1. The Government of Malaysia and the Government of Singapore have agreed to resume discussions on the KL-Singapore High Speed Rail infrastructure project in the near future.

2. The discussions will encompass some of the proposed changes in the commercial and technical aspects of the project.

3. This decision was arrived at after both sides mutually agreed to extend the deferment of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail project to 31 December 2020.

4. I have been asked by the Cabinet to lead the Malaysian team in the discussions with the Singapore Government on this project.

-END-

DATO’ SERI MOHAMED AZMIN ALI

SENIOR MINISTER

MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE AND INDUSTRY

31 MAY 2020

1. The Government of Malaysia and the Government of Singapore have agreed to resume discussions on the KL-Singapore High Speed Rail infrastructure project in the near future.

2. The discussions will encompass some of the proposed changes in the commercial and technical aspects of the project.

3. This decision was arrived at after both sides mutually agreed to extend the deferment of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail project to 31 December 2020.

4. I have been asked by the Cabinet to lead the Malaysian team in the discussions with the Singapore Government on this project.

-END-

DATO’ SERI MOHAMED AZMIN ALI

SENIOR MINISTER

MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE AND INDUSTRY

31 MAY 2020

 

Malaysia successfully chaired the APEC Virtual Extraordinary Senior Officials’ Meeting (VESOM) on COVID-19 yesterday, 27 May 2020. The VESOM brought together 21 APEC Economies from eight different time zones, into a single virtual platform. The 4-hour meeting began at 7pm Malaysian time and saw the participation of all APEC Economies, the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) as well as selected observers from international and regional organisations.

VESOM focused on operationalising the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) Statement on COVID-19, issued earlier this month. Senior Officials also heard from ABAC, as the Council offered its insights regarding the private sector’s role in mitigating the impact of the pandemic and hastening regional economic recovery.

The VESOM deliberated on five proposals, encompassing:

– a possible platform for information exchange on the policy responses by APEC Economies to the COVID-19 crisis;

– two separate proposals on possible ways to facilitate the flow of essential goods during this time of crisis;

– creation of a sub-fund for APEC-wide cooperation to combat COVID-19 and navigate the region towards a path of economic recovery; and

– guidance and directions for the APEC bodies (e.g., the Committees and Working Groups) to continue their future work during this uncertain time.

Out of these proposals, three originated from Malaysia. The first one was on the creation of a platform for guided information exchange, called the APEC COVID-19 Latest and Immediate Virtual Exchange, or more succinctly, the APEC COVID-19 LIVE. This platform aims to capture the policy interventions, measures, programmes and initiatives adopted by APEC Economies to address the COVID-19 crisis.

Secondly, Malaysia proposed for a draft APEC Declaration on Facilitating the Movement of Essential Goods. This draft Declaration proposes for all APEC Economies to offer a self-determined list of goods for unilateral tariff concessions.

The third proposal, in Malaysia’s capacity as the Chair of APEC 2020, offered guidance regarding the way forward for the work being undertaken across the APEC bodies. The Committees, Working Groups and other sub-fora were reminded that their work must continue, either through virtual, or intersessional, means. In resuming and continuing their work, these APEC bodies must appreciate that the region is now in a post-crisis recovery mode, and this element must be infused into, and reflected in, their deliberations.

In addition to the proposals from Malaysia, there were also two more proposals from other APEC Economies. The People’s Republic of China presented a proposal to establish a sub-fund for regional cooperation aimed at combatting COVID-19 and facilitating economic recovery. Singapore and New Zealand jointly proposed an initiative to facilitate the trade of medical goods within APEC.

All five proposals garnered constructive comments from the Economies. Further discussions on these proposals are expected to be undertaken at the relevant APEC bodies.

As we efficaciously conclude yesterday’s VESOM, preparations are already underway for Malaysia to chair another VESOM and a virtual MRT meeting, in late June 2020.

This is the second time Malaysia is serving as the Chair of APEC. Malaysia first hosted APEC in 1998. For more details on APEC 2020 go to www.myapec2020.my.

Ministry of International Trade & Industry (MITI)

28 May 2020

 

 

We, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministers Responsible for Trade, recognise the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are deeply saddened by the human losses due to the pandemic. We also express our utmost appreciation to the frontline workers around the world, in particular those from member economies, for their contribution and sacrifice in protecting public health. We are aware that the health and economic crises the global community is facing have long-term adverse repercussions on the lives and livelihoods of our people.

We are also concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable developing economies. We reaffirm the utmost importance of collaboration at all levels and across the region to hasten our fight against COVID-19 and commit to work closely to defeat this pandemic with urgency.

We acknowledge that while halting the spread of COVID-19 currently remains the top priority of every economy, remedying the economic challenges must also be accorded a specific focus.

We recognise the importance of keeping our markets open and working together to deliver a free, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent, predictable and stable trade and investment environment, to ensure that trade and investment continue to flow in these trying times.

In this regard, we will work to facilitate the flow of essential goods and services to fight the pandemic including medicines, medical supplies and equipment, agriculture and food products and other supplies across borders, and minimise disruptions to the global supply chains. We will also ensure that trading links remain open and explore ways to facilitate essential movement of people across borders, without undermining the efforts to prevent the spread of the virus. We will work closely to identify and resolve any unnecessary barriers to trade.

We acknowledge that it may be necessary for economies to implement emergency measures designed to address COVID-19 challenges. These measures should be targeted, proportionate, transparent, temporary and should not create unnecessary barriers to trade, and are consistent with WTO rules. We recognise the need to notify any such measures in line with existing WTO rules.

We acknowledge that some members of our society are the most at risk to the pandemic. We encourage economies to act swiftly in providing timely and affordable access to essential healthcare services, and implement measures to further enhance the resilience, scalability and sustainability of our healthcare systems.

We are also aware of the vulnerability of our communities to the current economic slowdown. We encourage economies to take all necessary steps to ensure the most exposed economic sectors and workers are given support, and ensure that inclusive policy instruments are in place to fast-track their recovery. Returning workers to employment should be a high priority for all economies.

We encourage economies to pursue facilitative measures that will expedite our economic rebound. To this end, we have directed our Senior Officials to develop a coordinated approach to collecting and sharing information on policies and measures, including stimulus packages for the immediate responses to the economic crisis and long-term recovery packages, which could help respond to the economic challenges brought on by the pandemic. Where possible, these efforts should take into account recommendations from the APEC Business Advisory Council. This sharing of information seeks to ensure that the strength and learning of one economy may translate into best practices for the region as a whole.

We recognise the importance of coordinating with our partners and counterparts in the international community as well as with the private sector and academia, whose knowledge, nimbleness, experience and resourcefulness are vital to addressing this pandemic in a dynamic, innovative and timely manner.

We acknowledge the importance of strengthening regional connectivity by intensifying our efforts to make global supply chains more resilient and less vulnerable to shocks, to advance sustainable economic growth.

As we fight the pandemic, both individually and collectively, and seek to mitigate its impact on international trade and investment, we are aware that the economic disruption that accompanies it is transformational. It will likely transform much of what we know today about our livelihood and about our way of doing business. Harnessing the opportunities of the digital economy and technologies, through utilisation of smart working solutions that enable seamless international business and cross border trade, is essential to alleviate the wide-range impact of the pandemic and further advance economic growth, as we embrace the future. Therefore, we will strengthen APEC’s digital agenda, including electronic commerce and related services, with fresh perspectives and innovative means to navigate these new realities together.

We will work together towards a healthy, resilient and inclusive Asia-Pacific community. We remain unwavering in our commitment and resolute in our determination to effectively work towards mitigating the health and economic impact caused by COVID-19, fast-track the revitalisation of the region’s economy and foster its secure growth moving forward.

https://www.apec.org/Meeting-Papers/Sectoral-Ministerial-Meetings/Trade/2020_trade

Effective today companies from almost all sectors of the economy are allowed to operate following the Government’s decision on 29 April 2020. Nevertheless, the Government is aware that several States are not co-operating in implementing the Government’s decision. The decision to reopen the economic sectors under the terms of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) was taken with utmost care, caution and responsibility supported by data and findings by the Ministry of Finance, MITI, Bank Negara Malaysia and Khazanah Nasional Berhad.

The findings were presented for discussion with the Mentris Besar and the Chief Ministers at the meeting of the National Security Council on 28 April 2020. Based on the discussions during the meeting, the State Governments realised that should the MCO continue until June 2020, the cumulative loss of the national income is estimated to reach RM146 billion or a shortfall of 10.3 per cent of the GDP. This would wipe out the economic success that has been achieved for the last four years.

In this regard, the meeting agreed to reopen the economic sectors during the CMCO beginning 4 May 2020. In order to ensure effective implementation of this decision, the Federal Government will provide a set of comprehensive and stringent Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for use by all parties and these SOPs will be provided to the State Governments. For purposes of clarification, the SOPs have already been given to all State Governments on 2 May 2020, that is, before the date of the enforcement of CMCO.

The allegation that the Government restarted the economy hastily is false and baseless. The Government had undertaken incremental measures to open up the economy from March 18 to April 28 through the MCO Stages 1 to 3, mandating compliance with health requirements. These careful and prudent actions have yielded good results particularly in terms of the increase in the opening of the economic sectors without jeopardising the Government’s efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The Government has implemented the MCO in accordance with the provisions of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 [Act 342] to ensure the effective control of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The implementation of the MCO involves the entire country, including the states in Peninsular Malaysia as well as the Federal Territories, Sarawak and Sabah. This decision takes into account the importance and imperatives of the health and well-being of the rakyat and the need to regenerate the economy.

I wish to reiterate that the Government makes decisions to restart the economy based on the benchmarks of the World Health Organisation (WHO) which outlines six main criteria: safety control, movement control, capacity of the health system, protection of high-risk groups, new normal practices and community-based preventive measures. The Government’s initiative to address the COVID-19 pandemic is recognised as one of the best in the world. Our national health system has the capacity and capabilities to undertake efforts to protect the health of the rakyat and to curb the spread of COVID-19.

In this regard, the Government views seriously the position taken by the various State Governments in refusing to execute the decision. Their actions are not founded on lawful authority and are contrary to the policy of the Federal Government, all the more so in view of the fact that the Federal Government policy has already been made into law and enforceable throughout the country.

The regulations made under Act 342 are specific laws for the purpose of preventing and controlling the spread of COVID-19. As such, it prevails over the provisions of other written laws in respect of the prevention and control of infectious diseases.

The regulations of the CMCO effective today, inter alia, stipulates activities that are prohibited during the CMCO period. It should be noted that only activities that are prohibited will constitute an offence whereas activities other than those prohibited, are allowed during the CMCO period. In this regard, the CMCO differs from the previous MCO Stage 1, 2, 3 and 4 in that under the CMCO there is leeway given for its implementation so as to enable almost all economic sectors to restart in a controlled and prudent setting.

The Government has conducted various engagement sessions with the stakeholders of the economic sectors particularly, industry associations, local and international Chambers of Commerce as well as Small and Medium Enterprises in order to gauge the impact on business sustainability, supply chain and employment.

Therefore, the Government’s decision to allow almost all sectors of the economy to operate in order to revive and revitalize the economy is expected to have a positive impact on the economic growth and financial position of the country, not only at the Federal Government but also for the states.

The Government takes note of the media statements issued by various industry associations including the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers and the Malay Chamber of Commerce of Malaysia in respect of their call that there should be no direct restrictions from State Governments to stop companies to resume their operations from 4 May 2020. Should the State Governments refuse to co-operate in implementing Act 342 which has been gazetted into law enforceable throughout the country, the State Governments may face the possibility of legal action from various parties particularly the industry players.

It should be stressed that the Federal Government’s decision is valid according to law. Act 342 was legislated and made enforceable effective 1 April 1989 following the agreement by all states then, including Sabah and Sarawak to bring about a uniformed law for the purpose of preventing and controlling infectious diseases in Malaysia and enforceable throughout the country.

Hence, the State Governments are urged to co-operate in executing the Federal Government’s decision to regenerate the economy. The Government is confident that we, as a team, will succeed in winning the ‘war’ against the COVID-19 pandemic. We have worked shoulder to shoulder in implementing the MCO in our efforts to contain COVID-19. Now, we need to remain united and strengthen our collaboration towards our economic sustainability, securing our livelihoods and the well-being of the rakyat.

YB Dato’ Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali

Senior Minister

Minister of International Trade & Industry

Monday, 4 May 2020

 

 

 

 

Effective today companies from almost all sectors of the economy are allowed to operate following the Government’s decision on 29 April 2020. Nevertheless, the Government is aware that several States are not co-operating in implementing the Government’s decision. The decision to reopen the economic sectors under the terms of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) was taken with utmost care, caution and responsibility supported by data and findings by the Ministry of Finance, MITI, Bank Negara Malaysia and Khazanah Nasional Berhad.

The findings were presented for discussion with the Mentris Besar and the Chief Ministers at the meeting of the National Security Council on 28 April 2020. Based on the discussions during the meeting, the State Governments realised that should the MCO continue until June 2020, the cumulative loss of the national income is estimated to reach RM146 billion or a shortfall of 10.3 per cent of the GDP. This would wipe out the economic success that has been achieved for the last four years.

In this regard, the meeting agreed to reopen the economic sectors during the CMCO beginning 4 May 2020. In order to ensure effective implementation of this decision, the Federal Government will provide a set of comprehensive and stringent Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for use by all parties and these SOPs will be provided to the State Governments. For purposes of clarification, the SOPs have already been given to all State Governments on 2 May 2020, that is, before the date of the enforcement of CMCO.

The allegation that the Government restarted the economy hastily is false and baseless. The Government had undertaken incremental measures to open up the economy from March 18 to April 28 through the MCO Stages 1 to 3, mandating compliance with health requirements. These careful and prudent actions have yielded good results particularly in terms of the increase in the opening of the economic sectors without jeopardising the Government’s efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The Government has implemented the MCO in accordance with the provisions of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 [Act 342] to ensure the effective control of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The implementation of the MCO involves the entire country, including the states in Peninsular Malaysia as well as the Federal Territories, Sarawak and Sabah. This decision takes into account the importance and imperatives of the health and well-being of the rakyat and the need to regenerate the economy.

I wish to reiterate that the Government makes decisions to restart the economy based on the benchmarks of the World Health Organisation (WHO) which outlines six main criteria: safety control, movement control, capacity of the health system, protection of high-risk groups, new normal practices and community-based preventive measures. The Government’s initiative to address the COVID-19 pandemic is recognised as one of the best in the world. Our national health system has the capacity and capabilities to undertake efforts to protect the health of the rakyat and to curb the spread of COVID-19.

In this regard, the Government views seriously the position taken by the various State Governments in refusing to execute the decision. Their actions are not founded on lawful authority and are contrary to the policy of the Federal Government, all the more so in view of the fact that the Federal Government policy has already been made into law and enforceable throughout the country.

The regulations made under Act 342 are specific laws for the purpose of preventing and controlling the spread of COVID-19. As such, it prevails over the provisions of other written laws in respect of the prevention and control of infectious diseases.

The regulations of the CMCO effective today, inter alia, stipulates activities that are prohibited during the CMCO period. It should be noted that only activities that are prohibited will constitute an offence whereas activities other than those prohibited, are allowed during the CMCO period. In this regard, the CMCO differs from the previous MCO Stage 1, 2, 3 and 4 in that under the CMCO there is leeway given for its implementation so as to enable almost all economic sectors to restart in a controlled and prudent setting.

The Government has conducted various engagement sessions with the stakeholders of the economic sectors particularly, industry associations, local and international Chambers of Commerce as well as Small and Medium Enterprises in order to gauge the impact on business sustainability, supply chain and employment.

Therefore, the Government’s decision to allow almost all sectors of the economy to operate in order to revive and revitalize the economy is expected to have a positive impact on the economic growth and financial position of the country, not only at the Federal Government but also for the states.

The Government takes note of the media statements issued by various industry associations including the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers and the Malay Chamber of Commerce of Malaysia in respect of their call that there should be no direct restrictions from State Governments to stop companies to resume their operations from 4 May 2020. Should the State Governments refuse to co-operate in implementing Act 342 which has been gazetted into law enforceable throughout the country, the State Governments may face the possibility of legal action from various parties particularly the industry players.

It should be stressed that the Federal Government’s decision is valid according to law. Act 342 was legislated and made enforceable effective 1 April 1989 following the agreement by all states then, including Sabah and Sarawak to bring about a uniformed law for the purpose of preventing and controlling infectious diseases in Malaysia and enforceable throughout the country.

Hence, the State Governments are urged to co-operate in executing the Federal Government’s decision to regenerate the economy. The Government is confident that we, as a team, will succeed in winning the ‘war’ against the COVID-19 pandemic. We have worked shoulder to shoulder in implementing the MCO in our efforts to contain COVID-19. Now, we need to remain united and strengthen our collaboration towards our economic sustainability, securing our livelihoods and the well-being of the rakyat.

YB Dato’ Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali

Senior Minister

Minister of International Trade & Industry

Monday, 4 May 2020