Smaller listed firms taking part in ETP

They include Asia Media Group, Tricubes and Pensonic Holdings
Source: The Star - 20 April 2011


Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at the presentation of the Economic Tranformation Plan updates

PUTRAJAYA: Several second and third-tier companies listed on Bursa Malaysia are among the players behind the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) projects announced yesterday by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.Whereas in the past, the big boys in construction, property and oil and gas have been named as drivers of ETP projects, we know see several unfamiliar names taking part in initiatives to transform Malaysia into a high-income nation by 2020. At a media briefing, Najib unveiled seven all-new projects and recapped five that were announced after the last ETP progress update on March 11.

These 12 projects will bring in over RM11bil in investments. The Government expects these projects to add over RM16bil to the Malaysian economy and create more than 74,000 jobs.Among the listed companies that were in the limelight were two ACE Market companies Asia Media Group Bhd and Tricubes Bhd. Listed in January this year, the former will invest RM500mil to develop digital live broadcasting infrastructure that will deliver video and voice on buses and trains. According to the Government, the project will contribute about RM600mil in gross national income (GNI) and generate 400 jobs by 2020.

Tricubes is leading the 1Malaysia Email project, which provide a unique and official e-mail account and ID for Malaysian citizens. The Government said the company would invest RM50mil by 2020 to develop a web portal that includes an e-mail accounts for all Malaysian citizens aged 18 and above. This project will contribute RM39mil in GNI by 2015. In an announcement through Bursa Malaysia on April 4, Tricubes said the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (Mampu) had issued a letter of award to implement the project. The company added that it would enter into a definitive agreement with the Government to finalise the detailed terms and conditions of the appointment in due course.

In a statement yesterday, Tricubes chief executive Khairun Zainal Mokhtar said the project was a private finance initiative (PFI) and was therefore private sector-driven. Pensonic Holdings Bhd is also among the listed companies involved in the seven new projects announced yesterday, with its plans to set up a manufacturing hub and international distribution network for electrical home appliances. Under the security and trade facilitation system project, containers entering and leaving the country and moving within the country would be tracked by Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) system.

The system would enhance the efficiency of container clearance by reducing the queuing time at customs checkpoints, improving security through the automatic detection of a compromised or open container, and optimising human resources for better services. About RM45mil would be invested to provide the RFID infrastructure that would see a GNI impact of about RM201mil up to 2020 and create 100 new jobs.In another new ETP project, the Government has begun to look into e-government and paperless initiatives in a bid to be a more environment friendly and modern through a baseline study on e-counter services and paperless Government.

Meanwhile, The International Islamic University Malaysia will spearhead an initiative to develop and position Malaysia as one of the world's leading Islamic finance education hubs. An investment of RM3.17mil will be put in to set up the Islamic finance and banking education cluster that will develop and harmonise globally-accepted curricula in Islamic finance-related areas and establishing the Association for Islamic Finance Advancement, which will accredit programmes as well as advance and promote Islamic finance education globally. The Federal Agriculture Marketing Authority will lead the consolidation of pasar tani, pasar malam and pasar tamu into one, to be called Pasar Komuniti. This initiative will have an investment of RM50mil and will contribute RM3.52bil in GNI annually by 2020 and create 56,400 jobs.

Analysts are generally positive on the updates of the existing EPP projects and the seven all-new projects. They said the spending involved in the new EPP projects would be beneficial for the market across all sectors and would bring on a multiplier effect while the implementation of existing EPP projects would provide further boost to local economy. "It (investments on new projects) is a good sign of strong commitment from the private sector,” an analyst said, adding that the momentum for the private sector to invest was picking up. A fund manager said the additional projects and investments were a positive trend. The headline news is positive. Any new investment growth is positive.