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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fewer new houses in Penang, but prices not going down, say developers


BY LOOI SUE-CHERN
DECEMBER 10, 2013

Property buyers can expect fewer developments in Penang next year but prices will remain high, according to Real Estate and Housing Developers Association, or Rehda.

Its Penang branch chairman Datuk Jerry Chan (pic) said there will be fewer projects with banks and investors being more careful with the property market.

"But we will not see prices going down because the (profit) margins are not big enough for us (developers) to take cuts," Chan told reporters during a briefing on the state's property outlook for 2014.

He said Penang is unlikely to see a property bubble, saying the market is still healthy.

"We do not want to do anything to weaken the market. Rehda has told the state not to administer all the medicine in one go.

"We still need some time to see how new measures imposed on property will affect the market," he said, referring to a slew of new rulings by the state government on property purchase.

Chan said land prices in Penang will continue to rise, citing the state government's land swap deal with Consortium Zenith BUCG, the developer for the ambitious RM6.3 billion undersea tunnel and three highways.

The deal involves 110 acres in Sri Tanjung Pinang, Tanjung Tokong, which Chan said cost RM1,200 per square foot, since the state is not pay the developer for the multi-billion ringgit projects.

He said the deal would be a yardstick for land owners and developers when fixing prices on their properties.

"If the state takes that kind of valuation, what do you think other land owners and developers will do?

"And remember the project construction cost (RM6.3 billion) was from six month ago, which has not taken into account additional costs due to the higher electricity tariff and the Goods and Services Tax (GST). If cost goes up, so will property prices," he said.

Chan also predicted that the industry would slow down due to a labour shortage that could get worse.

He said workers have been pulled to the Klang Valley and Iskandar, Johor for big infrastructure projects.

"Contractors also do not want to take on projects because they fear they will not have enough skilled workers for the job," he said, adding that most of the workers are foreigners.

Toh Chin Leong of IJM Land said property prices in Penang would continue to go up as landowners put big price tags on their properties.

He said costs of construction material had not gone down in recent years but had increased 40% to 50% following inflation.

"Developers are also facing higher compliance costs. Charges have been upped three times in the last five years or so," he said.

He said developers pay the government a default compensation of RM120,000 for each low-cost housing unit they choose not to build in their projects.

Car park contribution is now RM25,000 instead of RM15,000 while drainage contribution is up five times from RM10,000 to RM50,000 for property developments.

Developers also have to obtain a housing development licence by paying a deposit of 3% of their project's estimated cost to show they have sufficient financial ability to begin building houses.

"The 6% GST in 2015, subsidy cuts and new levies imposed by the state government will also drive property prices up," Toh said.

New state measures

The Penang government has announced a 3% levy on foreigners buying property in Penang and a 2% levy on all properties sold within three years from the date of the sales and purchase agreement.

Effective February 1 next year, the government will also introduce a new policy for affordable homes that stipulates that such properties (first purchased at below RM400,000 on the island and at below RM250,000 on the mainland) cannot be resold in the open market for five years, unless the owner obtains state consent and the new buyer is passed as qualified on the state housing department's list.

The listed buyer must be a first-time buyer and belongs in the right income category to be eligible to buy the affordable home at the price agreed with the house seller.

Meanwhile, all public housing units priced up to RM42,000 (low-cost) and up to RM72,500 (low-medium cost) cannot be resold within the first 10 years of purchase.

This ruling will cover all past and future purchases. The balloting of houses will be subject to oversight by an auditing firm.

The government's consent must be obtained if the owner of such a unit wants to sell the house in less than 10 years and the new buyer must be a "listed buyer" with the state housing department, certified as a low-income earner qualified to purchase low or low-medium cost houses.

The measures are introduced to help deserving people buy homes and to curb the risk of a property bubble. - December 10, 2013.

GST dapat kurangkan hutang negara RM30 bilion setahun


December 10, 2013

Chin juga meminta kerajaan merendahkan cukai GST daripada enam peratus kepada tiga peratus sahaja seperti kebanyakan negara yang baru memperkenal GST.

KUALA LUMPUR: Pelaksanaan cukai barangan dan perkhidmatan (GST) boleh membantu mengurangkan hutang negara kerana ia akan menjadi pendapatan tetap dalam bentuk perolehan antara RM20 dan RM30 bilion setahun.

Menurut Senator Datuk Chin Su Phin, perbelanjaan kerajaan semakin meningkat setiap tahun, dengan ratusan bilion dan pendapatan daripada hasil lain seperti minyak, tidak menentu.

“Saya percaya GST memberi nilai tambah memandangkan ia diperoleh secara berterusan…ia bukan perkara baharu kerana rancangan untuk melaksanakannya sudah dibincangkan sejak tujuh tahun lepas, dan ada pihak (pembangkang) yang mengelirukan rakyat dengan isu ini,” katanya dalam perbahasan Rang Undang-undang Perbekalan 2014 hari ini.

Menurut analisis majalah Forbes, jumlah isi rumah yang berhutang berbanding Keluaran Dalam Negara Kasar (KDNK) di Malaysia ialah 83 peratus dan ia merupakan rekod yang sangat membimbangkan, dan dengan kehadiran GST, rakyat Malaysia akan mengurangkan tabiat mereka untuk berbelanja, katanya.

Beliau berharap GST tidak dikenakan ke atas barang keperluan asas termasuk keperluan kanak-kanak, tetapi ke atas barangan yang disediakan di tempat mewah.

Chin juga meminta kerajaan merendahkan cukai GST daripada enam peratus kepada tiga peratus sahaja seperti kebanyakan negara yang baru memperkenal GST.

GST dan pengurangan subsidi yang tidak popular ini bukan dibuat secara sesuka hati dan beliau yakin kerajaan sudah pasti telah mengkaji impak sosial ekonomi ke atas rakyat untuk memastikan hanya golongan sasaran tertentu benar-benar dibantu.

GST akan membantu memacu Malaysia ke arah negara maju menjelang 2020, namun Chin mahu juga kerajaan melihat ancaman rasuah yang terbukti menjadi antara faktor utama meruntuhkan ekonomi Greece sehingga negara itu menjadi bankrap.

“Kos pembangunan Greece meningkat enam kali ganda berbanding negara Eropah lain disebabkan bayaran-bayaran istimewa yang dikenakan untuk sesuatu projek…

ini disokong dengan Indeks Persepsi Rasuah 2012, dengan Greece antara 27 negara yang paling kuat rasuah,” katanya.

- Bernama

- See more at: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2013/12/10/gst-dapat-kurangkan-hutang-negara-rm30-bilion-setahun/#sthash.upcVn7Ro.dpuf

Affin Research maintains Buy on DiGi, positive on growth


Published: Wednesday December 11, 2013 MYT 10:17:00 AM 
Updated: Wednesday December 11, 2013 MYT 10:18:38 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: Affin Research maintains its Buy call on DiGi with a target price of RM5.39, it said on Wednesday.

“DiGi remains our preferred pick for the sector given its growth and dividend element. Its improving 3G/LTE coverage and network quality will put DiGi on a more level playing field.

“Any business acquisition will likely be for spectrum but at the right pricing (DiGi will unlikely overpay as it weighs capex vs spectrum acquisition),” it said.

The research house expects DiGi to deliver another year of revenue growth in the mid single digit magnitude underpinned by growth in the postpaid segment, data segment and the LTE service in which DiGi is targeting a population coverage of 50% by 2015.

“Beyond 2014, the implementation of GST would also aid telco operators to pass down (currently absorbed by operators) the 6% government service tax to prepaid users.

“With 65% of revenue derived from the prepaid segment, DiGi stands to be the best beneficiary from GST,” it said.

Affin said execution of a business trust would also enhance DiGi’s capital structure and improve its dividend yields going forward.

Ekonomi negara mampu berkembang 5.2 peratus


Publication: BH
Date of publication: Dec 11, 2013
Section heading: Bisnes
Page number: 004
Byline / Author: Oleh Shahrizan Salian

Pemulihan pasaran eksport serta kemasukan pelaburan secara konsisten membolehkan ekonomi Malaysia diunjurkan berkembang kukuh pada kadar 5.2 peratus tahun depan, kata ahli ekonomi sebuah bank antarabangsa.

Ahli Ekonomi Kanan United Overseas Bank (UOB), Alvin Liew, berkata kedua-dua faktor itu juga akan disokong pengukuhan permintaan domestik serta pemulihan ekonomi global.

"Malaysia kekal sebagai salah satu pasaran pelaburan langsung asing (FDI) yang menarik dalam kalangan ekonomi sedang pesat berkembang di rantau ini, manakala eksport dijangka kembali meningkat pada tahun depan selepas mencatatkan angka mengecewakan pada tahun ini.

"Kedua-dua faktor itu akan menjadi pemacu utama ekonomi Malaysia pada 2014 dan pertumbuhan sebanyak 5.2 peratus adalah kadar yang sangat baik bagi negara ini," katanya pada taklimat tinjauan ekonomi Asia dan Malaysia 2014 di Kuala Lumpur, semalam.

Tepati sasaran kerajaan

Bank ketiga terbesar Asia Tenggara dari segi aset itu, mengunjurkan ekonomi Malaysia pada berkembang sederhana 4.5 peratus tahun ini, sekali gus menepati sasaran kerajaan.

Liew berkata, kerancakan kegiatan ekonomi yang dipacu pelaburan sektor swasta di Malaysia berpotensi meningkatkan kapasiti produktiviti negara ini dan sekali gus mewujudkan lebih banyak peluang daripada sehi pendapatan.

"Perkembangan itu akan meningkatkan kuasa beli pengguna dan seterusnya merangsang pertumbuhan perbelanjaan domestik.

"Terdapat banyak lagi bidang yang boleh dipertingkatkan seperti peluang terdapat dalam sektor pengeluaran dan Malaysia mesti proaktif untuk menarik lebih banyak pelaburan ke dalam negara," katanya.

Mengenai pelaksanaan pembaharuan rejim cukai, penyusunan semula subsidi serta beberapa inisiatif lain yang akan dilaksanakan kerajaan seperti diumumkan pada Bajet 2014, Liew berkata langkah berkenaan adalah wajar untuk mengukuhkan kedudukan kewangan serta mengurangkan lagi perbelanjaan kasar persekutuan.

Tegasnya, langkah itu juga adalah mustahak untuk sekurang- kurangnya membendung defisit fiskal negara pada 3.5 peratus tahun depan.

Kurangkan defisit fiskal

"Pengenalan sistem cukai baru seperti Cukai Barangan dan Perkhidmatan (GST) yang akan berkuat kuasa pada 2015, antara lain telah mencerminkan keazaman kerajaan untuk mengurangkan defisit fiskal dalam jangka panjang," katanya.

Beliau menambah, langkah yang bakal dilaksanakan kerajaan itu tidak akan memberikan kesan keterlaluan terhadap kadar inflasi tempatan yang diunjurkan meningkat 2.9 peratus pada 2014 berbanding anggaran 2.1 peratus tahun ini.

Katanya, angka berkenaan adalah kadar yang masih boleh diterima dan Bank Negara Malaysia dijangka akan mengambil langkah yang sewajarnya untuk mengimbangkan antara pertumbuhan dengan kenaikan harga.

Kempen kesedaran tingkat pemahaman GST


Publication: HM
Date of publication: Dec 11, 2013
Section heading: Main Section
Page number: 063

Kuala Lumpur: Jabatan Penerangan Wilayah Persekutuan yakin pemahaman dalam kalangan rakyat di Lembah Klang mengenai cukai barangan dan perkhidmatan (GST) akan meningkat pada tahun depan melalui siri penganjuran kempen kesedaran dalam skala besar dan kumpulan kecil.

Pengarahnya Aziman Hasan berkata, kesedaran orang ramai mengenai inisiatif cukai terbaru kerajaan itu dilihat berada pada tahap memuaskan ketika ini meskipun pengesahan mengenai pelaksanaan GST baru diumumkan melalui pembentangan Bajet 2014.

"Saya berpendapat pemahaman rakyat di Lembah Klang mengenai perkara ini lebih meluas berbanding orang ramai di negeri lain memandangkan mereka lebih terdedah kepada pelbagai sumber maklumat," katanya pada majlis penerangan GST di sini, semalam.

Publication: NST
Date of publication: Dec 11, 2013
Section heading: Business Times
Page number: 006
Byline / Author: By Marina Emmanuel

GEORGE TOWN: A LAND valuation of RM1,200 per sq ft for 44.5ha of reclaimed land in Penang by the state government is being used as a point of reference for land transactions, claims the Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (Rehda).

The association's Penang chairman Datuk Jerry Chan said yesterday land prices in the state are expected to rise next year.

This is partly due to the government's move of pegging land value so high in relation to the swap deal with Consortium Zenith BUCG, the developer of the proposed RM6.3 billion undersea tunnel and three highways.

The deal involves land starting from Tanjung Tokong to the sea-fronting Persiaran Gurney, which has been tagged at RM1,200 per sq ft, since the state does not intend to pay the developer for the multi-billion ringgit projects.

Stating that the said deal will now be the yardstick for land owners and developers when fixing prices on their properties, Chan said: "If the state takes that kind of valuation, what do you think other land owners and developers will do?

"And remember that the project construction cost (RM6.3 billion) was from six months ago, which has not taken into account additional costs due to the higher electricity tariff and the goods and services tax (GST). If costs goes up, so will property prices," he said at IJM Land Bhd's office.

Present was IJM Land northern region general manager Toh Chin Leong.

Chan said while Penang can expect to see fewer property projects launched in 2014, prices will not come down.

This, he said, is because banks and investors are already cautious about the property market.

Penang is unlikely to see any property bubble as the property market remains healthy, he said.

"We, however, need time to determine how some of the measures imposed by the Federal Government via 2014 Budget and the state government will affect the market."

Toh said property prices in Penang are on the rise due to various factors, including increased higher compliances cost, which has been increasing in the past four years.

"Cost contributions have increased three-fold as they now have to pay the government a default compensation of RM120,00 for each low-cost housing unit they did not incorporate into their project.

Developers also have to obtain a housing development licence by paying a deposit of three per cent of their project's estimated cost to show they have sufficient financial ability to begin building properties.

GST revenue could help Malaysia reduce debt burden, says senator


Bernama| Updated: December 11, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR: The Goods and Services Tax (GST) could bring in annual revenue of between RM20 billion to RM30 billion and help the country reduce its debt burden, said Senator Datuk Chin Su Phin.

"I believe the GST is value added as it would give us a continuous revenue stream. It is not a new thing as its implementation was planned seven years ago, it's just that the opposition has been confusing the people on the issue," he said during the debate on the 2014 Supply Bill, Tuesday.

According to Forbes magazine, household debt in Malaysia stands at a worrying 83 per cent of gross domestic product and the GST could help curb Malaysians' spending habits.

Chin expressed hope that the GST would not be applied to basic items such as children's needs while urging the government to reduce the GST rate from six per cent to three per cent as is done by many countries which have recently implemented the GST.

He also expressed confidence the government would have studied the socio-economic impact of implementing the GST and subsidy rationalisation to ensure only the target groups benefit.

The government should also look at the threat of corruption, he said, citing Greece, which fell to 94th spot in Transparency International's 2012 Corruptions Perception Index from 80th in 2011, ranking it the most corrupt of the 27 European Union countries.

Story first published on: December 11, 2013 08:00 (MYT)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

GST Revenue Could Help Malaysia Reduce Debt Burden, Says Senator


Pic: www.sharonperry.ca
KUALA LUMPUR: The Goods and Services Tax (GST) could bring in annual revenue of between RM20 billion to RM30 billion and help the country reduce its debt burden, said Senator Datuk Chin Su Phin.

"I believe the GST is value added as it would give us a continuous revenue stream. It is not a new thing as its implementation was planned seven years ago, it's just that the opposition has been confusing the people on the issue," he said during the debate on the 2014 Supply Bill, Tuesday.

According to Forbes magazine, household debt in Malaysia stands at a worrying 83 per cent of gross domestic product and the GST could help curb Malaysians' spending habits.

Chin expressed hope that the GST would not be applied to basic items such as children's needs while urging the government to reduce the GST rate from six per cent to three per cent as is done by many countries which have recently implemented the GST.

He also expressed confidence the government would have studied the socio-economic impact of implementing the GST and subsidy rationalisation to ensure only the target groups benefit.

The government should also look at the threat of corruption, he said, citing Greece, which fell to 94th spot in Transparency International's 2012 Corruptions Perception Index from 80th in 2011, ranking it the most corrupt of the 27 European Union countries.

-Bernama

FT information department ready to enhance explanations on GST



KUALA LUMPUR: The Federal Territory Information Department will further enhance its series of explanations on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) if people are still unsure of the advantages, says its Director, Aziman Hasan.

He said in the Federal Territory to date, the level of awareness among the public was still satisfactory, as they lived in an urban setting.

"They are better exposed to information on the GST, compared to those in some other areas or states," he told reporters after a briefing on the GST organised by his department here, for government officers.

Aziman said soon after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak tabled the Budget 2014 in Parliament, the Information Department was asked by the Finance Ministry to undertake a series of briefings to create awareness of the GST.

"The briefings, held throughout the Federal Territory, began with community leaders," he added.

Aziman said the government, through Komuniti 1Malaysia (K1M), will work towards providing detailed information to the community on the GST.

K1M, with a membership of 1,200 units and comprising government agencies and non-governmental organisations, has already gone to the ground nationwide. -- BERNAMA

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Najib dakwa media salah lapor tiada GST, Malaysia muflis

OLEH EILEEN NG
DECEMBER 09, 2013
LATEST UPDATE: DECEMBER 09, 2013 05:38 PM

Datuk Seri Najib Razak nafi negara perlu luaskan cukai untuk elak muflis.
Gambar The Malaysian Insider oleh Najjua Zulkefli, 9 Disember, 2013.
Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Razak (gambar) menafikan beliau merujuk kepada Cukai Barangan dan Perkhidmatan (GST) apabila berkata negara perlu meluaskan cukai bagi mengelakkan muflis.

Penafiannya itu muncul selepas dua minggu ia dipolitikkan oleh pembangkang.

Najib berkata, kenyataan itu disalah tafsir oleh media.

"Saya tak kata tanpa GST, Malaysia akan muflis.

"Saya berkata jika kita berbelanja tanpa henti dan tidak mengutip cukai, kita akan menjadi seperti Greece," katanya semasa berucap di majlis makan tengahari di Putrajaya hari ini.

Pada 25 November, Najib dilaporkan berkata, kerajaan tiada pilihan untuk menggantikan cukai semasa kepada GST bagi meluaskan pendapatan kerajaan dan mengelakkan muflis.

Hari berikutnya, Najib yang juga Menteri Kewangan dikritik oleh Ahli Parlimen Pakatan Rakyat yang menyebut, Malaysia masih berdepan kemuflisan selepas GST jika rasuah dan pembaziran tidak ditangani terlebih dahulu.

Rafizi Ramli dari PKR, Tony Pua dari DAP dan Khalid Samad dari PAS menegaskan bahawa GST bukan penawar ajaib bagi mengubati masalah kewangan negara.

Najib berkata biarpun GST bukanlah penawar bagi defisit fiskal negara namun ia strategi penting bagi mengukuh ekonomi ke arah menjadikan Malaysia negara maju.

“Bila kita mengurangkan defisit fiskal, ekonomi akan menjadi semakin kuat dan membantu kita mencapai sasaran negara maju.

“Jika ekonomi tidak kukuh, bagaimana hendak kita tanggung semuanya?” katanya.

Najib mendapat tekanan untuk mengurangkan perbelanjaan dan meningkatkan cukai bagi mengatasi bajet defisit dan hutang yang semakin bertambah.

Julai lalu, agensi penarafan Fitch mengunjurkan hutang negara berada pada paras negatif setelah keputusan kurang memuaskan Barisan Nasional dalam pilihan raya umum lalu.

Malaysia merupakan negara Asia tertinggi dalam nisbah hutang kepada KDNK, yang kini berada para paras 53%.

Najib sebelum ini menjanjikan bajet seimbang menjelang 2020 dan memastikan kadar hutang kepada KDNK di bawah 55%.

Bank Negara Malaysia pada Ogos merendahkan ramalan pertumbuhan ekonomi 2013 kepada 4.5-5%, lebih rendah berbanding 5-6%. – 9 Disember, 2013.

‘Malaysia’s debt ratio will be under 60%’


| December 9, 2013

The government is already taking steps to address the ballooning debt ratio, by cutting back on subsidies and introducing the Goods and Services Tax.

by P Vijian

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s debt ratio will be below 60% of gross domestic product (GDP) once the government starts initiating major budget- deficit reduction reforms such as the consumption tax to reducing subsidies this year, says a global accountant body.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) economic adviser Douglas McWilliams said Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak had put in place the necessary policies to tackle the debt dilemma.

“The fast growth is helping taxation revenues and government’s budgetary consolidation, particularly on subsidies but also GST (Goods and Services Tax), which means Malaysia’s debt ratio will be below 60%,” McWilliams told the media after releasing ICAEW’s quarterly economic report in Kuala Lumpur last Friday.

Malaysia’s current national debt ratio stands at 53% to the GDP which has forced the government to adopt drastic measures such as cutting subsidies and introducing the “not-sofriendly” GST in 2015.

In the last four months, Najib tried to contain public expenditure by cutting ballooning subsidies, beginning with fuel and sugar. Power subsidies will go next month. This year’s total subsidies amounted to about RM33 billion.

McWilliams said the narrowing debt ratio augurs well for the economy and even when a reduction in the US Federal Reserves stimulus package happens the ringgit will not be affected.

“Had the debt ratio been getting close to 60%, then there would be much risk of a slide in the ringgit at the time when tapering was to happen. Confidence in the ringgit depends on keeping the debt ratio below 60%,” he added.

According to McWilliams, 2014 would be a “transition year” for the economy as it will undergo structural reforms to fix its fiscal woes.

“It (2014) will be transition year, consolidating government finances, increasing consumption taxes and widening the tax base. It is an important shift, it’s a pro-enterprise and pro-growth shift,” he said.

The professional body forecast Malaysia’s economic growth for 2014 would be 4.2% if China’s economy growth shrinks.

According to ICAEW’s quarterly report, high household and public debt levels will fuel concerns of unsustainable credit growth that would in turn hurt investments and household consumption.

“The implementation of a revamped general sales tax in 2015 would further hamper consumption growth. However, a stronger global economy should mitigate this somewhat. We forecast GDP will rise by 4.1% in 2015,” said the report.

This content is provided by FMT content provider The Malaysian Reserve

Talks with BN: ‘Anwar has own agenda?’


| December 9, 2013

According to political analyst Prof Dr Mohamed Mustafa, Umno members know Anwar Ibrahim too well and will never allow for his return.

PETALING JAYA: Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s offer to hold talks with Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is being dissected by all quarters with the latest view coming Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) vice-chancellor Prof Dr Mohamed Mustafa Ishak who said that it was part of a “plot” for the PKR leader’s return to Umno.

Mohamed Mustafa, who is also National Council of Professors’ head of the politics, security and international affairs cluster, said Anwar was “trying to get back into power through the back door”.

“Anwar’s sudden call for a dialogue with Najib looks very suspicious. Why call for a dialogue only now?

“I believe Anwar has his own agenda. If he talks about national issues then it is good but I don’t think that is Anwar’s real intention.

“It is Anwar’s trick to gain support,” Mohamed Mustafa asked.

The UUM academic was of the view that Anwar was trying to emulate Najib.

“He wants to show the rakyat that he is a good leader like Najib. But Umno members will never welcome him back. They know him too well,” he told FMT.

Najib-Anwar must talk

Meanwhile, independent political analyst Khoo Kay Peng said Anwar and Najib should talk in the interest of the people.

Khoo said it was time for them to sit and discuss about national issues.

He suggested they should talk about the contentious goods and services tax (GST), the country’s socio-economic status and ways of improving the standards of living of Malaysians.

Khoo said it was time for them to “jointly” look into the well-being of the rakyat.

“Najib must work together with the opposition leader for the betterment of the rakyat.

“Najib claims we are a democratic nation then he must be open to suggestions from the opposition.

“Even in the parliament the opposition have no freedom to voice out,” Khoo said adding that it was time to put their personal agenda aside.

On Friday, Anwar had lauded Najib’s speech at the Umno annual general assembly, where the PM had said Umno would always extend a welcoming hand to any political parties.

Following that Anwar said Pakatan was ready to sit down with Najib to discuss national issues.

“On Sept 19, the Pakatan Rakyat leadership had already announced that we are ready to engage with Barisan Nasional, which is in line with what Najib said yesterday,” Anwar had said.

Malaysia plans for new taxes


by Paulius Kuncinas. Posted on December 8, 2013, Sunday

Preparations in Malaysia are well under way for the rolling out of a new goods and services tax (GST) in April 2015, but opinions differ on how effective the levy will be in boosting revenue and critics have voiced concern that the tax could feed inflation.

Under the new plans, which were mapped out by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on October 25 in his 2014 budget speech, a six per cent tax will be levied on most purchases or transactions.

The GST forms a key part of a national drive to boost nation’s income and reduce the fiscal deficit, which stands at four per cent of gross domestic production (GDP) this year.

The government hopes that the new, broad-based consumption tax, which is set to replace a number of other tariffs, including the sales and services tax (SST), will streamline revenue gathering.

The state currently earns between US$5 billion and US$5.3 billion from the SST, which is applied to only some transactions.

The Malaysian Customs Department said on November 21 that it expected to garner an additional US$1.5 billion in revenue each year as a minimum, once the GST replaces other tariffs, bringing the new tax’s expected total earnings annually to around US$6.5 billion.

Targets and exemptions

With GST exemptions not yet finalised, questions remain unanswered about which items and services will be taxed.

In mid-November, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan told local media that exports would remain outside of the GST umbrella, in a move seen as offering support to Malaysia’s manufacturing industries.

The Customs Department later issued a clarification, saying exporters would be able to recover GST paid on raw materials and components used in final export products.

The government had also said that health services would be exempted from the GST, although it remains unclear whether this would include all associated costs.

In early November, the Ministry of Health said talks with the Ministry of Finance were ongoing to “minimise the effects of GST in increasing healthcare cost”, suggesting there could be ripple effects from the tax.

The final drafting of GST legislation will be completed by early 2014 at the latest, according to officials, while the infrastructure required for implementation, such as computer networks, is almost complete.

Persuading the public

This is not the first time that the government has tried to introduce a broad-based consumption tax. An initial plan, floated back in 2005, had targeted a 2007 GST roll-out, which failed to materialise.

While the tax was put back on the agenda in 2009, strong opposition in parliament, which was mirrored across a significant part of the population, led to the government eventually shelving the draft legislation in 2010, a year before its planned launch.

Winning broad public support remains a challenge today, with widespread scepticism.

Opponents are concerned that the new tax could trigger price hikes, although the senior assistant director for GST at the Malaysian Customs Department, Mohd Sabri Saad, moved to allay such concerns at a media briefing on the tax.

“The implementation should not burden the people as it is not a new tax but a replacement of SST,” he said.

“Only those goods and services which were not taxed before will have a one-off impact in terms of prices.”

Some analysts have suggested that the GST could spark a rise of up to 10 per cent in real estate costs.

The government has proposed an exemption for residential properties, but Datuk Jerry Chan, the chairman of the Penang Real Estate and Housing Developers Association, warned contractors would likely fail to set up systems to recover taxes paid on inputs, and instead pass the cost on to developers and customers.

Keen to soften the implementation of the tax, the government said the GST would be offset by a reduction in income tax of one to three per cent, which will run alongside other support measures planned for low-income families.

However, critics counter that only 1.34 million of Malaysia’s 14 million-strong workforce earn enough to be liable for income tax.

The government has given itself almost 18 months to work out the fine details of the GST and to sell its plan to the public.

While the new levy could streamline tax procedures, too many exemptions and concessions risk limiting the GST’s effectiveness.

The final drafting of the legislation for the GST will indicate the depth of the new tax regime and how committed the government is to standing firm against opposition to its policy and reducing the fiscal deficit.

Boost govt image, pensioners told


Publication: NST
Date of publication: Dec 10, 2013
Section heading: Main Section
Page number: 004
Byline / Author: By Azura Abas; Koi Kye Lee

PUTRAJAYA: PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday appealed to government pensioners and Umno veterans to spread the news about government's measures to boost the wellbeing of the nation and its people.

This, he said, would correct misconceptions that could hamper the nation's growth.

"For instance, when you go to the surau, maybe you can share with critics how the government's plans can benefit them and the country.

"I understand it is easier to agree with the dissident voice, but the people must be made to understand why certain measures, including the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), are taken," said Najib, who is also Umno president, at the opening of the third annual general meeting of the Umno club for retired senior government officers here yesterday.

He said the country would become a developed nation quickly once it had reduced its fiscal deficit, allowing its ratings to increase.

As former government officers, including from the Economic Planning Unit (EPU), Najib said they were in a better position to understand why Malaysia had to fortify its economy.

"When our economy is strong, we can help the people."

Najib urged pensioners who were supporters of Umno to inculcate love and loyalty in the party among their children and grandchildren.

"The saddest (moment) for me is when a father is an Umno supporter but his children are opposition supporters.

"We have to ask ourselves why such a thing is happening? Where did we go wrong?"

He called for a change in the mindset of Umno supporters.

"The past excellence (of Umno) is no guarantee of success in the future... what is necessary is for us to be brave enough to make a difference, and we have to understand that the environment has changed."

Najib said in the new environment, or new politics as he called it, the old approach or doing business as usual would not guarantee the continued success of Umno.

He said the future of the nation would be bleak if Umno did not lead the country.

Modernising traditional businesses


Publication: NST
Date of publication: Dec 9, 2013
Section heading: Main Section
Page number: 009
Byline / Author: By R.S. Kamini

A HIGH-INCOME nation's progress is not reflected just through the development of major economic sectors but also the regular mum and pop shops.

In line with the government's effort to transform Malaysia into a high-income nation by 2020, the Wholesale and Retail National Key Economic Area (NKEA) is expected to contribute RM55.4 billion worth of Gross National Income (GNI).

It's also expected to create more than 450,000 jobs in the next 10 years through 12 Entry Point Projects (EPPs).

The EPPs identified will not only increase domestic consumption but also provide avenues for local businesses to easily break even.

One of the main EPPs in focus is the Retail Transformation Project (TUKAR), which aims to modernise traditional retail shops; increase the competitiveness of local small and medium enterprises; enhance customer service capabilities; standardise the quality of business processes; promote a cost-effective and efficient supply chain; encourage the sale of quality products and prepare retailers for the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST).

Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry's Delivery Management Office (DMO) head Mohd Fariszan Ahmad says his office has been tasked with upgrading 500 traditional retail shops every year.

"We have exceeded our KPIs in the last two years. In 2011, we upgraded 511 shops and 568 last year. We will definitely meet our target for the year.

"We have RM40 million in soft loan set aside for TUKAR. Each applicant is entitled to get up to RM80,000 worth of loan for stock and equipment purchase and renovation or upgrading of premises. Training will be provided on equipment usage, point of sale, barcode scanning and others to facilitate transition and ease adaptability," says Mohd Fariszan.

The ministry, he says, provides two training courses, namely motivation and networking and stock and customer management skills, while an identified local consultant will advise and guide them on sales-related matter.

"Our biggest challenge is to change the mindset of these retailers, especially if it's a family business. Changes are always difficult when they are in their comfort zone. To change the working style to include norms like bookkeeping, stock take and check, rearrangement of stock, item display and refurbishment of stores will take some time," says Mohd Fariszan.

"We are also looking into possibilities of including e-payment counters at these shops for customers to make online payments for various bills.

"This provides an added advantage in increasing customer flow and competitiveness. To date, TUKAR programme participants have experienced an average 50 per cent increase in sales," says Fariszan.

Apart from the TUKAR programme, the ATOM (Automotive Workshop Modernisation) programme is another EPP that enhances the standard of the automotive sector while allowing mechanics and technicians to increase their earnings.

ATOM modernises and transforms the automotive maintenance service sector by elevating the industry's workforce earnings from low-income earners to medium and eventually highly paid professionals.

It also exercises transparency on pricing, skills and professionalism during and after sales service activities to obtain public trust and recognition.

ATOM programme participants, who has workshops that does not exceed two unit of shoplots, or 2,500 square feet, can apply up to RM100,000 loan as working capital to upgrade their premises, purchase machinery and equipment.

"Workshops are more difficult to transform as they are scattered all over the country. To date, we have upgraded about 178,192 workshops under this programme," he adds.

One of TUKAR consultants is Tesco Stores (M) Sdn Bhd.

Its Project Manager (Commercial) Mohamad Harith De Souza Abullah says his full-time project team generally advises the participants on improvements they should make to their premises based on a detailed assessment and measurement of the shop.

All participants, he says, are trained on the importance of a new shop layout, correct merchandising methods, product ranging and displays, stock and inventory management, supplier management and ordering, POS usage and reporting, marketing, new value-added services, shop housekeeping, administration and security aspects.

Apart from TUKAR and ATOM, the ministry is focusing on four other EPPs this year, namely the development of Makan Bazaars; increasing promotion of duty-free products sales outlets; organising 1Malaysia Unified Malaysia Sales and increasing Large Format Stores.

"To date, we already have two Makan Bazaars, one in Big Boulevard Oasis Square, Ara Damansara, and the other in Mall of Medini, Nusajaya, Johor. Our KPI is to launch one such bazaar featuring an array of local delicacies catering to low- and high-end customers all under one roof. This is bound to be a tourist attraction.

"The 1Malaysia Unified Malaysia Sales provides integrated sales discounts in 52 sub-sectors, including the service sector, and not just at malls.

"The Large Format Store development will see the establishment of six hypermarkets and 10 super stores. Most of these will require cooperation and investments from the private sector and we are confident of achieving these within the stipulated time period," concludes Mohd Fariszan.

Segala langkah baru dibuat demi kepentingan rakyat - Najib


2013/12/09 - 15:21:46 PM

PUTRAJAYA: Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Razak berkata segala langkah baharu yang dibuat oleh kerajaan adalah demi kepentingan rakyat. 

Sehubungan itu, beliau meminta pesara kerajaan membantu memperjelas langkah kerajaan itu bagi memastikan apa yang dibuat kerajaan tidak dimanipulasi pihak lain untuk terus memburukkan usaha yang dilaksanakan bagi kesejahteraan rakyat. 

"Sebagai bekas pegawai kerajaan seperti dari Unit Perancang Ekonomi, seharusnya anda tahu kenapa kita perlu memperkukuh ekonomi kita, kerana apabila ekonomi kita kuat maka kita boleh menolong rakyat," katanya sebelum merasmikan Mesyuarat Agung Kali Ketiga Kelab Umno Pesara Kanan Kerajaan Malaysia hari ini. 

Najib berkata sokongan para pesara bagi membantu rakyat untuk memahami langkah yang diambil kerajaan dalam memperkukuh ekonomi negara adalah penting untuk mengelak salah tanggapan mereka. 

"Ini termasuk kenapa kita memerlukan cukai barangan dan perkhidmatan (GST) yang mana apabila dari tahun ke tahun, fiskal defisit kita berjaya dikuncupkan, maka kita akan jadi kuat dan penarafan bertambah, maka Malaysia mampu menjadi negara maju tidak berapa lama lagi," katanya. 

GST yang diumumkan Perdana Menteri Najib pada Bajet 2014 Oktober lepas akan hanya mengenakan kadar 6 peratus, berbanding Cukai Jualan dan Cukai Perkhidmatan (SST) yang dikenakan pada masa ini dengan masing-masing pada kadar 10 peratus dan 6 peratus. 

Dalam pada itu, Najib yang juga Presiden Umno berkata dalam memantapkan lagi survival parti, kebergantungan kepada kelompok dan struktur yang formal sahaja tidak mencukupi dan ia memerlukan sokongan daripada pelbagai sektor dan kelompok masyarakat. 

"Kecemerlangan silam (Umno) bukan merupakan jaminan untuk masa depan...apa yang perlu bagi kita ialah untuk berani lakukan perubahan dan kita perlu memahami persekitaran yang sudah berubah," katanya. 

Perdana Menteri menjelaskan dalam persekitaran baharu atau yang beliau gelarkan sebagai 'new politic', pendekatan yang lama atau 'business as usual' tidak akan menjamin kejayaan Umno secara berterusan. 

"Hanya sebuah parti yang sanggup berubah akan dilihat sebagai sebuah parti yang kian relevan. 

"Maka inilah (perubahan) yang saya sebut sebagai 'new politic' iaitu untuk kita mainkan peranan dan menyakinkan rakyat bahawa Umnolah jaminan masa depan negara dan bukan sahaja untuk Melyu dan Bumiputera". - BERNAMA

Akta Kawalan Harga, Antipencatutan 2011 cegah peniaga seleweng GST


2013/12/09 - 13:22:22 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: Kerajaan akan menggunakan Akta Kawalan Harga dan Antipencatutan 2011 bagi memastikan peniaga tidak menaikkan harga barangan sewenang-wenangnya apabila Cukai Barang dan Perkhidmatan (GST) dilaksanakan pada April 2015. 

Berdasarkan pemantauan ke atas negara-negara yang sudah pun melaksanakan sistem pencukaian itu, Timbalan Menteri Kewangan Datuk Ahmad Maslan berkata harga barangan (secara keseluruhan) akan naik sekitar 1.8 hingga dua peratus pada tahun pertama pelaksanaan. 

"Kebiasaannya harga barangan ini akan naik kerana mereka (peniaga) tidak memansuhkan cukai 10 peratus daripada sistem asal, tapi terus memasukkan enam peratus daripada sistem GST kepada harga barangan tersebut. 

"Jadi kita akan menggunakan akta yang sedia ada bagi memastikan tiada penyelewengan harga berlaku di negara ini apabila GST dilaksanakan kelak," katanya ketika menjawab soalan tambahan Senator Datuk Abdul Rahman Bakar pada persidangan Dewan Negara di sini, hari ini. 

Semasa membentang Bajet 2014 pada Oktober lalu, Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Razak mengumumkan pelaksanaan GST pada kadar enam peratus bermula April 2015. 

Terdahulu, ketika menjawab soalan Senator Datuk S Nallakarupan mengenai langkah-langkah yang perlu diambil kerajaan bagi memastikan rakyat memahami pelaksanaan GST, Ahmad berkata selain kempen berterusan, kerajaan akan mengeluarkan Garis Panduan Pengguna, tiga bulan sebelum pelaksanaan sistem itu. 

Beliau berkata senarai itu akan dikeluarkan bagi meningkatkan kesedaran dalam kalangan pengguna serta memastikan mereka tidak ditindas sewenang-wenangnya oleh golongan peniaga kelak.

"Kempen-kempen ini akan kita teruskan supaya kita dapat menjelaskan kepada rakyat bahawa GST ialah satu cukai yang lebih telus, adil, kepada pengguna dan juga mendapatkan hasil kepada negara. 

"Cukai (menjadi) lebih baik dan ia juga mendatangkan beberapa faedah, termasuk mengurangkan kos perniagaan...bila kurang kos itu, maka harga barangan dapat diturunkan," katanya. 

Selain itu, Ahmad turut menjelaskan bahawa pelaksanaan GST dapat membantu mengurangkan kesan dari 'black economy' iaitu kerugian yang negara tanggung akibat tindakan beberapa pihak melarikan diri daripada membayar cukai.

Menurutnya pelaksanaan GST juga dapat mengurangkan ketirisan yang sedang berlaku dalam negara secara sistematik. 

"Di negara kita, termasuk negara-negara yang sedang membangun, berlaku situasi yang disebut 'black economy atau shadow economy,' di mana berlaku ketirisan yang melibatkan puluhan bilion ringgit kerana tidak patuh cukai. 

"Tetapi apabila laksanakan GST, amat sukar untuk lari, terutama kepada peniaga. Ia akan mengurangkan karenah birokrasi, menjamin ketelusan dan menjadikan harga barangan lebih berpatutan," katanya. 

- BERNAMA

Pesara diminta bantu jelaskan isu kepada rakyat



NAJIB Tun Razak bersalaman dengan para pesara yang menyambut ketibaan
beliau pada perasmian Mesyuarat Agung Tahunan Kali ke-3 Kelab UMNO
Pesara Kanan Kerajaan Malaysia (KUPKKM) di Dewan Sri Siantan,
Perbadanan Putrajaya, semalam. - UTUSAN/ZAKI AMIRUDDIN
PUTRAJAYA 9 Dis. - Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak meminta pesara-pesara memainkan peranan membantu kerajaan memperjelaskan pelbagai isu termasuk cukai barangan dan perkhidmatan (GST) kepada rakyat.

Beliau berkata, sokongan yang diberikan oleh pesara boleh membantu menggerakkan agenda kerajaan serta menjadikan Malaysia sebuah negara Islam moden dan progresif.

Menurutnya, dalam tempoh beberapa tahun lagi negara ini akan mencapai status negara maju berpendapatan tinggi justeru pelbagai cabaran terpaksa dihadapi untuk mencapai ke arah itu.

"Inilah yang saya harap sangat-sangat, tolonglah bantu kerajaan buat yang terbaik, jangan bagi ruang kepada orang lain (perlekehkan usaha kerajaan) sebab hendak sampai ke situ (negara maju) banyak yang perlu diterangkan kepada rakyat.

"Misalnya kita nak laksanakan GST, kita sembahyang di masjid, surau, kita kena kutuk, tuan-tuan angguk sahaja kerana lebih mudah mengiyakan daripada kita memperbetulkan apa yang dikatakan oleh mereka," katanya.

Beliau berkata demikian ketika berucap merasmikan Mesyuarat Agung Tahunan Kali ke-3 Kelab UMNO Pesara Kanan Kerajaan Malaysia (KUPKKM) di Dewan Sri Siantan, Perbadanan Putrajaya di sini hari ini.

Yang hadir sama Ketua Pengarah Perkhidmatan Awam, Tan Sri Mohamad Zabidi Zainal dan Presiden KUPKKM, Tan Sri Aseh Che Mat.

Perdana Menteri berkata, sebagai pemimpin yang memiliki nilai keintelektualan dan integriti yang tinggi mereka seharusnya menolong kerajaan memberikan penjelasan kepada rakyat demi kemakmuran negara.

Menurutnya, sebagai bekas pegawai kerajaan yang cukup berpengalaman dalam bidang masing-masing para pesara sangat memahami mengapa kewangan negara perlu terus dikukuhkan.

"Untuk apa? Supaya ekonomi kita kuat. Bila ekonomi kuat kita boleh menolong rakyat dengan lebih mudah lagi pada masa akan datang termasuk anggota perkhidmatan awam dan pesara-pesara kerajaan," katanya.

Katanya, UMNO terus perlu kukuh sebagai parti pemerintah namun kebergantungan kepada kejayaan silam semata-mata bukan jaminan untuk kejayaan pada masa hadapan.

"Walaupun sukar untuk memuaskan hati semua pihak UMNO tidak akan jemu dalam memperjuangkan nasib rakyat dan mahu para pesara meneruskan perjuangan kepada bangsa dan tanah air.

"Cuba bayangkan kita tanpa UMNO, di mana kita akan bergantung harap, di mana kita akan bernaung, di mana kita akan dapat pembelaan melainkan UMNO akan terus berjuang.

"Bolehkah kita harapkan pihak lain? Siapa yang hina pegawai kerajaan, siapa yang kata mereka kucing kurap, siapa yang nak kecilkan jumlah penjawat awam kalau berkuasa, siapa kata bahawa Lahad Datu sandiwara, siapa yang membela institusi awam sejak dulu dan selama-lamanya selain UMNO," katanya.

© Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd

Najib says warned of Greece’s folly, not bankruptcy risk


BY JOSEPH SIPALAN
DECEMBER 9, 2013
Najib today said that while GST is not the only cure for the country’s chronic
fiscal deficit, it is still an important part of the government’s strategy to
strengthen the national economy. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng
PUTRAJAYA, Dec 9 — Excess spending without raising tax revenue could send Malaysia down Greece’s path, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today when clarifying previous remarks on the country’s need for the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Dismissing reports that he said the country faced bankruptcy without the new tax, Najib said that GST was just one of several methods available to the government to increase its revenue collection, as his administration works towards paring down the country’s fiscal deficit.

“I did not say that, without GST, the country would go bankrupt. It’s the newspapers that caused trouble... this is what you call the hazards of being a politician,” he said at an appreciation luncheon with the Retired Senior Civil Servants Umno Club here.

“What I said was that if we keep spending and spending, and we do not collect on taxes, then we will end up like Greece,” he added.

Late last month, Najib was reported to have said that Malaysia runs the risk of going bankrupt if it did not implement GST.

In a report titled “Najib: It’s either GST or facing bankruptcy”, English language daily The Starreported the prime minister as saying that the new tax regime was needed or the country’s economy could go bust like Greece if it resorted to borrowing.

Najib drew immediate flak over the report, with the opposition claiming that the country will likely hit bankruptcy even with the implementation of GST.

Pakatan Rakyat MPs argued that Malaysia’s finances would break with or without GST, so long as the Barisan Nasional-led government does not take serious steps to deal with rampant corruption and leakages in the public service.

Najib today countered that while GST is not the only cure for the country’s chronic fiscal deficit, it is still an important part of the government’s strategy to strengthen the national economy.

“When we reduce the fiscal deficit, the economy becomes strong and that will help propel us to our goal of becoming an advanced nation. If our finances are not sound, how are we going to pay for everything?” he said.

Malaysia has run deficit budgets for over a decade now, beginning from the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.

The country’s national debt now stands at around 53.5 per cent of gross domestic product, up from 43 per cent in 2008 and hovering very close to the government’s self-imposed debt limit of 55 per cent.

Najib intends to trim the budget deficit to 3.5 per cent in 2014, in attempt to return to a surplus budget by the year 2020 — when Malaysia aims to achieve developed nation status.

Greece plunged into a sovereign debt crisis in 2010 that later required euro zone states to collectively bail its economy out from a credit default.

- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/najib-said-warned-of-greeces-folly-not-bankruptcy-risk#sthash.sBzvhwmf.dpuf

Now everyone can eat


Published: Tuesday December 10, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM 
Updated: Tuesday December 10, 2013 MYT 8:11:53 AM
Friendly service: Chef Ravi serving up the cafe’s specialty, together with the service staff.
IT is the norm of most businesses to increase the price of their goods and services following hikes in fuel and sugar prices as well as the enforcement of the minimum wage policy.

The proposed implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in April 2015 is also another factor adding to this.

Surprisingly (or perhaps, not quite), even trades that are not affected by the Government’s move of reducing the sugar subsidy are also jumping in the bandwagon to revise their price tags.

At Caf’e Ind, however, the management is doing just the opposite. Instead of upping the prices of its menu items like other eateries, the restaurant with its catchy tagline “Now Everyone Can Eat”, is in fact lowering them.

Located at Lorong Lai Chee, behind Bank Simpanan National in the centre of Sibu town, the cozy cafe is owned and operated by Peter Tang.

On the bold business move, he said they were able to just that due to their good business practices, including minimising operation costs such as rental and utility bills.

“Undoubtedly the price increase in sugar and petrol are hitting most businesses hard. As a result of higher spending on operations, they have no choice but to pass the extra costs on consumers. For us, however, we are lowering our prices despite our cost of operations going up by 20%.

“Notwithstanding, the move does not compromise the quantity and quality of our food and beverages, as well as our services. We’re not even downsizing our staff,” he toldThe Star.

Elaborating further, Tang said the objective was to show their appreciation to ongoing support given by regular customers.

“At the same time, it serves to welcome new customers especially with our coming second anniversary celebration as well as the year-end and early 2014 festive season.”

Always a positive man, Tang also believed that the move would very much help the company during this period of economic slowdown.

Adding on, he said Caf’e Ind was certified halal by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) three months ago. Since then, he said, the restaurant had become a meeting place for people of all backgrounds to dine together; thereby helping to strengthen the existing harmony in the state.

On food, Tang said everything was prepared in the strictest hygienic condition as possible in accordance with the regulations. His chefs and service staff had also undergone food handling training conducted by ThinkBig Consultancy, a body certified by Jakim.

The restaurant had also introduced seven new items to its menu selection of 60 to 70 dishes.

The new offerings are Chicken Egg Roll, Dendeng Balado Sapi, Fried Meehoon, Nasi Uduk, Lumpia (Indonesian Spring roll) and Tom Yum Soup.

“The meehoon, egg roll and lumpia actually derive from Chinese food. We are introducing due to popular request from our Muslim customers,” Tang said.

The Dendeng Balado Sapi is a specialty of Padang, Indonesia. The beef for this dish is specially imported from Australia. It is thinly sliced, then boiled before being fried with shallots, chillies, lime juice and other ingredients.

The dendeng is served with seasonal mixed vegetables and omelette.

The Fried Meehoon is prepared Balinese-style, in which the stringy rice vermicelli is stir-fried with chicken meat, prawns, eggs, bean sprouts and capsicums, all flavoured with special Indonesian curry mix.

Another must try is Nasi Uduk which according to Tang, is only available in Caf’e Indi. The name literally means “mixed rice” in Javanese. Locally, it is known as nasi lemak. To prepare the dish, the rice is steamed in coconut milk together with cloves, cassia bark and lemongrass. It is then served with omelette, pressured-cooked fried chicken drumstick, crispy local anchovies with peanuts, cucumber slices, fried ikan masin (salted fish) and tofu.

Meanwhile the lumpia is prepared Surabaya-style — filled with fresh chicken, beng kuang (local turnip) and egg before being deep-fried to golden perfection and served with a special sweet chilli sauce.

Most of the spices used in the cafe are not available locally — they have to be specially imported from India and Indonesia.

“Customers can be rest assured of the authentic taste that we are offering. Our chefs are from Jawa, Indonesia and Northern India.”

Tang said the waiting time from order to serving for most of the food was about 20 minutes, adding that this was because all dishes were made a la minute (to order).

There is one caution, though. As the cafe is serving mainly Indonesian and Indian food, some dishes can be quite spicy. On this, Tang said the customers could request for their orders in accordance to their “threshold” of withstanding spiciness.

“Our menu prices are quite reasonable — definitely lower than those in hotels and other food outlets.

“Just like our tagline: ‘Now everyone can eat!” he smiled.

Najib claims misquoted by media over “no GST, Malaysia will be bankrupt” statement


BY EILEEN NG 
DECEMBER 09, 2013

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak (pic) denied that he was referring to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) when implying that the country needed the broad-based consumption tax to avoid bankruptcy.

His denial came two weeks after he was slammed by the Opposition for his statement.

Claiming he was misquoted by the media, Najib in his speech at the Retired Civil Servants Umno Club appreciation luncheon in Putrajaya today said, "I never said without GST, Malaysia will be bankrupt.

"I said if we spend non-stop and don't collect taxes, we'll be like Greece."

On November 25, Najib was reported as saying the government was left with no choice but to replace the current services and sales tax scheme with the GST in a move he said could broaden Putrajaya’s income and avert bankruptcy.

The next day, Najib who is also the Finance Minister was criticised by Pakatan Rakyat MPs who pointed out that Malaysia will still face bankruptcy even after the GST is implemented if corruption and wastage are not addressed first.

PKR's Rafizi Ramli, DAP's Tony Pua and PAS's Khalid Samad cautioned that the GST was not a "miracle drug" to fix the nation's finances.

Najib said while the GST is not a cure for the country’s fiscal deficit, it was an important strategy to prop the economy to make Malaysia an advanced nation.

“When we reduce the fiscal deficit, the economy will be stronger and it will help us achieve our goal of becoming an advanced nation.

“If the economy is not strong, how are we going to pay for everything?” he said.

Najib had been under pressure to rein in spending and boost tax collection to tackle Malaysia's high budget deficit and fast-growing debt pile.

In July, ratings agency Fitch cut its outlook on the country's sovereign debt to negative, citing gloomier prospects for reforms in the wake of Barisan Nasional’s weak election result in May.

Malaysia has one of Asia's highest debt-to-GDP ratios, currently hovering at around 53%. Najib had pledged a balanced budget by 2020 and to keep the debt-to-GDP ratio under 55%.

Malaysia's central bank in August lowered its 2013 economic growth forecast to 4.5%-5%, down from 5%-6%, amid slack external demand for the export-reliant country's goods. - December 9, 2013.