Insurance News

25 stolen cars recovered
11 July 2011, By The Star

PORT KLANG: Twenty-five stolen cars worth about RM2mil have been recovered after being shipped off to Europe as furniture parts. Selangor Customs director Datuk Azis Yacub said the cars, all of a particular Japanese make, were smuggled out in five containers marked as “wooden furniture parts” and left for Cyprus on June 25. “The Customs Department, with the cooperation of the shipping company, managed to track the ship transporting the containers. “At that time, the ship was berthed in Haifa Port, Israel, and we instructed all the containers to be brought back to Malaysia,” he told reporters yesterday. He said the containers arrived at Westport on July 27 and a scan revealed images of cars. A physical check was conducted last Thursday and each container was found to contain five cars. “Three cars were parked on the base of the container, while two were suspended with ropes,” said Azis. A 35-year-old man has been detained in connection with the case, while two more suspects are being sought. Under the Customs Act, the maximum penalty for making a false declaration is a RM500,000 fine or five years’ jail or both. State CID chief Senior Asst Comm Mohd Adnan Abdullah said the 25 cars were reported missing in June, with 20 reports lodged in Selangor, three in Kuala Lumpur, and one each in Malacca and Negri Sembilan. “The syndicate sends the stolen cars to Hong Kong, Thailand, Dubai and Cyprus,” he revealed. The syndicate is the same one from which police recovered 98 stolen cars at a warehouse in Kampung Black Water near Banting on June 29. Four men were arrested during the raid three months ago, said SAC Mohd Adnan.

Public can lodge traffic-related reports at any police station soon
29 July 2010, By The Star

GENTING HIGHLANDS: Come November, motorists lodging traffic-related reports at police stations can save time as they no longer have to wait for the traffic investigating officers to take down their complaints. “By that time, all police stations will be linked to the online Police Reporting System (PRS). “Under the new system, a person doesn’t have to go to a traffic police centre to lodge a report. “They can go to any police station,” said Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Khalid Abu Bakar. He added that the general policemen could conduct the initial investigation by taking down the accident particulars and snapping photographs of the damaged vehicle before submitting it online. The report would then be sent to a traffic investigating officer in the area or location of the accident for a detailed case follow-up. Khalid said motorists would even be able to apply for photographs and sketches of the accident site online and choose the police station from which they wished to collect the documents. He explained that currently all police stations could accept police reports on traffic matters and accidents, however this was done manually and the reports were then sent to the respective traffic police centres before investigations could start. Khalid said this after witnessing the closing ceremony of the three-day Traffic Police Investigation Application Workshop here yesterday. Thirty-two state and senior traffic police chiefs attended the brainstorming event to improve the traffic police investigation and delivery system. On a separate matter, Khalid said the army would assist the police in conducting patrols and security checks at the KL International Airport from next month. It was part of an ongoing army-police collaboration programme which began last year. “The army personnel stationed at KLIA would be issued with standard police weapons because the airport is a sensitive area,” he said.

Idris Jala: No hasty introduction of GST
5 July 2011, By The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Fears that there will be a hasty introduction of the goods and services tax (GST) have beem allayed by the Government, which said it would not be implemented in the near future without public support. “There should not be cause for alarm even if there is a decision to introduce the GST tomorrow. “It will take at least 18 months for it to be fully in place,” Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala said Tuesday. Speaking to reporters following the announcement of the Government’s six Strategic Reform Initiatives (SRI) to boost the nation’s global competitiveness, he said that the GST would not be introduced any time soon. He said public engagement and education were necessary before any decision was made. “We want to make sure the public fully understands and is supportive of the GST before it is done,” he said, adding that no deadline has been fixed for its introduction. Idris, who is Pemandu CEO, chided certain quarters from portraying the GST as being a burden for the lower income group and poor. “This is absolutely not true as all staple food such as sugar, rice and flour would be exempted from GST,” he said. He said the exemption was not exclusive to food items but could also be expanded to cover public transportation if needed.

Lawyer charged with CBT
27 October 2010, By The Star

SEREMBAN: A 54-year-old mother who lost two sons in a road accident three years ago suffered another blow when the lawyer representing her in a civil suit allegedly failed to give her the compensation paid out by the insurance company. Jumlahtiah Enting @ Sting had appointed Sasi Kumar Kandasamy, 38, to act for her. Yesterday, Sasi Kumar pleaded not guilty at a Sessions Court here of committing criminal breach of trust involving RM17,469. He was accused of failing to pay Jumlahtiah the money, although Kurnia Insurance had released the money to his legal firm. Sasi Kumar allegedly committed the offence between April 10 and May 15, 2007. He was charged under Section 409 of the Penal Code. If found guilty, he can be jailed between two and 20 years and caned. Judge Amran Jantan set Nov 29 for trial.

Girl paralysed by go-kart mishap awarded RM1mil in damages
13 September 2009, By The Star

SEREMBAN: “We have waited for this for more than 10 years. “I hope my little girl will be able to lead a better life from now on and can fend for herself when we are gone.” These were the first words of retired air force personnel Prem Singh, 56, after the High Court here upheld a lower court’s decision to award his paraplegic 23-year-old daughter Amrita Kaur almost RM1mil in damages for injuries suffered while driving a go-kart at a resort in Port Dickson in December 1999. Prem, who now works as a driver, said the award would help alleviate his burden. “We have gone through a lot to make ends meet. “Justice has finally been served,” he said. Earlier, judicial commissioner Ahmad Nasfy Yasin upheld a lower court’s decision to award Amrita almost RM1mil in damages in his judgment, delivered in chambers before Amrita’s counsel Haresh Mahadevan and Ramzani Idris, and representatives for the defendants, T. Jayadeva and C.L. Chin. Amrita was only 12 when her long hair got caught in the go-kart’s rear engine while driving at a centre operated by Vitaton Holding Sdn Bhd at KM22 Pasir Panjang in Port Dickson. She has been confined to a wheelchair since the incident paralysed her from the chest down and is dependent on her parents for all her needs. In the suit, both Amrita and Prem had claimed that the personnel on duty that day had failed to stop the machine and this had aggravated her injury. In May, the Sessions Court found that Vitaton (M) Sdn Bhd, Paul Sia and directors The Gi Ya and The Kai Sing were liable for Amrita’s injuries. It had ordered the second and third defendants to pay 30% each of the damages while Gi Ya and Kai Sing would pay 20% each. The defendants were also ordered to pay Amrita RM200,000 for the complete paralysis she suffered with an additional 8% interest, RM336,000 for 60 years of nursing care and RM144,000 for diapers, disposal gloves, moisturising cream, olive oil and cotton wool. The court also directed the defendants to pay the RM43,956.84 surgery cost incurred at Gleneagles Intan Hospital in Kuala Lumpur where Amrita was referred to after the incident. Haresh said the JC also found that the personnel on duty had not given Amrita a helmet for her size, which contributed to the mishap. Amrita said she planned to pursue a diploma in business management in Kuala Lumpur as the colleges in Seremban had no disabled-friendly facilities. “I had waited for a long time to do this,” she said. Amrita said she was happy as she would no longer be a burden to her parents and hoped they could focus on her siblings.

Move for protection against cartels
13 October 2010, By New Straits Times

GEORGE TOWN: An independent commission to implement the newly minted Competition Act 2010 is to be set up by Jan 1 next year. Known as The Competition Commission, it will have powers to prevent large companies in Malaysia from engaging in monopolistic and cartel activities. The act, which was passed by Parliament in June, would be enforced from Jan 1, 2012. A member of the interim competition unit, R. Shagivarnam, said the act was aimed at promoting a level-playing field among businesses to protect consumer interests. The act empowers the commission to conduct investigations into any enterprise suspected of infringment. A corporate body may be fined up to RM5 million for a first offence and up to RM10 million for a subsequent offence. Individuals may be fined up to RM1 million for a first offence and RM2 million for a subsequent offence or up to five years jail. He said that in general, the law did not apply to sectors regulated by the telecommunications and multimedia as well as energy industries. He said the unit was entrusted to channel public feedback on the act to the commission before the legislation comes into effect.

Grading system for car workshops
9 October 2010, By New Straits Times

THE Federation of Automobile Workshop Owners Association Malaysia (FAWOAM) will introduce a grading system for customers to make price comparisons and find out details of a workshop online by January next year. The system will allow for greater transparency and uniform practices to protect consumers from being overcharged by workshop operators, FAWOAM president Kong Wai Kwong said. “FAWOAM will implement a grading system for all workshops which will kick off with the 500 PARS (Piam Authorised Repairers Scheme) approved workshops in the country,” he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. Eventually, it will cover all FAWOAM’s 2,700 members nationwide. FAWOAM plans to make the new system accessible not only to workshop owners and insurers but also consumers and related government agencies. “Consumers will now have all the information necessary to help make an informed choice when deciding on a workshop,” Kong added. According to Kong, consumers will be able to log onto the system; check on the equipment and skills available in a workshop; make price comparisons between workshops; and even find the location of the closest workshop. The database will start by providing information on six high-selling brands in the country – Proton, Perodua, Honda, Nissan, Kia and Toyota – which make up about 85 per cent of the cars sold. During the briefing with FAWOAM members, Kong said the new system will see workshops classified under three tiers: silver, gold and platinum. The workshops will be graded according to their manpower, repair work, machinery and materials available. “The workshops have to achieve the minimum requirement of the silver level. As they attain higher standards, they will be promoted to gold and, eventually, platinum. “The main objective of introducing this scheme is to develop the industry further. FAWOAM believes that this form of self-evaluation and governance will develop workshops, industry players and the industry as a whole,” Kong said. Each tier will have specific requirements and price structures, and make it easier for insurers, loss adjusters and claim managers to come up with the estimates for collision repair costs.

Travel insurance saved my mum
29 September 2010, By The Star

RECENTLY, on a trip to China with my 81 year-old mother and some friends, we met with an accident. My mom and I were knocked down by a car. My mom suffered head injuries when she fell and hit her head on the pavement. We took her to the hospital where it was determined that she was bleeding in her brain and would be in no condition to travel. Beside difficulties in communicating with the locals as their dialect was different from the Mandarin that we used in Malaysia, I also found out that it was going to cost a lot of money to treat my mother. Furthermore, the Chinese hospital would only accept yuan. Since I did not have much yuan with me, I was quite desperate. Then I remembered the travel insurance I bought for the trip and called the emergency number given. After confirming everything was in order, the customer service staff arranged for doctors from Malaysia and Beijing to liaise with the attending doctors at the hospital and to advise and keep me informed. I was asked by the company’s doctors whether I wanted to bring my mother home to Malaysia. I told them that I did not see how it was possible due to my mother’s condition. They assured me that they would make the arrangement and a plane would be sent over to pick us up. The plane duly arrived as promised. I was surprised that the plane had ICU facilities with a doctor and nurse on board. On arrival in Kuala Lumpur, there was an ambulance waiting to take us to the hospital requested by me earlier. I was really amazed that for the small premium that I paid, we were given such VVIP treatment. As a businesswoman, I was impressed by the professional manner of their staff in looking after us. With more Malaysians now travelling, they should not neglect buying travel insurance from the right company, especially when traveling overseas. They should also know what insurance coverage they are getting. I would like to thank all the staff who looked after us in China and Malaysia, especially Dr Alan, Dr Teoh, Dr Grey, Ms Sharmini and Ms Lisa. YVONNE YUE, Kuala Lumpur.

WHO Chief Says H1N1 Flu Pandemic Is Over
11 August 2010, By BERNAMA

GENEVA – The H1N1 pandemic is over and the global outbreak turned out to be much less severe than was feared just over a year ago, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday. WHO director-general Margaret Chan once again rebutted criticism that the United Nations agency had hyped the first pandemic in more than 40 years, whose mildness left some Western governments holding huge stockpiles of unused vaccines. The Hong Kong public health expert said the world had been lucky the H1N1 virus had not mutated into a more deadly form and that a safe vaccine developed in record time remained effective against it. “We are now moving into the post-pandemic period. The new H1N1 virus has largely run its course,” Chan said. “That was the right call,” she said, defending the decision taken in June last year to declare a pandemic. The swine flu virus will continue to circulate as part of seasonal influenza for years to come, requiring health authorities to remain vigilant, she told a news conference. It still threatens high-risk groups including pregnant women who would benefit from vaccination, she said. Stockpiled H1N1 vaccines remain effective against the strain and so far the virus has not developed widespread resistance to the antiviral oseltamivir, the best treatment, she said. The WHO’s downgrading of the H1N1 outbreak to “post-pandemic” was based on recommendations by external influenza experts who conducted a review earlier in the day. “I think even if we see severe outbreaks occurring in some countries — which is still definitely possible — that the global threat is really much lower and much different than a year ago,” Keiji Fukuda, WHO’s top flu expert, told reporters. CONTINUED VIGILANCE In June 2009, the WHO said a new swine flu virus, H1N1, that emerged in the United States and Mexico and spread around the world in six weeks, was the first pandemic since 1968. A full pandemic corresponds to phase 6 on the WHO’s six-point scale. “We need to continue to maintain our vigilance and not be complacent,” Chan said, noting that outbreaks continued in countries including India and New Zealand. The behavior of influenza viruses is notoriously difficult to predict and no two pandemics are alike, flu experts say. “I am very pleased that European member states prepared for something worse. I’d rather have it go that way than their planning for less or not being prepared at all,” Angus Nicoll, influenza program coordinator at the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, told Reuters Tuesday. The WHO has also rejected allegations that it acted under the influence of drug companies in declaring a pandemic. Chan said that three viruses were now circulating as part of a “mixed virus pattern” in many countries, typically seen during seasonal epidemics. These were H1N1 and H3N2 — both type ‘A’ influenza — as well as type ‘B’. Either H1N1 vaccine or a trivalent (triple shot) vaccine against the three strains should be used to inoculate those at risk, depending on their availability, she said. “Pandemic and seasonal vaccine in both hemispheres confer the same protection (against H1N1),” Fukuda said. An estimated 350 million people worldwide have been vaccinated against H1N1, he said. Dozens of companies make influenza vaccines, including Sanofi-Aventis , GlaxoSmithKline , Novartis , AstraZeneca and CSL . Roche makes the frontline antiviral oseltamivir, marketed as Tamiflu. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the WHO pronouncement will not alter U.S. plans for the upcoming flu season. The CDC recommends that everyone over 6 months of age be vaccinated against seasonal flu this year, the most universal recommendation yet for flu vaccines. The CDC said vaccine manufacturers are predicting an ample supply of U.S. flu vaccine, which will protect against the 2009 H1N1 swine flu virus, plus the most common strains of the H3N2 and the influenza B virus. The CDC last month said manufacturers have forecast they will have 170 million doses of flu vaccine for the 2010-2011 U.S. flu season. Some 18,450 people worldwide are confirmed to have died from H1N1 infections, including many pregnant women and young people. But WHO says that it will take at least a year after the pandemic ends to determine the true death toll, which is likely to be much higher. Seasonal flu kills an estimated 500,000 people a year, 90 percent of them frail elderly people, according to the WHO. The 1957 and 1968 pandemics killed about 2 million and 1 million people, respectively, it says.

The car that is most likely to be stolen in the US
3 August 2010, By The Star

The shiny Cadillac Escalade SUV, a favorite of celebrities like Tiger Woods, is once again the vehicle voted most likely to be stolen, according to an insurance industry group. The F-250 crew cab pickup, Infiniti G37 two-door car, Dodge Charger with its high-power HEMI engine and Chevrolet Corvette Z06 round out the list of the top five vehicles most likely to be the subject of insurance theft claims. Least likely targets of thieves are family vehicles like the Volvo S80, Saturn Vue and Nissan Murano, Honda Pilot and Subaru Impreza. The Highway Loss Data Institute, which is part of the Arlington-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, calculated theft claim rates for vehicles from the 2007-2009 model years. The data reports thefts per insured vehicles on the road. The Escalade, which starts at $62,495, has ranked as the most-stolen in six of the last seven reports. A theft claim is filed for one out of every 100 insured Escalades, the group said, and the average insurance payout is $11,934. That compares with an average of $6,883 for all vehicles. Almost one in every four Escalade theft claims is for $40,000 or more. Escalades are equipped with antitheft ignition immobilizers that prevent them from being started without a special key, but that doesn’t prevent some thieves from hauling them away on flatbed trucks, said Kim Hazelbaker, senior vice president of the Highway Loss Data Institute. “Thieves are after chrome, horsepower and HEMIs,” she said. Large SUVs like the Escalade have the highest overall theft losses, with large pickups second. Hazelbaker said trucks are targeted for various reasons. In addition to their looks, large pickups can be used for work or they might be carrying valuable tools or cargo. The Institute said the frequency of theft claims for cars and SUVS has been declining since 1998. Pickup thefts also had been on the downswing until 2006, when the Institute noticed an uptick in claims. Two-door minicars are the least likely group to be targeted.

M-cyclists top road deaths
3 August 2010, By New Straits Times

DESPITE the road accident rate increasing over a 10-year period from 2000, road safety programmes have succeeded in bringing down the number of injuries by 40.2 per cent during that time. Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said the number of accidents had increased by an average of 7.8 per cent annually, from 208,144 cases in 2000 to 397,330 cases last year. “The increase is due to a 78.8 per cent rise in non-injury accidents, which accounted for 163,918 cases during the last 10 years. This is in view of the increase in the number of registered vehicles, which grew at an annual rate of eight per cent. “However, accidents that caused injuries decreased by 40.2 per cent, or 17,017 cases, for the same period as a result of the road safety programmes conducted by the government,” he said in reply to Senator Ahamat @ Ahamad Yusop. He said most of the injuries were sustained by motorcyclists and their pillion riders. Kong said 4,067 of the 6,745 deaths last year involved motorcyclists and pillion riders, two-thirds of whom suffered head injuries. He said the ministry and other road safety stakeholders had taken steps to reduce accidents. Among them were: – Making road safety education a part of the school curriculum for pupils, with supplementary activities such as Road Safety Clubs and School Traffic Wardens in schools; – Road safety awareness campaigns in the media, cinemas, video-sharing site YouTube, networking site Facebook, popular websites and text messages; – Improving road barriers and designating motorcycles lanes; – Enforcing the Safety Health and Environment Code for public transport vehicles and goods vehicles; and – Implementing the Automated Enforcement System to deter road users from committing traffic offences. To a question from Senator Datuk Rizuan Abdul Hamid, Kong acknowledged that the level of society’s compliance with traffic rules was still low. “Many of our road users continue to speed, beat red lights and over-load their vehicles.”

57 more cases of A(H1N1) reported
7 May 2010, By The Star

PETALING JAYA: Another 57 confirmed cases of the influenza A(H1N1) have been reported, bringing the total to 13,889 cases nationwide. Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Ismail Merican said that as at 5.30pm on Wednesday, 632 people with influenza-like illness (ILI) were also being treated at various hospitals. Of this, 12% or 76 cases had been confirmed positive for A(H1N1). The death toll from the pandemic remains at 82. He also said that as at 8am yesterday, 13 ILI clusters had been reported in Perak, Kelantan, Terengganu, Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Johor and Sarawak. The clusters included a group of 28 students at MRSM Gerik, Perak and another 17 at SMK Tumpat, Kelantan, two of whom had tested positive. Deputy Health Minister Datuk Rosnah Rashid Shirlin said there had been an increase in the response for H1N1 vaccines after the media highlighted it early this week. “So far, 192,747 people have been vaccinated,” Rosnah said, adding that the Government had no plans to order more vaccines. She also advised the public to get vaccinated at private hospitals and clinics. Malaysian Medical Association president Dr David Quek said the public should get vaccinated and not take the flu lightly, because ignoring possible symptoms could be deadly. He also noted an increase in demand for trivalent flu vaccines, which offered protection against three strains of flu including A(H1N1). In JOHOR BARU, Johor Health department director Dr Mohd Khairi Yaakub said four government clinics had been identified to provide vaccinations for the A(H1N1) virus. The four clinics are located in Johor Baru, Batu Pahat, Mengkibol in Kluang and Muar. Dr Mohd Khairi was responding to a complaint by a reader of The Star who claimed that his pregnant wife was denied vaccination at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital in Johor Baru recently.

Selangor top cop’s car stolen
7 May 2010, By The Star

SHAH ALAM: The Selangor Police Chief’s official car has been stolen. Deputy Comm Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar’s driver had parked the Perdana V6 near a restaurant in Section 9 here yesterday morning to have his breakfast. Half an hour later, it was missing. He immediately lodged a report at the district police headquarters here. DCP Khalid, who is attending a meeting overseas, confirmed that his car had been stolen. He said his driver was quizzed by the investigating team, in particular as to why he had driven the official car out of the Selangor police headquarters when DCP Khalid was abroad. Apparently, the thief did not realise that the car belonged to the Selangor top cop as it did not bear the police logo. However, the car has the Global Positioning System installed and the investigating team is tracking it.

Cops scour the country for head of carfencing syndicate
26 April 2010, By Malay Mail

PETALING JAYA: City police are working closely with their counterparts in Kelantan to hunt down Karim Mamak, the gang leader and mastermind behind the carfencing syndicate involving several Road Transport Department (RTD) “insiders”. The Malay Mail was informed yesterday that Kelantan police were volunteering detailed information on the syndicate which issued new grants for stolen vehicles. Sentul district deputy police chief Superintendent Zainuddin Ahmad said the main suspect, Abd Wahad Omar, 53, also known as Karim Mamak, and his accomplice, Abdul Halim Othman, 45, were still at large. “Checks on his house showed he had fled but we believe he is still in the country,” Zainuddin said. A police source said Karim Mamak has been moving around regularly to avoid being caught. He could also have been alerted to the police operation due to the other gang members’ arrests. The syndicate was busted last month when Sentul police detained eight suspects in several States and 21 cars valued at RM1.5 million were seized. The syndicate apparently bought vehicles stolen by others — who have yet to be unidentified — and obtained new registration grants for the cars before selling them as used ones to unsuspecting buyers. The syndicate’s mastermind would buy the stolen vehicles and pass them to his partner, Abdul Halim, who then delivered the vehicles to a workshop in Kota Baru, Kelantan.The engine and chassis numbers would then be changed. It is believed for the past 10 years, several RTD “insiders” issued new grants for the stolen vehicles — which were then sold as used cars to unsuspecting buyers. The “insiders” are said to be working in RTD offices in Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and Penang. No comments could be elicited from the RTD on this matter at Press time.

Road automated enforcement system starts next month
11 April 2010, By The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia, in aiming to achieve First World safety practices among road users in about 10 to 15 years, will roll out the Automated Enforcement System (AES) on a staggered basis from next month, Road Safety Department director-general Datuk Suret Singh said Sunday. The pilot project will start with Perak and Selangor while nationwide implementation is scheduled for September this year. Suret Singh said effective enforcement would deter traffic offenders as the AES would target speed and red light violations for all categories of road users. “Stricter laws and harsher penalties will not count for much if traffic offenders are not caught and apprehended. However, increasing the probability of being caught with effective enforcement will definitely deter road users from flouting the law,” he added. Suret Singh said that changing the mindset and behaviour of road users from a Third World to a First World mentality would require both education and effective enforcement of traffic laws. He said the number of vehicles and increase in road kilometres had greatly outpaced the resource available and capability of the country’s enforcement personnel. Given this situation, he said, the “Perception Of Being Caught (POBC)” for committing a traffic offence among road users had dropped to between 25% and 49%. “As a result, road users are more brazen in committing traffic offences. With the implementation of the AES, we are targeting to raise the POBC to 75 per cent initially and to 95% within two years of implementation,” he said. Malaysia ranks 46th out of 172 countries by the World Health Organisation in fatalities per 10,000 registered vehicles, in its Global Status Report on Road Safety 2009. The WHO report said controlling speed is an important way of reducing traffic crimes. In Malaysia, there were 75,626 traffic accidents in 1989. Last year, the number increased nearly five-fold to 397,330 while fatalities increased nearly 79% in the same period. The Road Safety Department’s studies showed that the main cause of road mishaps was rampant speed violation and that almost 60% of accidents were speed-related. To reduce road accidents, speed violation will be the prime target of the speed cameras in the AES programme to effectively tackle the problem. “Strict enforcement will make Malaysians value their driver’s license as much as they value their passports. This is very effective in the developed world. I wish to see this happening in Malaysia. Action to curb recklessness should be severe and uncompromising,” he stressed.

Development of new Third Party Bodily Injury and Death Scheme
23 March 2010, By Corp Comm Dept, BNM

RESPONDING to recent public interest and media coverage on the above, we would like to provide the following updates. In developing the new Third Party Bodily Injury and Death (TPBID) Scheme, Bank Negara will be conducting consultation sessions with all relevant stakeholders, which includes consumer associations, transport-related trade associations, the legal fraternity as well as the insurance industry, before the scheme is presented to the Government for consideration. As the proposed new TPBID scheme is still at the formulation stage, it is premature at this juncture to respond to specific queries on the form or components of the new scheme. Bank Negara expects to conduct the consultation sessions in April, and the new scheme is expected to be implemented by the end of the third quarter of this year. The rationale for reviewing the current motor insurance framework is aimed at addressing issues raised by the public as well as the insurance industry in providing motor insurance under a Motor Tariff system that has not been adjusted for over 30 years. This has resulted in a pricing misalignment as Motor Tariffs have not been adjusted to take into account the actual rise in costs such as hospitalisation, medical and general living costs and claims over the same period, particularly for TPBID, which is mandatory under the Road Transport Act 1987. This has resulted in a situation where for every RM1 premium collected for TPBID cover, an estimated RM2.70 is paid out in the form of claim awards. This imbalance has resulted in inadequate access to TPBID cover and cross-subsidisation. In the interim, the Malaysian Motor Insurance Pool (MMIP) was established in 1992 by insurers as an insurer of last resort to collectively underwrite cover for vehicles declined by individual players. While this has improved access to TPBID cover, it has not fully resolved the issue of price misalignments. The proposed new TPBID scheme is intended to balance the concerns and interests of all affected stakeholders to ensure that all motorists are able to obtain a basic motor insurance coverage for TPBID at a reasonable premium that is commensurate with the level of protection provided. The proposed new TPBID scheme will also look into measures to ensure that potential claimants are able to make their claims more expeditiously.

Bar Council opposes new third party motor insurance
7 March 2010, By New Straits Times

KUALA LUMPUR: The Bar Council is opposing the new third party motor insurance scheme, saying it is being drawn up mainly by people in the industry whose objective is to make a profit. “It will alter the landscape of motor insurance and yet there is no discussion with the public,” the council’s president, Ragunath Kesavan, told a press conference here yesterday. “Why is there a need to introduce a new scheme as the present tried and tested tort of liability under the common law system is working well,” he said. Ragunath questioned Bank Negara’s motives for not consulting the Bar Council and consumer groups on the proposed scheme. He said Bank Negara should be transparent so that the public would not be short-changed during an accident or burdened with tedious documents when they file claims. The Bar Council also wants to know the cost of implementing the scheme and where the money is coming from. “Our insurance scheme committee estimates that it will cost RM500 million to set it up. “We do not want the buck to be passed to the public as the new scheme might limit the claims of accident victims,” Ragunath said. He was responding to a statement by Bank Negara on Friday that it is in the early stages of drafting a basic motor insurance coverage. The central bank also said it would engage with the relevant stakeholders, including consumer and professional bodies and the industry’s associations. But Ragunath said Bank Negara told the council on Thursday that it would be informed when the scheme is finalised. He said the scheme, which was announced during the 2010 budget, is expected to be implemented by the middle of this year. “We expect it to be launched on July 1. With another few months to go, they should have consulted us from the start,” he said. The Bar Council will hold nationwide roadshows to gather public feedback on the scheme. “We do not want to be caught by any surprise that favours the insurance industry,” he added.

Reveal details of insurance scheme, Bank Negara urged
7 March 2010, By The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The Bar Council has urged Bank Negara to reveal details of a proposed basic motor insurance coverage for third party bodily injury and death. The council is opposed to the proposal, saying the working committees that had been established comprised solely industry groups, namely insurance companies. The council yesterday expressed concern as the central bank had yet to consult any other public interest group including the council despite the possibility that the new scheme might be implemented in July. “This indicates that profitability of the insurers is an overriding factor behind the proposed scheme,” council president Ragu­nath Kesavan said at a press conference here yesterday. “The proposal seems to be driven solely by the insurance industry on the basis of profitability without any consideration being given to public interest or social responsibility,” he added. The central bank on Friday announced that it was in the early stages of drafting the new scheme, adding that it would be engaging consumers, trade and industry associations as well as professional bodies but did not specify when. The scheme was first highlighted during the 2010 Budget announcement in September last year. According to the council, the proposed scheme suggests that a new body take over the responsibility for third party bodily injury and death. Ragunath said the council had estimated that the initial cost of setting up the scheme would amount to at least RM500mil, which might burden the public.

Proposed Third-Party Motor Insurance Scheme Still At Early Stage
5 March 2010, By BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR — The proposed new basic motor insurance coverage for third-party bodily injury and death (TPBID) is still at the formulation stage, Bank Negara Malaysia said on Friday. The central bank will be engaging with the relevant stakeholders, which include consumer, trade and industry associations as well as professional bodies, as part of the normal consultation process undertaken by Bank Negara for major initiatives. Bank Negara said in a statement that it has been working closely with the relevant authorities in formulating the new TPBID scheme. “These consultation sessions will serve as the platform to obtain feedback from the relevant stakeholders, prior to submitting the proposal for the new TPBID scheme to the government for consideration,” it said. The government, during the Budget 2010 announcement, had announced the need to provide a basic motor insurance coverage for TPBID, at a reasonable premium that is commensurate with the level of protection provided.

JPJ bars 23 buses from leaving terminal
12 February 2010, By The Star

BUTTERWORTH: Twenty-three express buses were prevented from ferrying any passengers out of the Butterworth Bus Terminal here for flouting traffic and safety rules. Penang Road Transport Department (JPJ) director Datuk Hassan Yaccob said among the offences were using faulty tyres, not meeting safety specifications, using retread tyres and not having a second driver. They were among 511 buses checked at the terminal since Monday, he told reporters here after heading an Ops Sikap 21 operation at the terminal here last night, reported Bernama. In KUALA LUMPUR, Road Safety Department director-general Datuk Suret Singh said lorry drivers who failed to move their stalled vehicles to safer places when requested would be deemed as breaking the law. “Stalled vehicles should not be left on the emergency lanes for long hours. Ideally, stalled vehicles should be towed away in less than 20 minutes,” he said at a press conference yesterday. The laws were highlighted in view of the recent tragedy where a family of six were killed when their car skidded and rammed into a stalled lorry along an emergency lane.

Stalled Vehicles By The Roadside Must Be Removed Immediately
12 February 2010, By BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR — Heavy vehicles that break down and are parked by the roadside or emergency lane, especially along the expressways, must be removed within 20 minutes to avoid undesired incidents. The Director-General of the Road Safety Department (JKJR), Datuk Suret Singh, said Section 65 of the Road Transport Act 1987 empowered the police, the mayor concerned and Director-General of the Highway Authority to ensure that the stalled vehicle by the roadside were removed immediately. He said this provision was seldom enforced and lately fatalities due to stalled vehicles by the roadside had been on the rise. “Now, I hope the parties concerned especially the Malaysian Highway Authority (MHA) will speed up the removal of the stalled vehicles immediately within 20 minutes,” he told reporters after monitoring the traffic movement in conjunction with the Chinese New Year celebration, here Thursday. He said he would hold discussions with the relevant agencies to ensure that the provision of this act could be enforced immediately. Suret also urged motorists, including drivers of public and commercial vehicles, to place the triangular emergency sign 50 meters away from vehicles which had stalled even on the emergency lane. This would ensure that other road users would be aware of the vehicles that had stopped and prevent undesired incidents, he said. Meanwhile, the general manager of corporate communications of Projek Lebuhraya Utara Selatan (PLUS) Berhad, Khalilah Mohd Talha, said in a media statement Thursday that PLUSRonda teams and the expressway maintenance staff would conduct continuous patrols 24 hours daily. “PLUS has 130 PLUSRonda teams with more than 350 staff who are always willing to offer assistance to the expressway users,” she said.

Road Deaths: 6,700 died last year
25 January 2010, By New Straits Times

KUALA LUMPUR: Some 6,700 lives were lost on Malaysian roads last year — the highest number recorded in the last five years. These fatal accidents were a result of speeding, tailgating and not wearing helmets. About 85 per cent of the victims were motorists and motorcyclists while the number of those killed in accidents involving buses, vans and four-wheel drive vehicles had dropped. The authorities say that while they have been successful in creating awareness of good driving habits in most of their target groups, there are still people who are reckless and continue to turn a blind eye to safety awareness efforts. Road Safety Department director general Datuk Suret Singh said most Malaysians are now better drivers but a handful continue to break road rules. “We see a pattern. People now talk about road safety more than before. More and more people feel strongly about it but there are those who are still reckless,” he said yesterday. The causes of fatalities, he added, are still the same — speeding, tailgating, overtaking on double lanes and for motorcyclists, not wearing helmets. Some 10 years ago, the number of fatalities was 9,000. But due to constant campaigns and enforcement, the number dropped to 6,200. Two years ago, the number started rising to 6,500. Last year, it went up by more than 200. Suret said the number of motorists who strapped on rear seat belts had dropped from 50 per cent to 20 per cent. “This is because of complacency. They feel nothing will happen to them.” To reduce fatalities among motorcyclists, the department got private companies to sponsor helmets and some 145,000 Sirim-approved helmets were given to those with poor quality helmets. There are 8.5 million motorcycles nationwide. Suret said those in rural areas and the city’s outskirts did not wear safety helmets. “City folk wear helmets for fear of being caught.” Suret said the department would hold walkabouts by political leaders to create greater awareness on safe riding among motorcyclists. Asked about commercial vehicles, Suret said there was a 35 per cent drop in fatalities because the operating licences of companies depended on their driving records. Other measures such as regular urine checks of drivers to detect those taking drugs and checking on the safety of buses at depots before their journeys have had an impact on reducing the number of accidents. Furthermore, some of the bigger companies have also installed speed limiters and global positioning system devices in buses to check on the activities of drivers. Suret said his department was awaiting the “Automated Enforcement Cameras” enforcement system to be introduced at accident-prone areas later this year to reduce accidents. “Once installed, motorists will be forced to follow road rules.”

Mum and paralysed son cheated of insurance payout
21 January 2010, By The Star

JOHOR BARU: A mother, whose nine-year-old son was paralysed from the waist down in a road accident in 1992 was awarded RM250,000 in insurance damage by a court. But her lawyer gave her only RM40,000 and allegedly kept the rest. Police are now looking for the lawyer. The female lawyer is said to have paid her client only a part of the insurance payout about 18 years ago. It is learnt that a police report was only lodged recently after the woman discovered that the lawyer, who had kept more than RM120,000 purportedly to file for an appeal, had not done anything. Sources said the lawyer had told the mother that she had placed about RM17,000 in Amanah Raya so the boy could only withdraw the money when he reached the age of 21. However, the mother got a shock when, after her son turned 21, the public trustee informed her that no such deposit was ever made. She then lodged a police report and a complaint with the Bar Council. It is learnt that out of the total insurance payout, the woman only received 16% while the rest had been kept by the lawyer, claiming that it was for legal fees, the Amanah Raya deposit and costs to file for an appeal. Police investigations showed that the lawyer has since disappeared and that the firm closed down several years ago. When contacted, Johor Baru South OCPD Asst Comm Zainuddin Yaacob confirmed the case and said investigations were being carried out under Section 409 of the Penal Code for CBT. If convicted, the lawyer faces a jail term of between two and 20 years, whipping and a fine. “We are looking for this lawyer to assist in our investigations, he said, appealing to those with information to contact the police hotline at 07-221 2999.

Federal Court reverses its decision in landmark land case
21 January 2010, By The Star

PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court on Thursday departed from its judgement nearly 10 years ago in the Adorna Properties Sdn Bhd vs Boonsom Boonyanit case, plugging a loophole in the law to thus allow landowners who lost their land through fraudulent means to redeem their right to the property. In its landmark unanimous ruling, the five-man bench led by Chief Justice Zaki Azmi held that land transferred by fraudulent means will no longer be legally accepted. Others on the bench were Court of Appeal president Alauddin Mohd Sheriff, Chief Judge of Malaya Arifin Zakaria and Federal Court judges Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin and James Foong Cheng Yuen. The court’s previous judgement in 2000 was made by former chief justice Eusoff Chin. The decision in Adorna Properties Sdn Bhd v Boonsom Boonyanit concerned the interpretation of the law as laid out in Section 340 of the National Land Code (NLC) 1965, resulting in cases where landowners could lose their lands even though they hold a valid title. Boonsom Boonyanit, a Thai national, owned some land in Penang. She eventually discovered that an impostor claiming to be her — and with supporting identification documents as well as statutory declarations — had declared that she had lost the original title and managed to obtain a replacement title from the land office. The impostor subsequently sold the land to Adorna Properties, which bought it on good faith, and did not suspect that there was anything amiss in the transaction. When Boonyanit sued for the return of the land at the Penang High Court, she was unsuccessful. She appealed to the Court of Appeal (COA), which decided in her favour. However, Adorna Properties then made an appeal to the Federal Court, and won. In essence, Boonyanit — who has since passed away — lost her land without receiving a single sen for it. Because it was a decision of the highest court in the land, it has to be followed by every lower court in the country. This meant that the law could not protect landowners even if they were able to prove the title is theirs, as long as it could be proven that the purchaser bought it on good faith.

Fraud Continues To Be Serious Threat Within Corporate Malaysia
11 January 2010, By BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR — Fraud continues to be a serious threat within corporate Malaysia, with 49 per cent of Malaysian companies surveyed, experiencing at least one incidence of it. The Head of KPMG Forensic Malaysia, Tan Kim Chuan said the threat of fraud came mostly from within the organisation. According to Tan, internally perpetrated fraud by management and non-management employees, accounted for 88 per cent of the total reported fraud value of over RM60 million during the survey period. Based on the survey, he predicted that fraud, especially that which is Information Technology (IT) related, is expected to increase due the high usage of IT products in companies. A total of 47 per cent of respondents who had experienced fraud within their organisation disclosed that the total losses suffered during the survey period was RM63.95 million. The remaining 53 per cent were unsure of the amount, Tan told reporters after the launch of the KPMG Fraud Survey Report 2009 at the Securities Commission, here Monday. The report was launched by Securities Commission (SC) chairman Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar. Tan said the survey, conducted from January 2006 to December 2008, was a call for commitment to tackle fraud incidents robustly in an environment underpinned by a culture of compliance and an appreciation of the values of integrity and honesty. He said according to the survey, a total of 714 separate cases of fraud were reported by 84 per cent of respondents who had experienced it within their organisation, while the remaining 16 per cent were unsure of the number of incidents. He said greed/lifestyle and personal financial pressure were cited as the two most common motivations for fraud. He also said that the theft of cash and inventory, fraudulent expense claims followed by kickbacks, were the most common types of fraud perpetrated. “The theft of physical assets appeared to be a popular category of fraud perpetrated among non-management level employees and external parties.Management level employees were more prone to commiting the theft of funds (outgoing),” Tan highlighted. He added that companies must come up with measures or a system to detect fraud to minimise fraud cost. “Before hiring, companies must also undertake screening.The most significant method used to detect fraud was internal control procedures,” he noted. Other methods in this regard were notification by employees, internal audit review, notification by customer or suppliers and anonymous letters, informants or whistleblowers.

Alarming Rise In Number Of Diabetics In Malaysia
11 January 2010, By BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR — The number of diabetics in the country has increased by almost 80 per cent in the last 10 years from 1996-2006 to 1.4 million adults above the age of 30. Director-General of Health Tan Sri Dr Mohd Ismail Merican said what was alarming was that almost 36 per cent of them were undiagnosed, resulting in complications later on and would require more intensive medical care, putting great strain on the existing overstretched health services. In his monthly column in the latest Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) newsletter, he said lifestyle related changes were the main factors influencing the increase of diabetes in the country. He said lifestyle modifications like weight loss, changes in diet and increased physical activities would greatly help in controlling the disease. Dr Ismail said obesity was another trend in Malaysia, since the National Health and Morbidity Survey in 2006, showed that the number of obese had also increased by almost 200 per cent over a 10 year period from 1996. “This is a worrying trend, as obesity remains the foundation for the development of diabetes, particularly in our population,” he said. He said the ministry had recently launched the “Clinical Practice Guidelines: Management of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus & Acute” for health care providers. He added that the Health Ministry’s initiatives to improve the management and control of diabetes in patients include introducing blood glucose (HbA1c) testing and the use of diabetes card for continuous monitoring. Initiatives to screen for diabetic complication include providing micro albumin testing kits at hospitals and health centres. Dr Ismail said the government had allocated RM7 million last year for management of diabetes and hypertension in hospitals which would be utilised to buy new drugs and testing kits.

Ministry Ready For Second Wave Of H1N1
16 December 2009, By BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR — The Health Ministry is ready for the second wave of Influenza A (H1N1), Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said today. He said the ministry was giving emphasis to three aspects — stepping up monitoring of H1N1 in all states, enhancing treatment at all hospitals and intensifying communication through the media as well as the campaign against H1N1. “All intensive care units (ICU) are equipped with equipment vital to treating H1N1 and we are raising the stockpile of medicine,” he told reporters at the lobby of Parliament House, Tuesday. Liow said the H1N1 preventive measures should be ongoing and the people must be reminded to be on guard at all times. “Do not be complacent that H1N1 is no more. Everyone must be alert at all times. The disease is prevalent in China, Hong Kong, Europe and the United States,” he said. Liow said that since the H1N1 awareness campaign was held jointly with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), private clinics and the public, the incidence of H1N1 had dropped. “Our campaign has been effective and the people have been responding positively to the ministry’s advice on personal hygiene and the environment in checking the disease,” he said. Liow also said that the body temperature scanners were being retained at all entry points of the country.

Parliament: GST Bill tabled for first reading
16 December 2009, By The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The much anticipated Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill is tabled in the Dewan Rakyat for first reading by Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah. He also told the House that the second reading of the bill would be in the meeting of the Dewan Rakyat scheduled for March next year. Later, at the Parliament Lobby, Ahmad Husni said the GST of 4% would be implemented in the middle of 2011. With the implementation of GST, Husni said it would be a win-win situation for all as the Government would be receiving an additional RM1bil in revenue for the first year – from the current RM12bil to RM13bil. At the same time, he said businesses would save RM4.1bil in taxes and the export sector would save RM1.4bil. “The Government is proposing to impose GST at a rate which is lower than the sales and services tax rates, and to allow certain exemptions from GST, expecially on essential goods such as agricultural products – vegetables, basic food like rice, sugar, flour, cooking oil, fish, meat and chicken – so as to ensure that it will not burden the rakyat at large, especially the poor and the lower income group. “The main purpose for the Government to introduce GST is to make the current taxation system more comprehensive, efficient, effective, transparent and business friendly. “The sales and services tax will be abolished and be replaced with GST, which is a more efficient tax system in terms of cost effectiveness,” he said. Ahmad Husni said based on the proposed model, businesses were expected to benefit in terms of lower cost of doing business as GST was not considered as cost to business. “GST will be able to reduce bureaucratic practices in the management and administration of the country’s tax system and overcome the various inherent weaknesses that exist in the imposition of sales tax and service tax,” he said. He said companies with revenue of RM500,000 and below would be exempted from imposing GST and about 70% of small and medium sized industries would also be exempted. Asked whether GST would have any impact on inflation, Ahmad Husni said: “No. It will make businesses more competitive as the cost of business has reduced.”

Parliament: No plans to scrap third-party insurance coverage
24 November 2009, By The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government has no plans to scrap third-party insurance and insurance coverage for old cars valued at RM10,000 and below, Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said. He added that the difficulty faced by the public to get third-party insurance was because insurers were unwilling to pay out claims higher than the value of premium imposed on such cars. Although insurers were more careful in offering individual third party motor insurance, the public can get third-party coverage from the Malaysian Motor Insurance Pool (MMIP), Najib said in a written reply Siti Zailah Mohd Yusof (PAS-Rantau Panjang). MMIP is a pool contributed by all insurance companies and deemed as the insurer of last resort. “The Finance Ministry and Bank Negara Malaysia is now making a study on creating an appropriate motor insurance scheme. “The plan, which was announced in the Budget 2010 speech, will offer an insurance coverage scheme with reasonable premium rates. “The new scheme will allow the process of making insurance claims easier and faster,” he said in a written reply Siti Zailah Mohd Yusof (PAS-Rantau Panjang). Najib said insurance coverage from MMIP could be obtained from its pool of agents, such as Multi-Purpose Insurance Bhd, Uni.Asia General Insurance Bhd and Pos Malaysia Bhd.

Insurance plan to ‘consider interests of both parties’
17 November 2009, By New StraitsTimes

THE government is working on a plan which will look after the interests of both motor vehicle owners and insurance providers, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said yesterday. This is because many insurance providers are wary of offering policies for vehicles that are more than 10 years old and this has resulted in the owners being left with no choice but to take out policies at high premium. Najib, in a written reply to Lim Lip Eng (DAP-Segambut), said that large insurance companies suffered big losses because of the Motor Insurance Tariff premiums which have remained unchanged since 1978. “Although insurance providers are given flexibility since 1996 to impose higher premium rates based on the Bank Negara limit, it is not enough to cover business costs because of the increasing number of claims,” he said. Lim had asked Najib, who is also the finance minister, to explain why owners of vehicles that are more than 10 years old could only buy the Malaysian Motor Insurance Pool (MMIP) policies at post offices at a higher premium. The MMIP is a high-risk insurance pool that provides insurance to vehicle owners who face difficulty in obtaining insurance from the commercial insurance market. Najib explained this could be because the other insurance providers did not want to underwrite such a risk. “Pos Malaysia, like other motor insurance agents, can only offer insurance protection based on the underwriting strategy of the provider.” He said in general, most insurance providers were cautious when offering protection, especially third party protection, for cars older than 10 years due to potentially hefty losses. He said it was compulsory for MMIP to offer insurance policies to owners of any vehicles and as such, they were allowed to impose higher premiums to balance out the risk. He said apart from the 684 Pos Malaysia offices nationwide, the MMIP insurance is also available at any Multi-Purpose Insurans Bhd and Uni Asia General Insurance Berhad branch.

PM: Only MMIP interested in underwriting risks
17 November 2009, By The Star

AT THE DEWAN RAKYAT – OWNERS of vehicles that are aged more than 10 years could only get motor insurance through the Malaysian Motor Insurance Pool (MMIP) because other insurers were not interested in underwriting the risks, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. “In general, insurance companies were more cautious about offering insurance protection especially on third party coverage to certain vehicles such as those more than 10- years-old because the losses were great,” he said in a written reply to Lim Lip Eng (DAP-Segambut). Lim had asked about steps taken to resolve issues relating to vehicle owners who could not buy insurance for their vehicles, which were older than 10 years, except through the MMIP at the post-office and at a higher premium. Najib, who is also Finance Minister, said Pos Malaysia like other motor insurance, could only offer motor insurance coverage based on the underwriting strategy of the insurers. The high underwriters’ losses were also due to motor insurance premiums that were hinged on the motor tariff that had not been examined since it was introduced in 1978, he added. He said although the underwriters were given the flexibility to impose additional premiums or loading based on the limit defined by Bank Negara since 1996, it was still not adequate in bearing current business cost since the amount of claims were getting higher. Najib also said that MMIP was set up as a last-resort insurer to ensure vehicle owners get insured and this was the reason why they were allowed to impose higher premium to balance out the risk. He also said the Government was considering a suggestion on a basic protection framework for motor insurance that would consider the consumers and the industry’s interests to ensure that the insurance services would continue to be available.

Insurers to adopt new vehicle valuation system
7 November 2009, By Business Times

Insures and takaful operators have agreed to incorporate into their motor insurance policy a reference point to determine the market value of vehicles. Last month, both Bank Negara Malaysia and the General Insurance Association of Malaysia (Piam) endorsed Insurance Services Malaysia’s automotive business intelligence system (ISM-ABI). The ISM-ABI is the only approved system for vehicle valuation among financial services companies in Malaysia. “The introduction of the new system for motor insurance is in line with practices in other developed markets,” said ISM chief executive officer Carl Rajendram in Petaling Jaya yesterday. Rajendram said that most major motor insurers and takaful operators are in the process of adopting the new and more transparent system for motor insurance starting 2010. “It is part of the modernisation of Malaysia’s motor insurance and takaful cover announced recently and will ultimately benefit the consumers, insurance and takaful companies,” Rajendram said. “The entire automotive industry is moving towards greater competitiveness and efficiency and we are confident that the ISM-ABI will play a pivotal role in driving this objective among all stakeholders,” he explained. With the new service from ISM, insurance and takaful companies now have the ability to generate renewal notices with the current year sum insured with the corresponding premium to be paid. “The services increase transparency in the whole motor insurance process not only for purchasing insurance but also during claims,” Rajendram said. With the new system from ISM, insurers and takaful operators may also choose to pre-determine the compensation upon theft and total loss claims by referencing the database. “Consumers are also able to verify the vehicle’s market value themselves from the website and access the same information that insurers are accessing,” he said. The new service will reduce uncertainty when insuring a vehicle and reduce dissatisfaction that consumers experience when making a claim.

Senator Raises Issue Over Car Theft
5 November 2009, By BERNAMA

KUANTAN — The first question that Ng Fook Heng raised at the Dewan Negara after his appointment as senator on July 9 was what the government was doing to combat car theft. Ironically, four months down the road, he lost his Toyota Fortuner, which also serves as his official car, to car thieves early today. “This morning, at about 7.10am, I found my car which was parked in my porch in Jalan Air Puteh here missing. “My house door was tied with a wire and I believe it was to prevent me from going outside in case I noticed the theft,” he told reporters here today. Ng, who is also Paya Besar MCA division chairman, said he believed that the theft occurred past midnight. “I had raised the issue (carjacking) in the Dewan Negara. It was my first question after being appointed senator. “This is not personal but according to the home minister, when I asked the question, statistics showed that from 2004 until May, 2009, 63,182 cars of various models were reported missing. I hope that the government seriously tackles this,” he said, adding that he had just bought the car for RM173,000 on Sept 17. It was double jeopardy for Ng today because he found a parking ticket on the car which he had loaned from a friend to meet the press. “What a misfortune today. I just lost my car and now I receive a summons,” he said, amused.

RM1.1mil for accident victim
5 November 2009, By The Star

PUTRAJAYA: A mother, who was paralysed after a lorry driven by her husband collided with a car 11 years ago, was awarded about RM1.1mil in damages by the Court of Appeal. Justices Tengku Datuk Baharudin Shah Tengku Mahmud, Datuk Sulong Matjeraie and Datuk T. Selventhir-anathan allowed yesterday the ap-peal by Nauren Abdul Manaf, 54, with costs and interest. She also received RM302,400 for nursing care, RM93,600 for diapers, RM200,000 for future care, general damages of RM400,000 for paralysis suffered, RM100,000 for loss of amenities and RM30,000 in costs. The quorum, however, maintained the High Court’s decision not to award costs to Nauren over the loss of income for her husband. The mother of two had brought her case to the Court of Appeal after the Seremban High Court on March 8, 2006 reduced some of the damages quantum awarded by the Sessions Court following an appeal by the defendant, Chew Ming Thai. On Nov 5, 2004, the Seremban Sessions Court held Chew fully responsible for the accident and ordered him to pay RM1,478,672.94 in general and special damages. The lorry driven by Nauren’s husband collided with a car driven by Chew at KM271 of the North-South Expressway near Serem­ban on Aug 23, 1998. Nauren’s counsel Jerald Gomez submitted that as a result of the accident, Nauren developed an illness called post-traumatic dystrophy, also known as complex regional pain syndrome, causing her daily pain. He said a specialist, Dr Edmond Ong, had testified that Nauren would require full-time care because she might eventually be bedridden. Chew’s counsel Shanta Mohan urged the court to maintain the quantum of RM200,000 awarded by the High Court for general damages on the ground that the amount was the highest award given by law. He added that there was no medical evidence to indicate Nauren was totally paralysed.

Sg Golok now hot spot for hot cars
2 November 2009, By New Straits Times

SUNGAI GOLOK: This border town, which was previously known for its nightlife, is now the transit point for stolen Malaysian semi-luxury cars entering the Thai market. Sungai Golok police chief Col Tangnungsak Wangsupat said more than 10 Malaysian stolen cars had been seized since early this year. “The cars were seized at several locations in the sub-province here for several offences, including entry without valid documents and being used in drug smuggling activities. “Our investigations showed that the chassis number of the cars had been tampered with. The cars were stolen in Kelantan and brought here to be sold at lower prices.” Wangsupat said the cars were priced between RM80,000 and RM90,000, with the majority of buyers from the high-income group. “The smugglers normally bring in the cars into Thailand via the legal checkpoints. “Although they do not have valid documents, they can still get past enforcement officers on duty there as these types of cars are normally not checked. “The cars will then be taken to workshops for modifications, including a new paint job as well as the removal of chassis and engine numbers, before being sold.”

Increase In Vehicles Contribute To Road Accidents
27 October 2009, By BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR — The 80 per cent increase in the number of registered vehicles over the last 10 years is one of the three main factors contributing to road accidents during the festive season, the Dewan Rakyat was told Tuesday. Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri said 17,971,901 vehicles were registered in 2008, while from January to August this year the number had increased to 18,673,523. Another contributing factor was the increase in the number of driving licence holders, with a 47 per cent rise in the last 10 years. “In 2008 there were only 457,613 licence holders while 344,777 new licence holders were registered from January to August this year. “This means there is an average of 43,097 new licence holders, and it is projected that there will be 517,165 new licence holders for 2009,” he said. He was replying to a question from Datuk Dr Abdulla Md Zin (BN-Besut) who had asked for an explanation on the causes of accidents and the steps taken to overcome the problem. When commenting further, Abdul Rahim said other contributing factors were reckless drivers and motorcyclists, those who did not fasten their rear and front seatbelts and those who did not use helmets. Meanwhile, to a question from Er Teck Hwa (DAP-Bakri), Abdul Rahim said about RM8 million was allocated for rear seatbelt campaigns conducted by the Road Safety Department (JKJR) since the regulation was implemented early this year. He said it included expenditure for print, radio, television and cinema advertisements as well as advocacy campaigns by JKJR headquarters and its state offices. Abdul Rahim said the police, until August this year, had issued 803 summonses for not adhering to the rear seatbelt regulation. “Meanwhile the Road Transport Department issued 9,379 summonses until September 2009,” he said in reply to Er’s question. Er had asked about the amount spent since the campaign was launched and why enforcement was not implemented although free seatbelt installation was offered to certain car companies such as Proton, Perodua and Honda. The government has agreed to give three years, starting this January, for those vehicles without rear seatbelts to have them installed. After Dec 31, 2011 legal action will be taken on any owner failing to install rear seatbelts in their vehicle, which is a compound of not more than RM300. Passengers who do not adhere to the rear seatbelt regulation will be fined RM2,000 or jailed not more than six months for a first offence, and RM4,000 or jail of not more than 12 months, or both for a second and consequent offences.

NIAM Sees Continuing Demand For Bijak Malaysia Plan
26 October 2009, By BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR — Bijak Malaysia, a whole life insurance plan developed by the National Insurance Association of Malaysia (NIAM), has continued to be popular among Malaysians. NIAM chairman Koh Heng Kong said in a statement Monday that the plan had provided life insurance coverage to more than 43,000 Malaysians and generated over RM70 million in sales currently. The association’s head of life products, Raymond Lew, said the unique propositions of Bijak Malaysia appealed particularly to individuals below 40 years old. “The most popular are Plan 1 and Plan 2, with monthly contribution of RM100 and RM200 respectively,” Lew said, adding that there was also a sizeable number investing RM500 per month. Bijak Malaysia, considered to be a six-star comprehensive whole life plan, provides guaranteed protection coverage for life at an affordable premium during productive working years. It is pre-packaged and the guaranteed acceptance easy enrolment process makes application a hassle-free experience, according to NIAM. The association said it was also planning to launch new affordable products to meet the needs and requirements of the Malaysian public. The products were currently being developed, it added.

Public-Private Insurance Partnerships Will Help During Bad Times, Says Zeti
20 October 2009, By BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR — Public-private partnerships between the government and insurance players will be essential in providing suitable insurance schemes and developing risk mitigating mechanisms particularly when facing catastrophies, says Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz. With the increasing catastrophies that have been associated with global climate change and pandemics, such partnerships will be important when coping up with the resulting losses. “According to a recent study, economic losses caused by natural and man-made catastrophes around the world in 2008 amounted to US$269 billion. “Asia accounted for the top five worst catastrophes in terms of fatalities in 2008. The recent natural disasters in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands also resulted in major destruction,” she said in her keynote address before officiating the 21st Federation of Afro-Asian Insurance and Reinsurance Conference 2009 here Tuesday. Zeti said greater collaborative efforts among industry players in the region in the form of technical assistance and pooling of resources would increase capacity and expertise to underwrite such risks. “Through such collaboration, the ability for the insurance industry to underwrite and reinsure risks based on the requirements of the region can be significantly enhanced,” she added. While several of the advanced economies would continue to be weighed down by weak growth as the slow process of financial resolution continues and the high unemployment delays the recovery process, emerging economies, in general, and Asia in particular, have shown a high degree of resilience, Zeti said. “While the emerging economies are expected to lead the recovery process, there needs to be a reassessment of the strategies for future growth. Over reliance on export orientation to the traditional markets would increase the vulnerability to external developments,” she added. Going forward, emerging economies now need to achieve a greater balance between external-oriented development strategies and the strengthening of their domestic demand, said the central bank governor. Zeti said the evolving trends and encouraging growth prospects in respective regions present tremendous opportunities for the insurance and reinsurance industry. She said the overall aggregate financial position of insurers in the crisis affected countries have continued to be strong, and generally not severely affected by liquidity pressures or exposures in the credit derivatives markets. Earlier losses by insurers in financial market activities had resulted in a shift to “back-to-basics” models, focusing on core underwriting business instead of heavily relying on investments as the main source of earnings. The industry had also benefited from the subsequent upturn in the pricing cycle which has fortified the capital position of insurers and provided the support to maintaining sound underwriting standards. Zeti said these conditions have placed the industry on a much stronger position to withstand the challenges from the current global financial turmoil. She said prospects for higher insurance penetration rate in the region continued to remain positive. In 2008, insurance premiums accounted for 5.95 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in Asia and 3.57 per cent of GDP in Africa compared to 7.29 per cent in America and 7.46 per cent in Europe. She said the changing priorities of the growing population in the region, largely comprising a young workforce in the middle income group, have also enhanced the demand for investment-linked and wealth management products.

5th Young ASEAN Manager Award 2009, Lao PDR First Malaysian Recipient for the Young ASEAN Manager Award
9 October 2009, By AITRI

Vientiane — The 5th Young Asean Manager Award which was presented by His Excellency Mr Sila Viengkeo, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Finance of Lao PDR in Vientiane saw the first Malaysian, Sophia Ch’ng Sok Heang receiving the prestigious award. She is also the first female recipient for the award. Sophia, who is currently the Senior Vice President & Deputy Head Finance and Corporate Affairs with Great Eastern Life Assurance (Malaysia) Berhad, has truly made Malaysia proud. This prestigious award is organized by the ASEAN Insurance Council (AIC) and the ASEAN Insurance Training and Research Institute (AITRI). The award is to recognize young ASEAN leaders who have demonstrated excellent achievements, dedication and commitment in contributing towards the development and growth of the insurance industry. The other two finalists were Shamsudin Yusoff from Etiqa (Malaysia) and Brata Wibawa Djojo from PT Lippo General Insurance (Indonesia). A total of 24 contestants from 5 different ASEAN countries, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, were nominated for the award but only 3 were selected for the final selection in Vientiane. In her brief speech, she mentioned that the award is not just recognition for her achievement but also recognition to her company, actuarial profession and country. Moving forward, she is determined to contribute more, and looking forward to sharing and working together under the spirit of ASEAN for the growth and progression of the insurance industry in this region. This award is an annual event held in conjunction with the ASEAN Insurance Regulators and Council meeting.

Lorry Driver Pleads Not Guilty To Cheating In RM170,000 Insurance Claim
13 October 2009, By BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR — A lorry driver pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court here on Tuesday to cheating an insurance company employee in an insurance claim for RM170,000. Jaafar Ashara, 36, and another who is still at large, are charged with cheating Kondal Rao Noorkiah, 44, by deceiving him into believing that he was involved in a road accident an inducing her to approve and pay the claim. The offence is alleged to have been committed at Uni Asia General Insurans Bhd in Jalan Sultan Ismail on June 16, 2001. Jaafar, who has three children, is not represented. Judge Azizah Mahmud allowed him bail of RM10,000 in one surety and set Oct 27 for Jaafar to appoint a lawyer. Deputy public prosecutor Norasyikin Ahmad prosecuted.

Cars Without Valid Road Tax On Malaysian Roads
15 September 2009, By BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR — Thousands of cars are plying the roads without valid road tax because their owners are unable to get insurance coverage, according to the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca). Its secretary-general, Muhammad Shaaini Abdullah, told Bernama that these were owners of cars of more than 10 years old which were considered “risky” and insurance companies were reluctant to provide cover for them. He said that should such vehicles meet with an accident it would cause tremendous problems for the authorities, owners and victims because no claim could be made as there was no insurance coverage. Director-General of the Road Transport Department Datuk Solah Mat Hassan confirmed that the department had received several complaints from motorists about not being able to obtain insurance coverage for such vehicles although they were roadworthy. Under the road transport act, he, said, it was mandatory for the motorist to get at least a third party insurance coverage before the department could renew the road tax. “While we sympathise with the motorists, we cannot do anything but enforce the law if they are found to be without valid road tax,” he added. He called on the insurance companies to find an amicable solution to the problem. In response to Bernama’s query via e-mail, General Insurance Association of Malaysia (PIAM) executive director C.F. Lim said: “Currently the motor insurance market is experiencing high loss. As such, many insurers have either declined or are scaling back on underwriting risks, especially third party insurance and insurance for older vehicles.” However, he said, motorists who found it difficult to get the required insurance could obtain it from the Malaysian Motor Insurance Pool (MMIP) jointly operated by all the 33 general insurance companies in the country. Lim said the MMIP provided insurance for vehicles which were considered high risk and those unable to obtain from the normal market. “In other words, the MMIP is the insurer of last resort.” The MMIP had formed a strategic partnership with Pos Malaysia since July, and motorists could obtain the insurance from the 684 Pos Malaysia branches in the country. Since Pos Malaysia was also an agent for the Road Transport Department, motorists could also renew their road tax at these outlets which were convenient one-stop centres, he added. However, Muhammad said, many motorists were reluctant to use the services of the MMIP because the premium was very high. He called on Bank Negara, as the agency in charge of insurance, to immediately review the rates and make them affordable.

AIF To Carry Over 100 Projects Over Three Years
27 August 2009, By BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR — The Asian Institute of Finance Bhd (AIF) will carry out about 100 capacity building projects, within three years, involving total investments of RM200 million, Bank Negara Malaysia Governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz said Thursday. The AIF, a joint initiative by the central bank and the Securities Commission Malaysia, is an umbrella body which will coordinate initiatives with the Securities Industry Development Corporation, Islamic Banking and Finance Institute Malaysia, Institute of Bankers Malaysia and the Malaysian Insurance Institute. Bank Negara Malaysia has pledged an investment of RM100 million while another RM100 million will be raised from financial institutions to fund the projects. Zeti, who is also chairman of AIF, said besides capacity building the institute would oversee the rationalisation, accreditation, certification and branding of the financial services related projects. “AIF will work closely with these training institutions to coordinate and enhance programme design, content, instruction and delivery,” the governor said at the launch of AIF here Thursday. She said the institute would promote Malaysia’s financial services human capital development programmes more holistically, both domestically and regionally, besides acting as a platform to draw on complementarities and strengths of each institution. SC chairman Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar has been appointed vice chairman of AIF while others board members include Bursa Malaysia Chief Executive Officer Datuk Yusli Mohamed Yusoff, Amcorp Group Bhd Executive Chairman Tan Sri Azman Hashim and Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd Managing Director Datuk Zukri Samat.

Liow: Reduce price of medicine
20 August 2009, By The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Manu­facturers of anti-viral medicines will be asked to lower their prices so that they would be accessible to more people, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai. “We will discuss with the manufacturers to ensure that those in private practices can get the medicines at lower prices,” he said during the “Face to Face with the Health Minister – To Know About Influenza A (H1N1)” campaign here yesterday. Currently, private clinics and hospitals charge between RM160 and RM180 for the medicines while it is available at RM80 at government hospitals. Liow said that the ministry would also ensure that hospitals consistently check visitors’ body temperature. “The pandemic is still here and they cannot stop such a measure,” Liow said.

Influenza A(H1N1) hits record high with 569 cases
20 August 2009, By The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia recorded its highest number of influenza A(H1N1) cases in a day with 569 infections. There was also one death, bringing the total number of fatalities to 68. Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said this indicated that the number of detected cases was still on the rise. “That’s why our surveillance teams are working hard to detect areas that are persistent in local transmission so we can take measures to cut down on it,” he told reporters on Thursday after attending a campaign on prevention and treating A(H1N1). He added there were 1,533 patients with influenza-like illness (ILI) who were admitted to 104 hospitals included four private establishments. From this, 195 tested positive for the virus while 35 patients are in the intensive care unit. A total of 188 people have been discharged from hospital. Liow also said that private hospitals could not refuse treatment to patients with ILI. He added the ministry would probe fatalities caused by late treatment of the patients at private hospitals. Earlier, Liow said government clinics in urban areas would now be opened on weekends to treat flu patients. He said this was to reduce congestions and long queues at public hospitals. The move takes effect immediately and the hours would differ from state to state, he added. “In terms of hours, it will be the same as weekdays from 8am to 8pm for selangor,” he told reporters on Thursday after the launch of a seminar of stem cell research and therapy at Ampang Hospital. “It is up to the state directors to decide on the exact number of hours to open in their respective areas depending on the number of patients.” He added the doctors from public hospitals will be deployed to the clinics whenever necessary to assist the staff there. Liow added insurance companies should include cause of death due to complications as a result of contracting influenza A (H1N1) in policies for their clients, regardless of whether they were new or old policy holders.

New blue print for financial system expansion likely
6 August 2009, By The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The 10-year financial sector master plan (FSMP), which had mapped out the key developments starting from 2000, is likely to be replaced with a new blueprint for significant expansion of the financial system. Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz told StarBiz: “We are pleased that within nine years, more than 90% of the recommendations have been implemented.’’ More emphasis is expected to be placed on the development of a vibrant regional financial market that can support the expansion in trade and investment activities within the region. Stretching from India to South Korea, the regional coverage includes the rising powerhouse in China which has often been “blamed’’ for flooding the Western financial markets with its vast savings. The 10-year financial sector master plan (FSMP), which had mapped out the key developments starting from 2000, is likely to be replaced with a new blueprint for significant expansion of the financial system. Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz told StarBiz: “We are pleased that within nine years, more than 90% of the recommendations have been implemented.’’ It is deemed high time that Asia developed its own financial market, for instance, in regional bonds, to capture and retain part of these savings. With a large population base, Asia has the potential for further expansion. Rising incomes and an early recovery from the current global financial crisis put it in a good position to capture some of these opportunities. Following the 1997 Asian financial crisis, Malaysia has made big strides in developing its bond market which can be further expanded into the regional arena. Under the ambitions set out under the FSMP, Malaysian banking institutions have developed their scale and size to become financial supermarkets and regional champions. In line with the aim to build meaningful size, greater specialisation and convergence was targeted. The gap between local and foreign banks has narrowed considerably, with many local banking groups currently offering products and services that are competitive to those offered by the locally incorporated foreign banks. The development of electronic payment channels and usage of information technology in the Malaysian banking sector have seen many milestones reached under the FSMP. The enhancement of credit skill building measures and development of industry-wide benchmarks also came into focus under the master plan. Many steps including increased surveillance and supervision, ascribing ratings on banks and risk weightings on capital and loans have been put in place. On hindsight, many of these measures proved timely especially in the aftermath of the global financial crisis which had left Malaysian banks relatively unscathed. The mergers of stockbroking houses and merchant banks had resulted in the creation of full-fledged investment banks, many of which are now poised to take advantage of the improving capital markets. The role of new non-traditional players in the provision of finance is also considered an upcoming force as better value propositions emerge for the ever-discerning Malaysian consumer. Along with these new consumer trends and the shift towards an increasingly deregulated banking sector, Bank Negara has put in more structures to ensure higher consumer protection. In the area of talent development, issues such as staff mobility and talent attraction have also received a lot of attention. The ownership structure of Malaysian banking institutions has also undergone significant transformation with the emergence of institutional and foreign investors. RHB Capital Bhd has Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank as a strong partner in Islamic banking while the AmBank group has teamed up with the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group for further inroads into the retail, treasury and trade finance business.

Private pension go-ahead
24 July 2009, By The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The much talked about private pension funds will kick off by the middle of next year. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, who announced this, said the new scheme would target the two million self-employed and those who were outside the current pension scheme. He said the new pension funds could either be operated by new fund management firms to be licensed by the Securities Commission, or by existing firms. The funds would be regulated by the Securities Commission. “Several fund managers have already shown keen interest,” he told a press conference after delivering his keynote address at the Forum on Private Pension Industry Retirement Funds here yesterday. Nor Mohamed said the scheme would target self-employed individuals who currently did not contribute to the Employees Provident Fund or those who wanted to contribute more than the EPF’s statutory requirements. “We have to ensure it is well managed as it is a pension fund, a fund for individuals in their old-age,” he said. He said the EPF had a government guarantee of 2.5% return. “The private pension funds should be able to provide a ‘market return’ at any point of time,” Nor Mohamed said when asked on investment returns. “The EPF has RM340bil in assets now. These private pension funds have huge potential,” he said, adding that there were currently 5.7 million active EPF members. Nor Mohamed said the funds were part of the Government’s effort to reform the pension fund industry. “This is crucial as Malaysia moves towards a developed and high income nation,” he said, adding that such funds would be a boost to the nation’s capital markets. He said the SC had been tasked to prepare a report containing further details within the next six months. “The Government at the same time will look at its own pension scheme and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), and head a committee to coordinate all aspects of the pension reform,” he said. In a survey by the EPF, it was found that around 90% of members have less than RM100,000 in their accounts and more than 70% would have exhausted their money within three years of withdrawing the lump sum upon retirement. “This underlying trend reflects the sole dependence of retirees on their EPF savings as a safety net and as such, the inadequacy of sustainable levels of income after retirement,” he noted. He said Malaysia had pension coverage via EPF, the Public Sector Pension Scheme and Lembaga Tabung Angkatan. “However, there are gaps in the existing pension framework,” he said. SC chairman Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar said the regulator would make capital preservation and investor protection top priorities when it came to the funds. “We are gathering input from successful private pension funds models in other countries. We will then try and adopt the best practices to start off on the right footing,” she said. Areca Capital Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Danny Wong said it “would take some time” to see the impact of the funds on the capital market. “It all depends how individuals respond,” he told The Star.

MMIP Motor Insurance Available At Pos M’sia Outlets
10 July 2009, By BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR — The Malaysian Motor Insurance Pool (MMIP) insurance covers will be available to the general public at Pos Malaysia outlets effective on Friday. In a statement here, the General Insurance Association of Malaysia (PIAM) said private car and motorcycle owners would have the convenience of purchasing the MMIP’s insurance covers from Pos Malaysia outlets throughout the country, including Sabah and Sarawak. In order to immediately address accessibility problems in Sabah and Sarawak, insurance for taxis and buses would be made available in the two states from Friday. The insurance for taxis and buses in other states would be available on July 24. In the current scenario where the motor insurance market is experiencing a high loss, many insurers have either declined or are scaling back on underwriting risks, especially for third party insurance. As such, an increasing number of motorists are turning to the MMIP for insurance cover. The MMIP and Pos Malaysia have formed a strategic partnership to capitalise on the latters extensive network of 684 outlets throughout Malaysia to offer the insurance cover. The service is an extension of the existing insurance renewal service already available at Pos Malaysia outlets. Pos Malaysia acts as an agent for eight insurance companies and three takaful operators. In addition to insurance renewal, Pos Malaysia also offers the renewal of road tax for private vehicles on behalf of the Road Transport Department (RTD). The MMIP was formed in 1992 to ensure that all vehicles on the road would not be without access to the minimum motor insurance cover required by law.

Bank Negara Not Backtracking On Implementing Premium Rebates
19 June 2009, By BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR — Bank Negara Malaysia will not backtrack from implementing premium rebates for the direct purchase of general insurance covers from insurers as it is meant to put more money into consumers’ pocket. Thus, come July 1, individuals who purchase general insurance covers directly from insurance companies will be eligible to receive a premium rebate. The quantum of rebate, however, will depend on the type of insurance purchased. For motor insurance, individuals will receive a five percent premium rebate in the first year of implementation and 10 percent thereafter. “This is something that is fair for consumers. Over time you cannot stop this kind of innovation taking place,” Bank Negara’s deputy governor Datuk Mohd Razif Abd Kadir said at a press conference here Friday. According to him, there has been “pressure” to withdraw the policy from being implemented. “But it is aimed at putting more money back into consumers’ pocket, which is in line with the government’s intention of enhancing consumption,” he said. As at end of 2008, the general insurance policy premium amounted to RM4.4 billion, of which half was motor insurance and 15 percent or RM450 million came from direct channel, but without getting any rebate. “Now, individual consumers will benefit from the rebate,” Mohd Razif said. Bank Negara, he said, has engaged in various discussions with industry players with regard to the implementation of the insurance rebate. The policy, he added, was also to enhance the ability of consumers in having a wider access to financial products and services. In line with this, insurance companies have also increasingly introduced direct delivery channels to market their products and services which provided consumers with the options that will best suit their needs, Mohd Razif said. Thus, the insurance companies are well prepared with the infrastructures that is needed to enable consumers to deal directly, he said. Despite the emergence of direct distribution channels such as Internet, the 40,000 insurance agents in Malaysia will remain an important intermediary in the general insurance sector to provide personalised services for the convenience of policy owners as well as value-added services such as advice on insurance products and in providing assistance in claims handling. Customers have the option to use the services of agents to meet their insurance requirements, particularly for complex and sophisticated products. To facilitate agents to move up the value chain and enter this new area, the government and the insurance industry have and will continue to provide the necessary training and capacity-building opportunities, Mohd Razif said. Initiatives by Bank Negara and the insurance sector include putting in place appropriate training programmes and requiring agency training expenses to be part of minimum training expenditure, he said. However, there is no plan to implement such a policy for other insurance products, Mohd Razif said, adding that the idea to increase motor vehicle insurance tariff, which has seen no change since 1978, is still being studied.

White Collar Crimes Accounted For RM788 Mil Losses Last Year – IGP
17 June 2009, By BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR — White collar crime steals the thunder from conventional crime as it potentially affects the financial performance of commercial organisations in the country. As such, issues related to financial crime, fraud and corruption were a major concern to the government, said Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan. He said white collar crimes or economic crime not only affected the individual victim but it also had a ripple effect on a nation’s financial well-being. “If left unchecked, white collar crimes can bring a negative bearing on the integrity of a nation’s financial and business institutions and the capability of a nation’s enforcement agencies to regulate and investigate cases of financial irregularities. “Ultimately it can undermine the confidence of both local and foreign businessmen to invest in the country,” he said when opening a Seminar on Forensic Accounting and Financial Criminology at the KL Tower here Tuesday. His speech was read by Commercial Crimes Investigation Department Director Datuk Koh Hong Sun. Musa said the current global economic upheaval which not only affected the industrialized countries but also developing nations, seeks a solution to minimise or mitigate the expected increase in white collar crimes due to the current economic condition. “Whether blue collar or white collar, criminals go for soft targets. More often than not, criminal acts are crimes of opportunity which are provided for by the victims. “In the case of white collar crimes, a lack of, weak and poorly monitored and implemented internal control systems, financial procedures and the non-existence of a duty due diligence in business transactions is one of the main factors contributing to the rise in such crimes,” he said. Last year saw an increase of 70.3 per cent in white collar crimes or an increase of 7,151 cases over the 2007 figure of 10,160 cases, he said. He said in previous years, criminal breach of trust and cheating cases continued to form the bulk or 69.06 per cent of cases investigated. “These two forms of crimes alone contributed to 83.2 per cent or RM 788,177,858.59 out of the RM 845,585,370.49 financial losses for the year 2008. “In general, business entities are the main victims of Criminal Breach of Trust and Cheating,” he said.

Bank Negara Malaysia Bill 2009 Tabled
17 June 2009, By BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR — The Bank Negara Malaysia 2009 Bill was tabled for its first reading at the Dewan Rakyat Tuesday. Deputy Finance Minister, Senator Dr Awang Adek Hussin presented the Bill which is for the continued existence of Bank Negara which is covered under the Central Bank of Malaysia Act 1958. The Act also provides for Bank Negara’s administration, objectives and powers. Among others, the Bill will also touch on the abolishment of the Central Bank of Malaysia Act 1958 and its renaming as Bank Negara Malaysia Act 2009. Bank Negara will continue to be the central bank for Malaysia and its primary objective will remain in ensuring a stable monetary and financial system that will be conducive for the growth of a sustainable national economy.