Thursday, February 28, 2013

Import duties on cars from Japan to be reduced to 0% by 2016

KUALA LUMPUR: The import duties on cars from Japan will be reduced to 0% by 2016, says International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.
He said on Thursday that the import duties would be reduced to 15% in 2013, 10% in 2014 and to 5% in 2015.
On excise duties, he said the government was conducting a research on it. However, he said if this was implemented, it would be carried out gradually.
At a media conference, he said that prices of new cars had started to decline since the beginning of 2012 by about 3% to 5% for some models.
Mustapa said the government had been working with car companies to get them to voluntarily reduce car prices and this has seen the introduction of special rebates for some models since October 2012.
He said the reduction in car prices was due to measures taken by the government to make the industry more efficient and competitive, citing the implementation of the Asean Free Trade Agreement.
“Further reduction in prices will be realized with the liberalization of the automotive industry through other FTAs implementations which will come into force in 2016,” he said.
He added the industry employs 100,000 people directly and 70,000 people indirectly.
The resale and second-hand market employs about 100,000 people. He added that 60% of new buyers depend on the resale value of the existing care to make their next purchase.
As for tax revenue, he said RM7bil was generated from car taxes and this revenue helps the government to subsidise the cost of fuels and other amenities.

Source: The Star

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Top 10 America's Richest Cities in 2013

Real estate is all about location, location, location -- especially when you're wealthy. After all, when you can afford to live anywhere you want, you won't settle for anything less than perfection.

Recently released census data suggests which cities have the greatest appeal for rich people. These metropolitan areas have the highest percentage of households with high income (defined as income levels in the top 5 percent of national income distribution). That represents an annual household income of at least $191,469.

10. Napa, Calif.

Listed at $1,187,500 (TRULIA.COM)Percentage of households with high income: 9.3 percent

Known for its wine country, Napa is a haven for wealthy Americans. Beautiful weather, great golfing and high-end restaurants are some of the perks of living here, but they don't come cheap. The average listing price for a home in Napa is $1.2 million -- and that doesn't include vineyards.

This craftsman-style ranch house is listed at $1,187,500 and boasts four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a stable on the property.

9. Boulder, Colo.

Listed at $850,000 (TRULIA.COM)Percentage of households with high income: 9.4 percent

Boulder is home to the University of Colorado, but it's more than just a college town. It's located at the base of the Rocky Mountain foothills, so locals have plenty of opportunity to enjoy the more than 300 days of sunshine a year.

The average listing price for a home here is $847,221. This home, listed at $850,000, features 2 bedrooms, high ceilings and views of the foothills.

8. Boston

Listed at $1.05 million (TRULIA.COM)Percentage of households with high income: 9.7 percent

The Boston metropolitan area (Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass.-N.H.) has been home to some of the most influential -- and affluent -- people in history, including John F. Kennedy and Julia Child.

Prices in the area vary greatly depending on where you're looking, but the average listing price in Boston is $1.04 million. This two-bedroom, three-bathroom townhouse, listed at $1.05 million, was built in 1892 and is located on Boston's famous Commonwealth Avenue.

7. Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Listed at $1.7 million (TRULIA.COM)Percentage of households with high income: 9.7 percent

The Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, Calif., metro area is home to some of the nation's wealthiest households. Located about 40 miles northwest of L.A., locals enjoy golfing on some of the nation's best courses, theater at the local Civic Arts Plaza and backpacking in the nearby Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

The average listing price for a home in Thousand Oaks is $1.8 million, but there are "deals" to be had. This five-bedroom, five-bathroom home spans more than 4,000 square feet, features an eight-car garage and is listed at $1.7 million.

6. New York

Listed at $2.295 million (TRULIA.COM)Percentage of households with high income: 10 percent

The New York metro area, which includes northern New Jersey and Long Island as well as parts of Pennsylvania, is one of the most expensive in the U.S. At the center of it all is New York, a world economic center where residents can enjoy world-class dining, nightlife and theater.

Living in NYC proper is expensive, with the average listing price hovering around $2.35 million. And you won't be getting a massive estate at that price -- for $2.295 million you can make this 17th-floor, four-bedroom, four-bathroom co-op home.

5. Trenton, N.J.

Listed at $149,900 (TRULIA.COM)Percentage of households with high income: 11.6 percent

The Trenton-Ewing metro area is full of history, famous for the Revolutionary war battle that took place in Trenton in December of 1776.

Home prices vary in the metro area, but the average listing price in Trenton is $145,294. Listed at $149,900, this three-bedroom, one-bathroom ranch home features a fenced-in yard and plenty of living space.

4. San Francisco

Listed at $1.45 million (TRULIA.COM)Percentage of households with high income: 13 percent

The San Francisco metro area (San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont) is one of the priciest in the nation. Its diverse population, numerous cultural attractions and pleasant weather make it a hot spot for wealthy residents from all walks of life.

Housing doesn't come cheap in San Francisco, where the average listing price is $1.44 million. With space at a premium, even a few million dollars won't get you multiple bedrooms. This one-bedroom, two-bathroom loft spans 1,629 square feet and is listed for sale at $1.45 million.

3. Washington, D.C.

Listed at $895,000 (TRULIA.COM)Percentage of households with high income: 14.1 percent

With its high density of wheeler dealers, it's no surprise that D.C. is one of the wealthiest -- and poorest -- in the nation.

The average listing price for a home in the D.C. metro area, which includes neighboring areas in Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia, is $889,996. This D.C. condo is listed for $895,000 and features two bedrooms, two baths and plenty of history -- it was built in 1888.

2. San Jose

Listed at $634,000 (TRULIA.COM)Percentage of households with high income: 15.9 percent

Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, San Jose is one of the wealthiest areas in California. The metro area (San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara) is home to many major technology companies and startups.

Home prices vary, but they're generally steep. In San Jose, the average listing price is $632,630, but you can get more for your money than some of the other cities on this list. This three-bedroom, two-bathroom single-family home is listed at $634,000 and spans 1,239 square feet.

1. Stamford, Conn.

Listed at $730,000 (TRULIA.COM)Percentage of households with high income: 17.9 percent

Once a modest colony of Puritan settlers, the Stamford metro area (Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk) is now the wealthiest in the nation. The cost of living is more than 60 percent above the national average, and the area has come a long way from its humble beginnings.

The average listing price in Stamford is $728,603 -- expensive, but not bad for the nation's richest city. This four-bedroom, three-bathroom colonial is listed for $730,000 and features a modern kitchen, fireplace and more than 2,200 square feet of living space.


Saturday, February 16, 2013

EPF declares 6.15% dividend for 2012

KUALA LUMPUR: The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) declared a dividend rate of 6.15 percent for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2012.
The dividend rate, an increase of 15 basis points over the 6 percent rate paid out in 2011, translates to a record breaking total of RM27.45bil being distributed to its members, an increase of 12.2 percent over RM24.47bil paid out in the previous year, said EPF Chairman Tan Sri Samsudin Osman on Sunday.
“Notwithstanding the increasingly complex investment environment, the EPF maintained its steady upwards momentum to post its strongest set of results since the turn of the millennium, underpinning the effectiveness of its long term investment strategy as well as its disciplined and prudent approach,” he said in a press statement.
In 2012, the EPF posted its highest gross investment income to date of RM31.02bil, up 13.91 percent from 2011.
The highest ever dividend payout of RM27.45bil was derived after deducting investment expenses, operating expenditures, statutory charges and net impairment allowance on financial assets.
“The EPF's main objective is the protection of members' capital by generating a return that beats the rate of inflation.
"We continue to fulfil this commitment year on year through our Strategic Asset Allocation (SAA) which seeks consistent returns in the long term within tolerable risk limits for each asset class,” said Samsudin.
The bulk of the fund's investment assets continue to be in stable and traditional low risk fixed income instruments.
Equities made up 38.77 percent of total investment assets for the year, while the remaining 3.59 percent and 2.42 percent were allocated for Money Market Instruments and Real Estate and Infrastructure asset classes, respectively, he said.
“Despite being a diversified fund predominantly invested in low risk fixed income instruments, EPF's annual return on investment (ROI) has topped 6 percent for the third year running.
“Equities generated a double digit ROI of 10.06 percent while returns from fixed income instruments exceeded 5.5 per cent in spite of the current low interest rate conditions,” he said.
Due to a number of one-off capital market transactions undertaken during 2012, Loans and Bonds showed the highest increase in year-on-year income with investment in this asset class contributing RM9.68bil to gross investment income, up 33.62 per cent or RM2.44bil compared to 2011.
“In view of the prevailing low interest rate environment, the EPF has gradually decreased its exposure in traditional and conventional fixed income assets and has shifted maturing assets into higher yielding assets in the form of equities and real estate but within the tolerable risk limits,” said Samsudin.
On the back of a steady growth seen in both domestic and global equity markets in 2012, Equities contributed RM13.91bil in income representing 44.84 percent of gross investment income.
Meanwhile, investments in Malaysian Government Securities and Equivalents, Real Estate and Infrastructure and Money Market Instruments earned RM6.26bil, RM595.63mil and RM574.91mil respectively.
EPF total investment assets as at Dec 31, 2012 stood at RM526.75bil surpassing the half a trillion mark, up 12.31 percent from RM469.04bil recorded in the previous year.
This increase was largely contributed by the positive net annual contributions from members and employers as well as consistent and encouraging investment performance across all asset classes, the statement said.
As a result of the increase in membership base, the EPF requires RM4.46bil to pay every one percent dividend rate for 2012.
This represents a 9.34 percent increase over RM4.08bil paid for every one percent dividend rate for 2011.
The amount needed to pay a one percent dividend rate will continue to rise 8 to 9 percent annually, the statement said.
One of the notable transactions in 2012 was the fund's expansion of its property investments, both overseas and locally, which included the Battersea Power Station project in London, United Kingdom, and the finalising of the purchase of 932ha of Rubber Research Institute land in Sungai Buloh for RM2.28bil to be developed into a new township.
In line with its diversification strategy to optimise members' long term returns, EPF total overseas exposure as at Dec 31, constituted 15.7 percent of its total investment assets.
During the year, an additional USD7.10bil of investments were made in global equities, global bonds and real estate, the statement said.
“With more than half a trillion of funds under management, the EPF faces a profound challenge to deliver continuously strong returns amid the low interest rate environment, the continued fragility of the global economy as well as constraints within the domestic capital market.
“Nevertheless as a retirement fund, we will continue to be guided by our long term investment objectives and prudent investment strategy to ensure sustainability and consistent returns in the interest of our members' retirement well-being,” said Samsudin.
Members may check their EPF Account Statement for the crediting of the 2012 dividend, either through EPF Kiosks, counters or i-Akaun, from Monday, Feb 18, 2013.
Members aged 55 and above may withdraw the annual dividend credited into their account as one of several payment options available under the Age 55 Withdrawal.
For more information on this withdrawal, please contact EPF Call Centre at 03 8922 6000 from 8.00 am to 7.00 pm from Monday to Friday or log on to myEPF at


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Happy Chinese New Year 2013


                                  Wishing all our readers Happy Chinese New Year, a great year ahead~

Saturday, February 2, 2013

How to present effectively like Steve Jobs

PHOTO: Steve Jobs

Whenever I’m asked to speak to a group -- whether it’s a large gathering like a college commencement, or a smaller one like those found at a local chamber of commerce’s monthly breakfast -- I think of Steve Jobs, the master presenter. The co-founder of Apple didn’t just focus on statistics or technology in his communications; he sold the benefits of his company’s products.
Take a quick look at Jobs’ keynote address introducing the iPhone during the 2007 Macworld Conference & Expo. Visuals were used to illustrate a point, not to fill space or entertain. And no matter how brief or long the Jobs-led dog-and-pony show, you left the venue with a full understanding of what was presented.
We can all take some communications cues from Steve Jobs. Here are five that I recently came across from Jim Confalone, co-founder and creative director of ProPoint Graphics, a New York-based professional presentation design firm. 

1. Know the one critical point in your presentation -- then make it clear. Steve Jobs recognized that the human mind couldn’t process a mountain of material in one sitting. Any information or data that isn’t driving a specific message can be a distraction that weakens the impact of your presentation. Use only visuals that support your one point.
2. Acknowledge why people are listening to you. Your audience is in the room for a particular reason. It’s critical to understand why they’re listening to you so you can tune your presentation in a manner that makes them more receptive listeners. The same talk might play out very differently if it’s given to shareholders, engineers or sales people.
3. Make an immediate, personal connection. Jobs always began by trying to make an emotional connection with the audience, even though his goal was to sell technology. This connection builds empathy, which in turn encourages your audience to be more receptive to what you have to say.
4. Keep the audience focused on you the speaker, not your presentation. The audience isn’t there to look at your slides. They’re there to see and listen to the presenter. Keep their focus on you. That may mean bringing a prop to hold up and draw their attention to, or it may mean inserting a blank slide into your presentation so that the audience is forced to look at you. Steve Jobs often did this — again, drawing the audience’s attention to himself.
5. Know your story. You should know your content so completely that you are comfortable giving your presentation with no visuals at all. Steve Jobs was notoriously meticulous about his preparation, scripting everything. Other presenters prefer to have an element of spontaneity or improvisation. Regardless of your style, mastery of your story affords you the luxury of calm and clarity, essential components to a great presentation.