Finance Ministry launches Sukuk Prihatin, Malaysia’s first digital sukuk

The government has launched the RM500 million Sukuk Prihatin which aims to raise funds from the public and corporates who wish to help contribute towards the Covid-19 Fund. Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the Sukuk Prihatin was part of the 6R initiative launched by the government to help tackle issues faced during the Covid-19 pandemic. He said the fund raised from the bottom up initiative would be used to modernise telecommunications network in the rural area to help students get access to education through digital channels. It is also to provide further assistance to the micro, small and medium enterprises, as well as the healthcare sector’s research on infectious diseases. The ceremony was witnessed by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah. Also present were Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Tengku Abdul Aziz and Bank Negara Malaysia governor Datuk Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus. Tengku Zafrul said the shariah-compliant sukuk was the first of its kind that are open to be subscribed by the public and corporates via online banking channels. The two banking channels are JomPAY and DuitNow. He said the minimum subscription for the first investment is RM500 with an interest of 2% per annum for a tenure of two years. Interest will be credited to subscribers or investors account every quarter for the period of the tenure. After the tenure ends, subscribers or investors can opt to fully donate the interest to Covid-19 Fund and will be given a tax relief depending on the size of the donation. (NST Online)

Malaysia sees fifth billionaire created from Covid-19 pandemic

Malaysia has seen its share of fortunes made from palm oil, property and banking empires that stretch back decades. That was until Covid-19, when the country’s low-key rubber industry – or more precisely, glove making – became one of the hottest on the planet. Wong Teek Son, who co-founded Riverstone in the 1980s after working as a research chemist, last month became the fifth billionaire in the country from manufacturing gloves. He’s now worth US$1.2 billion (RM5 billion) as shares of his company rallied almost six-fold from a low in March, thanks to growing demand for protective products during the coronavirus pandemic. A Riverstone spokesman declined to comment on Wong’s net worth. Even though a vaccine may not result in lower demand for gloves, investors may sell their shares in anticipation that it’ll reduce the number of cases, an analyst noted. When it comes to glove-making, Malaysia is king: It produces about 65% of the world’s supply for rubber gloves, and the Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry estimates exports will climb 45% this year. (NST Online)

MCMC and MyCC jointly address exclusivity arrangements in high-rise buildings

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and the Malaysia Competition Commission (MyCC) commit to cooperate in addressing exclusivity arrangements between telecommunications service providers and property developers in high-rise buildings following several complaints from the public. MCMC and MyCC viewed this matter seriously as it deprives the end-users of choosing their preferred telecommunications service providers, leads to high prices and poor quality for broadband services. MCMC and MyCC believe that this collaboration will result in long-term benefits for end-users, who can select service providers of their choice based on prices or quality of service. MCMC has recently published a guideline entitled “Garis Panduan Perancangan Infrastruktur Komunikasi, (GPP-I)” to facilitate the planning and development of communications infrastructure in new property developments, which prohibits exclusive arrangements between telecommunications service providers and property developers or building management companies. (The Edge)

After ‘worst recession’ in Malaysia’s history, strong economic recovery expected in 2021

Malaysia economic recovery in the second half of this year is expected to be gradual before bouncing back on its feet next year, having experienced the its “worst recession” recently, the Fitch Group’s research unit said. It revised its forecast of real GDP or economic growth for Malaysia at -4.5% for 2020, down from the previous figures of -2.8%. It also revised its 2021 forecast for Malaysia’s real GDP from the previous 5.7% to a more positive 6.3%. The research unit also expected ‘a recovery, albeit slow and fragile, is set to commence in 2H20’, in line with the relaxing of MCO measures that are expected to be further eased over the coming months. And for 2021, Malaysia is expected to record strong recovery in economic growth with the expected lifting of more restrictions on domestic movement and international travel. However, it warned that the emergence of a second wave of infections, both in Malaysia and major economies such as China and the US, “remain the key downside risk to our 2020 and 2021 forecasts.” (Malay Mail)

Vaccination not mandatory for children

The Health Ministry will not use legal means to ensure mandatory vaccination for children in Malaysia. A task force was formed last year to look into all aspects of ensuring mandatory vaccination for children. Stakeholders from various ministries, government and private agencies as well as non-governmental organisations were asked to contribute their feedback. “After looking at the implementation as well as implications in using legal methods to make it compulsory for children to be immunised in Malaysia, the Health Ministry had decided not to make it mandatory… Instead, the approach taken will be to improve and enhance the current delivery service, which includes increase in tracing of cases, educational approaches and promotions,” said the ministry. The ministry said the five-line (DtaP/IPV/HiB) vaccination shots begun in 2008 to provide protection against five types of diseases – diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, poliomyelitis as well as Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib). (The Star Online)