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KUALA LUMPUR – RAM Rating Services Bhd has revised upwards Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth to 5.2 per cent this year from initial expectation of 4.5 per cent.

In a statement today, the rating agency said, the revision was made after a better-than-expected growth performance of 5.6 per cent in the first quarter of the year as the economic recovery momentum was beginning to show signs of sustainability.

“Most of this upside stems from a positive turnaround in business sentiment, which has brought about more productive capacity building in the form of machinery and equipment investments,” it said. – Bernama

BANGKOK – The Malaysian Army and Royal Thai Army will further enhance existing ties and cooperation through the signing of the Terms of Reference (ToR).

Malaysian Army Chief General Datuk Seri Zulkiple Kassim said ToR would ensure the relationship between the two armies is expanded to include matters outside the General Border Committee (GBC).

“The Terms of Reference will open up more opportunities for both armies to further develop the existing ties and cooperation,” he told Bernama in an interview here Thursday.

He said it included personnel exchanges, social and community activities and joint exercises.

Closer ties between the army of Malaysia and Thailand would benefit the people of both countries,said Zulkiple.

The two sides, according to him, also planned to hold the “Army to Army Talk” programme under the ToR aimed at building closer networking between the army officers of the two countries, especially at the mid level.

He hoped the close relationship and strong network among the mid level army officers of Malaysia and Thailand, that was nurtured through the initiative, would endure and develop further particularly when they become the top brass.

“When they (Malaysian and Thai army officers) become superiors, the networking and ties among themselves will become closer because they are ‘old friends’,” he said.

The memorandum on the ToR was signed during his introductory visit on his Thai counterpart General Chalermchai Sittisart at the Thai Royal Army headquarters yesterday.

Zulkiple assumed the post of Chief of Army on Dec 16 last year.

Thai Royal Army in a statement yesterday said the Army Chiefs of Thailand and Malaysia pledged to improve the exchange of military information between the two countries and conduct joint patrols and checks along the common border.

Cooperation between both countries at the border would curb and fight terrorism threats, illegal border crossings, contraband smuggling, drug trafficking and others, he added.

— BERNAMA

PUTRAJAYA – The inaugural Malaysia-Bangladesh Bilateral Consultations will be held in Dhaka from 15 to 16 May 2017.

The Bilateral Consultations will be co-chaired by the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Malaysia, Dato’ Ramlan Ibrahim, and the Foreign Secretary of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, His Excellency Md. Shahidul Haque. The Bilateral Consultations underlines the strong bilateral relations that have been established since 1972 and will provide an opportunity for both countries to exchange views on a wide range of bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest.

Among the issues that are expected to be discussed during the Bilateral Consultations include trade and investment, human resource, science and technology, and cooperation on tourism, culture, sports and education as well as issues of mutual concern on regional and international cooperation.

Apart from the Bilateral Consultations, Dato’ Ramlan Ibrahim is expected to pay a courtesy call on the Minister of Foreign Affair of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, His Excellency Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, on 16 May 2017.

Malaysia is optimistic that the Bilateral Consultations will further strengthen the existing friendly ties between Malaysia and Bangladesh not only in the areas of bilateral cooperation but also on regional and international issues.

SOURCE : Ministry of Foreign Affairs

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Name : AZREEY ABU KASIM
Assistant Secretary
Division of Communications and Public Diplomacy
Email : [email protected]

–BERNAMA

SYDNEY – Malaysia and Australia will be more committed in addressing cross-border crimes, including on issues pertaining to illegal immigrants involving both countries, through border patrol training, exchange of intelligence information and closer cooperation.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said during his three-day working visit to Australia since Sunday, he had met the relevant Australian leaders to explain that Malaysia was not a transit country for illegal immigrants.

“Malaysia is also facing problems on illegal immigrants, and now there are 56,000 illegal immigrants from Myanmar (Rohingya) in the country,” he told Malaysian reporters before returning to Malaysia Tuesday.

During the visit, Ahmad Zahid paid a courtesy call on Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, as well as met his counter part, Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, Immigration and Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton, Justice Minister Michael Keenan and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

The visit was made to further strengthen bilateral relations between Malaysia and Australia on matters pertaining to illegal immigrants and addressing cross-border crimes.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, said Australia was also interested in the deradicalisation programme on foreigners implemented by Malaysia.

Apart from that, he said, Malaysia would send officers from the relevant agencies to learn the Australian module on its border patrol, especially in curbing cross-border crimes, like smuggling of drugs and weapons, as well as human trafficking.

“All this while there is a perception by Australia that Malaysia is a transit country (for immigrants to enter Australia) and this visit is seen positive at rectifying the perception,” he said.

Ahmad Zahid said he clarified that Malaysia and its neighbouring countries, like Indonesia and Thailand, were committed in addressing issues on illegal immigrants and cross-border crimes.

Malaysia, he said, would also further improve the standard operating procedures (SOP) of agencies involved in border patrol as part of efforts to address cross-border crime.

He said integration among the four Malaysian border agencies, namely the marine police, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), the Royal Malaysian Navy and the Malaysian Border Patrol Agency (AKSEM) would also be enhanced.

— BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V says Malaysia and Bahrain should continue to explore opportunities and potential to increase bilateral trade in strengthening economic relations between the two countries.

He said it was for this purpose that Malaysia was inviting and encouraging the private sectors of both countries to play a more active role in seeking trade and investment opportunities in Malaysia and Bahrain.

“I believe there are still several possibilities to be harnessed together in exploring economic opportunities between the two countries,” he added.

The King said this in his speech at the State Banquet at Istana Negara Monday night, which was held in honour of the King of Bahrain, King Hamad Isa Al Khalifa who is currently in Malaysia for a state visit.

The event held at the Palace Banquet Hall was attended by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and Cabinet ministers including Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein who is also the minister-in-attendance.

Earlier, Sultan Mohammed V held an audience with the Bahrain King at Dewan Seri Maharaja.

Sultan Muhammad V subsequently expressed confidence that the possibilities of potential cooperation were not only through trade and investment.

“In this regard, I am pleased to say that cooperation in the field of defence would continue to strengthen relationship between the two countries,” he said.

Last year, total bilateral trade between Malaysia and Bahrain reached RM861.5 million (US$207.3 million).

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong said a state visit like this, gave both the countries the opportunity to further strengthen cooperation in various fields such as education, tourism and trade, and was pleased to see both countries committed to improving bilateral relations.

“The relationship between both our countries is indeed, good and strong. This visit will further enhance fraternal relations between the two countries as well as personal relationship between the leaders, ” he noted.

Sultan Muhammad V said Malaysia and Bahrain discussed and shared their views on global issues, particularly on universal ummah.

King Hamad who is here at the invitation of Sultan Muhammad V arrived in Malaysia Sunday night for a state visit until May 3.

This visit, which is his first to Malaysia since he ascended the throne on March 6, 1999, is part of his series of visits to Southeast Asian nations.

— BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia’s industrial production is expected to grow stronger
in February 2017 to record 4.9 per cent growth year-on-year compared to
3.5 per cent in January.

According to Moody’s Analytics, a division of Moody’s Corp engaged in
economic research and analysis, Malaysia’s industrial production was likely to
rebound in February after the Lunar New Year-induced slowdown in January.

“Malaysia observes the weeklong holiday so it is faced with temporary
suspensions of production and shipments,” it said in its weekly Asia-Pacific
Economic Preview report here today.

It said Malaysia’s electronics production was upbeat and leading the
manufacturing gains, coinciding with a sustained uptick in the global technology
cycle ahead of product launches later in the year and improved US demand.

The report provides a summary of major economic data expected to be released
next week in Asia-Pacific. — BERNAMA

LANGKAWI – Malaysia has agreed to collaborate with Indonesia, Qatar, Pakistan
and Turkey to strengthen their relationship in facing common new threats.

Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein today said representatives
from the five countries agreed to work together in counterring extremist
ideologies, interoperability of assets and operation transformation.

He said the agreement was reached at a meeting he held yesterday on the
sidelines of the ongoing Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace
Exhibition 2017 (LIMA ’17) here.

It involved Qatar’s State for Defence Affairs Minister, Dr Khalid Mohammad
Al-Attiyah; Turkey’s Deputy National Defence Minister, Suay Alpay; Pakistan
Defence Production Minister, Rana Tanveer Hussain; and Indonesia’s Technology
and Defence Industry Director, Brig-Gen Dr Pieter Ate.

“We are all facing the same challenges, (for instance) prices of oil had
affected Qatar and their (defence) planning. They want to know how we are
managing with that challenge,” he told a press conference after delivering the
keynote address for the LIMA ’17 Chiefs of Navy Round Table Talk here.

Hishammuddin said the agreement was not a mere rhetoric as they planned to
proceed with the formation of a working group who will meet in Istanbul, Turkey
this April before a ministerial-level meeting in Doha, Qatar.

He said the five-nation meeting also came timely after a plan by Malaysia
and Saudi Arabia to form a King Salman International Centre for Global Peace
earlier this month.

“Global movement of moderates could be intesified through the collaboration
of these five countries,” he added.
— BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia has the lowest proportion of senior business roles
held by women in ASEAN, according to a latest report by Grant Thornton.

The 2017 International Business Report (IBR), a survey conducted between
October-December in 2016, revealed that only 24 per cent of senior business
roles were held by women in Malaysia, down from 26 per cent recorded in the 2016
IBR.

Meanwhile, 34 per cent of businesses here have no women in senior
management, up from 31 per cent previously.

The annual survey highlighted that Indonesia had the highest proportion of
senior business roles held by women (46 per cent) followed by Philippines (40
per cent), Thailand (31 per cent) and Singapore (30 per cent).

Grant Thornton Malaysia Country Managing Partner Datuk NK Jasani said
while businesses across ASEAN have increased the proportion of senior roles held
by women, Malaysia was still only half-way there.

“This is a real concern for business growth as it suggests we are not
maximising the potential out there.

“Diversity will be key to their success and those that remain closed are
putting themselves at risk of not tapping their full potential and losing
access to diversity of thinking,” he added.
— BERNAMA

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia and Singapore have signed the High-Speed Rail (HSR) bilateral agreement that will cut travel time between both countries to just 90 minutes.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong witnessed the signing of the landmark deal during the 7th Malaysia-Singapore Leaders’ Retreat here on Tuesday.

The agreement was signed at 5.15pm between Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan and Singapore’s Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi also witnessed the signing ceremony.

The document is a follow-up to the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by both countries on July 19, and outlines further plans and details for the development of the expansive rail project.

The HSR service is targeted to be up and running by 2026 and will cut travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to just 90 minutes, with trains designed to reach maximum speeds of 300km per hour.

The rail line will stretch 350km, with 335km in Malaysia starting from Bandar Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur and 15km in Singapore, ending at Jurong East.

It will have six transit stations in Putrajaya, Seremban, Ayer Keroh, Muar, Batu Pahat and Iskandar Puteri.

The project will be administered by MyHSR Corp Sdn Bhd, which has been incorporated as a company wholly-owned by Malaysia’s Finance Ministry.

Earlier in the afternoon, Najib and Lee held a four-eyed meeting followed by a delegation meeting as part of the leaders’ retreat, an annual event hosted rotationally by both countries.

Also present were Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa as well as other ministers and senior government officials from both countries.

LIMA (Peru) – Cooperation relating to irregular migrants are among the topics covered in bilateral talks between Malaysia and Australia on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in the Peru capital on Saturday.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who met with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, said during the meeting Australia sought the cooperation of Malaysia to curb the refugees issue which was affecting that country following the influx of irregular migrants.

“He (Turnbull) wants to stem this problem of irregular migrants that is related to human trafficking,” he told Malaysian journalists here after attending the first day of the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting.

“Among the cooperation are through the exchange of intelligence reports and interdiction, which is to take action if these irregular migrants passed through the territorial waters,” he said.

Najib said Australia, in the meeting, also expressed the intention to enhance cooperation against serious terrorism threats.

Furthermore, he said the region might face new threats if Mosul fell into the hands of Iraq and lead those fighting under the Daesh banner to return to Southeast Asia.

On thr bilateral meeting with Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, Najib said his counterpart had invited Petronas to look into the possibility of developing onshore natural gas areas for LNG.

“The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea requested Petronas to study these potential investments,” he said, adding that the latter also expressed his satisfaction on Malaysia for being among Papua New Guinea’s biggest investors.

Najib said Papua New Guinea also hoped Malaysia could assist in capacity building in that country’s preparation to host the APEC in 2018. – BERNAMA