Monthly Archives: December 2019

Detailed Disclosure of International Reserves as at end-November 2019

In accordance with the IMF SDDS format, the detailed breakdown of international reserves provides forward-looking information on the size, composition and usability of reserves and other foreign currency assets, and the expected and potential future inflows and outflows of foreign exchange of the Federal Government and Bank Negara Malaysia over the next 12-month period.

The detailed breakdown of international reserves based on the SDDS format is shown in Tables I, II, III and IV. As shown in Table I, official reserve assets amounted to USD103,172.2 million, while other foreign currency assets amounted to USD61.8 million as at end-November 2019. As shown in Table II, for the next 12 months, the pre-determined short-term outflows of foreign currency loans, securities and deposits, which include among others, scheduled repayment of external borrowings by the Government and repayment arising from the maturity of foreign currency Bank Negara Interbank Bills, amount to USD4,981.4 million. The short forward positions amounted to USD13,273.3 million as at end-November 2019, reflecting the management of ringgit liquidity in the money market. In line with the practice adopted since April 2006, the data excludes projected foreign currency inflows arising from interest income and the drawdown of project loans amounting to USD2,572.0 million in the next 12 months.As shown in Table III, the only contingent short-term net drain on foreign currency assets are Government guarantees of foreign currency debt due within one year, amounting to USD336.6 million. There are no foreign currency loans with embedded options, no undrawn, unconditional credit lines provided by or to other central banks, international organisations, banks and other financial institutions. Bank Negara Malaysia also does not engage in foreign currency options vis-A�-vis ringgit.

Overall, the detailed breakdown of international reserves under the IMF SDDS format indicates that as at end-November 2019, Malaysia’s reserves remain usable.

Source: Bank Negara Malaysia

“Shared prosperity” framework as the compass for Malaysia’s national planning

KUALA LUMPUR, As we approach the dawn of a new decade, Malaysia will rely on its next big picture of foresight to be an important guide and compass for the country’s national planning over the next 10 years.

The Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 (SPV2030) is the next projection of goals which, after taking over the baton from Vision 2020, will ultimately become the new framework for a more developed nation.

Launched by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad last October, SPV2030 breathes a simple yet refreshing narrative in describing the government’s effort to restructure the economy in order to afford everyone a reasonable standard of living by 2030.

Being an already successful trading nation and an Asian Tiger, Malaysia needs to address the pertinent bread and butter issues at home, especially a widening economic and income disparity that can lead to feelings of insecurity and contempt.

A collective effort is always needed to make any country prosperous, but a trust deficit among the people anywhere in the world will certainly eclipse successfully implemented programmmes or ongoing ones, and this is certainly not beneficial to anybody.

The SPV2030 will focus on creating a high-value, high-technology economy as well as diversifying resources and growth potential, while concurrently creating an agreeable policy and comfort level in the country’s economic direction to unite the people.

Minister of Economic Affairs Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said the SPV2030 blueprint will provide the turbocharge needed to boost the country’s economic development.

This, in turn, will elevate Malaysia into a higher-income nation and increase the people’s purchasing power.

To achieve this over the next decade, the government will underscore its economic undertaking by developing new growth areas to generate wealth by creating business opportunities and high-paying jobs.

This will ensure an inclusive, sustainable and meaningful socio-economic development that can provide a decent standard of living for all Malaysians, and will be operationalised through the Twelfth Malaysia Plan (2021-2025) and the Thirteenth Malaysia Plan (2026-2030).

To reach this goal, the Pakatan Harapan government has gleaned the aspirations of the rakyat since coming into power in May 2018 and outlined three key objectives going forward.

The first is by reshaping the economy to be knowledge-based so that all groups can participate at each level, and develop it together to be more progressive.

Secondly is to address the income gap which is to leave no one behind, and this takes into account the differences in ethnicity, social standing, as well as the various regions within Malaysia.

The third is a culmination of the previous two, in order to forge a more united and prosperous Malaysia to be the new centre of Asia.

At the same time, the government remains vigilant and continues to focus on strengthening Malaysia’s near-term resilience and advancing structural reforms to boost medium-term growth.

Hence, the country’s potential will further be optimised by strengthening productivity and innovation as catalysts of growth.

Prominence will also be given to the manufacturing sector to produce higher quality, more diverse and complex products.

In this regard, the focus is to strengthen areas with high growth potential such as aerospace, medical devices, electrical and electronics, machinery and equipment, as well as chemicals and chemical products.

Similarly, the development and modernisation of the resource-based industries through research, development, commercialisation and innovation initiatives will also be given priority.

Noteworthy are the concerted efforts from most ministries in laying the foundation of the SPV2030 objectives.

Among others and as part of Budget 2020, the Ministry of Finance had announced through Khazanah Nasional of the participating e-wallet service providers for the e-Tunai Rakyat initiative.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the e-Tunai Rakyat programme is in line with the government’s Shared Prosperity agenda, which aims to lower barriers to access digital technology and to make the digitalisation process inclusive for all.

The Health Ministry will also table a new policy, known as ‘Dasar Sihat Bersama 2030’ (Healthy Together 2030), as its main agenda in transforming the country’s health system in line with SPV 2030.

Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad said the long-term policy is the health sector’s version of the Shared Prosperity, involving comprehensive and holistic plans of improvement for both public and private health care.

Dr Mahathir, who described SPV2030 as a vision and a gift for the current generation and generations to come, has also shared the framework on the international front.

The premier has called on Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies to embrace the shared prosperity philosophy and incorporate it into their own current economic model.

As it will play host to APEC 2020, Malaysia has chosen the theme Optimising Human Potential towards a Future of Shared Prosperity for next year’s gathering, indicating the importance of a shared prosperity philosophy.

Malaysia would definitely like to see the concept of shared prosperity driving the Post-2020 Vision for APEC and that it cascades to every work that APEC undertakes moving beyond the Bogor Goals, on top of continuing the work on women in the economy, financial inclusion, engaging youth and sustainable development.

We will also continue creating a conducive environment for entrepreneurs, start-ups and social enterprises, as all these elements are critical components of a system that will contribute to shared prosperity, according to the Prime Minister during the launch of APEC 2020.

Azmin also promoted Malaysia’s SPV2030 during the recently concluded KL Summit in order to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.

Within the Southeast Asian region, Malaysia has worked tirelessly to forge strategic alliances on the back of the Prosper Thy Neighbour doctrine that promotes the principles of Shared Prosperity.

He had encouraged other Muslim countries to create a framework akin to SPV2030 as such alliances will create stability in the region, along with opportunities to invest and create new jobs and wealth.

For the new economic model to be implemented well and with fairness and justice, it is vital to note that shared prosperity is not only about giving but also creating opportunities that can propel Malaysia into a developed country that is sustainable and inclusive.

Source: Prime Minister’s Office of Malaysia

2019: M’sian govt works consistently to solve bilateral issues with Singapore

SINGAPORE, An encapsulation of several events in the year 2019 has shown that bilateral relations between Malaysia and Singapore, under the Pakatan Harapan administration, is dynamic and strong amidst outstanding bilateral issues that need to be resolved.

In the spirit of cooperation, a series of negotiations are ongoing between the two countries, with progress seen in some issues.

Separated by about 1km by the Johor Causeway, Malaysia and Singapore are working closely to resolve several matters such as those pertaining to the airspace and the maritime as well as the 1962 Water Agreement.

Under the Pakatan Harapan government, the new administration has also relooked at two rail transport projects connecting Singapore and Johor Bahru via the Rapid Transit System (RTS) and Singapore-Kuala Lumpur via the High Speed Rail (HSR), with the aim of reducing the costs.

LEADERS

The strong bond is evident when Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad accepted the invitation of his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong to attend the Bicentennial National Day Parade on Aug 9, 2019.

Wisma Putra said the visit of Dr Mahathir symbolised the close link between the two countries as both enjoy 54 years of diplomatic ties and have maintained good relations as closest neighbours as well as partners in ASEAN.

Dr Mahathir was also here for a two-day official visit in November 2018, joining nine other heads of government for the 33rd ASEAN Summit.

Lee, meanwhile, was in Putrajaya in April 2019 for discussions under the framework of the 9th Malaysia-Singapore Leaders’ Retreat.

Lee visited Malaysia on May 19, 2018, to personally congratulate Dr Mahathir soon after the latter was sworn in as Prime Minister.

RAIL TRANSPORTATION

There was good progress related to the RTS as Malaysia has decided to proceed with the cross-border project with proposals to amend it and reduce its costs by 36 per cent.

It was announced by Dr Mahathir on Oct 31, 2019 while he was in Johor.

With the proposed changes, the total cost of the 4km rail project will cost about RM3.16 billion instead of RM4.93 billion.

As for the fate of HSR, it will be known by the end of May 2020.

On Sept 5, 2018, Singapore has agreed to suspend the construction of the project until the end of May 2020 with legal documents signed in Putrajaya to vary the HSR Bilateral Agreement based on the new understanding.

Minister of Economic Affairs Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali had said the agreement signed clearly stated our commitment to continue the project after May 2020.

AIRSPACE

During the Retreat in Putrajaya, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia is planning to take back its delegated airspace from Singapore in stages and aimed to do this within the time frame starting from the end of this year (2019) to 2023.

Stressing that the two countries have a long history of aviation cooperation, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia made significant investments in preparations to take back the said delegated airspace and hoped it could be done expeditiously.

On a separate occasion, the disagreement pertaining to airspace surfaced on Nov 23 last year when Firefly said it will suspend all flights to Singapore from Dec 1, 2018 the day it was supposed to move its operations from Changi to Seletar Airport.

Malaysia objected to the new landing procedures for Seletar Airport, claiming that it would impose height restrictions which will affect developments in Pasir Gudang.

However, on April 6, 2019, Malaysia and Singapore agreed that in the spirit of bilateral cooperation, Singapore will withdraw the instrument landing system (ILS) procedures for Seletar Airport.

Subsequently, Firefly resumed its flights to Singapore from April 21, 2019.

MARITIME

Malaysia believed it was important to delimit all outstanding maritime boundaries between the two countries, and not only to delimit the area surrounding the Johor Bahru Port Limits off Tanjung Piai and Singapore Port Limits off Tuas.

On April 8, 2019, Malaysia and Singapore mutually suspended the implementation of their overlapping port limits and applied their port limits in effect prior to Oct 25, 2018, and Dec 6, 2018, respectively.

The suspension is pursuant to one of the five recommendations in the report of the Working Group on Maritime Issues surrounding the overlapping of both port limits, which were agreed upon by the Foreign Ministers of Singapore and Malaysia on March 14, 2019.

It is aimed to de-escalate the situation on the ground and pave the way for maritime boundary delimitation.

Both leaders also looked forward to the convening of the 8th Meeting of the Malaysia-Singapore Joint Technical Committee on the Implementation of the International Court of Justice Judgment on Pedra Branca, Middle Rocks and South Ledge to resolve outstanding bilateral maritime boundary delimitation issues in the area.

1962 WATER AGREEMENT

Singapore is seen to have started opening up for discussions although its position was that Malaysia has lost its right to review the price under the water agreement.

During their first bilateral meeting in Singapore on Nov 12, 2018, the 1962 water agreement was one of the controversial matters in the past that was raised by Dr Mahathir.

I thought I have to state our stand on it. I think, by and large, he (Lee) was quite accommodating. He listened to my views and I think he is much open to discuss these things than before before they just rejected all efforts at renegotiating, he said.

During the Retreat, the two leaders then agreed that their respective attorney-generals (AGs) will meet in November to understand each other’s legal position on the right to review.

Malaysia regards the resolving of the longstanding issue of the water price review as a priority and had engaged in active negotiations on the review in the late 90s and early 2000s.

The 1962 Johore River Water Agreement, which expires in 2061, requires Malaysia to supply Singapore with 250 million gallons of raw water per day at three sen per 1,000 gallons.

Malaysia then purchases a portion of the treated water at 50 sen per 1,000 gallons.

Source: Prime Minister’s Office of Malaysia

URGENT ATTENTION: PTSD Causes Officers to Take Their Own Lives at an Alarming Rate During the Holiday Season & Beyond

End PTSD In BLUE

Help End PTSD

NEW YORK, Dec. 30, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — EndPTSD ‘s TTMPT.Org, A Registered 501(c)3 Non-Profit, is Launching their #GivingHolidays Fundraiser and Heightened Awareness Campaign for Police Officers Across The US Suffering From Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The Holidays present a unique set of problems for cops who suffer from PTSD. While most people feel Joyful around the Holiday Season, Those With PTSD May Suffer From A Lack Of Joy. This Puts Additional Stress On Their Lives When Dealing With Work and Their Home-life. The Result Can Be Devastating and Possibly Lead To Overreactions at Work & Home, Along With Alcohol & Drug Abuse and Self-Harm.

  • Police on duty experience different degrees of trauma that lead to PTSD.
  • This year alone, 212 officers in the US have committed suicide.
  • There are approximately 1 million police officers throughout the US and close to 240,000 of them have PTSD.
  • Roughly 330,000 have partial symptoms that do eventually lead to PTSD if not properly addressed.

PTSD is the result of one extreme traumatic situation or exposure to many stressful incidents over time. These pressures in some officers often lead to physical and mental health problems such as overwhelming anxiety, depression, phobias, high blood pressure, heart disease, sleep disorders, and destructive behavior such as domestic violence, alcoholism, eating disorders, prescription drug abuse, unintentional overreactions on the job with peers and the public, and, tragically, taking their own lives.

With End PTSD’s TTMPT (Talk To Me Post Tour) peer facilitator program, officers can anonymously communicate with trained, active and retired law enforcement volunteers to get the help they need to process, share, talk through what they’ve experienced and de-stress without fear of losing their status at work or job. If need be, those who are in crisis could be referred to professional therapists for further treatment.

We are asking for those who benefit from the hard work and protection that our police provide to please donate to the End PTSD’s TTMPT.org program so our police officers across the US get the help they need — to remain healthy while protecting our great nation during this holiday season and beyond.

PROTECT AND SERVE THOSE WHO PROTECT AND SERVE.

About End PTSD’s TTMPT.org

Developed “By Police, For Police, With Police,” End PTSD’s Post Tour Processing is an independent not-for-profit group of committed and concerned retired police officers and police professionals, formed to address a gap in the services available for law enforcement. It was the Executive Board of TTMPT who identified and developed the anonymous preventive program to make available a viable solution for police officers who would not otherwise have a place to support each other during a time of overwhelming stress.

  • TTMPT Board Of Directors:

Robyn Cannariato

Chris Hetherington

Dennis J. McCreight

Philip Schoppmann

Timothy Whitcomb

Charles L’Hommedieu Jr.

James H. Banish

Jerry Leary

David Grand

For more info please go to: TTMPT.org

For more info please go to: https://ttmpt.com
To Donate go to: https://ttmpt.org
Facebook Donations: https://www.facebook.com/donate/830535457386599/

Contact:

Robyn Cannariato
(516) 480-3579

Location:
John Shields Detective Agency
310 Fifth Avenue / 6th Fl.
New York New York
10001

Attn: TTMPT.org

Indonesia Protests to China over Border Intrusion near South China Sea

JAKARTA – Indonesia said on Monday it had protested to Beijing over the presence of a Chinese coastguard vessel in its territorial waters near the disputed South China Sea, saying it marked a “violation of sovereignty.”

The boat trespassed into Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone off the coast of the northern islands of Natuna, Indonesia’s foreign ministry said in a statement. It did not say when the incident occurred.

“The foreign affairs ministry has summoned the Chinese ambassador in Jakarta and conveyed a strong protest regarding this incident. A diplomatic note of protest has also been sent,” it said.

The ambassador will report back to Beijing, but both sides have decided to maintain good bilateral relations, it said.

China’s embassy in Jakarta could not immediately be reached for comment.

Local fishermen saw a Chinese coastguard vessel escorting fishing boats several times in recent days and then reported what they had seen to the Maritime Security Agency, media reports said.

Indonesia’s foreign ministry reiterated its stance that the country is a non-claimant state in the South China Sea and that it has no overlapping jurisdiction with China.

However, Jakarta has clashed with Beijing before over fishing rights around the Natuna Islands and has also expanded its military presence in the area.

China claims most of the South China Sea, an important trade route which is believed to contain large quantities of oil and natural gas.

Beijing has been building artificial islands in the area, developments that have irked members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines – all members of ASEAN – and also Taiwan also have claims in the sea.

Source: Voice of America

Vietnam’s Southeast Asia Leadership Post in 2020 to Challenge China

TAIPEI – Vietnam’s turn this year as chair of Southeast Asian nations’ bloc gives it a new outlet to resist China in a festering maritime sovereignty dispute that involves three other member countries as well.

Hanoi will take over as chair of the Association of Southeast Asian nations January 1 and hold that position for a year before rotating it to another of the bloc’s 10 members. Chairs of the group better known as ASEAN can set the agenda each year and spearhead initiatives for the full bloc’s review.

As chair, Vietnam is expected to place the maritime dispute high on the agendas for ASEAN’s foreign ministers meeting in mid-year, the leadership summit in November and numerous side meetings, Southeast Asia scholars say.

Vietnam is already the most outspoken among Southeast Asian claimants to the South China Sea, where Beijing has taken a military and technological lead over the past decade.

“They can bring out the agenda for the year or they can bring out the issues for other ASEAN members to talk about or they can propose the initiatives for the organization, so I think that Vietnam can take advantage of that,” said Trung Thanh Nguyen, Center for International Studies director at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Ho Chi Minh City.

“They will talk more about the South China Sea in every multilateral meeting in ASEAN,” Nguyen said.

China claims about 90% of the 3.5 million-square-kilometer sea, which is prized for fisheries, marine shipping lanes and fossil fuel reserves.

Vietnam’s power as ASEAN chair

Vietnam can decide what the whole bloc considers as priorities, from the maritime dispute to regional trade and counterterrorism work. The lead country also issues a statement at the leadership summit and may propose a theme such as the “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability” motto that Thailand used as chair in 2019.

ASEAN formally advocates “peace, security and stability” without calling for any particular solution to the sovereignty disputes.

“It is especially significant for Vietnam because the chairmanship will offer a unique opportunity to engage the region to take constructive action on the South China Sea disputes which have long threatened regional peace and security,” the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, part of an American think tank, said

Code of conduct

China agreed in 2017 with ASEAN to reopen talks on a long-stalled code of conduct aimed at preventing accidents at sea. Questions about who would enforce it, and how, still vex negotiators in Beijing.

“I will assume that Beijing will be concerned that Vietnam, as the ASEAN chair, might potentially be able to sort of put obstacles in front of the COC (code of conduct) process said Collin Koh, maritime security research fellow at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

Vietnam will try first to build “solidarity” among ASEAN countries for any move that would offend China, Nguyen said.

Ultimately, he said, Vietnam will feel “comfortable” doing joint maritime patrols with Japan or the United States, he said. Beijing resents those would-be partners when they send ships to the South China Sea.

History of dispute with China

Clashes between vessels from Vietnam and China killed people aboard in 1974 and 1988. In the 1970s China took control of the sea’s Paracel Islands, which Vietnam also claims. Five years ago, boats from the two sides rammed each other over the placement of an offshore Chinese oil rig.

From July through October this year, a Chinese survey ship sent to waters where Vietnam is looking for oil and gas sparked another standoff. ASEAN members Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines claim parts of the sea contested by China too but accept crucial trade and investment aid from Beijing.

Pro-China support in Southeast Asia

Pro-China members of ASEAN members would probably stop any virulent anti-China language from appearing in resolutions or statements from the association this year, said Carl Thayer, professor emeritus with the University of New South Wales in Australia. Cambodia and Laos are among those members.

Chinese investors are developing infrastructure such as roads and airports in Cambodia. Beijing had invested about $2 billion in infrastructure there as of 2018. In Laos, Chinese funding supports a high-speed railway due for completion by 2021.

“It’s not in Vietnam’s interest to abandon or be cynical about ASEAN,” Thayer said. “It’s to use it to the effect that they can but understand that it has limitations.”

Beijing will try to get along with Vietnam through its term as chair, he said. China will press in 2020 for the code of conduct to guard against later introduction of difficult terms, Thayer forecast.

China withdrew its survey ship from waters near Vietnam this year to get along better, Koh said. Its concern about the chairmanship was a reason, he said.

Source: Voice of America

New Program Aimed at Aiding Delivery of Public Services in Phnom Penh

A new program is being put into place in Phnom Penh aimed at enabling nongovernmental organizations to help combat the Cambodian capital’s growing problems stemming from traffic and litter.

Not long ago, the city was one of Southeast Asia’s few capitals with wide, open boulevards not overly crowded with cars and litter, but that is changing. Cambodia’s economy has been growing at more than 6% a year and with that has come more business, more people, and more problems. That is why traffic jams and waste collection were the top complaints raised by Cambodians this past week, when the Phnom Penh Municipal Council held a public forum to listen to constituents.

Politics in the former French colony usually get attention when an official is accused of stealing an election, or when a political opponent is thrown in jail. However these issues feel far away for many Cambodians, who just want their local politicians to make sure that the water runs when they turn on the tap, or that the trash is picked up every week.

Monitor, improve services

Now, under a new program, nongovernmental organizations will be able to step into the space between politicians and their constituents, by creating tools, such as smartphone apps, so that people can determine whether and when public services are being delivered.

This is a coordinated, five-year effort, Veena Reddy, the U.S. Agency for International Development mission director for Cambodia, said in an emailed statement. It will deploy cutting edge technology that will allow citizens and officials to monitor and use data to improve key public services affecting all Cambodians.

USAID, which is funding the effort, did not disclose how much money it is spending for programs that support public services. NGOs using the funds include FHI 360, the Institute for Development Impact, the Triangle Environmental Health Initiative, and Nikol Global Solutions, all based in the United States. The groups are set to start at different times. For example, the Institute for Development Impact will start in January.

FHI 360, for instance, is using development aid money to create a database for Cambodians to check on their municipal services. The organization said its work will ensure that citizens gain the knowledge, skills, and innovative tools needed to improve public services in urban areas through the application of social accountability tools.

Holding politicians accountable

The effort’s goal is to allow Cambodians to keep track of the services that their local governments are supposed to be delivering, such as primary education, health care, waste collection, and water services. For instance, an organization could use the development aid money to develop an internet app that shows residents when trash pickup is scheduled for their street, as well as giving them a comment box to let authorities know when something goes wrong.

In theory Cambodians would use tools like this to hold their politicians accountable. The tools digitize a public feedback process that is currently analog. In real life Cambodians are already complaining to their politicians when the streets become clogged or when the trash piles up, such as at this week’s public forum. Municipal Council chairman Pa Socheatvong said his council can’t do its duty without local input.

We will try to build a stronger rapport with the people so that we can provide them with better services, the Phnom Penh Post quoted him as saying. He added that if the people refuse to participate and leave it all to the government then the plans will not succeed.

Source: Voice of America