Rabu, 5 Februari 2014

The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

M'sian banks seen benefiting from relocation of S'pore SMEs

Posted: 05 Feb 2014 08:00 AM PST

PONTIAN: The relocation of Singapore-based small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to Johor will create and offer good growth prospects and opportunities for the local banking industry.

RHB Bank Bhd southern regional director Ahmad Zaini Sofian said Johor was the logical choice for the SMEs to move their operations due to the state's close proximity to the republic.

He said Iskandar Malaysia would benefit the most from the relocation of the SMEs as the country's first economic growth corridor was progressing and developing well.

"The Federal and Johor governments and relevant agencies are also encouraging SMEs from Singapore to move their operations to Iskandar Malaysia,'' said Ahmad Zaini.

He said this to reporters at the opening of RHB Bank Bhd branch at Pusat Perdagangan Pontian by managing director Datuk Khairussaleh Ramli yesterday. Ahmad Zaini said the higher cost of doing business in Singapore and space constraints would prompt more SMEs in the republic to relocate their operations elsewhere including to Malaysia.

"The property sector is another key driver that will boost growth in Iskandar Malaysia and create opportunities for the local banking sector,'' added Ahmad Zaini.

He said Iskandar Malaysia remained attractive to foreign property buyers especially Singaporeans as the prices of private residential properties were much lower than those in the republic.

Meanwhile, director branch management Yeoh Beng Hooi said the bank hoped to maintain 14% in loan growth this year similar to what it had achieved in 2013.

He said last year's figure was much higher than the 10% for the local banking industry adding it would be a challenging year for banks in the country due to the global economic uncertainties.

"Our main drivers this year will be mortgages, personal loans, current and saving accounts as well as insurance protection,'' said Yeoh.

World Bank in US$1bil plan to map Africa's natural resources

Posted: 05 Feb 2014 07:00 PM PST

WASHINGTON: The World Bank plans to launch in July a $1-billion plan to map Africa's natural resources with the aim of delineating more clearly the continent's uncovered mineral wealth.

The project, dubbed the Billion Dollar Map, "will unlock the true worth of Africa's mineral endowment," Tom Butler, mining specialist at the Bank's private finance arm, the International Finance Corp., said Wednesday.

Speaking in Cape Town, South Africa, Butler said most of Africa's subsoil resources have not been surveyed.

Doing so, in a public way, would be useful to policy makers, investors and the public, helping to boost development, he said, according to prepared remarks.

"There is yet an enormous amount of wealth left to discover," he said.

"Coupled with in-country training and institutional support, and the work of exploration companies, this initiative will unlock the true worth of Africa's mineral endowment."

The World Bank , which calls accessible data on resources a "public good", said it has already invested over $200 million in developing geological data for Africa over the past 10 years.

Currently, it is supporting a comprehensive airborne geological survey of the entire country of Malawi. - Reuters

S Korean insurance scheme for victims of bullying in schools

Posted: 05 Feb 2014 06:52 PM PST

SEOUL: One of South Korea's largest insurance companies is to begin offering a policy for victims of school bullies, as part of a government campaign to stamp out the problem.

The policy from Hyundai Marine & Fire Insurance will likely debut in March, a company spokesman said Thursday.

"The priority isn't really on making money with this product, but more on providing a public service that helps build up social security networks," he told AFP.

As well as bullying, other policies will be introduced offering protection to victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and food adulteration - or what President Park Geun-Hye has collectively condemned as the "four social evils" afflicting the country.

According to the state regulatory Financial Services Commission (FSC), the bullying policy will help cover costs for physical injuries as well as counselling fees for those traumatised by school violence.

Monthly premiums would be a maximum of 20,000 won ($18), but the FSC said it would raise joint funds with municipalities to pay premiums for those unable to afford them.

According to a survey conducted by the Education Ministry last year, more than 77,000 school students of all ages said they had been bullied, with nearly 10 percent of those saying they had considered suicide.

Nearly 140 South Korean school students killed themselves in 2012, mostly as the result of family problems, exam stress and bullying.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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