Accountability of attorney-general

THE Attorney-General’s (AG) Office is understandably of concern to the citizens. In our country, the attorney-general heads the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) which is responsible for a host of duties and responsibilities including drafting of statutes, regulations, and by laws, advising the government on legal matters and instituting and conducting criminal prosecutions.

The AGC, therefore, in its role of prosecuting for offences or deciding not to prosecute becomes a vital part of the country’s justice system.

The public in general is affected by the AG’s use of discretion as provided for under Article 145 (3) of the Federal Constitution. It provides that the AG “shall have power, exercisable at his discretion, to institute, conduct or discontinue any proceedings for an offence, other than proceedings before a Muslim court, a native court or a court-martial”.

It means the AG can decide to charge someone for an offence or not and also whether a criminal proceeding against someone should be discontinued. In cases where a criminal act may be the subject of several offences or statutes, the AG may exercise his discretion as to which charges and how many he wants to proffer.

I believe the discretionary powers given to the AG must not only be exercised in accordance with the law, as it is his duty to uphold the rule of law, it must also be exercised compassionately. The power, for example, to discontinue proceedings in certain cases, requires the consideration of facts and circumstances that are peculiar to a particular case.

Lawyers often write representations on behalf of their clients to the AG to make various offers to settle a criminal case and sometimes, even to withdraw the charge. This is an important part of the justice process and in this regard the AG, is in a sense, the fountain of justice. His proper exercise of discretion will have a far reaching effect in upholding justice in the country because unlike the judge in the court room, he is not tied to purely legal considerations alone.

The AG, therefore, has tremendous powers and the exercise of his discretion may be subjected to criticism if there are perceptions of partiality, favouritism, persecution or malice. Hence, it is important that the exercise of his discretion should not only be just and in accordance with the law but it must also be seen so. Even though in cases of malicious prosecution, the affected party may bring the AG to court to seek justice, the broader issue of the integrity and public perception of the AG’s office ought to be addressed.

The issue of how the AG is able to respond to public criticisms is becoming increasingly important in a vibrant democracy that emphasises accountability. In other words, is the AG accountable to the public or is he only answerable to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong who appoints him by virtue of Article 145(1)? Since his appointment under the law is on the advice of the prime minister, the public may also view him as being not completely independent in the exercise of his prosecutorial duties. Hence, a “tweaking” of sorts needs to be done to maintain
public confidence.

There was a time in our country where the AG was also the minister of law, for example, Tan Sri Abdul Kadir Yusuf (1963-1977) and Tan Sri Abu Samah (1977-1980). This dual position as AG and minister solved the issue of accountability because they become answerable to Parliament, which is made up of the people’s representative. However, I believe this situation changed in the 1980s from the time of Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman as AG.

In the United Kingdom, they have set up a specialised Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) which carries out the majority of the prosecution services with salaried professionals and staff. Due to the setting up of the CPS, the UK AG has relinquished most of his prosecutorial powers to the Director of Public Prosecutions who heads the CPS. Being a minister, the UK AG becomes answerable to Parliament. This way there is a perception of accountability to the UK citizens and also greater independence of the CPS.

The creation of the CPS in UK also frees the AG to focus on other duties, such as being the legal adviser of the government.

Hence, if accountability is held as an important ingredient of a responsible democracy, the government may want to embark on reform measures that concern the office of the AG and the AGC itself.

Perhaps it time the prosecution powers are delegated to a body akin to the CPS, and the AG is also made a minister who is answerable to Parliament.

JAHABERDEEN is a senior lawyer and founder of Rapera, a movement that encourages thinking and compassionate citizens. He can be reached at rapera.jay@gmail.com


Rousseff plays to public opinion over ouster

WELL before the Brazilian Senate threw Dilma Rousseff out of office last week, by a commanding 61 votes to 20, even her most fervent supporters sensed her days as head of state were numbered.

Yet to judge by the commotion from her loyalist rear guard, you’d think a political comeback was under way.

The suspended president took the stand at her impeachment trial on Monday with protesters in the street, an impressive entourage in tow, and blessings from Bernie Sanders all the way to Hollywood.

“Impeachment is a political death penalty,” Rousseff said, adding that her ouster amounted to “a coup”.

For all the drama of her trial — the partisan bombast, Rousseff’s 14-hour grilling in the Senate, the tear gas in the streets — political apostates were already negotiating the day-after.

Sitting President Michel Temer was waiting for word of the proceedings with his bags packed for an official visit to China as Brazil’s new head of state.

By early afternoon on Wednesday, Rousseff’s mandate was finished, making her the second Brazilian leader to fall to impeachment since the return to democracy 31 years ago.

But there is logic to Rousseff’s obstinacy. By insisting her ouster is illegitimate and the charges of her fiddling the federal budget a flimsy cover for a political putsch, Rousseff is no longer playing to the Senate but to public opinion, and to courts of law in Brazil and beyond.

She has vowed to appeal to the Brazilian Supreme Court. And at her urging, the human rights commission of the Organisation of American States recently pressed Temer’s government for explanations (and was quickly rebuffed).

Such maneuvers are part of a compelling political endgame: Cast Rousseff as the victim of a Latin Thermidor, and blame Brazilian “elites” plotting to sweep away social gains of the last decade.

Never mind that those gains are already under assault by the fiscal profligacy of the Lula-Rousseff years, which sent the Brazilian economy tumbling into severe recession, erased jobs and gutted the country’s standing among creditors.

By spinning the political contest of impeachment as a travesty of justice, Rousseff may be hoping to build a narrative for an eventual comeback.

Or she may be angling for something more expedient and far more troubling — turning politics over to the courts. Forget the cant about right-wing “usurpers” and a “parliamentary coup”; Brazilian democracy will survive impeachment uninterrupted.

But far less attention has been paid to another kind of usurpation: judicial overreach. Yes, Brazil’s diligent police and savvy prosecutors are working overtime to bring crooked big shots to justice, and the courts have done their part.

But as politicians have fallen into disrepute, judges and prosecutors are leaning in and taking up space that elected officials ought to fill, sometimes encouraged by the very politicians they are upstaging.

This isn’t new. Consider the Supreme Court’s 2006 decision to overturn a congressional bill limiting the ridiculous number of political parties allowed to field candidates.

The result: Brazil has 27 parties with representatives in Congress, many of which have no discernible platform other than to hold government ransom for the maximum amount of pork. Rousseff’s ruling coalition was a crab barrel of nine parties before it fell apart.

However, the current political imbroglio has raised interventionism to alarming heights. True, often the Brazilian courts are a last recourse. Thanks to country’s indulgent parliamentary privilege, the Supreme Court is the only body which can judge sitting lawmakers, nearly half of whom are either criminal defendants or have been convicted of a crime. And of course, impeachment naturally pits the executive against its congressional adversaries, a standoff that often demands arbitration.

But recently, the high court has gone beyond safeguarding the Constitution to kibitzing on the arcana of congressional regimen and refereeing points of order.

In December, the 11-member high court intervened on the composition of the congressional subcommittee assigned to review the case against Rousseff, and in April the full bench spent hours deliberating over rules for the roll call vote on impeachment in the plenary. Not surprisingly, such influence can breed swagger.

Although home to respected constitutional scholars, the Supreme Court also has become a catwalk of judicial vanity, with bench members even sounding off even on cases under adjudication.

However, judges are not only to blame. With 315 articles and some 200 pages, the 1988 constitution is a monster, and holds forth on everything from interest rates to indigenous land rights.

“Almost everything in Brazilian life can be interpreted as a constitutional matter” Michael Mohallem, a constitutional law scholar at the Getulio Vargas Foundation, told me.

The danger of such a sweeping mandate is judicial incontinence; when every quarrel ends up in litigation, clearly, the courts cannot function.

Every year, the Brazilian Supreme Court hears an “astronomical” 70,000 cases or more a year, a backlog not even the most illustrious bench could handle. The broader problem is that hyperactive courts diminish the role of elected officials — often, ironically, with the complicity of politicians themselves. “Over and over, we have seen lawmakers defeated in a legislative vote immediately filing an appeal in court,” Mohallem said.

Which brings us back to impeachment. Rousseff has every right to a full and vigorous defence. That’s what Brazil’s drawn-out, ritualistic and politically agonising impeachment process was all about.

To challenge the Senate’s ruling in the Supreme Court and seek intervention by an international diplomatic court would not just prolong the agony, but second-guess Brazil’s democracy. And that’s the last thing this crisis-roiled country needs. — Bloomberg View


Initiate campaign to raise public awareness on Zika

WITH Zika cases confirmed in the country, the spread of the virus seems inevitable. Before that, we had read of the spread of the virus in neighbouring Singapore, which has reported at least 215 cases.

As we are aware, the Zika virus is spreading in many South American countries. The virus causes birth defects in new-born babies of infected women. It is mainly spread by mosquitoes, although cases of sexual transmission have also been reported.

The disease can cause fever, rash, joint pains and redness in the eye. It has also been reported that most people would not know they have been infected.

Although so far there have only been two reported cases in the country, preventive measures should be taken to keep the virus at bay and not spread throughout the country. Close inspection at border entry points is crucial to stop the spread of the disease carried by tourists and migrant workers. Immigration officials must diligently screen each individual entering our country especially those who come from affected countries.

It would be better if the Health Ministry can place its officers to assist the Immigration officers at every entry point, including airports and sea ports.

The public need to be alert and follow the preventive guidelines issued a few months ago by the Health Ministry. The following is a rundown of the guidelines:

• Anyone who has recently returned from a country with reported Zika virus cases and is showing signs of infection like mild fever, conjunctivitis, muscle or joint pain and general discomfort should seek immediate treatment at the nearest medical facility;

• Malaysians, especially pregnant women, are urged to postpone any trip to countries of concern;

• If a trip is unavoidable, make sure to take the appropriate steps to avoid being bitten by a mosquito, like wearing long-sleeved clothing, and use mosquito repellent at all times;

• Ensure that work and home areas are clean of stagnant water which can potentially breed mosquitoes, protect from mosquito bites with the use of repellent and attire that covers the body, use mosquito nets, and kill adult mosquitoes with insect spray; and

• Install screens on doors and windows to prevent mosquitoes from
entering buildings.

Initiating public awareness campaigns is crucial to stopping the spread of the Zika virus. The public need to know about the virus, how it spreads, the effects of infection, and steps to take to prevent the spread of the virus.

It is advisable to temporarily stop visiting any of the infected countries. The government through the relevant ministries must work with the media to constantly inform the public of the dangers of Zika. The public should also be informed of developments in the fight against the disease.





Hold inquest on all deaths in detention

ON Aug 22, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) and the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) jointly went on an unannounced visit to the Juru Immigration Detention Centre in Penang to inquire into allegations of physical abuse by warders against detainees, which had purportedly resulted in the death of five Cambodian and two Vietnamese detainees earlier this year.

During the visit, the commission and EAIC were informed by the Immigration officials that the allegations were unsubstantiated and that only one detainee at the centre had died this year. According to the Immigration officials, the detainee, a Cambodian woman, who was being treated for heart disease at a hospital, had died from a heart attack in May.

The Immigration officials also indicated that no post-mortem was carried out as the coroner was of the view that there was no suspicion of foul play.

In relation to this, the commission recommends that an inquest, including a post-mortem examination, be conducted following all deaths in detention to verify the cause of death.

The commission expresses its appreciation to the commandant and officials of the Juru Immigration Detention Centre for the cooperation they had given during the visit, and looks forward to working more closely with the Immigration Department on human rights issues of common concern.




Maybank eyes RM13b this year for SMEs portfolio

KUALA LUMPUR — Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) target to increase its small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) financing portfolio in Malaysia by 30% or RM13 billion by end of this year.

Maybank head of community financial services Malaysia Datuk Hamirullah Boorhan said as of August this year, the group had already disbursed some RM12.7 billion worth of SME financing so far.

“We are aiming to reach 30% growth in SME financing portfolio this year, as compared to 28% last year and to grow by RM13 billion,” he said during the signing ceremony with Credit Guarantee Corporation Malaysia Bhd (CGC), involving funding worth of RM1.5 billion

The scheme is earmarked for SMEs and is in line with CGC’s portfolio guarantee scheme.It is the largest ever amount in Malaysia to support local SMEs in growing their businesses further.

Under the scheme, SMEs can apply for either Islamic or conventional loans from Maybank, from a minimum of RM50,000 up to a maximum of RM1.5mil and at a fixed tenure of up to seven years.

While the financing is processed by the bank, 70% of the principal financing amount will be guaranteed by CGC.

Overall, the group has closed with some RM10 billion in SME financing last year, and the new partnership is the third for Maybank with CGC.

The RM1.5 billion allocation is in addition to the RM1.26 billion approved by Maybank in 2014, and another RM1.1 billion last year, driven by strong demand from the SME industry.

“With this partnership, Maybank remains the leading supporter of CGC’s portfolio guarantee (PG) scheme in Malaysia, with a total approved amount of RM3.2 billion to date,” said Hamirullah.

To date, some RM600 million of the RM1.5 billion has already been disbursed.

Hamirullah also said the group’s support to SMEs was not limited only to financing via CGC’s PG scheme, as the bank have various other financing and deposit products for this sector.

Maybank also offers other non-financing services to ensure SME players remain competitive and continuously appraised of growth opportunities.

CGC president and chief executive officer Mohd Zamree Mohd Ishak said since the first agreement with Maybank, the group has made available a total of RM3.2 billion of financing to SMEs via its PG collaboration.

“Our strategic partnership with Maybank has enabled us to enhance our SME outreach even further, as we are looking forward to reach out to 3,000 SMEs with the RM1.5 billion of financing this year,” he said.

He said for the current year, the group is aiming to increase its SMEs outreach by 15% and 5% in term of value and number respectively.

“Despite in the challenging times that we face, both at the domestic and on the global front, we remain cautiously optimistic that we will achieve our target,” he said.

Also present at the signing ceremony was Maybank head of SME banking Mohd Zaini Aris, CGC chief executive officer Mohd Zamree Mohd Ishak and CGC chief business officer Leong Weng Choong.

Lower second quarter forecast for Petronas

KUALA LUMPUR — Given that crude oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports in the second quarter are likely to be lower, as reflected in April and May results, Petroliam Nasional Bhd’s (Petronas) second quarter was expected to be lower, with weaker earnings, said an economist.

Sunway University Business School professor of economics Dr Yeah Kim Leng said things can improve for Petronas if the lower domestic export earnings can be offset by its overseas operations, especially in Iraq and Indonesia.

“Given that world crude oil prices continue to firm at the US$45-50 per barrel range, the oil giant may not need further consolidation,” he told Malay Mail in an interview.

He said due to more elastic supply, oil prices are not expected to rise above US$60 per barrel, suggesting that the company’s global operations and investment rationalisation plans will have to be adjusted to the current price level over the next three to five years.

Asked about the national oil company’s yet to be finalised Canadian LNG project, Yeah said: “Petronas will have to review the project in light of prevailing global supply and demand scenarios, and the cost and price advantages offered by the Canadian supply source.”

Petronas, through its subsidiary Pacific NorthWest (PNW) LNG, is proactively taking steps to mature the project towards its final investment decision.

Currently, the Canadian environmental impact assessment process for the PNW LNG project is still ongoing, following which a final report will be produced by the relevant agency to be submitted to the Canadian government for approval.

Petronas, together with the project shareholders, will review the final report and evaluate any conditions attached to the report to further determine their impact on the overall cost structure and schedule of the project.

The outcome, reviewed together with the LNG market outlook and overall project commerciality, will be used to develop the proposal for an investment decision to be considered by PNW LNG shareholders.

KLIA depature area bloomberg

MP urges Mavcom to end KLIA2 airport tax disparity

KUALA LUMPUR — The Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) has been urged to quickly resolve the glaring disparity in the passenger service charges (PSC) between the Kuala International Airport (KLIA) and its sister terminal, Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) in line with international aviation practice.

In making the call, Setiawanga Member of Parliament Datuk Ahmad Fauzi Zahari, said the earlier the PSC — commonly known as airport tax — is standardised the better it will be, because as long as this matter remains unresolved, it would pose a threat to the Malaysian aviation sector.

The PSC is fixed at RM32 and RM6 for international and domestic passengers respectively flying from KLIA2 while KLIA’s out-bound passengers pay much more at RM65 and RM9 for international and domestic flights.

“As highlighted by the International Air Travel Association (IATA), this disparity is not aligned with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) principles,” he told Bernama in response to protests by IATA and the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA).

Both AAPA and IATA have written to the Ministry of Transport and Mavcom on the need to introduce the same PSC rates at the two terminals.

Ahmad Fauzi, who has a keen eye on the aviation industry, pointed out that Malaysia’s role in the industry was recognised internationally through its appointment as a member of the Montreal-based ICAO Council and it was important for the country to uphold the ICAO principles.

Singapore and Malaysia are the only Southeast Asian countries sitting on ICAO’s current council.

But Ahmad Fauzi, who is also the chairman of Technology Park Malaysia, stressed that any increase in charges ought to take into account the best interests of stakeholders and would not burden passengers especially the main user at klia2. — Bernama

Local tax amnesty to increase tax collection

KUALA LUMPUR — Ahead of the Budget 2017 exercise, the Ministry of Finance is expected to focus on tax collections to boost government revenue after a drastic fall in the second quarter (2Q16).

One of the means to increase tax collection in Budget 2016 was a tax amnesty revision, which covered local tax defrauding activities.

With the fall in goods and services tax (GST) collection last year, the focus could be on enhancing the tax amnesty given to local defaulters.

“Malaysia has introduced tax amnesty in the past. It will definitely increase tax collection but it will not be possible to estimate the collection based on this exercise.

“In fact, it has a more profound reason why this has been introduced in Malaysia,” said legal expert Wong Mun Hoe.

The Ministry of Finance has announced during the Budget 2016 recalibration, a revised tax amnesty programme.

This was done in preparation for the implementation of automatic exchange of information (AEOI) agreements with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

“Based on its ‘Status of Commitments’, Malaysia will implement the exchange of information with other jurisdictions, among others, for better tax administration in 2018.

“It is a global effort,” Wong said.

He said the the purpose of AEOI is “to ensure that taxpayers pay the right amount of tax to the right jurisdiction” — in other words, taxpayers will no longer able to “hide” their income in member states.

As such, taxpayers should relook at their tax health, he told Malay Mail.

Lower GST collection

The latest data from treasuries revealed that GST collection fell to its lowest level in 2Q16, down to RM7.1 billion from RM10.2 billion in 1Q16, making the total GST collection for the first half of the year (1H16) only at RM17.2 billion.

“The lower GST collection could be partly due to higher refunds, as such the target of RM39 billion collections for this year could prove to be difficult,” said analysts from MIDF Research.

Overall consumption tax fell by 27.7% year-on-year (y-o-y) in 2Q16, from RM10.8 billion in 2Q15 to RM7.8 billion in 2Q16.

Total government revenue was down by 9.8% y-o-y in 1H16.

Despite the rebound in oil price, petroleum corporate tax remained low, possibly due to pullbacks in investment activity, while corporate tax on petroleum companies fell to below RM1 billion, at RM916 million in 2Q16.

For 1H16, the overall petroleum corporate tax was at RM2.9 billion, slightly lower than MIDF’s forecast of RM3.4 billion.

“Moving forward, we are not expecting much improvement in petroleum corporate tax, though we opine that it should have hit the bottom for now,” said the analysts.

Third successive quarters in red

The latest data from treasuries also revealed a deficit of RM4.8b in the 2Q16, marking the third successive quarters in red. The last time such event occurred was in 1987, where central government deficits spanned for five consecutive quarters, beginning from the third quarter of 1986.

Gross development expenditure surged by 31%, from RM15.3 billion in 1H15 to RM20.1 billion in 1H16, mostly due to the payments made on various projects under the 11th Malaysian Plan.

“Due to the high increase of development expenditure in 1H16, we are expecting that the number would be lower in 2H16, hence capping the fiscal deficit for 2H16,” said MIDF.

The research house said they are maintaining their expectation that the government will be able to maintain the 3.1% deficit target.

“We are optimistic that the government could achieve its target of 3.1% deficit to GDP ratio. With all the measures taken by the government so far to rein down its expenditures and the prioritisation of development projects, we believe the fiscal target is achievable.

“However, there is admittedly downside risks with global trade and the global economy remains weak, which presents strong headwinds to the Malaysian economy,” MIDF said.

Tax amnesty versus capital flight

The idea of a tax amnesty for funds kept abroad by tax dodgers were floated last month, based on Indonesia’s adoption of such a programme for its citizens suspected of keeping money outside of the country’s jurisdiction.

“Malaysia may benefit from such (an amnesty) as incomes that have been kept in other jurisdictions, in the form of investments, could now flow back to the country.

“While Malaysia has tax amnesty regulations, it does not cover funds abroad,” said Wong.

He said if the purpose of having a tax amnesty is to combat money laundering activities, Malaysia have a different set of law for this — the “Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001” — which prohibits all money laundering activities.

“And it makes it legally not possible to avail tax amnesty for money launderers,” Wong said.


Axiata jumps into connected cars IoT deployment

KUALA LUMPUR — Axiata Group Bhd is moving deeper into the domain of internet of things (IoT) after signing a commercial agreement with Atilze Digital Sdn Bhd for the development, trial and exploration of solutions for connected cars on Asean road networks here on Friday.

Working together, the companies intend to commercialise a city-wide network development, geared towards using LoRa — which is an industry open standard for Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWANs) used to connect low-power devices such as sensors, over a wide area at cheap prices.

The agreement will allow both companies to jointly implement proof-of-concept (POC) pilots for connected cars, and the LoRa IoT network in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

It is the first such initiative by a Malaysian company, at a time when the world is abuzz about the driverless taxis that hit the road in Singapore last month.

With this development, it is clear the IoT revolution is picking up speed in Malaysia, although it is still behind Singapore.

But when it does, experts said, it will change how we live, work, travel, entertain, and more with estimates indicating nearly US$6 trillion (RM24.5 trillion) will be spent on IoT solutions over the next five years on a global scale.

Cars are becoming increasingly intelligent, and by 2018, one in five cars on the road will be self-aware and able to discern and share information on their mechanical health, global position, and status of their surroundings. This self-awareness, together with the need to be constantly on, requires reliable connectivity and internet of things (IoT) solutions, wrote Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

The rollout of 4G LTE, and subsequently 5G networks, will further increase the capabilities of connected vehicles, and facilitate faster transmission rates and higher volumes of data. Tier-1 communication service providers and telcos are ideally suited to provide such connectivity while needing an IoT solutions partner to address the automotive needs.

“We have already started introducing our IoT solutions to the market through Axiata and its operating companies, as well as affiliates and early results have been very encouraging,” said Atilze’s chief executive officer Gerard Lime.

Axiata group chief strategy officer Dominic Arena said IoT is one key pillar of the company’s “Axiata 3.0” strategy and is an emerging digital services sector estimated to be worth potentially US$30 billion by 2020.

“Beyond the two billion people covered by our current footprint, there are several billion more prospective connected ‘things’, hence we foresee the IoT sector growing exponentially over the next two to five years with greatest economic potential in the business to business and business to consumer segments,” he said.

Under the commercial agreement, Atilze will supply the LoRa gateways, antenna systems, nodes and devices for use with existing and new sensor systems that form the basis of IoT applications in several industries.

The initial IoT applications and services that will be implemented on the LoRa network will also focus on asset tracking, smart parking, smart metering and security services.

IoT is a major springboard for much of Asia’s high growth digital economy strategy. Independent studies have shown that the Asia Pacific region is leading the world in IoT adoption, and total spending for IoT in Asia Pacific is already over US$15 billion this year, and will grow at a combined annual growth rate of around 35% over the next 5 years.

Recently, Atilze has partnered with Cyberview Sdn Bhd to build, operate and commercialise a LoRa network in Cyberjaya, that positions Cyberjaya as the first smart city in Southeast Asia connected with a city-wide LoRa network.

Also present at the signing ceremony was Axiata Group group business development consultant Anil Chet Karamsingh and Gemtech Technology Co Ltd founder and president Howard Chen. (US$1 = RM4.09)

Bursa seeks feedback on new SME marketplace

KUALA LUMPUR — Bursa Malaysia Bhd (Bursa Malaysia) is seeking to establish a (new) market on Bursa Malaysia to provide small and medium companies (SMEs) greater access to the capital market.

Upon releasing its consultation paper, Bursa Malaysia chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tajuddin Atan said: “SMEs are a core contributor to the country’s gross domestic product and plays an important role in the country’s overall production network and employment. Bursa Malaysia aims to facilitate greater access to capital market financing for SMEs to support their developmental and lifecycle needs”.

“Based on the report by World Federation of Exchanges and the World Bank Group’s Policy Research Working Paper, stock exchanges play an important role in the development of SME financing. However, having the right ecosystem is critical to ensure the success of such market.

“As such this new market is premised on three key guiding principles which are cost efficient, appropriate regulations and a qualified market for sophisticated investors. It is envisaged that the adviser will play a more active role in identifying the companies to be listed and guiding them through their journey as a listed company in this market.”

He urged for insights and inputs from the potential companies, advisers, investors and the general public particularly in the following areas:

  • Listing framework

  • Listing process

  • Adviser framework

  • Post listing disclosures

  • Graduation facilitation

  • Post listing disclosures

  • Investors

  • Trading, clearing, settlement & depository framework

He said the consultation paper is available at Bursa Malaysia’s website. Interested parties and the public are invited to submit their comments and feedback before Oct 2. The paper remains subject to Bursa Malaysia and Securities Commission Malaysia’s assessment, and no position on the feedback will necessarily be taken.

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