Top read business stories from July 19 to 24


Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz said almost all of Grab Malaysia and Food Panda delivery partners have been registered for the scheme.

Among top read stories are tough times for mechanical and electrical sector, MR DIY, Sapura Energy, JanaNiaga, Socso, UMW Equipment and Proton

Coronavirus outbreak

Leaked letters show AstraZeneca vaccine commitment not as Thailand claimed

  • AstraZeneca Plc has told Thailand it should be able to supply around 6 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine per month, leaked correspondence showed, contradicting assertions by Thai officials that the government had been promised 10 million.
  • Thailand's push for 10 million monthly doses comes as it considers imposing vaccine export curbs on Thai-manufactured vaccine to shore up domestic supplies, a move that could create problems for its neighbours, some of which are battling similar or more severe coronavirus crises.
  • But a June 25 letter by AstraZeneca to Thailand's health minister showed that the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker had offered to supply just 5-6 million doses a month to Thailand from a local plant, or one third of the amount produced by its partner Siam Bioscience, which is owned by Thailand's king.
Mechanical, electrical sector at breaking point
  • The mechanical and electrical (M&E) sector is now at the "breaking point", as the manufacturing-related, supply chain and maintenance segments have not been allowed to operate, said the Malaysia Council of Mechanical and Electrical Association (MCMEA).
  • Chairman Michelle Hah said although some of the association's members belong to the critical support and essential services group, they have not been able to obtain approvals to operate since June 1.
  • She said these members supply essential industrial electrical replacement peripherals and equipment that are critical to the continuity of electrical supply to all industries, factories, sewerage and water treatment plants and essential buildings such as hospitals and others.
Corporate news

MR DIY to feature in Touch n' Go eWallet

  • Touch 'n Go Group and MR DIY Group (M) Bhd have teamed up to enhance the customer experience by providing more benefits and convenience as well as greater personalisation of their offers.
  • The parties said the strategic collaboration will see MR DIY being a prominent feature in the Touch 'n Go eWallet, powered by the eWallet's Mini Programme platform.
  • This will allow the 16 million Touch 'n Go eWallet users to seamlessly browse MR DIY's catalogue, order and pay for the items they want, and have the purchases delivered, or ready for pick-up at their store of choice.
RM1.2bil contracts for Sapura Energy
  • Sapura Energy Bhd has secured several new contracts and extensions for jobs in Malaysia and Thailand, totalling RM1.2bil.
  • The global integrated energy solutions provider said the contracts were for its engineering and construction (E&C), operations and maintenance (O&M) and drilling segments, which will continue to sustain its momentum of job wins in the second quarter of its financial year ending Jan 31, 2022.
  • Its subsidiary Sapura Offshore Sdn Bhd, secured contracts from PTTEP Sarawak Oil Ltd and EnQuest Petroleum Production Malaysia Ltd under the Pan Malaysia Transportation and Installation of Offshore Facilities 2021 campaign.
Economy

Zafrul: JanaNiaga allocation for SMEs to reach RM1.2b

  • The allocation for the National Supply Chain Finance Platform or JanaNiaga is expected to reach RM1.2 billion, with the additional allocation from participating financial institutions to come in phases.
  • Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz said the amount would contribute some RM4.8 billion per year to the cash liquidity of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), with the average invoice for 90 days.
  • He said the Jana Niaga platform announced in Budget 2021 is the financing assistance to help strengthen the financial position of the SMEs which supplies to the government or government-linked companies (GLCs).
Zafrul: 64,773 Grab, Food Panda delivery partners register for Socso scheme
  • A total of 64,773 active contributors, comprising Grab Malaysia and Food Panda delivery partners has registered for and contributed to the Self-Employed Social Security Scheme (SESSS) under the Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) as of July 9, 2021.
  • In the 62nd Implementation and Coordination Unit Between National Agencies (Laksana) report released today, Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz said almost all of Grab Malaysia and Food Panda delivery partners have been registered for the scheme.
  • The scheme was an extension of PenjanaGig -- a government assistance initiative to ensure the social security and welfare of self-employed persons.
Forex

Ringgit snaps 10-day losing streak

  • The ringgit snapped its 10-day losing streak against the US dollar on Thursday as buying interest in the local note recovered ahead of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) data set to be released tomorrow.
  • At 9.20 am, the local note rose to 4.2280/2295 versus the greenback from yesterday's close of 4.2320/2345.
  • However, ActivTrades trader Dyogenes Rodrigues Diniz expects the movement to be short-lived, saying that the greater the bullish movement, the more prone the market is to take a big dive.
Corporate

UMW Equipment eyeing growth

  • An evolving economic landscape due to the Covid-19 pandemic has necessitated a rethink on how UMW Holdings Bhd’s unit UMW Equipment Sdn Bhd does business.
  • Despite the challenges, UMW Equipment’s president Megat Shahrul Azmir (pic) said the group was optimistic of its growth prospects amid the ongoing changes in the business environment.
  • He told StarBiz: “Growth hinges on the various initiatives undertaken to expand the business, build resilience and increase productivity. We are further supported by our market leadership positions in various industry segments, strong product line-up, good support from principals and wide distribution networks.”

Auto

Proton launches X70 special edition to boost appeal for C-segment SUV

  • Proton added a new variant to the Proton X70 line-up with its special edition which includes new luxury features and a special colour and the on-the-road (OTR) price without insurance of RM123,800.
  • The special edition, limited to 2,000 units, will further strengthen the appeal for the best-selling C-segment SUV in Malaysia. The Proton X70 Special Edition went on sale last Thursday.
  • Until Dec 31, subject to availability, it will be sold with the PEMERKASA+ sales tax incentive worth RM7,000.
Banking

OCBC Malaysia rolls out eBiz account for SMEs

  • OCBC Bank (Malaysia) Bhd expects its OCBC eBiz Account, a business account that SMEs can apply for entirely remotely, to see at least 6,000 new business accounts by the end of the year.
  • With the business account, which is part of its digital banking thrust, SMEs can apply for entirely remotely without the need to step into a branch.
  • It is open only to SMEs with two or fewer directors or shareholders, which represents the bulk of OCBC Bank's typical existing SME customers.
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