Selasa, 22 Oktober 2013

The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Mier: Malaysia needs to speed up structural reforms


KUALA LUMPUR: There should be no more delay in implementing structural reforms to address weakening fundamentals in an economy faced with soaring deficits and a shrinking current account surplus due to slowing exports.

"Malaysia needs to strengthen its degree of resilient by continuing with structural adjustment programmes and institutional reforms," said Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (Mier) executive director Dr Zakariah Abdul Rashid.

He said the policies, strategic reform initiatives and programmes of the New Economic Model, the Economic Transformation Programme and the 10th Malaysia Plan should be implemented and not remain on hold.

Zakariah was speaking to reporters in a briefing on the Malaysian economic outlook yesterday. He said the Government would need to find the political will to implement the bold measures needed to curb discretionary and populist-style spending.

He noted that the public accounts had been in deficit for a long time and bold measures were required for financial consolidation.

He said that with the potential risk of twin deficits, especially with the shrinking current account surplus and new expenditure commitments, the emerging weakness in economic fundamentals and changes in global economic landscape need to be addressed in the upcoming budget.

He added that the Government had actually taken several initiatives in its transformation agenda, but "the speed is not enough and more should be done".

He said more initiatives and programmes needed to be implemented so the Government would be able to reduce its budget deficit to 3.5% in 2014 as well as preserve market confidence in the long term.

Nonetheless, the most anticipated revenue-enhancing reforms such as the goods and services tax (GST) would not be implemented anytime soon, Zakariah opined.

"It will take from seven to 15 months for preparation including setting up the infrastructure," he said.

It has been reported that the GST is expected to be effective come 2015.

Mier has projected growth of between 5% and 5.5% for next year, supported by the expected fiscal strategies and measures to rein in the budget deficit, generally tight financial conditions and enhanced downside risks.

Meanwhile, it also believes that relying on heavy private consumption to drive the economy is not sustainable in the medium and long term.

"Consumption-driven economy will lead to not only rising inflation and demand for higher wages, but more importantly led to accumulation of household debt and adding risk to financial stability," it said in its recent third quarter 2013 update report.

VEGOILS/PALM OIL - Market factors to watch Oct 23 9wednesday)


KUALA LUMPUR: The following factors are likely to influence Malaysian palm oil futures and other vegetable oil markets on Wednesday.
*  Malaysian palm oil futures climbed to a fresh one-and-a-half month high on
Tuesday, reversing losses in the morning session on growers' estimates that
output in the world's second-largest producer fell in October instead of
*  U.S. soybean futures turned lower on Tuesday on active harvesting of the U.S.
soybean crop and persistent reports of better-than-expected yields. 
* U.S. oil prices sank below $98 to their lowest in nearly four months on
Tuesday, while European Brent held firm, as fears of a near-term U.S. crude
surplus pushed the spread between the two oil contracts to its widest gap since
* Australian stocks tested five-year highs and the dollar was stuck near a
two-year low against the euro on Wednesday after disappointing U.S. jobs data
firmly pushed expectations for the tapering of Federal Reserve stimulus into
next year. 
* Gold surged on Tuesday after weaker-than-expected U.S. jobs creation in
September boosted the precious metal's safe haven edge, while the dollar's sharp
fall against the euro lifted other commodities priced in the U.S. currency.
> EU states back biodiesel duties on Argentina, Indonesia    
> Taiwan's BSPA buys 120,000 T soybeans from U.S. -trade     
> USDA says U.S. soybean harvest 63 pct complete, corn 39 pct 
> USDA to make up for harvest samples missed during shutdown [ID;nL1N0IB1VF]

> Cargo surveyors Intertek Testing Services and Societe Generale de Surveillance
will release Malaysia's Oct. 1-25 palm oil export data on Oct. 25.

 Key commodity markets at 2343 GMT
  Contract        Month    Last   Change     Low    High  Volume
  RINGGIT/USD             3.154    -0.02   3.157   3.168        
  CHINA PALM OLEIN MAY4       0    +0.00       0       0       0
  CHINA SOYOIL     MAY4       0    +0.00       0       0       0
  CBOT SOYOIL      DEC3   41.64    +0.12    0.00    0.00       0
  NYMEX CRUDE      DEC3   98.12    -0.18   98.05   98.20    1170
  CBOT soy oil in U.S. cents per pound
  Dalian soy oil in Chinese yuan per tonne
  Crude in U.S. dollars per barrel
 - Reutes

Facebook removes beheading video, updates violence images standards


SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook Inc removed a video of a woman being beheaded from its website on Tuesday and said it would use a broader set of criteria to determine when gory videos are permitted on the site.

The move came a day after a public outcry over news reports that Facebook, the world's No. 1 social network with 1.15 billion members, had lifted a temporary ban on images of graphic violence.

Facebook said on Monday that gory videos, such as a video of a masked man beheading a woman inMexico, are permitted on its site so long as the content is posted in a manner intended for its users to "condemn" the acts rather than celebrate them.

But Facebook said on Tuesday that it had decided to "strengthen" its enforcement of the policy.

"When we review content that is reported to us, we will take a more holistic look at the context surrounding a violent image or video," Facebook said in a statement.

"Second, we will consider whether the person posting the content is sharing it responsibly, such as accompanying the video or image with a warning and sharing it with an age-appropriate audience," Facebook said.

The change underscores a challenge for Facebook as it seeks to position itself as the go-to online destination where people share up-to-the-minute images and discuss breaking news events.

While Facebook polices its site to remove pornography, hate speech and other forbidden content, the company must also make a judgment about when certain grizzly images, such as video of a terrorist attack, are in the public interest versus being shared for "sadistic pleasure."

Facebook acknowledged on Tuesday that its previous approach, which permitted the video of the woman's killing in Mexico to remain on its site, was flawed.

"Based on these enhanced standards, we have re-examined recent reports of graphic content and have concluded that this content improperly and irresponsibly glorifies violence. For this reason, we have removed it," the company said.

- Reuters


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