide

In an ideal world, sports is the neutral arena where individuals or athletes leave their biases behind, and compete on a respectful and level playing field. However reality is often more complex, as illustrated by the fallout in international sport from the war in Ukraine. We discuss what happens when sports and politics intersect with Haresh Deol of the news portal credit: EPA-EFE
05/04/202311 minutes 52 seconds
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End Of The Road In 1MDB-SRC International Appeal

The apex court, in a 4-1 majority decision, dismissed former prime minister Dato' Sri Najib Razak’s bid to review his conviction in the SRC International corruption case. We discuss the legal implications of the decision with Karen Cheah, President of the Malaysian Bar.Image credit: Shutterstock
05/04/202312 minutes 11 seconds
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MM2H A Very Tough Sell

The number of applications for the Malaysia My Second Home programme have plummeted since the government changed the rules in 2022. What should be done to revive interest in MM2H? We ask Andy Davison, Founder and CEO, The Expat Group Media for suggestions.Image credit: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Malaysia
04/04/202311 minutes 27 seconds
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Stormy Weather Ahead For Trump?

Donald Trump became the first former president to be criminally charged after being indicted on 34 counts of falsifying business records in relation to hush money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels. How will these charges affect Trump’s political trajectory leading into elections in 2024? We speak to independent pollster John Zogby for insights.Image credit: EPA-EFE
04/04/202310 minutes 35 seconds
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Mogok Doktor Malaysia, Why They Strike

Since Monday, government hospitals nationwide have been on alert after a group of government doctors announced a three-day strike beginning 3 April. Dr. Ahmad Filza Bin Ismail, chairperson of MMA's Section Concerning House Officers and Medical Officers tells us the demands of this group known as "Mogok Doktor Malaysia" and if solutions have been offered by the government.Image credit: Shutterstock
04/04/202310 minutes 34 seconds
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The Consequences Of Urban Rural Mismatch

Malaysia suffers from the urban rural mismatch resulting from internal migration, like many other countries. But what are the consequences of this and should there be policy measures to correct it. Cha-Ly Koh, CEO & Founder, Urbanmetry gives us her views.Image credit: Shutterstock
03/04/202311 minutes 36 seconds
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OPEC's Oil Cut Has Wide-Ranging Repercussions

In a surprise move, OPEC+ announced further cuts to oil production on Sunday. What are the implications of this for oil prices moving forward? We get analysis from Sean Lim, Regional Oil & Gas Head at RHB Investment Bank.Image credit: Shutterstock
03/04/202310 minutes 50 seconds
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Political Signals From The Melaka Shake-Up

What does the leadership shake-up in the Melaka state government bode for Malaysian politics more broadly? We get analysis from Ben Suffian of the Merdeka CentreImage credit: Facebook
03/04/202313 minutes 27 seconds
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Warming Relations Between China And Malaysia

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim concluded his maiden visit to China over the weekend. This is seen as an important visit as China has been Malaysia’s largest trading partner since 2009. How successful was this visit and what was achieved? Angeline Tan, Researcher in the Foreign Policy and Security Studies Programme at ISIS Malaysia rates it.Image credit: Prime Minister’s Office of Malaysia / Sadiq Asyraf
02/04/20239 minutes 22 seconds
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Regulatory Vacuum On Liquid Nicotine Spells Danger

The government has exempted nicotine from the controlled list of substances under the Poisons Act, paving the way for the nicotine-based products to be taxed. But what are the implications for broader healthcare? We speak to Azrul Khalid of the Galen Centre on why he views this as a potential trigger for a public health crisis in the country.Image credit: Shutterstock
02/04/202313 minutes 9 seconds
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Strengthening The Perception And Reality Of MACC Independence

This week in Parliament, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said that the government is willing to relinquish its discretion in appointing the chief commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to Parliament. How will placing the MACC under the parliamentary purview improve its independence? We discuss measures needed to strengthen the anti-graft body's role with Sudhagaran Stanley of the C4 Center.Image credit: Shutterstock
31/03/202312 minutes 54 seconds
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Malaysian SMEs Cautiously Optimistic, But Headwinds Remain

Malaysia transitioned from a pandemic economy to an endemic one on the 1st of April. How has business sentiment changed in the intervening year - are SMEs more hopeful or anxious about the economic outlook? Datuk Irwin Cheong of Industries Unite reflects on how businesses have been coping post-pandemic.Image credit: Shutterstock
30/03/202311 minutes 36 seconds
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Asian Banks, Relatively Unscathed From Banking Crisis

The repercussions and the speed at which the banking crisis unfolded took many by surprise. On paper, the relatively conventional model of Asia Pacific banks should have shielded the region from some of the market turmoil emanating from such events. However, some second-order effects on the region still remain a concern for the region. Alicia García Herrero, Chief Economist for Asia Pacific at Natixis tells us what we should look out for.Image credit: Shutterstock
30/03/202311 minutes 59 seconds
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BNM: Banking Sector On Even Keel

Bank Negara’s annual report was released yesterday, projecting that Malaysia would reach economic growth of between 4 to 5% this year. But what’s in the fine print? We parse the details of the report, including BNM's assessment of the health of Malaysian banks, with Julia Goh of UOB Malaysia.Image credit: Shutterstock
30/03/202312 minutes 56 seconds
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Breaking Up AliBaba

It’s been a lively week for Alibaba Group, the Chinese e-commerce giant worth 220 billion US dollars. Its boss, Jack Ma made an appearance in China after being absent for 3 years. This was then followed by the shock announcement that it would split into 6 business units, marking the biggest restructuring in the company’s 24 year history. Brock Silvers, CEO, Kaiyuan Capital tells us his views of this.Image credit: AFP
29/03/202311 minutes 16 seconds
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Rocky Road To Recovery For Sri Lanka

Last week Sri Lanka finally secured a USD$3 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after nearly a year of negotiations. Does this IMF bailout signal that the worst is over and how will Sri Lanka rebuild its battered economy? Dr. Chulanee Attanayeke, Research Fellow at the National University of Singapore discusses Sri Lanka's difficult path to recovery.Image credit: Shutterstock
29/03/202312 minutes 4 seconds
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BCX Alone Won't Get Malaysia To Net Zero

The Bursa Carbon Exchange (BCX) was launched in December 2022 as part of national efforts towards reducing carbon emissions. Earlier this month on 16 March, the first auction of carbon credits was conducted involving two products featuring offsets from projects in China and Cambodia. Can the BCX gain traction and help Malaysia achieve its net-zero emissions goal by 2050? Dr. Pieter Stek of the Asia Business School gives us his assessment.Image credit: Shutterstock
29/03/202311 minutes 20 seconds
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PM's Saudi Trip - Mountains Out Of Molehills?

The visit of Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Anwar Ibrahim to Saudi Arabia last week was a golden opportunity to elevate his standing as Muslim statesman, given the strategic importance of relations with the Saudis. However it has instead become political fodder for the opposition, after he met neither the head of state King Salman nor the Prime Minister, Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman during the visit. How damaging is the fallout from this trip for the Prime Minister, especially ahead of the state elections in June? Political analyst Dr. Azmi Hassan weighs in.Image credit: Shutterstock
28/03/202311 minutes 14 seconds
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Burmese Junta's Shambolic Election Plans

The Burmese junta marked the annual Armed Forces Day this week with a military parade and a rare speech by General Min Aung Hlaing, who reiterated the pledge to hold elections when the state of emergency ends. What is the junta's version of democracy and can the international community exert any influence? We discuss the latest developments with Hunter Marston of ANU.Image credit: EPA-EFE
28/03/202311 minutes 40 seconds
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Is Another Highway The Solution To Traffic Woes?

The government is proposing the Petaling Jaya Dispersal Link elevated highway, to disperse traffic from Bandar Utama to Bandar Kinrara as part of the attempt to ease the congestion along the LDP. But is another highway the solution? David Yoong, Chairman, of Stakeholders cum Residents Against PJD Link (SCRAP Highway) gives us the reason why they are against this project.Image credit: Shutterstock
28/03/202313 minutes 14 seconds
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Monopoly, A Game The Government Should Not Play

The government is hard at work to fulfil its election manifesto pledge of dismantling monopolies and putting a stop to profiteering. But are all monopolies bad? Economist, Dr Nungsari A. Radhi gives us that answer whilst we also discuss government appointments at Statutory Bodies and GLICS.Image credit: Shutterstock
27/03/202311 minutes 20 seconds
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Chinese Consumer Sentiment Yet To Gather Steam

There have been high hopes that Chinese consumers will spend with a vengeance once the zero-Covid policy is lifted, providing a much needed boost to China's economy. Have these expectations materialised? We discuss consumer trends in China with Catherine Lim of Bloomberg Intelligence.Image credit: Shutterstock
27/03/202312 minutes 5 seconds
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Amendments To Strengthen The Sexual Offences Against Children Act

The enactment of the Sexual Offences Against Children (SOAC) Act in 2017 was a significant achievement, but the intervening years have revealed shortcomings in the law. Hence the government is proposing to introduce amendments to the SOAC Act to strengthen the child protection framework. Dato' Sri Azalina Othman, Minister for Law & Institutional Reform explains the rationale and implications of the legal changes.Image credit: Shutterstock
27/03/202312 minutes 42 seconds
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PM's Head Scratching Visit To Saudi Arabia

Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Anwar Ibrahim held a three-day official visit to Saudi Arabia last week, coinciding with the start of Ramadhan. However, the visit oddly concluded without any meetings between Anwar Ibrahim with the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman or King Salman Abdul Aziz. Is there anything to read from these developments and what does this bode for the future of Malaysia-Saudi bilateral ties? Middle East expert Dr. James Dorsey weighs in.Image credit: Twitter
26/03/202311 minutes 42 seconds
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US Choking China's Access To Grow Chip Industry

The Biden administration recently unveiled tight new restrictions on operations in China by semiconductor manufacturers that obtain federal funds to build in the U.S. Louise Loo, China Economist at Oxford Economics tells us what impact these raft of measures have on China's attempt to be 70% self sustaining in this critical sector by 2030.Image credit: Shutterstock
26/03/202311 minutes 38 seconds
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Weak Foundations In Housing Policy For Urban Poor

There are serious gaps in the government’s housing policy for the urban poor, as revealed in the latest study by Khazanah Research Institute. We speak to Dr. Suraya Ismail on the main findings of the study and policy recommendations to consider.Image credit: Shutterstock
24/03/202312 minutes
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Don't Count On An UMNO Rejuvenation So Soon

With the recent appointments of Dato Dr. Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki as Secretary General and Azalina Othman as information chief we ask Dr James Chin, Professor of Asian Studies, University of Tasmania whether an UMNO revival will happen anytime soonImage credit: Shutterstock
23/03/202310 minutes 10 seconds
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TikTok The Scapegoat In US-China Geopolitics?

TikTok’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, entered the lion’s den of the US Congress yesterday to argue against banning the app, as some lawmakers are proposing. We get the key takeaways of his testimony and what this means for the broader tech industry with Caitlin Chin of CSIS.Image credit: Shutterstock
23/03/202314 minutes 21 seconds
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Expired Vaccines: A Shot of Wasted Realisation

It was revealed in January that as many as 6 million Covid-19 vaccine shots are left in stock in Malaysia, after expired doses were destroyed due to poor demand. Why is it so tricky to estimate the amount of vaccines needed? Dr Khoo Yoong Khean, Scientific Officer, Duke-NUS Centre for Outbreak Preparedness, talks to us about navigating the balance of ensuring enough stock to tackle any pandemic while ensuring vaccine equity especially for poorer nations.Image credit: Shutterstock
23/03/202311 minutes 27 seconds
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Progress In Parliamentary Select Committee Reforms

The Dewan Rakyat approved the setting up of 10 Parliamentary Special Select Committees to oversee the decisions made by the government across the various ministries. We discuss why initiatives to empower select committees are important with parliamentary researcher Maha Balakrishnan.Image credit: Shutterstock
22/03/202312 minutes 4 seconds
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Mouth And Stomach Issues To Dominate Thai Elections

Thailand is set to hold general elections on May 14. Who will become the next Prime Minister - will it be the incumbent, former military general turned politician Prayuth Chan-ocha? Or would we see the return of a member of the Shinawatra political dynasty? We get insights from Dr. Termsak Chalermpalanupap of the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute.Image credit: EPA-EFE
22/03/202311 minutes 14 seconds
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Making TVET And STEM Sexy And Cool

Can Malaysia's structural problem when it comes to labour, wages and the availability of jobs. be addressed with more of our young embarking on Technical and Vocational Education and Training? The Human Resources Ministry believes this may be the answer as it seeks to restructure these programmes in Malaysia. Dr Niaz Asadullah, Southeast Asia Lead at the Global Labour Organisation and a Professor of Economics, Monash University Malaysia, talks to us about the solutions he envisions.Image credit: Shutterstock
22/03/202313 minutes 22 seconds
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More Investment Needed For Water Sustainability

22nd March marks World Water Day, observed annually by the United Nations to highlight the importance of access to water and sanitation. What investments are needed to ensure sustainable water supply for Malaysia? S. Piarapakaran of the Association of Water and Energy Research gives us his recommendations.Image credit: Shutterstock
21/03/202310 minutes 40 seconds
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Russia And China: United Against America

Although Western countries have attempted to isolate Russia from the global economy, China provides an economic lifeline, with trade between the two countries surging to a record $190 billion US dollars in 2022. What do both sides gain from the alliance? We discuss the key takeaways from the summit between President Vladimir Putin and President Xi Jinping in Moscow this week with Dr. Alexey Muraviev of Curtin University.Image credit: EPA-EFE
21/03/202314 minutes 2 seconds
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Umno Party Elections & Reforms

UMNO's recent party elections saw president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi cementing his grip on the party, with his loyalists sweeping most of the top posts, including two out of three vice-president posts. Ibrahim Suffian, Program Director at Merdeka Centre, helps us analyse what this means for the party's future as Perikatan Nasional seeks to oust Umno's self-declared position as champion of the Malay race and Islam.Image credit: Shutterstock
21/03/202311 minutes 25 seconds
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Touch'n Go's Monopoly Might Be Gone - What This Means

The Works Ministry has announced that the Multi Lane Free-Flow system may be implemented at all highways enabling non-stop toll collection while also allowing users to use payment systems other than Touch'n Go, which is currently the only option. The Transport Ministry also says Touch'n Go might also not be the only option to pay for rides. Alexander Wong, Managing Editor & Co-Founder of SoyaCincau tells us what this means for consumers.Image credit: Shutterstock
20/03/202310 minutes 23 seconds
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Will the Tokyo-Seoul Rapprochement Hold?

Japan and South Korea have long had a frenemy-type relationship as a result of historical grievances. Does the recent visit to Tokyo by President Yoon Suk Yeol herald a new age in their bilateral relations? We discuss the outcome of this landmark visit with Tokyo-based journalist William Pesek.Image credit: Shutterstock
20/03/202312 minutes 8 seconds
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How Exposed Are Malaysian Banks To Global Banking Turmoil?

The SVB banking meltdown in the US sparked a wave of negative sentiment across the world, with banking stocks taking a hit. How much exposure does the Malaysian banking industry have to the crisis? We discuss this with economist Firdaos Rosli.
20/03/202314 minutes 3 seconds
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Empowering the Children's Commissioner

The government is looking to set up an independent commission for children’s rights. What should be the mandate of this body and how will it strengthen the enforcement of child protection legislation? We discuss this with children’s rights advocate Srividhya Ganapathy of CRIB Foundation.Image credit: Bernama & NST
19/03/202311 minutes 55 seconds
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Winners All Around in UK's Spring Budget

UK Chancellor for the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt tabled the Spring Budget last week, touting it as a “budget for growth" as he highlights ambitious plans to revamp childcare, pensions and business investments. We discuss the implications of this for the UK economy and markets with Craig Erlam of OANDA. Photo credit: EPA-EFE
19/03/202311 minutes 58 seconds
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Can The Cabinet Committee Resolve Traffic Woes?

The government recently announced the formation of a Cabinet committee to resolve traffic congestion, as well as an upcoming public transportation framework to address long-standing issues faced by urban commuters. What solutions should the government consider to end the traffic jam nightmare of Klang Valley commuters and improve the effectiveness and experience of Malaysian public transport? Transport expert Wan Agyl Wan Hassan weighs in with his recommendations.Image credit:
17/03/202312 minutes 28 seconds
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Increasing Elderly Population An Upcoming Crisis

How old will you be in 2056? According to the World Bank, 20% of the Malaysian population will be older than 65. What kind of policy measures should be put in place to address Malaysia’s ageing demographic? We discuss the proposal to enact a Senior Citizen Bill with PC Gan of Homage Malaysia.Image credit: Shutterstock
16/03/202311 minutes 41 seconds
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Thai Tourism Sector Buoying Broader Economy

With GDP expanding by 2.6% for the full 2022 year, Thailand posted the slowest growth rate among the major ASEAN economies. As the tourist arrivals pick-up with the reopening of China's borders, how much of a boost will tourism give Thailand’s GDP this year?Image credit:
16/03/202311 minutes 30 seconds
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Tax Reforms For Malaysia - A Prickly Subject

Budget 2023 last month highlighted the need for the government to strengthen its fiscal standing by improving tax collection revenue. However, the issue is how do you expand the tax base? There are suggestions for a luxury goods tax, as well as a capital gains tax. Dr Veerinderjeet Singh, Chairman of Tricor Malaysia breaks down the arguments for us and shares what he thinks about the much-debated GST.Image credit: Shutterstock
16/03/202313 minutes 49 seconds
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New Guidelines On Live Shows Muddy The Industry Further

Malaysia risks losing out in hundreds of millions of ringgit in revenues from concerts and live events which are known to draw foreign tourists to the country. All this because of updated guidelines from PUSPAL, the central authority governing foreign filming and performances, that prohibit events from happening during religious holidays and even how performers are dressed. Rizal Kamal, President of the Arts, Live Festival and Events Association (ALIFE), explains the situation for us.Image credit: Shutterstock
15/03/202310 minutes 58 seconds
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CPO Prices To Soften Ahead

Last year CPO prices at one point reached a record high of over RM6000 ringgit per metric tonne in April, as a result of heightened demand due to the Ukraine war and issues affecting production supply. It’s currently trading at a much more modest RM3970 ringgit, down 4% on a year to date basis. How will CPO prices trend in the months ahead? Alvin Tay of Bloomberg Intelligence discusses the outlook for the sector.Image credit: Shutterstock
15/03/202311 minutes 50 seconds
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More Reforms Progress Expected After State Elections

Given the 10th Prime Minister’s reformist credentials, there are high hopes that his Cabinet will deliver many of the long-awaited changes in political and institutional governance that can strengthen Malaysian democracy. The CSO Platform for Reform, a coalition of 60 civil society organisations in Malaysia, released its 100-day report card this week, assessing Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s performance in the first three months. We speak to Jerald Joseph, Chair of the CSO Platform the highlights and lowlights in reforms.Image credit: Abdul Razak Latif
15/03/202311 minutes 49 seconds
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Transit Oriented Developments: A Chicken & Egg Issue

With another MRT line set to be operational tomorrow, the Klang Valley's transit system is starting to take shape. What will this mean for property development in the region? Should developers build at transit centres or should transit centres be built at where people already are? Datuk NK Tong, the Real Estate & Housing Developers' Association Malaysia's president breaks it down for us.Image credit: Jaggat Rashidi
14/03/202311 minutes 11 seconds
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Crypto Unscathed From Triple Bank Collapse

The banking and crypto-currency sectors faced a triple whammy this past week, with the failure of Silvergate Capital, Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank in quick succession. The three were central banking partners to the crypto sector, acting as conduits between regulated financial institutions, centralised crypto services, and decentralised finance. How much of a setback are these developments for the growth of digital assets? Fintech expert Varun Mittal weighs in.Image credit: Shutterstock
14/03/202311 minutes 21 seconds
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Rethinking Malaysia's Retirement Safety Nets

Last week, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced plans to allow those in dire financial straits to apply for personal loans using their EPF funds as a form of collateral. Would the proposal placate those calling for another round of EPF withdrawals? We discuss ideas to revamp Malaysia's retirement system to address demographic challenges with Dr. Lee Hwok-Aun of the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute.Image credit: Shutterstock
14/03/202314 minutes 1 second
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Bersatu Faithful Rally Behind TSMY

Bersatu conducted their annual general meeting over the weekend, with the party rallying behind beleaguered party president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. How will the corruption charges against Bersatu leaders impact their chances at the state elections? We discuss the scenarios with Adib Zalkapli of BowerGroup Asia.Image credit: Shutterstock
13/03/202310 minutes 52 seconds
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La Renaissance Of France's Pension Plans

France's Senate has passed by a vote of 195 to 112, President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reform plan to raise the retirement age by two years, from 62 to 64. It also proposes to increase the number of years of work required to claim a full pension. This proposal has sparked protests since 2018. Emeritus Professor of History Peter McPhee of the University of Melbourne breaks down how this might impact Macron's Renaissance party's fortunes and the country's social fabric.Image credit: EPA-EFE
13/03/202312 minutes 9 seconds
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SVB Collapse Sign Of Fed's Blindspot

Silicon Valley Bank is the first US bank to collapse in a decade followed by New York's Signature Bank. We ask Christopher Whalen, investment banker and Chairman at Whalen Global Advisors about what gave rise to these fallouts and the key developments to watch out for.Image credit: Shutterstock
13/03/202310 minutes 59 seconds
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Malaysia Tries To Up Its Game To Attract Tourists

Since the reopening of the nation’s border in April last year, Malaysia has recorded more than 10 million tourist arrivals and 28 billion ringgit in tourist receipts but with a ban on luxury tax and shopping inclusion in tourists itinerary, we speak to Nigel Wong, Honorary Treasurer & Spokesperson, Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) to get his perspective on the long term outlookImage credit: Shutterstock
13/03/20239 minutes 12 seconds
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Urgent Investments Required In Airports

Khair Mirza, Managing Partner, Integral Capital helps us answer the question to how should investments be prioritised to ensure that Malaysia’s existing airport infrastructure is improved as well as cater for expansion taking place across the country.Image credit: Shutterstock
12/03/202311 minutes 48 seconds
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Indonesia's EV Ambitions

Indonesia's GDP growth climbed to its strongest in nine years last year, and has been betting big on the EV industry. We ask Anthony Nafte, Senior Economist at CLSA the outlook for ASEAN economies and Indonesia's progress to transform itself to an EV hub.Image credit: Shutterstock
12/03/20239 minutes 22 seconds
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With Muhyiddin Charged, Who Will Fill The PN Leadership Vacuum?

Former Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was charged in the KL High Court today with several counts of corruption under the MACC Act as well as the Anti-Money Laundering Act. What does this mean for the political career of the Pagoh MP and the prospects for the Perikatan Nasional coalition that he leads? Political analyst Dr. Oh Ei Sun weighs in. Image credit: Bernama
10/03/202311 minutes 26 seconds
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BNM Maintains OPR As Economy Cools

Bank Negara’s Monetary Policy Committee maintained the OPR rate at 2.75% in yesterday’s meeting. We parse through BNM’s statement and signals for the economy with Abdul Mui'zz Morhalim, Economist, MIDF Research.Image credit: Shutterstock
10/03/202310 minutes 43 seconds
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Justice Is A Lady: In Support Of More Women Judges

Two years ago, the UN agreed to commemorate March 10th as International Day for Women Judges to raise awareness on the important role of women in the judiciary and legal system. Women make up half of the legal profession in Malaysia, but it wasn’t until recently that we see more women take on prominent roles in senior leadership of the judiciary. Annabel Kok, Partner at RDS Law shares her reflections on gender representation in the Malaysian judiciary.Image credit: Shutterstock
09/03/20239 minutes 23 seconds
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Who Wins In Tech If TikTok Gets Taken Out?

This week, the White House endorsed a bipartisan bill, known as the RESTRICT Act, that could give the President powers to ban or force the sale of foreign-owned technology platforms if they pose a national security threat. The RESTRICT Act would ensnare the TikTok app, owned by Chinese company Bytedance, which is viewed by lawmakers as a possible security backdoor for the CCP government to US data. How are investors reacting to the possibility of a ban on TikTok and which stocks could benefit? Mandeep Singh of Bloomberg Intelligence explains.Image credit: Ascannio
09/03/202314 minutes 7 seconds
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Will The Palm Oil Sector Adapt To New EU Sustainability Standards?

The EU is set to introduce the Deforestation-Free Products Regulation (EUDR) that would require companies to produce a due diligence report with "verifiable" information that commodities such as palm oil, cocoa, soy and timber were not grown on land deforested after 2020. Will the new EUDR become another trade barrier for palm oil when it comes into force and how prepared are Malaysian palm oil players in meeting the standards? Political economist Khor Yu Leng weighs in on what the palm oil industry can do to adapt to new sustainability imperatives.Image credit: Shutterstock
09/03/202311 minutes 31 seconds
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China, China Wherefore Art Thine Economy In 2023

China's National People’s Congress on Sunday saw the world’s second largest economy setting its lowest GDP growth target in decades at 5% for 2023. Beijing has also highlighted uncertain global challenges amid high youth unemployment. Lance Noble, Head of China Reality Research at CLSA, talks to us about where China might be heading, two months after it abandoned its zero-Covid policy and reopened its economy.Image credit: Shutterstock
08/03/20238 minutes 20 seconds
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Political Reforms To Build A Middle Ground

During GE15, there was a considerable increase in support for Perikatan Nasional among the Malay vote base. This has sparked debate on how much opposition parties should be empowered, with measures to level the playing field such as the provision of equal constituency development funding put on hold. Dato' Sri Anwar Ibrahim has long campaigned for political reforms, but will populist concerns and a desire to stay in power affect the pace of progress? We discuss this with political scientist Dr. Wong Chin Huat.Image credit: aizaq abdullah
08/03/202313 minutes 53 seconds
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Does Budget 2023 Provide Enough Catalyst For Malaysia's EV Advancement?

Under the Low Carbon Mobility Blueprint, Malaysia has set a target of achieving 700,000 EVs on the road by 2030 and 10,000 charging stations by 2025. However, given that we're starting from a 2023 base of 2000 EVs and 1000 charging stations, what kind of policies are needed to achieve these goals? Mohd Junaizee Mohd Noor of ZEVA gives us his assessment of Budget 2023 incentives and further measures to grow the Malaysian EV industry.Image credit: Friko Keiro
08/03/202310 minutes 50 seconds
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Women-Focused Budget 2023 Proposals To Chart The Way Forward

It has been a great start so far for Malaysian women in 2023. The Cabinet has agreed to amend the Federal Constitution to confer automatic Malaysian citizenship to children born overseas to Malaysian mothers, the Employment Act was amended to increase the duration of maternity and paternity leave, and Socso will have grants to encourage women to return to work. Louise Tan, Head of Campaigns at the Women’s Aid Organisation also breaks down the hits and misses of Budget 2023.Image credit: Shutterstock
07/03/202311 minutes 21 seconds
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Tackling The She-Cession In Senior Management

The Covid-19 pandemic disproportionately affected women's share of employment, with the share of women in middle and senior leadership positions stagnating. If education and skills levels are comparable, why do women continue to have fewer opportunities for career progression? We discuss the implications of the underutilisation of women in the workforce with Katrina Ell of Moody's Analytics.Image credit: Shutterstock
07/03/202312 minutes 31 seconds
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What's Still Brewing At 1MDB?

Last week, former Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Razak was acquitted by the High Court over the tampering of the 1MDB audit report. Separately, the government announced that a deal had been reached with Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth funds IPIC and its subsidiary Aabar Investments for $1.8 billion US dollars. What's the update on all this and how much can Malaysia recoup from on-going settlements with other parties? For answers, we speak to P. Gunasegaram, independent business writer.Image credit: Shutterstock
07/03/202311 minutes 59 seconds
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Unprecedented Rains Exacerbate Annual Floods

Monsoon season is far from over, as heavy rain in several states wreak havoc in Johor, Pahang and Melaka. At least 5 people have been killed so far, while more than 50,000 people have been forced to evacuate their homes. With climate change creating unprecedented weather events, how can flood risks be better mitigated? We get updates and recommendations from Dato' Dr Ahmad Faizal Mohd Perdaus, President, Mercy Malaysia.Image credit: ahmad faizal
06/03/202310 minutes 40 seconds
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Consensus At Last On International High Seas Treaty

Over the weekend, United Nation member states finally agreed to a text on the first international treaty to protect the high seas. The treaty, which took years of negotiations, is crucial for enforcing the 30x30 pledge made by countries at the UN biodiversity conference in December. What is the significance and implications of the agreement for the conservation of ocean biodiversity? We discuss this with Shantini Guna Rajan of WWF Malaysia. Image credit: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore
06/03/202310 minutes 39 seconds
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EPF Delivers A Commendable Dividend For 2022

The Employee Provident Fund (EPF) declared a dividend rate of 5.35% for conventional savings and 4.75% for Shariah Savings for 2022. This was lower than 2021’s rate of 6.1% and 5.65% respectively. Pankaj C. Kumar, Business Commentator gives us his comments on their performance and how we can rebuild the savings of Malaysia after RM145billion was withdrawn during the pandemic.Image credit: Shutterstock
06/03/202311 minutes 8 seconds
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Did Prime Minister Anwar Ace His First 100 days?

Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Anwar Ibrahim and his unity government have weathered 100 days in office to mixed results. Anwar has managed to marry parties that were once on opposing sides, namely PH and BN, and bring about a degree of stability in Malaysian politics. However with so many political stakeholders to please coupled with the upcoming State elections, the Prime Minister has a lot to ponder about. How will all these developments affect Malaysian politics? For answers, we speak to Dr. Azmi Hassan, Research Fellow, Nusantara Academy of Strategic Research.Image credit: Shutterstock
05/03/202311 minutes 11 seconds
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China‘s NPC Sets 5% GDP Target For 2023 Amidst Headwinds

China’s annual National People’s Congress started yesterday morning, an important political event watched closely that will last until March 13. At the opening, Premier Li Keqiang gave his last government report whilst outlining a gross domestic product (GDP) target of 5% for 2023. Alfredo Montufar-Helu, Head of the China Center for Economics and Business, The Conference Board gives us observations of events so far and on the significant changes in leadership.Image credit: Shutterstock
05/03/202312 minutes 2 seconds
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Bankruptcy, Root Causes And Solutions Needed To Give 2nd Chances

In the revised Budget 2023, Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Anwar Ibrahim said that people who were declared bankrupt deserved a second chance and announced several measures that would provide a lifeline to those who find themselves in these unwanted circumstances. We speak to Linnet Lee, CEO of Financial Planning Association of Malaysia to understand why the rise in bankruptcy cases and what are the possible solutions for this issue.Image credit: Shutterstock
03/03/202311 minutes 12 seconds
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Incentivise State Governments To Prioritise Conservation

Under the revised Budget 2023, the government increased funding for the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change (NRECC) and doubled allocations to the Ecological Fiscal Transfer for Biodiversity Conservation. How far do these measures go to protect the environment and wildlife? On World Wildlife Day, we discuss policy recommendations to improve environmental sustainability with forestry researcher Dr. Lim Teck Wyn.Image credit: Shutterstock
02/03/202311 minutes 26 seconds
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Tesla's Investor Day Fails To Thrill Investors

Tesla CEO Elon Musk presented his long-awaited Master Plan Part 3 during the annual Investor Day conference this week. Musk and his team announced that  assembly costs would be cut by half in future generations of cars, but he did not unveil a small, affordable electric vehicle option as was hoped. What does this bode for the company's outlook? Dan Ives gives us his takeaways from Investor Day and the prospects ahead.Image credit: Shutterstock
02/03/202310 minutes 51 seconds
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PSM On Budget 2023: Longstanding Issues Still Unaddressed

Prime Minister Dato' Sri Anwar Ibrahim has made social justice and tackling inequality a benchmark of his MADANI philosophy. How well do his Budget 2023 initiatives achieve those aims? We get reactions from Dr. Michael Jeyakumar of Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM).Image credit: Shutterstock
02/03/202310 minutes 18 seconds
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Will A Banking "Kill-Switch" Deter Cybercrime Losses?

The government has made tackling cybercrimes a priority, with RM10 million allocated to the National Scam Response Centre in Budget 2023. The Prime Minister has also called for banks to provide a "kill switch" to allow users to freeze their accounts when suspicious transactions are flagged. We speak to cybersecurity expert Dr. Selvakumar Manickam for his recommendations to counter online fraud and scams.Image credit: Shutterstock
01/03/202311 minutes 58 seconds
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Marcos Jr's Reckoning With History

Last Saturday marked the 37th anniversary of the “People Power Revolution” that brought down the late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos after two decades of rule. In a twist of fate, the son of the ousted leader is now the President of the country. How is President Ferdinand "Bong Bong" Marcos contending with his family's contentious legacy? We get insights from political analyst Andrea Chloe Wong, who also shares her views on the state of bilateral ties between Malaysia and the Philippines.Image credit: Twitter
01/03/202310 minutes 40 seconds
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Budget 2023 And The Retail Sector

Budget 2023 introduced a luxury tax which would be implemented this year as a new step to broaden the tax base to those who had the means. However, details on what luxury goods actually are and what rate the tax will be have yet to be finalised. Tan Hai Hsin, Managing Director of Retail Group Malaysia, talks about how the local retail sector might be impacted.Image credit: Shutterstock
01/03/20238 minutes 11 seconds
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Budget 2023: Kudos And Questions On Healthcare Allocation

The Ministry of Health received the second highest budget allocation at RM36.3 billion ringgit, amounting to 9% of the total budget. While generous on paper, does it address the urgent needs of the public healthcare sector for both the short and long-term? Azrul Khalib of the Galen Centre gives us his assessment.  Image credit: Shutterstock
28/02/202312 minutes 13 seconds
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Declining Exports, Worldwide Implications

Export volumes for the Asia Pacific region have been seeing a steady decline as 2022 drew to a close, with China’s exports falling year-on-year in October, for the first time since May 2020. Alex Holmes, Senior Economist at Oxford Economics talks about the scenario going forward as consumption patterns change.Image credit: Shutterstock
28/02/202310 minutes 34 seconds
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Is The Higher Allocation From Budget 2023 Enough To Resuscitate Education?

The Education Ministry received the biggest slice of the Budget 2023 pie with an allocation of 55.2 billion ringgit. Close to 90% of this increase in allocation will be used to upgrade and maintain buildings and amenities of schools. Some other initiatives include distribution of 50 thousand laptops and increase in allocation for several food program to address poverty and malnutrition. So does Budget 2023 help the national education sector realise its potential? For insights, we speak to Shahnaz Al-Sadat, Chairperson, LeapEd ServicesImage credit: Shutterstock
28/02/202312 minutes 37 seconds
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Budget 2023 Goodies For SMEs

There were a plethora of goodies for SMEs in Budget 2023, most notably the cut in corporate tax by 2% to 15%. But does this go far enough in terms of assistance needed? Chin Chee Seong, National Secretary General of the SME Association of Malaysia tells us whilst offering his own suggestions.Image credit: Shutterstock
27/02/202311 minutes 20 seconds
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Can President Erdogan Win A Third Term?

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's popularity was already declining even before the massive earthquakes that hit the country on February 6th, with the economy in the doldrums amplified by the President’s unconventional monetary policies. However the devastation from the disaster, which the World Bank estimates at USD$34 billion, has raised public furor towards the government. What impact might this have on Erdogan's re-election chances? We discuss the political impact of the earthquakes in Türkiye with Middle East expert Dr. James Dorsey.Image credit: EPA-EFE
27/02/202312 minutes 1 second
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Are The State Elections The Biggest Test Of The New Government's Popularity?

PKR announced that the dates of the anticipated 6 state elections will be unveiled before the end of March. The six states are the three PH-controlled Negeri Sembilan, Penang and Selangor, as well as PAS-led Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu. While seat negotiations will be difficult to balance but more importantly, Prime Minister, Anwar will be under pressure to deliver and show that the current government is still relevant. For insights, we speak to Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani, Deputy Managing Director BowerGroupAsia.
27/02/202311 minutes 8 seconds
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Surprise Tax Cuts For The M40 And SMEs

At first glance, Budget 2023 which is the largest in history at RM388.1bn seems at odds when the Prime Minister has repeatedly warned of our mounting debts. We speak to Sim Kwang Gek Country Tax Leader at Deloitte Malaysia for the her views on the new tax regime that offers tax cuts for the M40 whilst raising it for the T20. We also consider if the Government is serious about its net zero target by 2050 by examining the tax cuts and initiatives that support its Green agenda.Brought to you by Mah Sing. Reinvent Spaces. Enhance LifeImage credit: Shutterstock
26/02/202311 minutes 58 seconds
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Can The Government Fund This Budget Comfortably?

Budget 2023 was the highest spending allocation ever at RM 386.1 billion (or 20.4% of GDP) compared to the initial budget tabled last year which was RM 372.2 billion. The revised budget will see the government spending RM289.1 billion on operating expenditure and RM99 billion development expenditure. However, given there was an absence of GST and target rationalisation of subsidies, did this maiden Budget by the Unity Government hit the mark when it came to its objective whilst keeping to its fiscal consolidation promises? For answers, we speak to Julia Goh, Senior Economist, UOB Malaysia.Brought to you by Mah Sing. Reinvent Spaces. Enhance LifeImage credit: Shutterstock
26/02/202310 minutes 48 seconds
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Global Economic Repercussions Of Russia-Ukraine Conflict

The impact of the war in Ukraine has reverberated throughout the global economy, creating energy shortages, disrupting agriculture supply chains and fueling higher prices worldwide. Will these effects linger in 2023 and how much will this dampen global growth? Suan Teck Kin of UOB gives us his analysis.Image credit: Shutterstock
24/02/202312 minutes 25 seconds
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Ukrainian Resolve And Morale Still High

24th February marks the one year anniversary of the war in Ukraine. We speak to Denys Mykhailiuk, Chargé d'Affaires of the Ukrainian Embassy in Malaysia for an update on the situation of the ground, their war efforts and what will bring about peace.Image credit: Shutterstock
24/02/202310 minutes 5 seconds