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BEIJING – San ren yi tiao xin, huang tu bian cheng jin. This is a Chinese proverb which says that if people are of one heart, even the yellow earth can become gold.

Making Malaysians a people of one heart — a united and confident society — is one of the biggest challenges for Malaysia to achieve the dream of becoming a fully-developed nation by 2020.

But there is hope. Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak believes that China’s “Belt and Road” Initiative provides an enormous opportunity for Malaysia to achieve the status of a developed nation, particularly with the implementation of game-changing infrastructure projects resulting from the initiative.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for us to advance the Malaysian economy together with the Chinese economy,” he said to Malaysian journalists after attending the two-day Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation here.

Najib, however, is perturbed by the claims of some opposition politicians back home that the government is selling the country’s sovereignty by agreeing to projects mooted under the initiative.

“I make no apologies for wanting to build world-class infrastructure for Malaysia that will, with local ownership being preserved, open up huge swathes of our country, bringing more trade and opportunity to our people, thousands of new jobs, improved living standards and prosperity,” the Prime Minister wrote in his article titled ‘Why Malaysia Supports China’s Belt and Road’ that was published by the South China Morning Post on Thursday.

Malaysian Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said he was involved in the Kunming- Singapore railroad project many years ago but it could not take off as there was insufficient funding.

But with the low-cost funding from China, the project has been given a new lifeline.

Liow said there were no arm-twisting tactics or elements of coercion by the Chinese for participating countries to agree to certain proposals.

“It is just a loose arrangement, not rigid. It’s easy and many are comfortable with this kind of joint venture,” he said.

But the key element that helped create the trust and confidence of the Chinese business community was the close relationship between Najib and President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Leqiang.

President Xi told Najib that Malaysia is not just a neighbour but a trusted friend.

Najib said many Malaysian businessmen he met during his visit confided in him that it was much easier now to talk business with their Chinese counterparts.

It was Najib who visited China nine times since 2009 to secure the keys and now the doors are wide open for Malaysian businessmen to negotiate with their potential partners.

During the visit, Najib witnessed the signing of nine memorandums of understanding between Malaysian and Chinese companies with a total investment valued at RM30 billion.

It was all smiles during the signing ceremony, but one person was really beaming — none other than AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes.

AirAsia signed a joint-venture agreement with Everbright Group and the Henan government to establish a low-cost carrier (LCC) with a base in the east-central city of Zhengzhou.

“This is a dream come true to have an opportunity to look at China with a very strong partner in Everbright.

“I’d never believed this would happen. We are all very excited as it is a big step forward for the AirAsia brand,” said Tony.

AirAsia (China) will also invest in aviation infrastructure, including a dedicated LCC terminal at Zhengzhou airport as well as an aviation academy to train pilots, crew and engineers.

AirAsia currently flies to 15 destinations in China.

While Tony Fernandes looks to China, Alibaba Group founder and executive chairman Jack Ma is expected to be in Malaysia again in early October for the launch of the e-fulfillment hub of the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ).

DFTZ will begin operations using the Alibaba Cloud as an e-commerce platform.

Najib said DFTZ was expected to provide a double-digit growth which would contribute to the overall growth of Malaysia’s economy.

“Jack Ma wants to do a lot of things in Malaysia. He has designated Malaysia as the hub for his involvement in the digital economy for the Asean region,” he said.

Before arriving in Beijing on Thursday, Najib made a brief visit to Hangzhou where he met Jack Ma and went on a tour of the Alibaba headquarters.

Najib’s China visit is also bringing investments for Sabah and Sarawak.

Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg witnessed the exchange of an MoU between Yayasan Hartanah Bumiputera Sarawak (YHBS) and a Chinese engineering consortium to develop a methanol and derivatives complex in Tanjung Kidurong, Bintulu.

The proposed plant, estimated to cost US$2 billion (RM8.6 billion), is expected to be completed by 2021.

Sabah will receive an investment of about US$132.5 million (RM572 million) to develop a mixed development project, The Shore, in Kota Kinabalu.

The Malaysian pineapple is also set to penetrate the China market.

And, that’s not all. Malaysian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said efforts are being made to export the jackfruit and durian, especially the ‘musang king’ variety, to China.

One musang king is sold for about RM800 in Hong Kong while one kilogramme of the fruit can fetch RM200 in China.

Ahmad Shabery said he was striving to ensure that the musang king meets the requirements set by the Chinese authorities.

“Perhaps, it may be apt to refer to Malaysia-China relations as the durian diplomacy,” he said in jest.

Najib described the Belt and Road Initiative as a game-changer for the entire region and beyond.

Expanding the Kuantan port and connecting it with Port Klang via the East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) will mean exports from China, particularly Shenzhen, will bypass the busy Singapore port to get to the Straits of Melaka.

In other words, once completed, the ECRL will become an alternative route for goods passing through the South China Sea and the Straits of Melaka.

The opportunities are abundant. Now is the time to “dig the well before we get thirsty”.


GEORGE TOWN – Police have picked up JJ Poor To Rich (JJPTR) founder Johnson Lee (pic) and two of his right-hand men in Petaling Jaya at around 4.30 on Tuesday morning.

Police are expected to release a statement on their arrest soon.

Previously, Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) director Comm Datuk Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani said JJPTR have collected investments of up to RM1.7bil up until now.

Comm Acryl said in a statement last week that following investigations on JJPTR, Bukit Aman’s Anti-Money Laundering squad, CCID, Bank Negara, the Companies Commission of Malaysia, Inland Revenue Department, National Revenue Recovery Enforcement Team and Cyber Security raided eight different locations in Penang.

He said that said the eight locations, several offices and residential units, were believed to be used as offices of the syndicate’s operations.

Comm Acryl Sani said following the raid, 15 workers and four investors have been held for documentation process and questioning.

He added that all of them are aged between 23 and 40.

It is learnt that of the 15 workers held 13 are women while three of the four investors are also women.

All of those held are locals.

“Also seized were seven computers and laptops, cash counting machines, hundreds of JJPTR company documents, televisions, CCTV cameras and RM3,300 cash,” he said in the statement.

Comm Acryl Sani said that action to freeze accounts belonging to JJPTR were also being carried out under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001. – The Star Online

IPOH – More policemen, including officers are expected to be arrested to facilitate investigations into the alleged protection of criminal activities including drug trafficking syndicates.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim said the police would put an end to such activities perpetrated by errant policemen who were in cahoots with the underworld.

He said this following the arrests of 16 policemen, including senior officers, (from the federal police headquarters in Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur) over the past few days over their suspected links to drug traffickers in Kuala Lumpur.

“Based on our investigations and information weaned from interrogation of criminals linked to drug trafficking syndicates, we believe some errant policemen might have leaked information pertaining to police operations and the like,” he added.

Noor Rashid was speaking to reporters after officiating the closing ceremony of the 19th Police Cadet Corps 2017 here today.

On the 16 policemen under custody, he said they were detained for 28 days under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 or (SOSMA).

To facilitate the ongoing investigations, the deputy inspector-general of police did not rule out a reshuffle in the Bukit Aman Narcotics Department. – BERNAMA

PUTRAJAYA – Singapore is expected to reply Malaysia’s bid to review the 2008 International Court of Justice (ICJ) decision on Pulau Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks and South Ledge by June 14.

Malaysia’s Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali said once the application was received, a team of international and local experts led by him, “will see what it is” and respond to the matter accordingly.

He said the review of the ICJ’s decision on Pulau Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks and South Ledge was going on well.

“I have five researchers who are working everyday in London, going through thousands of documents in the archive. They are still doing their work right now,” he told reporters when asked on the status of the review application, after opening the 17th ASEAN Senior Law Officials Meeting (ASLOM), here, today.

On Feb 2, Malaysia applied to revise the international court’s ruling that granted Pulau Batu Puteh to Singapore following the discovery of evidence among some 3,000 documents, which were declassified by the British Government in 2013 that could help the case.

On May 23, 2008, the ICJ ruled that Singapore had sovereignty over Pulau Batu Puteh, which is about 7.7 nautical miles from Tanjung Penyusuh beach, Johor.

Mohamed Apandi had said that Malaysia had found evidence among some 3,000 documents, which were declassified by the British Government in 2013 that could help the country’s case.

On another development, Mohamed Apandi said the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) was expected to wrap up the investigation into the money that flowed from SRC International into the prime minister’s bank account, within a month or earlier.

Reiterating that he had never ordered the investigation to be stopped, Apandi said if there was new evidence that warranted a file to be reopened, the case could be investigated again.

“No further action (NFA) is a normal terminology used by the prosecution to show no further action at the material time. It means that if there is new evidence or any development, we can reopen whatever investigation. Not necessary on 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), but all cases,” he said.

In his opening speech, Mohamed Apandi said ASEAN members should pay tribute to ASLOM for its role in the establishment of communication channels and programmes which had been the essential elements in providing connectivity and networking opportunities among members of the ASEAN civil service and legal community on the ground.

He said that ASLOM’s relevance could be demonstrated through its engagement in non-traditional security issues threatening regional stability such as foreign terrorists and radicalisation, challenges posed by cross-border trade and movement of persons, and the impact of climate change on ASEAN economies and the people’s livelihood.

Mohamed Apandi said ASLOM could be commended for its many success stories, and most notably was its work in mutual assistance in combating transnational crime which included the 2004 conclusion and universal ratification of the Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Among Like-Minded ASEAN Member Countries.

ASEAN law officials had also been the key movers behind the conclusion and recent entry into force of the ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, he added.

Malaysia is hosting the 17th ASLOM from May 14 to 17. – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Eduardo Manuel Martinho Braganza de Vingada, or better known as Nelo Vingada, has been confirmed as head coach and entrusted with the task of bringing Malaysian football out of the wilderness.

The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) said in a statement that the 64-year-old coach from Portugal would arrive in Malaysia on May 25, and his first task would be to prepare the national team for a 2019 Asian Cup qualifier match against North Korea in Pyongyang on June 8.

Vingada’s no-nonsense style of coaching and his direct and dominant assertiveness towards players were the main factors which favoured him as the best choice to be the Malaysian national team head coach.

“I wanted the coach to also be a teacher. With the national team, it is not all about coaching but also to educate our players. With his experience and age, we see him as the best coach to guide the national team to success.

“His work with previous national teams – both youth and senior sides – and the clubs he has coached speak volumes of his work ethics. We look forward to working with Vengada and, hopefully, enjoy new-found success,” said FAM president Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim in the statement.

“After having seen numerous coaches, both local and foreign, doing their stuff, my gut instinct tells me that Vingada is the right man for the job. I may be wrong but only time will tell,” added Tunku Ismail.

Vingada, for his part, said:”I would like to thank Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim for getting in touch with me and then meeting me in Johor recently.

“It will be an honour to coach the Malaysian national team. There is a lot of work to be done and I cannot wait to get started.”

Nicknamed ‘The Professor’ for his astute managerial methods, Vingada started his coaching career as assistant to Carlos Queiroz for the Portugal Under-20 side where the duo led Portugal to back-to-back FIFA Under-20 World Cup successes in 1989 and 1991.

After succeeding Queiroz as head coach, Vingada consistently led the Portuguese Under-20 side to the semi-finals of major events like the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in 1995 and Olympics in 1996.

Vingada, whose managerial career spans 35 years and counting, is a popular figure in the Asian region.

He coached the Saudi Arabia senior side (1996-1997), the Egyptian Olympic team (2004-2005), Jordan national team (2007-2009) and the Iranian Olympic squad (2014).

He also packs a wealth of coaching experience at club level as he led Egyptian Premier League side FC Zamalek and Korean K-League heavyweights FC Seoul to domestic league and Cup triumphs during his tenure with the clubs.

His impressive CV also includes coaching Iranian powerhouse, Persepolis FC, and Chinese Super League side Dalian Shide FC.

His most recent stint was in India where he took NorthEast United FC to fifth placing (just outside the championship play-off spot) in the Indian Super League. – BERNAMA

ISKANDAR PUTERI – Legoland Malaysia Resort will undertake a new project to attract visitors in the form of an aquarium marine life at its theme park here to ensure that more visitors from within and outside the country come to the park.

State Tourism, Trade and Consumerism Committee Chairman Datuk Tee Siew Kiong said Legoland Malaysia had allocated RM50 million to realise the first phase of the project which would begin construction work next week.

“The project, with a family-based theme, promises a new and attractive experience and is implemented on a joint-venture basis with the world’s largest global acquarium entrepreneur, Merlin Entertainment Group and Theme Attaractions.

Ït will be carried out in stages and will take one year for completion.

“Subsequent announcement will be made by Legoland Malaysia in the third quarter of this year,” he told reporters after launching the 40th Anniversary Celebration of Star Wars at the theme park, here today.

Tee said he welcomed such an initiative because one of the development clusters in the Johor Bahru district was to attract more tourists via the theme parks.

At the same time, he also perceived the initiative as a commitment and transformation of Legoland in fulfilling the requirements of the tourism market.

He added that since its opening in 2012, Legoland Malaysia had consistently added attractions and new experiences to the tourists every year, including the introduction of the Water Theme Park, Hotel Legoland, Ninja Go and now, Star Wars.

Accommodation at the hotel had also recorded surplus reservations during the peak seasons such as during the school holidays and public holidays, while on normal days reservations recorded were at 75 per cent.

Tee said that following the encouraging response received, Legoland planned to expand its hotel business in future.

In addition, he urged other tourism product entrepreneurs to always upgrade their attraction capacity to ensure that they were attractive globally.

Meanwhile, Operations Director of Legoland Malaysia Casper Bonavent said the anniversary celebrations for Star Wars began today until May 31.

It presented various activities for participation of the whole family including the Imperial March, Star Wars Miniland Live, Jedi Academy, Spot The Stormtrooper, and Star Wars Trivia Hunt.

LONDON/MADRID – A global cyber attack leveraging hacking tools believed to have been developed by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) has infected tens of thousands of computers in nearly 100 countries, disrupting Britain’s health system, global shipper FedEx and French carmaker Renault.

Cyber extortionists tricked victims into opening malicious malware attachments to spam emails that appeared to contain invoices, job offers, security warnings and other legitimate files.

The ransomware encrypted data on the computers, demanding payments of US$300 (S$421) to US$600 to restore access.

Security researchers said they observed some victims paying via the digital currency bitcoin, although they did not know what per cent had given in to the extortionists.

Researchers with security software maker Avast said they had observed 57,000 infections in 99 countries, with Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan the top targets.

Kaspersky Labs, a Russian cybersecurity firm, said more than 45,000 attacks have been recorded in as many as 74 countries, including Russia, Turkey, Vietnam, the Philippines and Japan.

Asian countries reported no major breaches on Saturday, but officials in the region were scrambling to check and the full extent of the damage may not be known for some time.

China’s official Xinhua news agency said some secondary schools and universities had been affected, without specifying how many or identifying them.

French automaker Renault on Saturday became the latest major organisation to be hit by the massive wave of cyber attacks, the company’s management said.

“We have been affected,” a spokeswoman told AFP, saying they were assessing the situation to try to find a solution. “Work is going on since last night. We are doing what is needed to counter this attack,” she added.

The most disruptive attacks were reported in Britain, where hospitals and clinics were forced to turn away patients after losing access to computers on Friday.

British interior minister Amber Rudd said on Saturday the British government does not yet know who was behind the attack. “We’re not able to tell you who’s behind the attack. That work is still ongoing,” she told BBC radio.

She added that Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre was working with the country’s health service to ensure the attack was contained and limited, while the National Crime Agency was working with them to find out where it came from.

International shipper FedEx Corp said some of its Windows computers were also infected. “We are implementing remediation steps as quickly as possible,” it said in a statement.

Only a small number of US-headquartered organisations were hit because the hackers appear to have begun the campaign by targeting organisations in Europe, said Vikram Thakur, research manager with security software maker Symantec.

By the time they turned their attention to the US, spam filters had identified the new threat and flagged the ransomware-laden emails as malicious, Thakur added.

Infections of the worm appeared to have fallen off significantly after a security researcher bought a domain that the malware was connecting to, by chance undermining the malware’s effectiveness.

A cybersecurity researcher told AFP on Saturday he had accidentally discovered a “kill switch” that can prevent the spread of the ransomware.

The researcher, tweeting as @MalwareTechBlog, said the discovery was accidental, but that registering a domain name used by the malware stops it from spreading. Computers already affected will not be helped by the solution.

However @MalwareTechBlog warned that the “crisis isn’t over” as those behind it “can always change the code and try again”
Making the domain active appears to have stunted the spread of the worm, Thakur said on Saturday.

“The numbers are extremely low and coming down fast,” he said, while cautioning that any change in the original code could lead the worm to flare up again.

The US Department of Homeland Security said late on Friday it was aware of reports of the ransomware, was sharing information with domestic and foreign partners and was ready to lend technical support.

Telecommunications company Telefonica was among many targets in Spain, though it said the attack was limited to some computers on an internal network and had not affected clients or services.

Portugal Telecom and Telefonica Argentina both said they were also targeted.

Private security firms identified the ransomware as a new variant of “WannaCry” that had the ability to automatically spread across large networks by exploiting a known bug in Microsoft’s Windows operating system.

The hackers, who have not come forward to claim responsibility or otherwise been identified, likely made it a“worm”, or self spreading malware, by exploiting a piece of NSA code known as “Eternal Blue” that was released last month by a group known as the Shadow Brokers, researchers with several private cyber security firms said.

“This is one of the largest global ransomware attacks the cyber community has ever seen,” said Rich Barger, director of threat research with Splunk, one of the firms that linked WannaCry to the NSA.

The Shadow Brokers released Eternal Blue as part of a trove of hacking tools that they said belonged to the US spy agency.

Microsoft said it was pushing out automatic Windows updates to defend clients from WannaCry. It issued a patch on March 14 to protect them from Eternal Blue.

“Today our engineers added detection and protection against new malicious software known as Ransom:Win32.WannaCrypt,”Microsoft said in a statement on Friday, adding it was working with customers to provide additional assistance.

The spread of the ransomware capped a week of cyber turmoil in Europe that began the previous week when hackers posted a trove of campaign documents tied to French candidate Emmanuel Macron just before a run-off vote in which he was elected president of France.

On Wednesday, hackers disrupted the websites of several French media companies and aerospace giant Airbus.

Also, the hack happened four weeks before a British general election in which national security and the management of the state-run National Health Service (NHS) are important issues.

Caroline Brennan, 41, went to the hospital to see her brother, who had open heart surgery. “They told us there was a problem.

They said the system was down and that they cannot transfer anyone till the computer system was back up,” Brennan said.

Authorities in Britain have been braced for cyber attacks in the run-up to the vote, as happened during last year’s US election and on the eve of the French vote.

But those attacks – blamed on Russia, which has repeatedly denied them – followed a different modus operandi involving penetrating the accounts of individuals and political organisations and then releasing hacked material online.

On Friday, Russia’s interior and emergencies ministries, as well as its biggest bank, Sberbank, said they were targeted. The interior ministry said on its website that about 1,000 computers had been infected but it had localized the virus.

The emergencies ministry told Russian news agencies it had repelled the cyber attacks while Sberbank said its cyber security systems had prevented viruses from entering its systems.

Although cyber extortion cases have been rising for several years, they have to date affected small-to-mid sized organisations, disrupting services provided by hospitals, police departments, public transport systems and utilities in the United States and Europe.

“Seeing a large telco like Telefonica get hit is going to get everybody worried. Now ransomware is affecting larger companies with more sophisticated security operations,” said Chris Wysopal, chief technology officer with cyber security firm Veracode.

The news is also likely to embolden extortionists when selecting targets, Chris Camacho, chief strategy officer with cyber intelligence firm Flashpoint, said.

In Spain, some big firms took pre-emptive steps to thwart ransomware attacks following a warning from the National Cryptology Centre of “a massive ransomware attack”.

Iberdrola and Gas Natural, along with Vodafone’s unit in Spain, asked staff to turn off computers or cut off internet access in case they had been compromised, representatives from the firms said.

The attacks did not disrupt the provision of services or networks operations of the victims, the Spanish government said in a statement. – Agency

PASIR PUTEH – Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the diversity of religion, culture and race in Malaysia should be celebrated since it has become a catalyst for unity in this country.

The deputy prime minister said the diversity was able to create a good political environment to build peace and prosperity, despite the disagreements which often occur within the community,

“Although we have different opinions, we can still live in harmony and this situation has to be translated into other forms,” ​​he said when launching the ‘Expresi Negaraku’ programme at SMK Sungai Petai here , today.

Also present together with more than 10,000 people were Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamad and Deputy Minister of Communications and Multimedia Datuk Jailani Johari,

Ahmad Zahid said the togetherness that has been forged over the years has made Malaysians to be united against various external elements who are trying to destroy the country.

A good example was the success achieved following the intrusion of Lahad Datu, Sabah by terrorists from a neighbouring country, all because of the spirit of unity within the community.

The home minister said the security forces, especially the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) is constantly monitoring and taking action against those who try to conduct terrorist activities in this country .

On another note, Ahmad Zahid said threats posed by drugs should be taken seriously by the community in an effort to build a bright future for the young generation.

As such, the rehabilitation process involving the use of religion by the National Anti-Drug Agency (AADK), was an additional approach to the existing drug rehabilitation programmes. – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak says he makes no apologies for wanting to build world-class infrastructure for Malaysia despite criticism from the opposition politicians.

Pointing out that some opposition politicians had said the government was selling the country’s sovereignty by agreeing to develop some projects with China, Najib stressed that such projects open up huge swathes of the country.

He said with local ownership being preserved, the infrastructure would bring more trade and opportunity to the people, thousands of new jobs, improved living standards and prosperity.

“In the days of the old Silk Road, those who had wisdom knew that open minds, and borders open to trade, do not compromise sovereignty, but are in the interests of all countries.

“The same is true today, and we welcome investment from all our friends and partners, just as Malaysia, as a seafaring, outward looking nation, proud of its diversity, moderation and tolerance, has always traded with and invested in countries around the world, including China.”

The prime minister said this in his article entitled ‘Why Malaysia supports China’s Belt and Road’ which was published by the South China Morning Post newspaper on Friday.

In the article, he highlighted about his last visit to China which agreements and understandings amounting to RM144 billion had been signed, adding it was a sign of the great confidence that the Chinese investors have in Malaysia.

Najib said although his visit was only a very short time ago, but the results have already been seen, for example the launch of the world’s first “Digital Free Trade Zone” in Kuala Lumpur.

“The littoral mission ships we agreed to buy from China, meanwhile, will provide jobs in both Malaysia and China – as the first two ships are being built in each country – as well as knowledge transfer to Malaysia, and help safeguard the safety and security of all Malaysians.

“That is truly an example of win-win cooperation, and if it is on that basis that the belt and road initiative continues to develop, we should all welcome it. We should all contribute to and participate in it. And we should all wish it every success,” he said.

Meanwhile, Najib who is on a five-day working visit to China to attend the Belt and Road Forum for international cooperation said the forum has an emphasis on mutual discussion, mutual construction and mutual sharing.

“This is greatly welcomed, and I am confident that the agreements many of the participants, including Malaysia, will be signing will set the country on a strong footing for the next phase of this remarkable plan,”

He said the win-win cooperation could be seen in ASEAN when the group considered just some of the game-changing infrastructure project resulting from the Belt and Road Initiative.

“For example, the China-Laos railway; the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway; the Nakhon Ratchasima-Bangkok high-speed railway; and, for us in Malaysia, the East Coast Rail Link,” he said.

Najib explained that the rail line would drive connectivity and economic growth for Malaysia’s underdeveloped east coast, and act as a land-bridge enabling cost- and time-efficient transport of goods between Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

“For, as Asia continues to rise and take a greater place on the world stage, this model will ensure we do so as friends to all, helping those who have been left behind in our own countries and other parts of the world, and open to friends and partners from across the continents.

“This is the Asian Century, so let us ensure that it is marked not by the strife, wars and enmity of past centuries. Let us instead be true to our values of mutual respect, peace, harmony, and non-interference in the affairs of sovereign states.

“Let us forge ahead with the building of new trade routes that diminishes none, but serve to increase the prosperity of all humanity,” he said. – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is confident that the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) will be the new hub of the digital economy, with more Malaysians, both in the rural and urban areas benefiting from it.

He said the DFTZ could definitely learn from China’s e-trade and Alibaba Group’s achievements, adding, it saw the future and was fast in embracing the new way to trade in this 21st century.

“I am impressed with Alibaba’s achievements. In just 13 years, the company s transactions have reached 3 trillion yuan or close to RM1.9 trillion.

“During the Global Shopping Festival last year, Alibaba processed a peak of 175,000 orders per second,” he said in a post on Facebook and Twitter today.

Najib made a brief stopover at Hangzhou today to obtain an insight into the operations of the Alibaba Group.

He also witnessed today the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), the Hangzhou Municipal Government and the Alibaba Group.

The MoU is among the efforts being undertaken by Malaysia to implement the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) project recently launched by Najib and Alibaba Group Executive Chairman Jack Ma, who is also Digital Economy advisor to the Malaysian government.

“With the DFTZ, the ecosystem of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurship will change and be more inclusive. Expect to see an increase in the value chain and 60,000 new jobs,” Najib said.

The DFTZ is aimed at spurring Malaysia’s economic growth by providing cross-border e-trade facilities for small and medium companies, which in the past, found it difficult to penetrate the international market.

It will among others, provide an area at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport Aeropolis for logistics facilities and storage, and efficiently expedite customs and financing procedures. – BERNAMA