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18 theSun | THURSDAY FEBRUARY 5 2009

business news

Big Aussie stimulus

SYDNEY: A massive stimulus
package designed to boost the
Australian economy in the
face of the global financial
crisis hit a hurdle yesterday
when the opposition refused
to support it in parliament.

package hits hurdle

Prime Minister Kevin
Rudd announced the A$42
billion (RM98.7 billion)
stimulus package on Tuesday,
warning of what he called
“the unfolding national and
international economic
emergency”. told parliament. earning less than A$100,000 it,” Turnbull said.
The package includes The package “reeks of (RM235,000) a year will receive However, official figures
spending A$28.8 billion nothing more than panic” a tax bonus of up to A$950 released yesterday suggest
(RM67.7 billion) on schools, and would burden future (RM2,235) each, while similar the first stimulus package
housing and roads over four generations with high levels of amounts will be paid for each had an effect on retail sales in
years, tax breaks for small debt, he said. school-going child and to December.
businesses and cash handouts Rudd responded by drought-affected farmers. Sales for the month were a
of A$12.7 billion (RM29.8 accusing Turnbull of playing The payout plan comes seasonally-adjusted 3.8% higher
billion) to eligible workers, politics over the package, hard on the heels of a A$10.4 than in November – the biggest
farmers and students. adding: “This Liberal Party is billion (RM24.44 billion) percentage monthly rise in
But when the government out of touch with mums’ and stimulus package released nearly nine years. “People were
introduced the legislation to dads’ basic needs right across in December that targeted out there spending, perhaps not
parliament yesterday, pressing the country.” pensioners, low-income spending all of it, but spending
for swift passage to ensure The centre-left Labor earners and others in a bid to nevertheless,” said NabCapital
cash handouts are paid from government has the numbers boost consumer spending. senior economist David de
next month, the opposition in the lower house to push the The opposition suggests the Garis.
Liberal Party baulked. legislation through, but would first package failed to have the Turnbull said the opposition
“The opposition will vote face problems in the Senate desired effect. supported bringing forward
against this package in the where minor parties and an “If you give people one- personal income tax cuts,
House (of Representatives) independent hold the balance off windfall lump sums in scheduled for July 1, 2009, to
and the Senate,” leader of the of power. uncertain times they are more Jan 1 this year as an alternative
opposition Malcolm Turnbull Under the package taxpayers likely to save it than to spend to the cash handouts.– AFP

Panasonic to cut
Mitsubishi, Mazda and 15,000 jobs, axe
dozens of plants
Subaru to sink into the red TOKYO: Panasonic Corp said yester-
TOKYO: Japanese automakers tion’s fourth-largest carmaker, losses and said it would cut 500 day it is cutting up to 15,000 jobs and
Mitsubishi, Mazda and Subaru feared that the global downturn jobs in Japan. Mazda will now closing dozens of plants worldwide
said yesterday they will post would last well into next year. be eliminating a total of 2,000 as it braces to fall deep in the red due
losses for the year through “At this point, I cannot judge temporary workers in Japan. to the global economic crisis.
March as a deepening global that things will bottom out in fiscal “At a time when even half Panasonic expects a net loss of
slump devastates the industry. 2009,” Mitsubishi Motors president of our regular workers aren’t ¥380 billion (RM15 billion) in this fi-
Faced with the credit crunch, Osamu Masuko told reporters. coming to work, we can’t renew nancial year to March as recessions
Mitsubishi Motors Corp also said “We are bracing ourselves for contracts for our non-regular in major economies from Japan to
it would pull out of the Dakar an extremely difficult operating workers,” Mazda chief executive Europe and the US prompt consum-
Rally, which it has won 12 times, environment in fiscal 2009.” Takashi Yamanouchi said. ers to cut their spending.
dealing another hard blow to Mitsubishi forecast a net loss “We’re in a situation where The group will shut 27 plants by
world motorsports. Mazda said it of ¥60 billion (RM2.3 billion) for we don’t know where we stand. the end of March and expects fur-
would eliminate 500 more jobs. the year to March. That’s how severe it is.” ther closures next year, Panasonic
The companies said a double Analysts warned that Japa- Mazda, whose biggest share- director Makoto Uenoyama said.
whammy of sliding sales and an nese automakers outside of the holder is ailing US giant Ford, “We expect to close about 20%
appreciating yen were eating badly Big Three faced threats to their said it forecast a net loss of ¥13 of our 239 outlets worldwide,” he
into it profits. Japan’s three biggest very survival if they cannot shift billion (RM508 million). told reporters. “The next fiscal year
automakers – Toyota, Honda and back to profit. Fuji Heavy Industries, which could be tougher than this year.”
Nissan – have also been hit hard,
with all of them cutting jobs.
“As automakers’ earnings
have been worsening rapidly
makes the Subaru brand vehi-
cles, said it lost US$165 million
About half of the 15,000 job
cuts, which will be completed by
PCCW to cut costs, lay off staff
The dire situation the carmak- since the turn of the year, (Mit- (RM578 million) in the nine March 2010, will be in Japan and HONGKONG: Telecoms giant PCCW said yesterday it plans
ers are in marks a dramatic pull- subishi Motors’) survival will months to December. the rest overseas, Uenoyama said. to lay off some workers as part of cost-cutting measures to
back from a year ago, when many be called into question,” said The company maintained Both temporary and regular work- cope with slowing business growth.
firms enjoyed record sales and Mamoru Kato, auto analyst at its outlook to end the financial ers will be affected. In a statement, the company said the cuts were “part of
profits thanks to robust exports Tokai Tokyo Research Centre. year to March in the red for the The announcement came just our normal daily business operation” and that they would
of small and environmentally Mazda Motor Corp, Japan’s first time since 1994, expecting days after Japanese IT giants NEC not be across-the-board. PCCW did not specify how many
friendly cars to the United States. fifth largest automaker, blamed a net loss of ¥19 billion (RM730 and Hitachi said they were cutting jobs might go, although a trade union warned of up to 600
Mitsubishi Motors, the na- sagging US sales for its expected million). – AFP a total of 27,000 jobs. – AFP staff posts being at risk, some 5% of the workforce. – AFP