Record results consolidate Maybank’s Asean position

Maybank today said it achieved record results for the financial year ended 31 December 2017 (FY17).

Stronger revenue from all its business segments contributed to the results.

Its key overseas markets also did well.

Significantly lower impairment losses and better management of its assets, liabalities also contributed to the results.

Maybank is the fourth largest bank in South East Asia’s by assets.

The bank said its profit before tax (PBT) breached the RM10 billion mark for the first time.

It reached 14.2% higher at RM10.10 billion, compared with the RM8.84 billion a year earlier. 

Net profit also surpassed the RM7 billion level for the first time, rising to a new high of RM7.52 billion.

This was 11.5% more than the RM6.74 billion recorded a year earlier.

For the 4QFY17, PBT came in 1.8% higher at RM2.93 billion from RM2.87 billion in the corresponding year.

Net profit stood at RM2.13 billion compared with the normalised net profit of RM1.74 billion in 4QFY16.

The figures were achieved by eliminating exceptional one-off proceeds from the sale of securities in 2016.

Compared with the preceding 3QFY17, PBT and net profit for 4QFY17 was 9.3% and 5.2% higher respectively.

According to Maybank Chairman, Datuk Mohaiyani Shamsudin, the record performance was achieved in spite of volatility in the external operating environment in 2017.

She credited the bank’s overall strategy for the success.

She said the bank managed risks well, maintained a diversified portfolio, improved efficiency as well as leveraged on digital capabilities.

“This achievement not only underscores our resilience but has also given us a sound platform to sustain the Group’s performance in today’s disruptive environment,” she said.

The Board of Directors has proposed to reward shareholders with a final single-tier dividend of 32 sen per share.

To be made under the Dividend Reinvestment Plan, the proposed dividend will comprise 18 sen per share to be paid in cash.

Together with the 23 sen interim dividend declared earlier, this makes the full year pay-out at RM5.90 billion or 78.5% of net profit and translates into a dividend yield of 5.6%.

The dividend distribution maintains Maybank’s status among banks offering the highest yields in the region.

On the other hand, Group President & CEO, Datuk Abdul Farid Alias said discipline in pricing and a focused execution of business plan helped achieve the record performance.

“This year looks to be equally challenging as 2017 given the volatile markets we saw at the start of the year.

“We remain cautious of sudden shocks to the environment.

“The bank will maintain a prudent approach in pursuing growth by focusing on profitability as well as effective management of costs and liquidity,” he said.

That instead of just pursuing loans growth per se.

He said the bank will continue to see growth opportunities in the different markets it serves.

He said wealth management, digital payments, Islamic banking and insurance are examples.

“We intend to tap into and further strengthen our market share in these segments,” he said.

He added the bank also be relentless in pursuing its digital transformation agenda across its network.

“Especially preparing our employees to keep abreast of the changes that the Industry 4.0 revolution brings.”

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Wedding promo video should get polygamist on the run!

A wedding promo video starts with a father and a son leaving a mosque after prayer. The scene takes place somewhere in Malaysia.

The video is dated December 2017 and was diffused as a promotional item for a wedding festival event.

Well. Polygamists should watch the reaction of the ‘mother’ of the son in the video.

The still here shows a Malay woman wearing ‘tudung’ and holding an eggplant and a big knife. Consequently, the knife is to cut the ‘bringal’ into pieces.

If the idea behind the video was to warn Malay men not to get too excited about their plans to marry a second wife, then it should work. Really.

Watch how the woman cuts the ‘bringal’ into pieces while she tells the son this is the answer to the father’s suggestion that he needed a second wife.

The father tells the son a speaker at the mosque said children should love their mother three folds.

They should then only love their father.

This is well known among Muslims.

That is a child is to love the mother more than the father and it goes as follows.

“Love your mother, your mother, your mother, then love your father,” it goes.

However, the good father tried to divert the essence of the love into a polygamy game.

The dad tells the son to inform the mom that the speaker at the mosque said a son should be good to the parents as follows, by having three moms and one dad.

The son tells the mother, the problem is there is only one mom, thus lacking the other two ‘moms’.

The mother’s reaction is the most hilarious. She cuts the brinjal in three, telling the son to inform the dad about her actions.

She is basically telling the son she will cut the ‘brinjal’ into three if the dad wished to ‘share’ with other women!

The dad understood that he will be the next John Bobbit!

Malaysia-Today is safe in anti-fake news drive

Malaysia-Today will certainly feel safe with a lesser risk of a banishment from Malaysia’s internet regulators.

In the anti-fake news drive, both social media postings and news portals will face banishment.

The internet regulators usually ban sites that are politically sensitive to the Najib Razak regime.

The Malaysia-Today site, once an opposition flagship became turn-coat before the 2013 general elections.

Its sellout played a part in the Anwar Ibrahim’s coalition’s failed bid to secure more seats in Parliament.

The Pakatan Rakyat won the popular votes, but the Umno grabbed seats in the opposition camps in Selangor.

Raja Petra Kamarudin has his own reasons why he diverted from the opposition to support PM Najib.

And it is clear that whoever gives support to the leader will escape the anti-fake news agenda.

RPK will fight tooth and nail to state that his site has never been fake news.

The problem is that his site is filled with anti-Najib stories and commentaries. Are they fake?

Nevertheless, Malaysia-Today remains a pain in the neck for the opposition parties.

In particular, the Chinese-led Democratic Action Party and Tun Mahathir Mohamad.

The current attacks against Malaysian tycoon Robert Kuok is another example how the MT crafts its stories.

Are these stories entirely true?.

But the agenda is to attack the Chinese, though the Chinese community may not give much support to the Barisan.

However, opposition parties will claim – and so does Mr Kuok – that MT stories are fake news.

The point is, will the anti-fake news agenda in Malaysia take into consideration the fake news shared by pro-Government portals?

No one really knows what is in store in the upcoming anti-fake news bill to be table this April in the Malaysian Parliament.

Labour roping Jeeha, Bodha?

Jeeha, Bodha

Labour – PTR

The Jeeha, Bodha deal could become true for the Labour party.

With fissures brewing inside the Labour Party, leader Navin Ramgoolam is on the look-out for new elements.

The political spectrum may also see a major shift.

It may result in the breaking of the MMM, the MSM and Labour.

The PMSD is also going through the same tendency after its massive defeat in December.

It is no secret there is a connection within the MMM that favours an alliance with Labour.

Jeeha was part of that link, WFTV reported.

Jeeha’s link with the Labour appears to be Lormus Bundhoo, former Minister of Health and Quality of Life until December 2014.

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There is also a connection within the Labour that favours alliances with the MMM or the PMSD.

But after the massive victory in December, the party wanted to go alone in the next General Elections.

This might not be possible though with rumours of simmering dispute between NCR and his lieutenants.

News has been around for some time that MSM members and MP’s were planning to jump the ship.

They were in talks with Labour before December. They had a high-level meeting last year (Nov).

With Jeeha, Bodha and MSM members who want to quit the party looking at Labour, NCR may get his reinforcements.

Malaysia-Singapore stock market link to benefit retail investors

The Malaysia-Singapore stock market linking proposal is set to benefit retail investors, in particular, says DBS Group Research.
It has the potential to increase securities revenue for the Singapore Exchange (SGX) and generate interest, particularly among retail investors.”
DBS Group said allowing investors to trade and settle shares in each other’s markets will be a big change.
It will make the initiative different from the Central Order Limit Book (CLOB) set up in 1990.
 
The SGX and Bursa Malaysia (BM) are set to be connected by a trading link by the end of this year.
It will allow investors to trade and settle shares in both markets in a more convenient and cost-efficient way.
 
CLOB closed less than a decade later after it was deemed to be an “illegal market” by the Malaysian government.
 
“Retail investors, who unlike funds, may not already have their own access to multiple markets through existing channels may benefit,” DBS Group said.
 

The trading of Malaysian shares

The trading of Malaysian shares represented about a fifth of average monthly turnover on SGX between January-August 1998.
While it is too early to gauge the real-time benefits, every 1 per cent increase in securities daily average trading value would increase securities revenues by 0.9 per cent and net profit by 0.4 per cent, said DBS.
 
Similarly, CIMB Research said that the initiative would likely benefit retail participants more than institutional investors.
 
Similar sectors and companies listed on the SGX trading at lower valuations than their peers on Bursa could be potential beneficiaries.
 
“If successful, this BM-SGX trading link could result in higher trade turnover, replicating the success of the Hong Kong-China stock connect, said CIMB.
It cited higher cross-border trading and investment flows as an example.
 
Both brokerages noted that the Asean Trading Link started in 2012 had not been successful.
 
But lessons drawn from the failed Asean Trade Link should propel better coordination between both governments going forward.
With the arrangement being a government-to-government effort, this implies a higher possibility of success, said DBS.
 
Both have a “buy” rating on the SGX.
DBS has pinned a target price of S$8.90 on the stock, while CIMB carries a target price of S$8.50.

Singapore’s GST imposed on overseas vendors

Singapore’s GST will be imposed on foreign vendors in a new formula that imposes GST on imported services.

However, the new goods and services tax formula on imported services will take effect in 2020.

It was announced in the Budget 2018 by the Minister for Finance of Singapore, Mr Heng Swee Keat last week.

“The Budget 2018, in summary, was all about increasing government revenue via higher taxes in order to pay for rising spending needs.

“On a brighter side, the budget reflects the Singaporean government’s efforts to address inequality in Singapore.

“As well as to improve quality of life,” said Lawrence Chai Managing Director of 3E Accounting.

 

Lawrence Chai

Introduction of GST on Imported Services
The new tax system will impact two types of services:

1. business-to-business (B2B), such as marketing services, accounting services and IT services; and

2. business-to-consumer (B2C), including video and music streaming services, apps, and online subscription fees.

However, the GST does not affect e-commerce for goods such as online shopping.

In addition, overseas suppliers, which have establishments in Singapore, do not need to pay the new tax.

B2C imported services will pay the tax as part of a new overseas vendor registration model.

Whereas B2B imported services will be levied through a reverse charge mechanism.

Reverse charges and overseas vendor registration are common in countries that implement GST on imported services.

Some of these countries are Australia, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.

The reverse charge only applies to businesses that:

(i) make exempt supplies, or (ii) do not make any taxable supplies.

On the other hand, the taxation of B2C imported services will take effect via an Overseas Vendor Registration (OVR) model.

Who will have to register to IRAS for GST?

They are overseas suppliers and electronic marketplace operators, which make significant supplies of digital services to local consumers.

Turmoil in MMM and Labour rock Port Louis

Turmoil within the MMM and Labour party caught our attention today.

The Labour Party, fresh from its December 2017 victory, has plunged into sudden confusion.

On its part, the MMM has seen a lingering issue take an expected turn.

The resignation of Pradeep Jeeha from the Policy Council and from other committees is good for the party, a source said.

The source says the next expected turn of events is the complete exit of Jeeha from the MMM.

However, Jeeha’s exit will have ramifications within the Labour Party too.

It is no secret there is a connection within the MMM that favours an alliance with Labour.

Jeeha was part of that link, WFTV reported.

Jeeha’s link with the Labour appears to be Lormus Bundhoo, former Minister of Health and Quality of Life until December 2014.

While Jeeha pushed for talks with the Labour Paul Berenger was in discussion with Sir Aneerood Jugnauth.

“Jeeha’s lost for the MMM may turn out to be Labour’s win. But the political impact will be minimal,” said our source.

The WFTV revelations of a sabotage of Navin Ramgoolam’s leadership is weighing deep.

Not to mention that Ramgoolam does not seem to see Arvind Boolell with a good eye.

The eternal Labour leader also has aversion to other VPs. Including the likes of Anil Baichoo, Yatim Varma and so on.

Is Ramgoolam in talks with Jeeha?

We have no idea, but our source says Jeeha has already negotiated his seat with Labour.

Two weeks ago, WFTV said Jeeha was in a delicate position in the MMM. This has proven its worth with this weekend’s events.

In the light of these events, we expect a split within the MMM but also within the Labour.

About the Labour’s turmoil, it is possible that another push to oust Ramgoolam is in the making.

We will get back to this sooner than later.

It is important to realise that the turmoil within Labour has to do with the current state of affairs in India.

We will get back on this issue too, soon!

Psychotropic hot-spot: Mauritius pharmacies blamed!

psychotropic hot-spot

Dinally and Thomas receiving the Prix Nicolas Lambert 2017 award

Pharmacies in Mauritius are put into a psychotropic hot-spot by a report in a local newspaper, Le Dimanche/L’Hebdo.

The story relates to the fight against the traffic of psychotropic drugs in pharmacies.

The reaction from the authorities were immediate, said Eshan Dinally, the journalist who investigated the issue.

WFTV asked Dinally how did his article contribute to the busting of the drug business?

“Once the article published in the weekly Le Dimanche/L’Hebdo in October 2017, the Ministry of Health has reacted promptly.

“The Minister of Health called me to say he will do his best to put an end to this traffic,” he said.

Dinally said an an ad-hoc Committee was set up to decide on measures to be taken to fight the traffic.

It took less than a week to implement a series of measures. It really put the pharmacies in the  psychotropic hot-spot.

A Pharmacy Squad then carried surprise checks.

“Up to now, some 50 random checks have been done and the licence of six pharmacies has been suspended. This is prior to investigation by the Pharmacy Council and the police.

“The Ministry of Health is adamant on the respect of all regulation related to the sale of psychotropic drugs in pharmacies.”

Was it an investigative job?

According to Dinally the team did the investigative job over a month long period.

Additionally, he was assisted by a young colleague Fernando Thomas.

“We began the investigation by contacting pharmacists and employees of pharmacy not to talk about traffic.

“We did not want to antagonize them but we talk about the trend of sale of psychotropic drugs.”

“This trick was far from being a shield for us because some pharmacists. Mostly those involved in the traffic, suspected we were fishing for inside news,” he said.

On the contrary, he said, this exercise has enabled the team to separate the wheat from the chaff.

“By knowing who to trust and who to be wary of in the process of collection of information.

“Honest pharmacists and employees of pharmacies have exposed to us the mechanism of this traffic,” he told WFTV.

Furthermore the traffic he says consist of the sale of psychotropic drugs without prescriptions from a doctor.

On the black market, the prices rocks up to ten times.

“Then we moved to the second step of the investigation which is crucial consisting of
verifying all information received.

“We take on board some drug addicts in order to witness how it is easy to buy psychotropic drugs in pharmacies without prescription which is mandatory according to Regulations of the Ministry of Health.

“After this investigation on the field, we revert back to honest pharmacists to compare notes.”

However, to minimize the opportunities of abuse, a restricted number of psychotropic drug is provided per pharmacy.

Dinally told WFTV of the three outcomes of the investigation:
1.There is a complicity between doctors and drug addicts. Against payment, some doctors prescribe
psychotropic drugs to drug addicts.

2. Complicity between doctors and pharmacist. Against payment, some doctors provide for the need of records false prescription to pharmacists to match the drugs sold without prescriptions.

3. Complicity between pharmacists. Some pharmacists who project the image of Mr Clean sold psychotropic drugs to pharmacies when there is high demand.

Indeed, more is to come on this topic as we will keep an eye on the progress made in this psychotropic hot-spot story.

However, WFTV can say in advance the problem will not go away that easily.

New Mercedes-Benz NZ Wheels Klang Autohaus launched

NZ Wheels Klang Autohaus launched: Naza Corporation Holdings Sdn Bhd, Joint Group Executive Chairman, Nasarudin SM Nasimuddin at the launch

Klang, 26 Feb 2018 – Mercedes-Benz Malaysia together with authorised dealer, NZ Wheels, yesterday unveiled the Mercedes-Benz NZ Wheels Klang Autohaus. 

Mercedes-Benz NZ Wheels Klang features the first separate facility for a Mercedes-Benz Proven Exclusivity centre in Malaysia.

it is a dedicated space for customers to view and test drive an extensive range of certified pre-owned Mercedes-Benz cars located adjacent to the Autohaus.

“We congratulate our dealer partner NZ Wheels on the official launch of the Mercedes-Benz NZ Wheels Klang Autohaus. This latest Autohaus demonstrates our continuous commitment to the Malaysian market, our customers and our fans.

“As we remain focused on providing our customers with the Best Products and Best Customer Experience, we will also continue expanding customer touchpoints nationwide, investing in developing key areas including talent, technology, production and services,” said Mercedes-Benz Malaysia President and CEO, Dr Claus Weidner.

From left: Mercedes-Benz Malaysia, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Passenger Cars, Mark Raine Mercedes-Benz Malaysia, Vice President, After Sales, Heinrich Schromm Mercedes-Benz Malaysia, President and CEO, Dr Claus Weidner Naza Corporation Holdings Sdn Bhd, Joint Group Executive Chairman, Mr Nasarudin SM Nasimuddin Naza Corporation Holdings Sdn Bhd, Automotive Group, Group CEO, Dato’ Samson Anand George NZ Wheels Sdn Bhd, Vice President I, Thoo Ai Wuen

A total of RM6 million was invested in upgrading the Mercedes-Benz NZ Wheels Klang Autohaus to now be compliant with the Mercedes-Benz Presentation System II (MPS II) autohaus concept, the global Autohaus benchmark of customer experience, complete with the new Mercedes-Benz Corporate Identity (CI).

The new Mercedes-Benz CI goes beyond merely serving as a design concept, it also improves orientation to the customer, supports consulting discussions and naturally underlines the values of the Mercedes-Benz brand as the No. 1 premium automotive brand in the world.

With a total built-up area of almost 320,000 sq. ft., the NZ Wheels Klang Autohaus has a total display capacity of 17 vehicles — three of which are Mercedes-AMG cars at the AMG Performance Centre, and is managed by around 70 personnel across sales, technical services and spare parts functions.

A full-fledged 3S centre, the Autohaus is equipped with 30 work bays, capable of servicing up to approximately 650 vehicles a month, providing general and specialised repair solutions.

Speaking at the official launch event, NZ Wheels Sdn Bhd Group Chief Executive Officer, Automotive Group, Datuk Samson Anand George, said: “With the update of the NZ Wheels Klang Autohaus to the highest Mercedes-Benz standards and latest corporate identity, NZ Wheels reaffirms its presence as a steadfast and passionate Mercedes-Benz dealer.

“Having upgraded our sales and service facilities, we are confident that our customers in Klang and nearby areas will receive no less than the best care that is synonymous with the Mercedes-Benz three-pointed star.

 

State firms to go bankrupt without secret bailout

Photo credit – Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas: State firms bailout is of great concern to Malaysia’s debt

State firms in Malaysia are not doing well. Thus government is pumping money to save them from bankruptcy.

This is what a Straits Times Singapore article suggested.

These “off the books” bailouts are secret in nature.

On the other hand, these transactions are less transparent in the national Budget statements.

In other words, there are good reasons for the secrecy.

Nevertheless, the names of the state firms are not in the Budget statements.

Comparatively, those undisclosed government payments are helping state firms from insolvency.

On top of that, the Finance Ministry does not record these payments as debt service.

They are under obscure items such as “strategic sector payments” and “other repayments”.

These two items will amount to RM8 billion this year, or 3.3 per cent of revenue.

According to disclosures made to Parliament, RM4 billion is for “PFI repayment”.

Since 2006, the government leased land worth RM30 billion in stages to Pembinaan PFI.

This was done for a nominal sum.

The reason behind was for PFI to obtain loans to fund projects such as the building of schools and hospitals.

The government then injects money back into PFI so that it can repay its debt.

Another example is the National Higher Education Fund Corporation.

Tasked with helping the Malaysians finance tertiary education, it receives government grants worth nearly RM2 billion annually.

Among the loss making entities there is the National public transport firm Prasarana.

In 2016 it’s annual losses spiked to RM2.1 billion.

Part were due to RM644 million in financing costs.

The government has injected fresh capital from time to time, including RM2.2 billion in 2013.

Accumulated losses of RM8.3 billion surpassed a total outlay of RM7.3 billion.

Experts say Malaysia needs more development expenditure, not operating expenditure.

The country must invest in needed infrastructure and human resources development.