Bursa inks MoU with OCBC, Alliance to introduce sustainable financing for PLCs

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According to Datuk Muhamad Umar Swift, chief executive officer (CEO) of Bursa Malaysia, the exchange operator and regulator has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Alliance Bank Malaysia Bhd and OCBC Bank (Malaysia) Bhd to establish #financing4ESG, an initiative to improve Malaysian public listed companies’ (PLCs) environmental, social and governance (ESG) adoption. Bursa Malaysia said it will collaborate with both banks to develop sustainable financing options that recognise PLCs’ ESG credentials in accordance with the FTSE4Good assessment criteria. The initiative enables PLCs the opportunity to accelerate their ESG adoption while also improving their ESG ratings for inclusion into the domestic capital market’s ESG index, FTSE4Good Bursa Malaysia Index. FTSE Bursa Malaysia EMAS Index constituents are eligible for the sustainability financing under the initiative as they form the FTSE4Good ESG assessment universe. The signing of the MoU with Alliance Bank and OCBC Bank underscores Bursa’s commitment towards accelerating ESG adoption among PLCs, in line with the aspiration to elevate PLCs as regional leaders in this space. He is optimistic that this collaboration will spur the growth of sustainable finance while also enhancing PLCs’ appeal to investors. He noted that for PLCs, ESG is no longer nice-to-have but has become need- to-have. Joel Kornreich, group CEO of Alliance Bank, speaking at the event, noted that it is important to help business owners adopt ESG practices and innovation to reduce carbon footprint as the sustainable choices they make can be a force for good for the community and environment. He added that sustainable choices will result in positive climate impact, social outcomes, and business profitability in the long term and that their collaboration with Bursa Malaysia will enable them to help businesses, large and small, innovate and grow sustainably. Also present at the MoU was Tan Ai Chin, managing director, senior banker and head of investment banking of OCBC Bank, who said that the bank will collaborate with Bursa Malaysia by synergising OCBC Bank’s leading experience in pioneering various sustainable finance transactions and capitalising on Bursa Malaysia’s ESG database to provide optimal financing solutions for PLCs. They aim to mainstream the adoption of sustainable finance to further accelerate the PLCs’ sustainability agendas, as a means to support the Malaysian government’s commitment towards achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. Besides the competitive financing from Alliance Bank and OCBC Bank, PLCs will obtain non-monetary benefits from the collaboration’s branding and capacity building exercises. Bursa Malaysia will also provide access to its investor relations engagements and event platforms, along with the opportunity to participate in specialised technical workshops on climate-related disclosures. The #financing4ESG initiative sets the foundation for Bursa Malaysia to collaborate with other ecosystem players to advance the nation’s ESG adoption, which is in line with the Exchange’s vision to be al leading sustainable and globally connected marketplace. PLCs interested in learning more about the initiative or improving their general ESG practices may approach the Exchange’s Index & Sustainable Business unit via email at isb@bursamalaysia.com 

Govt to unveil MSC 2.0 to attract more digital investment — Mustapa 

According to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, the government will unveil MSC 2.0 with a new branding and further improvements to address the digital divide, meet current challenges and constraints, and enhance Malaysia’s value proposition to attract more digital investment nationwide. This effort is in line with the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP), Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDIGITAL), and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. He said the decision was made at the fourth meeting of the National Digital Economy and Fourth National Industrial Revolution (4IR) Council, which was chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob. For 25 years, the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) through the MSC Malaysia initiative, has succeeded to increase the contribution of the digital economy from 0% to more than 20% to gross domestic product by 2021. As at Dec 31, 2020, MSC Malaysia had helped the country raise investments of more than RM384 billion and revenue of RM588 billion. The country has grown into a global digital economic power, having been ranked among the top three of the Kearney Global Services Location Index since 2004 through this initiative. Hence, efforts to digitise the people’s economy and popularise the digital economy will continue. The government was satisfied with the implementation of the National Digital Network Plan (JENDELA) through the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) with a total of 6.427 million premises covered with fibre optic, average mobile broadband speed increased to 31.34 Mbps, and 4G coverage increased to 94.03% in populated areas until the third quarter of 2021. The 5G network throughout Malaysia will be implemented aggressively to achieve the target of 80% coverage in populated areas by 2024 to ensure the country is back on par with neighbouring countries in the near term. To encourage the adoption of digital technology by micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the MyDIGITAL Corporation will be organising the National MSME Digitisation Empowerment Programme 2021 from Nov 21 to 23. The programme will be held in collaboration with the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia, Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives, Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), MDEC, MCMC, and other relevant government agencies and private entities. The prime minister will be launching the programme which will be held in Bera, Pahang. The programme aims at sharing information on the stimulus or support packages provided by the federal and state governments, the private sector, as well as to share the experiences of entrepreneurs who have achieved success from the various assistance. It was decided that the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, through early-stage start-up influencer Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd, would coordinate and monitor the implementation of the Malaysia Startup Ecosystem Roadmap (SUPER) 2021-2030 through the MYStartup platform in an effort to place Malaysia in the top 20 of the global start-up ecosystem by 2030. It was also decided that the achievements of the MyDIGITAL initiative be used as a key performance indicator (KPI) for ministers and department heads, in line with the importance of the digital economy. 

Eye On The Markets 

This week, on Friday (19Nov), the Ringgit opened at 4.1800 against the USD from 4.1640 on Monday (15Nov). Meanwhile, the Ringgit was 3.0804 to the Sing Dollar on Friday (19Nov). On Monday (15Nov), the FBM KLCI opened at 1531.38. As at Friday (19Nov) 10:00am, the FBM KLCI is down 7.59 points for the week at 1523.79 Over in US, the overnight Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 60.10 points (-0.17%) to 35,870.95 whilst the NASDAQ added 72.10 points (+0.45%) to 15,993.70.  

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