KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's commodities such as palm oil and rubber can help boost the weak ringgit through the repatriation of export earnings, said Plantations and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani. 

Speaking at Bernama TV Ruang Bicara on "Empowering Agricultural Commodities In Facing Global Challenges" tonight, Johari said the overall commodities contribute between RM160 billion and RM200 billion in export receipts or more than five per cent to the country's gross domestic product.

Undoubtedly, commodities such as palm oil and rubber play an important role in providing the country with foreign exchange, he added.

"Our commodity exports are paid in the US dollar. Given our current exchange rate position, if we can bring back the greenback each time we export, it will help cushion the impact on our weak ringgit," added Johari.

Last week, the ringgit touched 4.800 against the dollar, the weakest level since the Asian financial crisis in 1998.

The ringgit edged down to 4.76 against the greenback from Tuesday's close of 4.75.

Yesterday, Bank Negara Malaysia governor Datuk Abdul Rasheed Ghaffour said the central bank had stepped up engagements with GLICs, GLCs, corporations and investors to encourage continuous inflows into the foreign exchange market.


Sumber : New Straits Times

KUALA LUMPUR: Plantation and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani says prioritising effective management and improvement of paddy fields can potentially lead to a substantial increase in rice production.

Johari pointed out that just 60 per cent of paddy is grown locally, while the rest is imported. This causes sustainability challenges in the food production.

"For instance, in Tanjung Karang, Kuala Selangor, paddy yields can reach up to six or seven tonnes per hectare.

"Comparatively, in our northern paddy fields, the yield might only be around four tonnes. This two-tonne difference, when scaled up across 800,000 hectares, would equate to 1.6 million tonnes of paddy, translating to over one million tonnes of rice.

"Currently, we consume around 2.2 million tonnes of rice annually, while producing only 60 per cent domestically," he said on Bernama TV's Ruang Bicara on "Enhancing Agricultural Commodities In Confronting Global Challenges" tonight.

The government reportedly is concerned that a lower domestic output will increase reliance on more expensive imports.

It acknowledged the issue but the industry fretted that little had been done to resolve the problem.


Sumber : New Straits Times

KUALA LUMPUR: Plantation and commodities minister Johari Ghani says manual labour is still required to harvest oil palm fruits, as machine-based technology for such purposes has yet to be developed.

Johari said this was why the palm oil industry is heavily dependent on foreign workers for harvesting and collection, with nearly half of the workforce dedicated to this process.

“It (harvesting) still requires manual labour. We have many (manual) tools for harvesting the fruit but this requires the expertise of skilled workers,” he told the Dewan Rakyat today.

However, he said mechanisation was feasible for other tasks in the industry, such as the application of fertiliser and pesticides.

Johari was responding to a supplementary question from Idris Ahmad (PN-Bagan Serai) on whether the ministry plans to mitigate the shortage of workers in the palm oil industry through technological advancements.

Last month, he announced that only the plantation sector would be permitted to hire foreign workers, a decision conveyed to him by home minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail after Saifuddin’s meeting with human resources minister Steven Sim on Jan 16.

Johari had said that the industry was facing a shortage of 40,000 workers.

To address the industry’s need for foreign workers, Johari said the ministry had introduced technical and vocational education and training aimed at training locals to become harvesters.

“We have identified 60 people to enrol in this course, scheduled to commence in April and conclude in September. Hopefully, they can focus on the intricacies of harvesting these fruits,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat.

“And when this expertise is acquired, we can encourage more people to engage in harvesting oil palm fruits.”


Sumber : Free Malaysia Today

KOTA KINABALU: Member of Parliament Datuk Chan Foong Hin said the recent string of viral robberies in the city were solo criminal acts and urged the public to have faith in the police.

“Arrests were made quickly and in the woman’s case, it took less than a day as with the case involving a mentally ill man who smashed a bank’s window in Kg Air.

“However, the timeline of cases have stirred emotions as if the city is unsafe,” he said, Saturday.


Sumber : Daily Express

KUALA LUMPUR: Supermax Corporation Bhd in announcing its second quarter financial year 2024 results said that China glove manufacturers are likely to have taken over global leadership in the rubber glove market, at the very least in  terms of pricing.

In its filing with Bursa Malaysia Securities Bhd, Supermax said average selling prices (ASPs) remain suppressed with manufacturers from China proving to be daunting competitors.

At the two most recent large international trade shows, the take-away was that the oversupply situation is expected to moderate gradually over an extended period as the industry goes through a consolidation stage.

Smaller players are expected to exit the market while while the bigger players are scaling back their expansion and retiring older factories and production lines bowing out.

Supermax said a meaningful recovery in demand-supply is likely to only take place sometime in 2025, as it reportednarrower losses in the second quarter ended Dec 31, 2023 of financial year 2024.

It reported a net loss for the second quarter of the financial year 2024 (2QFY24), narrowed to RM44.4 million from RM108.07 million in the corresponding period of the previous year.

This was largely due to lower forex losses and higher interest income.

Revenue however fell 16.7 per cent to RM145.6 million from RM174.8 million in the corresponding period last year.

For the six-month period of FY24, Supermas reported a net loss of RM46.4 million, compared with a net loss of RM102.4 million for the same period in FY23.

This was despite a 23 per cent drop in revenue to RM323.5 million for the six-month period in FY24.

Currently, the Supermax Group is acquiring new contracts at existing low market rates and narrow profit margins.

"The company does not expect to see a significant improvement in performance for the rest of the year 2024 due to the high volume of high-priced stocks at its overseas distribution centres."Cost management measures have helped to improve the company's profitability to an extent but the high material costs and costs of utilities currently and going forward are expected to result in continued squeeze on margins," it said.

Supermax has strategically adapted to challenging market conditions by shutting down outdated manufacturing plants and investing in new, efficient facilities.

"The plan to build 6 new modern and more efficient manufacturing blocks is still in place, with production lines being installed gradually at a pace that takes into account the current and expected market conditions," the report said.

IThey are also expanding overseas operations, notably in the USA, to mitigate rising protectionism and import barriers.

"This initiative will place Supermax in a favourable position amidst the implementation of heightened import barriers, increased import duties, and a shift towards domestic production. "We anticipate this trend not only in the US but also in other major importing nations," the statement said.

Through investments in automation technology and production capacity, Supermax aims to reduce costs and enhance competitiveness, positioning itself for growth when the glove market rebounds in the next four to five quarters.


Sumber : New Straits Times