AirAsia announced today it would shift its Melbourne operations to the Avalon Airport later this year, making it the first airline to operate international flights at the Australian airport.
AirAsia X Malaysia will operate twice daily flights at the Avalon Airport, with 500,000 international passengers projected to move through the airport in the first year of operations.
“Since our inaugural flight in 2007, AirAsia X has flown over 30 million guests, including 6.1 million Australians — tourists wanting to experience amazing Australia, students from across the globe and Australians who wish to see the world,” AirAsia Group CEO and AirAsia X Co-Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said at an industry event at Avalon Airport in Melbourne.
“We are proud to renew our commitment to making air travel affordable for Australians with this move to Avalon, which will help us maintain our cost edge and allow us to continue offering low fares to Asean, Asia and beyond.”
AirAsia X Malaysia CEO Benyamin Ismail said that with 560,000 additional seats allocated annually, the Avalon Airport project would boost business and tourism in both countries.
“We are proud to be the first airline to operate international flights at Avalon Airport, connecting Melbourne and the Victorian region with Kuala Lumpur,” he said.
“Melbourne and Victoria are important markets to us and this new service with 560,000 seats annually will provide a significant boost to business and tourism, including to such attractions as the Great Ocean Road.”
Source: Malay Mail Online
Australia and 10 other nations are set to sign a revised Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal following talks between officials in Tokyo.
Under the new deal, known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), several original provisions have been suspended and 18 new free trade agreements will be delivered.
“For Australia that means new trade agreements with Canada and Mexico and greater market access to Japan, Chile, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei,” said Australian Trade Minister Steve Ciobo.
Trade ministers from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam will attend a signing ceremony in Chile in March.
Canada had to be coaxed back into the fold after failing to attend a final vote on the deal at the APEC conference in Vietnam in November.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, overnight, Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, called the agreement the “right deal”.
The TPP was also going to include the US before President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement last year.
Ciobo said Australians can expect the deal to drive exports and create new jobs, as well as “eliminate more than 98 per cent of tariffs in a free-trade zone, with a combined GDP of $13.7 trillion”.
Source : Business Insider Australia
SP Setia raises the benchmark with UNO Melbourne.
MELBOURNE: SP Setia Bhd which has a strong presence in this Australian city with its iconic projects, has raised the benchmark again with the impending Kuala Lumpur launch of UNO Melbourne residential and hotel tower project.
The project, located along A’Beckett Street in the central business district (CBD), comprises 486 apartments and 256 hotel rooms.
UNO Melbourne represents the latest property project by SP Setia following the successful launches of Fulton Lane, Parque, Maison Carnegie and Marque Prahran and Sapphire by the Gardens.
According to Setia (Melbourne) Development Company Pty Ltd chief executive officer Choong Kai Wai, the proposed concept for UNO Melbourne aims to produce a landmark development that addresses inner-city urban living in this evolving northern fringe CBD precinct.
It took into account the surrounding urban context, particularly the heritage building, and amenity – vehicular and pedestrian patterns as well as shared open space.
Choong said even before the preview to be held on Jan 20 to Jan 21 at the Setia International Centre in Kuala Lumpur, SP Setia has received strong response from buyers.
Construction of the 65-storey landmark mixed used development – which has a combined gross development value of A$518mil (RM1.6bil) – starts in the third quarter of 2018. It is targeted to be completed by the first quarter of 2021.
The sizes of the apartments range from 548 sq ft for a one-bed, one-study unit to a three-bed and a study covering1,108 sq ft.
With a price range from A$499,000 to A$1.45mil, UNO’s target market are owner occupiers, young families, young couples, investors, down-sizers and offshore residents that frequent Melbourne, touted the world’s most liveable city.
The facilities include a lobby and a concierge on the ground floor, a wellness club on level 40, sky lounge on level 64, secured carpark, hotel amenities on level, a childcare centre on level two and hotel amenities on level nine.
During a media trip, Choong said Setia executed the project within six months upon purchasing the site last July. It engaged ElenbergFraser to come out with the architectural design. The orientation of the building is orthogonal both to the street and to the existing heritage building which creates a commanding presence in the streetscape.
This also orients the building to the north to harness the winter sun for passive solar heating. Choong said the apartments can achieve an average five-star energy rating using the NatHERS standard.
“The shape is derived from the internal planning of the building. It is a direct result of planning the building to maximise views from the living areas and provide privacy to the bedrooms.
“The building is a true mixed-use building where the largest challenge is in incorporating high quality residences upon a fully serviced four-star hotel, as well as integrated retail, food and beverage and a childcare facility,” he said.
According to Reade Dixon, the principal of ElenbergFraser, UNO has a high plot ratio of 36:1, compared with the current standard of 18:1 ratio. This allows the company to scale up the significance of the project and also the grandeur and makes UNO one of the last few high-rise towers in Melbourne CBD offering spectacular views .
“It has a commanding view of the other parts of Melbourne as the other buildings were then at an 18:1 ratio before the ruling was changed in April 2016.
“Bedroom windows are pulled back into the floor plate and living areas are pushed out to the corners, allowing privacy to the personal spaces and maximising amenity to the living spaces. This provides a distinctive butterfly-shape to the plan,” Dixon added.
The glass to be used is double glazed with an Argon gas filled cavity.
“The colour and dichroic effect is provided by a sophisticated Low-E coating that reduces the heat and glare in summer and insulates from the cold in winter, as well as providing a bright, reflective appearance that ensures the privacy of the occupants,” he said.
The launch in Malaysia will be held this weekend at Setia International Centre.
Source : The Star
The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), Australia’s financial intelligence agency, is hosting the inaugural ASEAN-Australia Codeathon in Sydney from 14 to 16 March 2018 seeking innovative digital solutions to fight terrorism financing.
Rapid integration in the region has created the need for greater cooperation to deal with increasingly complex challenges like terrorism. Deep transnational links between terrorist groups in different geographical locations necessitates enhanced cooperation and information sharing between countries. The Codeathon has been described as one tangible way that Australia and its ASEAN partners can share challenges and resolve joint issues in innovative ways.
This event, being held in the run-up to the March 2018 ASEAN-Australia Special Summit, builds on the strong regional partnerships between financial intelligence units (FIUs) and industry, bringing together technology and innovation specialists to tackle regional challenges in the fight against terrorism. Subject-matter experts in CTF (counter-terrorism financing), financial institutions, software developers, programmers, analysts, designers, engineers and other skilled individuals from FIUs, and FinTech and RegTech communities, from ASEAN as well as Australia, are expected to participate. AUSTRAC is encouraging them to register by February 2, 2018.
In November 2017, Bank Negara Malaysia and AUSTRAC hosted the first International FIU Codeathon at the Counter-Terrorism Financing (CTF) Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The 2017 CTF Summit winning team created a program that provided cryptocurrency users and platforms with an artificial intelligence-enabled service to red-flag blockchain addresses that have been directly involved in, or linked to, suspicious activity.
AUSTRAC CEO, Nicole Rose PSM, said, “We saw great success with the first Codeathon event of this kind held in Kuala Lumpur in November 2017, and are looking forward to seeing similar outcomes from Sydney”.
“Countering terrorism financing is a challenge that crosses regional borders, technical expertise and business sectors. A collaborative approach to national security innovation is required to disrupt and dismantle all means of terrorism financing in our region,” she added.
The Codeathon contributes to innovation in national security and is very closely tied to the Prime Minister’s counter-terrorism (CT) agenda for Australia and ASEAN. It draws on the alliances between public and private partnerships and leverages them to deliver CT outcomes.
At the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit, senior officials will convene at a dedicated CT Conference to discuss how Australia and its ASEAN partners can work together more effectively to combat this shared and rapidly evolving threat.
Source : Open Gov Asia
KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia Securities has given EcoWorld International Bhd (EWI) a waiver where it can recognise the sale of its property development projects.
EWI, which derives most of its revenue from the UK and Australia, has cumulative sales of RM7.7bil as at Oct 31, 2017.
It said on Tuesday the waiver from Bursa under the accounting treatment would avoid it being classified as an affected listed issuer for the financial year ended Oct 31, 2017.
To recap, EWI disclosed in its IPO prospectus dated March 9, 2017, revenue from the sale of property in the UK and Australia from an accounting prospective can only be recognised by the subsidiaries and joint ventures of EWI when the risks and rewards of the property sold have been fully transferred to the purchasers.
“Accordingly, EWI will not recognise any revenue from the property development projects or share of profits (where applicable) until the physical completion and handover of vacant possession of the projects,” it had stated in the prospectus.
This is unlike in Malaysia where the sales are recognised progressively.
EWI said the sales generated from property development projects in the UK and Australia as at Oct 31, 2017 showed its capability to generate operating revenue upon completion of the property projects.
EWI also said the construction of all launched blocks was progressing well and it was on track to achieve its maiden handover of two blocks within its London City Island Phase 2 project and one block of the Embassy Gardens Phase 2 project in the financial year ending Oct 31, 2018.
If EWI was deemed a listed issuer, it would be required to assess compliance with Paragraph 8.03A of the Listing Requirements for the FY ending Oct 31, 2018 and thereafter with the inclusion of EWI’s proportionate joint venture revenue in computing “revenue on a consolidated basis”.
EWI said it was expected to generate operating revenue upon handover of the above residential units in the same financial year.
“As a result of the revenue recognition method, EWI is precluded from complying with paragraph 8.03A(2)(b) of the Listing Requirements,” it said.
A listed issuer is a company which does not have adequate level of operations when its business or operations generates revenue on a consolidated basis that represents 5% or less of the share capital based on its latest annual audited or unaudited financial statements.
Elaborating on its strong property sales, EWI said as part of its expansion and growth plans, it has been actively exploring new development opportunities in the United Kingdom and Australia and has announced three acquisitions in 2017.
“Upon completion of the acquisition of its 70% equity stake in Be Living’s residential development business and the new project in Macquarie Park, EWI will have nine projects in the United Kingdom and three projects in Australia.
“This augurs well for its future growth prospects and the long-term viability of its business model as an international developer with a strong local presence in each of its target markets,” EWI said.
KPJ Healthcare Bhd is in advanced talks to sell its stake in loss-making Jeta Gardens, an aged care centre and retirement village in Queensland, Australia, to an Australian party that is in a similar line of business, sources say.
“It is a party of Australian-based investors that they are talking to. It is likely that a deal would be signed once the buyer is able to raise financing for the purchase [of the stake and the property],” a source familiar with the matter tells The Edge.
KPJ owns a 57% stake in Jeta Gardens (QLD) Pty Ltd, which operates the business. Al-’Aqar Healthcare Real Estate Investment Trust, in which KPJ has an indirect 39.25% stake, owns the property.
Hence, the proposed disposal of Jeta Gardens will involve both KPJ and Al-’Aqar. If a deal pans out, KPJ will receive proceeds from the sale of the stake, while Al-’Aqar will receive proceeds from the sale of the property.
KPJ, when contacted, declined to comment. Its major shareholders are Johor Corp Bhd, with a 43.61% stake, and the Employees Provident Fund with 12.69% equity interest.
In 2011, KPJ paid RM19 million cash for a 51% holding in Brisbane-based Jeta Gardens, already loss-making at the time. The rest of the stake was held by the Australian founder of the business, Tan Choe Lam, and a group of local investors.
Over time, KPJ raised its stake to 57% and pumped in more money to expand the capacity at the aged care centre.
In FY2016, KPJ marked down its investment cost in Jeta Gardens to about RM16 million. Al-’Aqar, meanwhile, listed the property’s fair value at RM142.56 million in its 2016 annual report.
If successful, the sale would mark KPJ’s exit from the aged care services business in Australia. However, it will continue to operate two centres in Malaysia — KPJ Senior Living Care (SLC) at the Tawakkal Health Centre in Kuala Lumpur, and Love Care Centre in Sibu, Sarawak, adjacent to the KPJ Sibu Specialist Hospital.
In the overall scheme of things, these are very small businesses to KPJ, which is primarily a hospital operator. SLC, for example, registered a gross operating revenue of just RM1.9 million in FY2016.
Whether KPJ will go bigger into the aged care business at home remains to be seen.
According to a source, this will depend largely on upcoming legislation around aged care facilities. The Private Aged Healthcare Facilities and Services Bill, proposed by the Ministry of Health to ensure higher standards in the aged care industry, reached the second and third readings on Oct 24 last year.
“The legislation for aged care will likely be presented in the coming Parliament session,” the source says.
Margins in the aged care business in Malaysia are thin and there is no proper funding mechanism for those that require such care.
“Private insurance, for example, does not cover the stay in such facilities at the moment, and neither are there social security benefits that would entitle old folks to at least a subsidy — so those are the biggest problems for such businesses,” the source adds.
Once the bill is passed, among others, all aged care facilities with at least four residents must register with the government and adhere to a minimum standard for services and charges.
KPJ’s investment in Jeta Gardens in 2011 was, in fact, for the specific purpose of acquiring the technical know-how to run an aged care facility.
That KPJ plans to sell Jeta Gardens now is no surprise. While the former has managed to narrow the latter’s losses over the years, the business would require further investment if it is to turn around. It is understood that KPJ is not prepared to pump in more money as it wants to focus on the expansion of its domestic hospital business in the short to medium term. Over 90% of the group’s earnings is generated in Malaysia.
In Australia, KPJ reported a loss before zakat and tax of RM5.69 million in the first nine months of FY2017, compared with a loss of RM8.09 million in the same period a year ago, as a result of better economies of scale at Jeta Gardens.
MIDF Research, in a Jan 3 report on KPJ, said the company’s management had indicated that it was in an advanced stage of disposing of Jeta Gardens. There were, however, no details on the price or potential buyer in the report.
According to the research house, Jeta Gardens will be sold at net tangible asset value, and the proceeds will be recognised as a gain on disposal. It said the disposal would only be completed in the first half of FY2018 following an extraordinary general meeting next month.
“We are positive about the fact that KPJ has decided to exit Jeta Gardens as … it is showing no sign of turning around anytime soon. This is despite the continuous effort by the management to turn around the operation, including adding more capacity to the facility in 2015.
“Furthermore, we believe the management will be able to use the proceeds from the disposal to pare down debt and reinvest in expanding existing hospitals, which will benefit KPJ in the future,” says MIDF Research.
KPJ has 25 hospitals in Malaysia, two in Indonesia, and a passive stake in a hospital in Thailand. It has a hospital in Bangladesh where it is merely the operator.
Analysts say there will be more asset disposals to come as KPJ looks to pare down debt and manage its cash flow better. KPJ’s gross debt stood at RM1.589 billion as at end-September last year.
Just last month, KPJ announced that its 60%-owned subsidiary, Selangor Specialist Hospital Sdn Bhd, will sell a five-storey car park block at the KPJ Selangor Specialist Hospital to Al-’Aqar for RM13 million. The proceeds are to be used to pare down debt at that hospital.
“You’ll see more hospital assets being sold to Al-’Aqar from FY2019. I think it’s a good thing as it helps them clean up their balance sheet and boost profit,” an analyst says. KPJ’s net gearing stood at 0.71 times as at end-September, which is on the high side compared with its peers.
Among the hospitals that could be sold to the REIT from FY2019 onwards are KPJ Pasir Gudang, KPJ Sabah, KPJ Bandar Maharani, KPJ Rawang and KPJ Selangor (consultant suite), says MIDF Research.
For the first nine months of FY2017, KPJ’s net profit rose 4.11% to RM101 million, coming in below analysts’ expectations as it accounted for only 63% of consensus’ full-year earnings forecast.
Some analysts, however, are optimistic that the group’s operations are poised to pick up in FY2018 given an improvement in patient volume as new hospitals open, and a potential new round of price revisions that could take place this year.
According to MIDF Research, KPJ Perlis is expected to be ready for operations sometime this month, while other hospitals expected to be opened in FY2018 and FY2019 include KPJ Bandar Dato’ Onn in Johor, KPJ Kuching, KPJ Miri and an expansion of KPJ Sabah.
The company’s share price, which was down 5.55% last year, closed at 98.5 sen last Friday. Bloomberg data shows that of at least 17 analysts who track the stock, most (10) have a “hold” call on it, while six have a “buy”, and one, a “sell”.
Source : The Edge Markets
‘My Australia’ is a special SBS News series exploring cultural heritage and identity, and asking what it means to be Australian in 2018.
It has been a long and hard road to the top of Australia's corporate world for Ming Long.
The 46-year-old financial management and accounting executive was the first Asian-Australian woman to head an ASX200 listed company.
But Ms Long says there were many stereotypes she had to overcome to reach the pinnacle of her career.
"We see so few women (in leadership) in general because I think the stereotype (that) we make assumptions about are the position of women in society," she told SBS News.
“When you add the intersection of ethnic or cultural diversity into someone's gender, it makes it twice as hard because the expectation is even stronger that she shouldn't have these roles.”
Ms Long was born in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur and was nine years old when her family migrated to Australia, settling in the NSW town of Lithgow.
“Moving from a massive city to a small country town in Australia felt like we were going backwards because they didn’t even have a McDonald’s at that time,” she said.
And while language wasn't a barrier, there were other cultural hurdles to overcome.
"It was absolutely a culture shock. When we arrived in Australia we are asked to go and visit people and you were asked to 'bring a plate' (of food). So we brought a plate, an empty plate," she said.
“A lot of the time at school I was trying to fit in because I was very conscious that I was not like the other kids at school and that was quite stark being the only Asian family in that little country town."
With both of her siblings going on to studying medicine, Ms Long said she was the “black sheep” of the family for wanting to take a different path.
After studying economics and law, her first break came when she began working in accounting and finance - a move she said cemented her future path.
“It was only really through a family friend who actually got me my first job that I started really understanding accounting and finance," she said.
"That really made the picture a lot more complete."
One of the biggest challenges she faced during her career was being appointed chief financial officer of Investa Property Group at the start of the Global Financial Crisis, when banks and creditors were expecting the company to fail.
“When you are put in positions of challenge like that, you really have to draw on your values, what's important to you, integrity and doing the right thing have to come up,” she said.
Long-time business friend and mentor Deborah Page said Ms Longs' leadership style brings a unique approach.
“She just enthuses energy with everything she does and she doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. I mean, Ming just gets on with it,” Ms Page said.
Ms Long has since stepped down from her role at the head of Investa Property Group and now sits on several boards and is also a member of advocacy body Chief Executive Women.
She said she hoped to inspire more women from cultural diverse backgrounds to have faith in their capacity to lead.
“We want to lead, we don’t want to be just sitting back and letting other people do that. We want to make that contribution to this country."
Source: SBS News
KUALA LUMPUR: Malakoff Corp Bhd is eyeing more projects to broaden its earnings base and planning to embark on cost-saving measures in its bid to compensate the loss from the revised Segari Energy Ventures Sdn Bhd power purchase agreement (PPA).
According to chief executive officer Datuk Ahmad Fuaad Kenali, the group’s loss from the Segari Energy PPA revision was reflected in its financial results for the third quarter of financial year 2017 (Q3’17) and will affect the company’s full-year results.
He added that Malakoff’s dividend distribution would depend on the group’s full-year financial performance last year, although the payout ratio of 70% of net income is likely to be maintained.
“Fortunately, our Tanjung Bin plant has been slightly compensating the loss we saw through the new Segari Energy PPA. However, moving forward, the group’s plan to intensify the number of new projects and introduce effective cost management will support us well.
“With our strategic initiatives in place, we project our financial results to remain positive for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2017,” he said.
Ahmad Fuaad was speaking to reporters after the signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Malakoff and Touch Meccanica Sdn Bhd.
Beginning from July 1, 2017, Segari Energy has been receiving a lower capacity payment following the new 10-year PPA extension.
This resulted in a 50% to 70% step-down on levelised tariffs, bringing down the plant’s Q3’17 capacity payment by 82% quarter-on-quarter to RM34mil.
However, Malakoff recorded a stronger bottom line in Q3’17, mainly due to compensation received from the settlement of a dispute between its 90%-owned subsidiary Tanjung Bin Power Sdn Bhd and IHI Corp Japan.
Tanjung Bin sought damages for breach of duty of care, which led to at least 22 different boiler tube failure incidents at the plant operated by Tanjung Bin, and the inability of the plant to meet certain required output conditions.
The total claimed amount was estimated at RM785mil as at November 2016.
Yesterday, Malakoff signed an MoU with Touch Meccanica to jointly-develop renewable energy (RE) projects in Pahang, as the former aims to expand its footprint in the RE segment.
The collaboration involves the development of a 100 megawatt (MW) mini-hydro power plant and a 50MW integrated solar farm. The total development cost is estimated at RM1.3bil.
“This MoU will serve as a platform to exchange knowledge and expertise that will be of invaluable benefit to both companies. It also shows Malakoff’s commitment to expand RE in the generation portfolio.
“Currently, Malakoff owns a 50% stake in MacArthur Wind Farm in Victoria, Australia, with an effective generation capacity of 210MW,” Ahmad Fuaad said.
Following the MoU, Malakoff will conduct a feasibility study to ascertain the technical and commercial viability of both projects.
Ahmad Fuaad added that the development cost is likely to be financed via a combination of borrowings (70%-80%) and internally-generated funds (20%-30%).
Malakoff is Malaysia’s largest independent power producer, with a net generating capacity of 6,346MW from its seven power plants.
Its shares closed seven sen or 7.94% up to RM1.02 at the end of trade.
Qantas partner Malaysia Airlines will resume non-stop flights between Brisbane and Kuala Lumpur in June 2018, after axing the route two years ago amid broad cost-cutting measures.
With an initial four flights per week in each direction from Wednesday June 6, the airline will fly its Airbus A330-300 jets to the Queensland capital, fitted with its latest fully-flat business class seats.
Flights in each direction will run on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
From Brisbane, MH134 pushes back at 11.20pm to reach Kuala Lumpur at 5.50am the following day: allowing for onward connections to London (at 9am on flight MH4) or a host of other destinations across Asia.
Out of Kuala Lumpur on the return leg, MH135 takes to the skies at 9.50am to reach Brisbane at 7.50pm.
The airline hopes to upgrade its Brisbane service to a daily flight once demand picks up.
In Brisbane, business class passengers will have access to the recently-revamped Qantas business class lounge, as will Gold- and Platinum-grade frequent flyers on the same flights, including Qantas and Enrich Gold/Platinum members.
Other travellers stuck in economy who are also American Express Platinum Charge Card holders or Priority Pass members may instead visit Brisbane Airport's Plaza Premium Lounge.
Through Malaysia Airlines’ membership in the global Oneworld alliance, Qantas Frequent Flyer members will be able to book these flights using Qantas Points (subject to availability), and can earn frequent flyer points and status credits when travelling on eligible Malaysia Airlines fares.
That said, the earn rates on this route are rather paltry: many economy fares earn nothing at all; higher-priced flexible fares earn at Qantas Frequent Flyer’s ‘discount economy’ rate, and business class fares accrue points and status in line with ‘flexible economy’, not ‘business class’.
For example, a paid business class ticket will deliver a mere 4,000 Qantas Points and 30 status credits each way, while the higher-end economy fares offer just 1,000 Qantas Points and 15 status credits in each direction.
By comparison, you’d earn more status credits on a one-hour Qantas business class flight from Brisbane to Sydney than flying Malaysia Airlines business class to KL; and likewise with a Qantas flexible economy ticket to Sydney versus the MH equivalent to Malaysia, on a flight considerably longer.
Since its departure in August 2015, Brisbane has been without any non-stop flights to Kuala Lumpur, with the closest option being a one-stop journey via Denpasar (Bali) aboard a Malindo Air Boeing 737, with domestic-style recliners in business class as opposed to flatbeds.
Source : Australian Business Traveller
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - NS BlueScope Malaysia has increased its efforts to forge a sustainable future through community engagement and diversity. Recognising that a fully engaged community is an essential component of sustainability to unlocking further economic value. NS BlueScope has continued to implement changes which have started to see positive results. This is in-line with the Malaysian government's recent efforts to create a business-friendly ecosystem which takes into consideration, "People, Planet and Profit" as the country moves closer to becoming a high income develop nation.
Given the rising challenges from the increasingly competitive global marketplace, we believe that Budget 2018 will play an integral part in maintaining Malaysia's strong levels of productivity and most importantly moving towards inclusive economic growth that incorporates the need for diversity in the workplace as a factor of success into the future.
NS BlueScope welcomes the government's initiative in improving the levels of diversity on boards of companies both GLC's and GLIC's will include up to 30% women, childcare facilities in all new office buildings and personal income tax exemption to encourage women to return to the workforce. With 2018 named "Women Empowerment Year" it is clear that the government is serious about these policies to empower and build diversity in the workplace.
At NS BlueScope, we know that our success comes from our people, moving sustainably into the future success will come from the diversity of our people. In 2018, we are focused and committed to improve gender diversity in our manufacturing operations to exceed our current level of 10% female workers. Through focused recruitment strategies and development & training initiatives our aspirations for a gender diverse workforce can be achieved in coming years.
Our vision for gender diversity has become easier following the steps taken in the latest budget, at NS BlueScope we know that diversity helps produce superior products and services for a diverse global market. Diversity of thought is also key to ensure that we innovate and get ahead of the competition.
Diversity needs a conducive environment to take root, with an allocation of RM2.2 Billion aimed at making available thousands of houses and units for the public in various income levels the government remains committed to the wellbeing of the people. NS BlueScope remains committed to the supply of quality roofing materials so that the next generation of Malaysians will know homes that are safe, durable and sustainable.
As the nation sets its sights on a new aspiration as spelled out in TN50, NS BlueScope believes that workplace diversity and inclusion is necessary to raise the quality and standards of local steel to ensure competitiveness in the current market environment. With this approach, moving forward through continual investment in diversity, innovation and technology to develop highly skilled human capital is viewed as the best pathway to success.
About NS BlueScope Malaysia Sdn. Bhd.
For more than 20 years NS BlueScope Malaysia has been an integral part of the building materials industry in Malaysia. Now as a reputable and major manufacturing, marketing and distribution company we continue to serve the needs of the construction industry in Malaysia.
A global company with a significant local footprint, it currently owns and operates a coated steel building plant (NS BlueScope Malaysia, Kapar) and five roll-forming manufacturing plants -- NS BlueScope Lysaght, Shah Alam; NS BlueScope Lysaght, Sabah; NS BlueScope Lysaght, Sarawak; NS BlueScope Lysaght, Singapore; and NS BlueScope Lysaght, Brunei -- employing some 500 people.
With products produced locally, used in iconic projects and housing that improve the daily lives of people, NS BlueScope Malaysia is the only local manufacturer of COLORBOND® pre-painted steel, ZINCALUME® and TRUECORE® aluminium and zinc coated steel.
NS BlueScope Malaysia is a leader in innovative and green manufacturing practices, as the first coated steel manufacturer in Malaysia to receive SIRIM's Eco-Label certification. Our commitment to sustainability has been recognised by the Malaysian Green Building Confederation in the publication of the Green Pages Malaysia directory and MyHIJAU directory by GreenTech Malaysia. NS BlueScope is also accredited by the Singapore Green Building Council and its continual improvements in best practices are accredited through Quality Management System ISO 9001 and Environmental management System ISO14001.
NS BlueScope Malaysia is a part of BlueScope Steel Limited Australia, one of the world's largest manufacturers listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX: BSL). As the leading the supplier of premium metallic coated and painted steel building products, the strength of BlueScope is its global network with more than 100 facilities in 17 countries, employing over 17,000 people serving thousands of customers.
BlueScope drives growth in premium branded coated and painted steel markets in the Asia-Pacific region and builds on the strong value proposition offering customers across the Pacific Rim from Asia, Australia, New Zealand and to the west coast of North America high quality building materials.
Source: Asia One
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