Asean Morning News For March 14

The most comprehensive #Asean Morning News Roundup published

Asean Morning News For March 14
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Asean Morning News Roundup is the most comprehensive selection of reports on what you need to know from around the Asean Economic Community (AEC) published. All articles are hand curated by the team at AEC News Today.


Asean morning newsAsean Morning News

Compiled by AEC News Today @aecnewstoday


Asean members reaffirm 90% tariff cuts under RCEP
Asean members are holding to their vow to cut import tariffs on 90% of products, amounting to 5,000-6,000 items under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), over the next 15 years.
– Bangkok Post

FM Retno Calls for Total Nuclear Disarmament at Regional Dialogue in Jakarta
Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi has called for the total disarmament of nuclear weapons at a regional dialogue on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, or NPT, in Jakarta on Monday (13/03).
— Jakarta Globe

Asean to press on bid to boost trade with RCEP partners
Asean will press on to reduce barriers to trade with the six partners of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) by the end of this year.
– New Straits Times

Asean to press on bid to boost trade with RCEP partners
Asean will press on to reduce barriers to trade with the six partners of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) by the end of this year.
— New Straits Times

Ministers vow to achieve priorities of Asean Socio-Cultural Community
Asean ministers under the Asean Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) have voiced their continued support for the realisation of the Community’s priorities this year, welcoming a series of activities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Asean in 2017.
— Vientiane Times

ASEAN Pushes for Air Transport Service
Member states of ASEAN have made a commitment to enhance cooperation on air transport services.
— Lao News Agency

How high speed rail could energize Southeast Asia
With growing populations in urban centers and potential investors showing their interest, governments in the region are keen to embark on long-talked of rail modernization projects and usher in a new era of connectivity.
— Real Views (blog)

Asean members reaffirm 90% tariff cuts under RCEP
Asean members are holding to their vow to cut import tariffs on 90% of products, amounting to 5,000-6,000 items under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), over the next 15 years.
— Bangkok Post

Nanning to host 14th China-ASEAN Expo in September
The 14th China-ASEAN Expo has been scheduled from Sept. 12 to 15 in Nanning, capital of south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, local authorities announced Monday.

Australia launches Landing Pad in Singapore, offers Aussie startups network into ASEAN
The Australian government has brought its Landing Pad programme to Singapore, officially launching the global startup initiative in Block 79’s BASH startup space today.
— e27


Cambodia morning newsCambodia Morning News

Compiled by Vat Vin    @vin_vat


Efforts to formalise SMEs fall short
The Cambodian government has made negligible progress in bringing small- and medium-size enterprise (SMEs) into the regulatory fold, reporting a less than 0.5 percent increase in the total number of companies registered in the last five years – a sign business professionals claim shows that tax incentives aimed at increasing SME compliance and expanding the country’s low tax base have garnered little traction.
The Phnom Penh Post

KDIC puts Tomato Bank on the chopping block
Tomato Specialized Bank, the smallest bank in the Kingdom, is attempting to sell a majority stake in its operations in order to dilute the equity stake of its defunct majority shareholder while securing a partner able to help it meet the central bank’s revised minimum capital requirements, bank executives said yesterday.
The Phnom Penh Post

Central Bank Sets Interest Rate Ceiling, Sparking Fears
The National Bank of Cambodia announced on Monday that it would set an annual interest rate ceiling of 18 percent for all microfinance institutions (MFIs), sparking concerns that lenders would stop offering smaller loans that often keep the most financially vulnerable afloat.
The Cambodia Daily (paywall)

Old US Bombs Revive Dispute Over $500M War-Era Debt
The head of Cambodia’s largest demining operator cited Monday’s disposal of a pair of decades-old American bombs as part of the government’s mounting efforts to shame the U.S. into canceling the country’s ballooning war-era debt, which now stands at about $500 million.
The Cambodia Daily (paywall)

Reporter’s notebook: covering brothel raids and Christian missionaries rescuing girls in Cambodia
Inside the world of Cambodia’s child sex trade, as told through the eyes of a survivor. Don and Bridget are the founders of Agape International Missions, or AIM, a Christian missionary group on the front lines of the war against child sex trafficking in Cambodia.
ABC News

Cambodia Outraged as US Demands Repayment of ‘Blood-Stained’ War Debt
Cambodians are responding with outrage to the U.S. government’s demand that the country repay a nearly 50-year-old loan to Cambodia’s brutal Lon Nol government, which came to power through a U.S.-backed coup and spent much of its foreign funds purchasing arms to kill its own citizens, according to Cambodia’s current prime minister Hun Sen.
Common Dreams

The U.S. Is Demanding Hundreds of Millions of Dollars in Repayment from a Country It Helped Decimate
The Vietnam War may get all of the attention over 40 years later, but the United States continues to wash the blood of its hands from multiple 1970s era attacks on Southeast Asia, including a secret bombing of Cambodia.

MFI loan interest capped
The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) has capped interest on microfinance loans to a maximum of 18 percent per year, an unprecedented move that came on the direct orders of Prime Minister Hun Sen, Defence Minister Tea Banh said yesterday – a decision some experts suggested had political overtones and could have unintended negative consequences for the poor.
The Phnom Penh Post

CPP reforms prove CNRP policies can work: Sokha
For proof his party’s policies are “practical”, look no further than reforms pursued by the CPP, opposition president Kem Sokha told supporters in Kampong Cham yesterday, suggesting some of the opposition’s 2013 election platform – derided by critics in the CPP as “impossible” – had been embraced by the ruling party.
The Phnom Penh Post

Cambodia casino tax take jumps as gov’t squeezes NagaCorp
Cambodia’s government reaped a bumper tax crop from its land-based casino industry in 2016, primarily by putting the squeeze on top operator NagaCorp.
Calvin Ayre

R&F’s Angola mine, Cambodia project snared by China’s capital controls
Many Chinese companies’ overseas acquisitions are paralysed by government’s crackdown on capital remittances.
South China Morning Post

Cambodian Grenade Attack Victims Still Mourn, Hold Out Hope for Justice, 20 Years After Attack
Two decades on, victims and their family members who lost loved ones are still living in poverty and hoping for justice.

Kem Ley’s Vision Put to Test Ahead of Commune Elections
The ideals of the late political commentator Kem Ley will be put to the test at local elections in June, when a minor opposition party he helped create takes up policies he championed in an attempt to win over voters disillusioned with the status quo.

Cambodian Women Yet to Receive Full Social Support
Cambodian women have yet to receive equal support and the ability to fully participate in Cambodian society, experts say.

Amid Health Rumors, Deputy PM Sok An Becomes ‘Samdech’
With rumors swirling about his health, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, who has not been seen in public for months, on Monday became the latest ruling party stalwart to be bestowed with the honorific “Samdech,” which translates roughly as “The Greatest.”
The Cambodia Daily (paywall)

Preah Vihear Government Weighs Villagers’ Claim on Sugar Concession Land
Preah Vihear provincial authorities say they have established a working group to study the validity of claims that 1,500 hectares of land leased by a Chinese sugar plantation should be set aside as a communal forest for 70 Kuy ethnic minority families.
The Cambodia Daily (paywall)


Indonesia morning newsIndonesia Morning News

Compiled by Stella-maris Ewudolu @Estee


Indonesia Watchdog Slaps Ernst & Young Affiliate With $1 mil Fine
Indonesia’s Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) is showing they won’t treat miscreants lightly. An Indonesian affiliate of international accounting firm Ernst & Young has been fined US$1 million for audit failure, noncooperation, and violations of the Board’s quality control standards.
— AEC News Today

CPPIB, Caisse to invest in Singapore, Indonesia warehouses
Canada’s two biggest pension funds have agreed to partner with LOGOS, a real estate logistics operator, to invest in warehouses in Singapore and Indonesia, betting on demand from the rise of e-commerce and a burgeoning middle class in southeast Asia.
— The Globe and Mail

Corruption scandal rocks Indonesia’s establishment
It is such an open secret that parliamentary commissions take pay-offs and other incentives to grease the path of legislation and influence key appointments that global graft watchdog Transparency International once again labelled the House of Representatives as Indonesia’s most corrupt institution.
— Asia Times

Arrested development: why Indonesia lifted its mining export ban
The Indonesian Government is hoping to kick-start its economy by lifting a partial ban on exports of metal ore and mineral concentrates, a policy originally aimed at boosting domestic processing and reducing the South East Asian nation’s exposure to volatile commodity prices. Julian Turner reports.
— Mining Technology

Indonesia export, import growth seen slowing in February
Indonesia’s exports and imports expanded in February, but at a slower pace than the multi-year highs they had the previous month, a Reuters poll showed.
— Times of India

New ways for financing vaccination in Indonesia
During autumn last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that a vaccine to prevent dengue fever was available for people across the world aged 9 to 16 years old.
— The Jakarta Post

Indonesia transfers US citizen to ‘execution island’
Indonesia has transferred a convicted US citizen to its so-called execution island, prompting fears among rights organisations that the government may be preparing another round of firing squads.
— The Guardian

Pence slated to visit Indonesia, Japan, South Korea and Australia in April
Vice President Mike Pence is expected to visit Indonesia, Japan, South Korea and Australia in April, senior administration officials tell CNN.

Indonesia, Denmark Mull Deeper Defense Ties
Last week, Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu received a courtesy call from Denmark’s envoy to the Southeast Asian state Casper Klynge. The meeting saw both sides discuss ways to expand their defense relationship in the coming years.
— The Diplomat

Indonesia’s Choice: Not the Indian Ocean, But Bilateralism
Dedi Dinarto (see: Is Indonesia Choosing the Indian Ocean Rim Association Over ASEAN?) is right to observe that Indonesia under President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has lost interest in trying to lead ASEAN.
— The Diplomat

Copper concentrate supply hit by disputes in Chile and Indonesia
Supply disruptions at two large mines in Chile and Indonesia are spurring a global shortfall in copper concentrate, according to the chairman of China’s second-largest copper refiner.
— Financial Times

Indonesia sentences British man and his Australian girlfriend to prison for cop’s death on beach
A court on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali on Monday sentenced a British man charged with attacking a traffic police officer and causing his death to six years in prison and his Australian girlfriend to four years.
— National Post

Indonesia furniture fair reports record attendance
The Indonesia International Furniture Expo (IFEX) opened late last week to a record number of buyers.
— Furniture Today

Blackberry looks to regain its crown with made-in-Indonesia Aurora
IN A bid to regain its glory Indonesia, PT BB Merah Putih launched BlackBerry’s newest smartphone BlackBerry Aurora on March 9.
— Digital News Asia

Grab launches carpool services “GrabShare” in Indonesia
GRAB on March 13 launched GrabShare in Indonesia, making it the fourth Asean country to offer the service after Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines. It was launched in the three countries in December 2016.
— Digital News Asia

Prime time set to debut off the beaten track in Indonesia
Homes in far flung locations across Indonesia will soon be able to tune into TV broadcasts thanks to Japan’s push to export its telecommunications technologies. Japan’s communications ministry has offered the nation of more than 13,000 islands “one-seg,” a low-cost, power efficient broadcasting system ideal for reaching remote areas.
— Nikkei Asian Review

Indonesia’s BCA posts record annual profit, buoyed by tax amnesty
Bank Central Asia (BCA) on Monday reported an all-time high annual net profit, as Indonesia’s key tax amnesty programme helped to lower cost of funds for the country’s biggest lender by market value.
— The Straits Times

Indonesia seizes two boats off Aceh for illegal fishing
The Indonesian navy has detained two vessels that flew the Malaysian flag, for allegedly fishing illegally in Indonesian waters off its Aceh province.
— The Straits Times

C88 acquires Indonesia-based auto listings site Otobro
Financial technology company C88 Group has acquired an Indonesia-based startup Otobro for an undisclosed amount.
— Deal Street Asia

Indonesia calls for peaceful use of nuclear energy
The Indonesian foreign minister on Monday said Indonesia will always encourage Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) signatory countries to use nuclear energy for peaceful purpose.
— Xinhua News

Waypoint places AW139 on lease to PT. Air Born Indonesia
Waypoint Leasing (Ireland) Limited (Waypoint), the largest independent global helicopter leasing company, announced that it has closed a lease agreement with PT. Air Born Indonesia (Air Born), a provider of air transportation services in Indonesia, for one Leonardo AW139 helicopter previously operated by CHC, which will go on long-term lease in support of mining operations in Indonesia.
— Vertical Magazine (press release) (blog)

Indonesia Q1 economic growth likely below 5.05 percent – central bank governor
Indonesia’s trade data is due on Wednesday, March 15 and economists polled in Reuters poll expect export, import growth to have slowed in February. Indonesia’s exports and imports hit multi-year highs in the previous month and are likely to expand at a slower pace in February.
— Econo Times

President Jokowi optimistic of more Japanese companies investing in Indonesia
President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has expressed hope that more Japanese industries would invest in Indonesia apart from Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC).
— Antara News

President Jokowi installs 17 Indonesian ambassadors
President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) installed 17 new Indonesian ambassadors at the State Palace, here, Monday.
— Antara News

FAO Supports Indonesia`s Efforts to Achieve Food Security
FAO regional representative for Asia and the Pacific Kundhavi Kadiresan on Sunday, March 12, 2017, met with Indonesian Agriculture Minister Amran Sulaiman in order to exchange views on the growing collaboration between the FAO and the Indonesian government.
— Tempo

Indonesia urges P5 to respect NPT commitment
Indonesia has underscored the importance of implementing the three main pillars of the long-standing Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in equal measure, as state parties prepare for the treaty’s next review in 2020.
— The Jakarta Post

Indonesia-Chile CEPA negotiations resume after delay
After being delayed for more than two years, negotiations for a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) between Indonesia and Chile resumed on Monday and will run until Tuesday.
— The Jakarta Post

Toyota Manufacturing appoints first Indonesian CEO
Japanese automobile maker Toyota has announced the first Indonesian president director for Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indonesia (TMMIN) as vice president director Warih Andang Tjahjono will replace Masahiro Nonami on April 1.
— The Jakarta Post

Indonesia’s stock market raised $5b in 2016, contributed $1.6b in gains
The Indonesian stock market had raised nearly Rp 700 trillion ($5.2 billion) in funding last year while contributing Rp 215 trillion ($1.6 billion) in gains, the Indonesian Stock Exchange (IDX) director Tito Sulistio said. The numbers represented a growth of 20 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively.
— Deal Street Asia

Kazakhstan to exempt visa tariff for Indonesians
The Embassy of Kazakhstan to Indonesia will provide tariff-free visa for a three-month period for Indonesians who wish to visit the country.
— Antara News

Cement Sales in Indonesia Continue to Disappoint in February 2017
Cement sales in Indonesia rose 0.2 percent year-on-year (y/y) to 4.54 million tons in February 2017 from 4.54 million tons in the same month one year earlier.
— Indonesia Investments (press release)

Inflation Indonesia: Administered Price Adjustments Form Challenge
The central bank of Indonesia (Bank Indonesia) said it carefully monitors the impact of higher electricity tariffs on the nation’s inflation pace in March 2017.
— Indonesia Investments (press release)

Tax collection app Online Pajak aims to help Indonesia secure US$1.1B this year, in no rush to raise funds
March is the month when Indonesian businesses and individuals are rushing into tax offices to submit their yearly reports. For 2017, the House of Representatives has targetted to increase tax revenue target by 16.8 per cent, from IDR1.2 trillion (US$89 million) last year to IDR1.4 trillion (US$112 billion).
— e27

Jakarta High Court denies Jessica Wongso’s sentence appeal in coffee poisoning case
It seemed like a long, long time ago when the Indonesian media would not stop discussing the case of Jessica Wongso, who was accused of poisoning Wayan Mirna Salihin with a glass of iced coffee, especially since they’ve moved on to discussing Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama’s alleged blasphemy against Islam virtually 24/7.
— Coconuts Jakarta

FM Retno Calls for Total Nuclear Disarmament at Regional Dialogue in Jakarta
Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi has called for the total disarmament of nuclear weapons at a regional dialogue on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, or NPT, in Jakarta on Monday (13/03).
— Jakarta Globe

Authorities Remove Over 500 ‘Provocative’ Banners Ahead of Runoff Election
The Jakarta Public Order Agency has removed 526 provocative banners across the capital ahead of the second round of the gubernatorial election scheduled for April 19, acting Governor Sumarsono said on Monday (13/03).
— Jakarta Globe


Lao PDR morning newsLao PDR Morning News

Compiled by Vat Vin    @vin_vat


Lao Government Auctions Luxury Cars in a Bid to Cut Costs, Reduce Corruption
The Lao government has auctioned 14 luxury cars previously used by the country’s leaders in its latest effort to cut costs and rein in corruption in the impoverished nation by getting rid of pricey autos that high-ranking officials had been using for free for official and personal business.
— Radio Free Asia

How this Lao woman became an icon in US real estate
Michael Gosman, executive director of ACTS Housing, a nonprofit that helps low-income households buy and renovate dilapidated homes, can still remember overhearing Laotian-American realtor Blia Cha in a “heated” conversation with someone on the phone. After she hung up, Michael heard her exclaim, “’I just saved my buyer USD20!’”
— Asia Property Report

US interest rate rise to deepen debt crisis in developing world
Developing countries are struggling with steep rises in their debt payments after being hit by a double whammy of lower commodity prices and a stronger dollar, with more pain to come once the US central bank raises interest rates this week, campaigners warn.
— The Guardian

Laos turning Thai-visa hunters away
I wish to give a heads-up to expats thinking of getting a Thai tourist visa in Laos: think twice before going to Savanakhet.
The Nation

Laos and Japan enhance cooperation with Deputy PM’s visit to Tokyo
THE relationship between Laos and Japan continues to grow and be fruitful, especially under the strategic partnership which has boosted political, economic, and socio-cultural cooperation.
The Nation

Vangvieng Trade Fair Scheduled to Start This Weekend
The first Vangvieng trade fair is scheduled to be held this Saturday, March 18, and will last until March 24 in the popular tourist destination town of Vientiane province.
Lao News Agency

Thailand’s Kasikorn Bank Opens Headquarters in Laos
Thailand’s Kasikorn Bank (KBank) has expanded its business operations by opening its new headquarters in Vientiane Capital.
Lao News Agency

Govt toughens up on foreign worker registration
The labour and security sectors are gearing up to register and issue temporary work permits to foreign workers as part of government efforts to strictly regulate foreign nationals.
Vientiane Times

Laos showcases tourist attractions at Berlin trade fair
Laos put its tourism products in the spotlight at the world’s largest trade fair, the ITB (Internationale Tourismus Börse), held in Berlin, Germany, from March 8-12.
Vientiane Times

Interview: More honesty, determination needed to eliminate malaria: expert
An expert recently suggested that governments and international organizations should be more honest and determined in order to eliminate malaria, as the world faces the risk of losing the main arteminisin class of antimalarial drugs.
— Xinhua News

Laos to pursue trade, business environment improvement
The government of Australia will contribute US$2.5 million (Bt88.2 million) in additional funding for the ongoing Second Trade Development Facility Project (TDF II), with the aim of improving trade and Laos’ business environment.
The Nation

UNDP Chief Furthers Cooperation with Laos
The Lao People’s Democratic Republic and the United Nation Development Programme have increased cooperation towards reaching the country’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Lao News Agency

Lao, Russian Top Legislators Pledge to Enhance Cooperation on Law
Top legislators between Laos and Russia have pledged to enhance the existing bilateral cooperation and constantly exchange lessons on improving draft legislation.
Lao News Agency

Laos and Vietnam to build Vientiane-Hanoi Highway
The Lao Ministry of Public Works and Transport, in collaboration with The Vietnamese Ministry of Transport, have agreed to implement the next step towards building a highway connecting the two countries’ capitals this year.
The Laotian Times

Lao Airlines aims for Direct Route to Tokyo for Passengers
Lao Airlines has announced plans to provide its passengers with a direct flight between Vientiane and Tokyo, Japan.
The Laotian Times

Laos, UK continue cooperation in education development
The Ministry of Education and Sports will continue its cooperation with the UK government in furthering the development of the country’s education sector.
Vientiane Times

Govt grants exequatur to new Swedish consul
The government yesterday presented an exequatur to the Honorary Consul of the Kingdom of Sweden to the Lao PDR at a ceremony held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Vientiane.
Vientiane Times


Malaysia morning newsMalaysia Morning News

Compiled by Vat Vin    @vin_vat


Bank Negara, MACC, IRB join forces to combat financial crimes
Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia (IRB) will join forces to combat financial crimes and strengthen the country’s financial system.
New Straits Times

Coca Cola commences RM500 million expansion of Nilai plant
Coca Cola Malaysia is investing RM500 million to expand the size and production capacity of its current plant here.
New Straits Times

Malaysia Jan factory output up 3.5 pct y/y, below forecast
Malaysia’s industrial production in January rose 3.5 percent from a year
earlier, slowing in pace for the second month in a row, government data showed on Monday.

Malaysian streaming provider taps Netflix executive
Malaysian streaming video provider iflix has tapped Sean Carey, a former Netflix executive, as its new chief content officer, the company said in statement on Monday.
— Reuters

Malaysia says talks on with North Korea for return of nine citizens
Malaysia said talks were underway on Monday for the release of nine citizens stranded in North Korea by a travel ban, while its defense minister tried to ease anxieties among the public about the risks of angering an unpredictable nuclear-armed state.

Malaysia arrests five Filipinos for suspected Islamic State links
Malaysian police said on Monday they had arrested seven people, including five Filipinos, for suspected links to the Islamic State militant group.

Malaysia’s January industrial output growth pace slows, lags view
Malaysia’s industrial production grew at a slower-than-expected pace in January, largely driven by higher manufacturing output, official data Monday showed.
Nikkei Asian Review

China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park attracts RM19.3bil investments
The China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park (CMQIP) here has so far confirmed over 50 industrial projects with a total investment value of close to 30 billion yuan (RM19.3bil).
The Star Online

HLIB: Pos Malaysia lacks catalysts
Pos Malaysia Bhd is lacking near-term catalysts to support the recent spike in its share price that has run ahead of its earnings growth, according to Hong Leong Investment Bank Bhd (HLIB).
The Star Online

BBC Player launches in Malaysia
the commercial arm of the Corporation has launched BBC Player in Malaysia, the second country to receive the service following its successful launch in Singapore in 2016.
Advanced Television

Malaysian police arrest 7 Islamic State suspects
Seven Islamic State (IS) suspects comprising two Malaysians and five Filipinos were arrested in Sabah and Selangor states during a counter-terrorism sting operation between Mar 8 and 12, according Malaysian Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar.
Channel News Asia

Beauty and the Beast release postponed indefinitely in Malaysia
The release date for the highly anticipated Disney film Beauty and the Beast has been postponed indefinitely in Malaysia, the country’s major cinemas said on Monday (Mar 13). The movie had been slated to open in Malaysian theatres on Thursday.
Channel News Asia

Malaysia: No merger on cards for Sime Darby-UMW auto biz
Malaysia’s Sime Darby and UMW Holdings have denied any plans for a merger between the motor units of two companies.
Deal Street Asia

Malaysia Tops World Ranking As Best Country To Invest In, Scoring 30 Points More Than Any Other Nation
Malaysia tops another world ranking, this time as the ‘Best Country To Invest In’.
Malaysian Digest

MAHB: Passenger traffic in February up 5% year-on-year
Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) said it has registered 7.3 million passengers at its airports in the country in February 2017, a 5% year-on-year growth over February 2016.
The Sun Daily

Gov’t launches Social Outcome Fund for marginalised communities
The government has launched the Social Outcome Fund to help marginalised communities struggling to make ends meet.
New Straits Times

Sime Darby denies report of automotive sector merger with UMW
Sime Darby Bhd has denied a report by a local business paper that its automotive arm was planning a merger with UMW Holdings.
New Straits Times

Bright outlook for semiconductor industry
AmInvestment Bank (AB) Research has maintained its “overweight” rating on the technology sector in Malaysia.
The Star Online

Long deadline for Saudi Aramco deal with Petronas
The final terms of the investment by Saudi Aramco into Malaysia’s biggest oil refinery project is likely to be firmed up only within a year’s time, sources said.
The Star Online


Myanmar morning newsMyanmar Morning News

Compiled by Stella-maris Ewudolu    @Estee


Inside The Brutal World of Myanmar’s Rohingya
In an Our World report titled Freedom and Fear in Myanmar veteran BBC correspondent Jonah Fisher gives the outside world a rare inside look at the brutal world of Myanmar’s Rohingya under the rule of Noble laureate Aung San Suu Ky.
— AEC News Today

Myanmar rejects suggestion of COI to probe Rohingya issue
The Myanmar government on Monday (Mar 13) announced its rejection of the suggestion that it form a commission of inquiry (COI) to investigate alleged atrocities against the Rohingya people.
— Channel NewsAsia

Myanmar Dealbook: Korea’s Koryo Cable to invest $8.2m; Malaysia’s iflix entry
Koryo Cable from Korea is planning to invest $8.2 million to start a cable manufacturing facility in Thilawa. On the other hand, Malaysia’s iflix, a TV streaming service provider, is looking at introducing their services to the Myanmar audiences.
— Deal Street Asia

Myanmar’s largest private bank KBZ Bank may sell stake to foreign firm
Myanmar’s largest privately-owned bank by assets says it’s willing to sell a stake to a foreign lender, pending a change in the country’s law, as it gears up to expand its operations in one of Asia’s most under-banked nations.
— Deal Street Asia

Rakhine to organise youth conference
Rakhine youth told the media at a briefing at the Hotel Grand United in Yangon on March 12 about the prospects of a conference expected in December in Taungup Township, Rakhine State.
— Eleven

11 suspects arrested for logging
The military arrested 11 suspects with 99 trucks for logging and smuggling timber in Mansi Township, Kachin State, according to a statement dated March 12 from the commander-in-chief’s office.
— Eleven

Japan grants about US$ 4.2 million for Myanmar’s peace process
On March 9, Japan provided nearly US $4.2 million for the peace process in Myanmar through UNOPS Myanmar, said a press release issued by the Japanese embassy to Myanmar.
— Eleven

JMHU offers $20 million in capital to implement low-cost housing projects
Japan-Myanmar Association for Industry of Housing and Urban Development (JMHU) has offered to provide US $20 million to Myanmar to implement low-cost housing projects, according to a press release issued by the Republic of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI).
— Eleven

Pyidaungsu Hluttaw told 44 state projects should be suspended
As Myanmar moves to slash government spending, the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw was told that 44 of 52 projects by state-owned enterprises should be suspended.
— Myanmar Times

U Wirathu’s silent protest against gag order
Myanmar nationalist monk U Wirathu, leader of the Committee for the Protection of Nationality and Religion (known by its Myanmar-language acronym Ma Ba Tha), held a silent protest in Einme township, Ayeyarwady Region, on Saturday evening against the decision by the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee (known as Ma Ha Na) to ban him from delivering speeches for one year.
— Myanmar Times

Pharmacies selling unregulated drugs to face legal action
Pharmacies in seven townships in the Mandalay district area found to be selling unlicensed and expired drugs will face severe action, including the closure of their stores, under a proposal submitted by the Food and Drug Administration (Mandalay branch) to the Mandalay regional government.
— Myanmar Times

Regions can approve up to US$5m investments
The maximum amount of investments which can be approved by regional and state governments has been set to US$5 million (K6 billion). Region and state investment commissions will now be able to approve proposals without having to seek permission from Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC), according to an announcement from MIC chair U Kyaw Win on March 3.
— Myanmar Times

Ayeyawady Region govt to sue Wirathu over ‘silent protest’
The Ayeyawady Region government is planning to sue anti-Muslim monk U Wirathu in response to his “silent protest” in Einme Township on Saturday evening.
— Coconuts Yangon

ICRC opens new prosthetic rehab center in Shan State
Shan State’s first physical rehabilitation center has officially opened its doors in Kyaing Tong. The facility was built with a US$1.3 million investment from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
— Coconuts Yangon

Myanmar may be seeking to expel all Rohingya, says UN
Myanmar may be seeking to “expel” all ethnic Rohingya from its territory, a UN rights expert has said, pushing for a high-level inquiry into abuses against the Muslim minority community.
— The Guardian

Myanmar approves diplomatic relations with Vatican
Myanmar’s parliament has approved a proposal to establish formal diplomatic relations with the Holy See.
— Catholic Culture

Mixed prognosis for Myanmar garment sector
Myanmar was ruled by a military junta for 50 years. After such a long period of economic isolation, foreign investment is now booming as economic sanctions have been lifted following Myanmar’s first steps towards democracy.
— Asia Times

Chinese teacher killed in Myanmar
Chinese experts said skilled negotiators are needed aside from strong policies in Myanmar’s peace process, after a Chinese volunteer teacher was killed during armed clashes in Kokang region, northern Myanmar on Saturday. – See more at:
— Mizzima News

Russia and Myanmar top officials discuss regional security
Russian Security Council chief Nikolai Patrushev met in Moscow on Monday with the national security adviser of Myanmar’s government, U Thaung Tun to discuss cooperation of the two countries and regional security.


Philippines morning newsPhilippines Morning News

Compiled by Stella-maris Ewudolu    @Estee


Duterte’s Flip-Flops And Corruption Haunt Philippines Stocks
Driven by rising commodity prices, emerging equity markets have been in a rally mode lately.
— Forbes

Cebu looks to host Asian Cup
AFTER hosting two national open competitions, Cebu is now ready to host an Asian Cup Outdoor Archery competition.
— Sun Star

Wary of China, Duterte tells navy to build ‘structures’ east of Philippines
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the navy to put up “structures” to assert sovereignty over a stretch of water east of the country, where Manila has reported a Chinese survey ship was casing the area last year.

Newspaper columnist murdered in the Philippines
Philippine police and prosecutors should credibly investigate today’s murder of newspaper columnist Joaquin Briones and should swiftly bring all those responsible to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
— CPJ Press Freedom

Philippines’ Duterte wants mining ban, links miners to destabilization plot
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday accused some miners of funding efforts to destabilize his government as he talked about a possible plan to impose a ban on mining given the environmental damage producers have caused.
— Reuters

Philippines seen to be stuck with just two telecommunication players
AS THE CLAMOUR for a third telco player in the Philippines reached fever pitch, a respected technology expert delivered a sobering reminder of the cost – roughly US$10 billion (Bt353 billion) to roll out a network and decades before hitting breakeven.
— The Nation

Philippines’ Ayala eager to fund more startups
Philippine conglomerate Ayala Corp. is keen on investing in more developers of new technologies that complement its existing businesses, officials said on Monday.
— Nikkei Asian Review

Philippine Coast Guard hiring 4,000 this year
The Philippine Coast Guard will be hiring 4,000 personnel this year and 5,000 next year, according to Philippine Coast Guard spokesperson Commander Armand Balilo. He said that by the end of this month they will be announcing vacancies.
— Update Philippines

IPG Mediabrands launches Ansible in the Philippines
IPG Mediabrands, the global media arm of Interpublic Group, announced the official launch of Ansible in the Philippines. Ansible is the specialist, full-service mobile marketing and technology agency offering services including strategy, media planning and buying, marketing and analytics as well as UX, creative, technology, development and enterprise solutions.
— Marketing Interactive

Philippines to ratify Paris Agreement
The Philippines Senate is expected to ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change tomorrow making the Philippines the 135th country to do so following a long advocacy campaign by UNISDR Global Champion for Resilience, Senator Loren Legarda.
— Reliefweb

The Philippines Now Wants to Legalize Medical Marijuana
Deliberations on legalizing the use of marijuana for medical reasons have begun at the Philippine House of Representatives.
— NextShark

SE Asia stocks up, Philippines bounces back
Most Southeast Asian stock markets closed higher on Monday, with the Philippines clocking its biggest single-day %age gain in nearly a month as bargain hunters stepped in following Friday’s last-minute selloff.
— Bangkok Post

Smart tops Philippines in 4G speeds, Globe in coverage
The Philippines’ two dominant operators Globe Telecom and Smart ramped up mobile data speeds over the past few months, but their LTE speed scores fall far short of the global average of 17.4Mb/s, according to a report from OpenSignal.
— Mobile World Live

Japanese firms to bring nearly P200-B investments Philippines
Japanese companies are expected to invest some Php 198.5 billion in the Philippines, a gain from the investment mission of government officials to Tokyo early this month.
— Update Philippines

Philippines gives green light to national broadband plan
The government of the Philippines has approved a project to create a national broadband network.
— Developing Telecoms

US$800 million 250-MW Pulangi 5 hydropower project slated for Philippines
First Bukidnon Electric Cooperative Inc. (FIBECO) and Pulangi Hydro Power Corp. (PHPC) signed a memorandum of understanding on March 8 to begin construction of the 250-MW Pulangi (also spelled Pulangui) 5 hydropower plant in Bukidnon on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines, according to the Philippines National Electrification Administration (NEA).
— HydroWorld


Singapore morning newsSingapore Morning News

Compiled by Leakhena Khat    @leakhenakhat


CPPIB to invest $325M in logistics ventures in Singapore
Canada Pension Plan Investment Board is committing $325 million towards warehouses and other logistics investments in Singapore and Indonesia, in partnership with the Logos Property Group and the Caisse de depot’s real estate arm.

Singapore-Australia cooperation on science and technology takes off
Singapore-Australia cooperation on science, technology and innovation received a boost with the launch of the Australian Landing Pad at one-north yesterday. Singapore is one of five global innovation hubs identified by the Australian government for the project. The other four locations are in San Francisco, Tel Aviv, Shanghai and Berlin.
Today Online

Singapore’s Big Businesses Overtake Small Firms as Job Creators
Singapore’s larger companies created more jobs last year than small and medium-sized businesses for the first time since 2013 as the economy struggled in the face of sluggish domestic demand and a slump in global trade.

Singapore Eyes Tougher Cyber Laws
The first-ever publicly disclosed hacking of the Singapore defense ministry’s (MINDEF) Internet-connected system last month has understandably spurred the city-state to further ramp up its war against a growing cyber threat (“Singapore Ramps Up Its Cyber War”).
The Diplomat 

Singtel links with colleges for SMEs
SINGTEL announced two schemes in partnership with Singapore polytechnics that will help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the retail and food and beverage sectors go digital.
The Nation 

Singapore Regulator Selects Japan For Next FinTech Knowledge Partner
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has announced a new partnership with Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) to enhance mutual Fintech progress.
The Cointelegraph 

Singapore steps up avian influenza prevention measures
The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) has moved to reasure consumers that nation’s poultry and poultry products are safe for consumption following an outberak of H5N1 avian flue in the neighbouring region of Kelantan in Malaysia.
Global Meat News

Singapore hints at covered bond reforms
Singapore’s covered bond market may well be in line for the first local currency issues following hints from the regulator of changes to broaden the appeal of the instruments.
The Business Times 

World Gourmet Summit 2017 to present a ‘United Nations’ of food
Aside from chefs from Singapore and other Asian countries like Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Sri Lanka, the 21st edition of the foodie festival from Mar 20 to Apr 16 will have countries participating for the first time such as Ukraine, Hungary and Mexico.
Channel NewsAsia 

Singapore to get 2 new radio stations
Singapore will get two new commercial free-to-air radio stations, after the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) awarded the vacant radio frequencies on Monday (Mar 13).
Channel NewsAsia 

Singapore, Australia reaffirm ‘excellent relations’: MFA
Singapore and Australia have reaffirmed the “excellent relations” between the two countries during Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop’s two-day visit to Singapore.
Channel NewsAsia 

If we don’t defend Singapore, who will?
One of my earliest memories, of wanting to protect my family and myself from danger, was when the Japanese invaded Singapore in 1942.
The New Paper 

Experts: LRT’s trains and signals need upgrades
With the problematic Bukit Panjang LRT system set for a major overhaul, engineering experts The Straits Times spoke to said the parts in the most critical need of an upgrade are the trains and signalling system.
The New Paper 

Programme launched for displaced workers to seek peer support
With certain industries hit harder in the current cloudy economic conditions, the labour movement is hoping to help retrenched workers pick out possible jobs in sectors that continue to show good growth prospects, such as Internet security and sustainable energy.
Today Online 

Singapore says Reuters report on water price protest misleading
Singapore’s police took issue on Sunday with a Reuters report on a public protest over water price increases, saying it presented a “false and misleading” picture of the use of Speakers’ Corner, a designated place for citizens to speak publicly on issues.
Asia One

What the recent residential policy tweaks say about the Singapore government
The recent tweaks on seller’s stamp duties and total debt servicing ratio could be a meaningful signal that authorities are being cautious against excessive declines, according to a report from OCBC Investment Research.
Singapore Business Review 

Singapore certification for data protection officers [The Straits Times]
Singapore’s privacy watchdog is developing a local certification programme for data protection officers (DPOs), whose job is to better equip companies for a digital future in which more and more data must be protected.
Singapore Government 

Singapore introduces new shuttle service to supplement public transport
The Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech) and Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing platform Grab recently introduced a beta shuttle bus service mobile application that would supplement public transport services and offer more affordable shuttle service for commuters.
Enterprise Innovation 

CPPIB, Caisse to invest in Singapore, Indonesia warehouses
Canada’s two biggest pension funds have agreed to partner with LOGOS, a real estate logistics operator, to invest in warehouses in Singapore and Indonesia, betting on demand from the rise of e-commerce and a burgeoning middle class in southeast Asia.
The Globe And Mail 

Property firms rush to close deals
Property firms scrambled to close large residential property deals on Friday, after a sudden government announcement on the stamp duty rate, effective Saturday.
The New Paper


Thailand morning newsThailand Morning News

Compiled by John Le Fevre    @photo_journ


23rd AEM Retreat’s meeting agrees to conclude RCEP talk results within this year
The Commerce Minister stated that the 23rd ASEAN Economic Ministers’ (AEM) Retreat agreed to conclude the results of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) talks within this year, and plan to meet the goal of lifting duties for 90% of all goods within 15 years.

Several contractors monopolise state construction projects: study
There is a lack of competition for government construction projects, Tippatrai Saelawong, a senior researcher at the Thailand Development Research Institute, said on Monday.
– The Nation

Islamic Bank invites financial institutions to invest in it
Islamic Bank of Thailand plans to set up an asset management team to handle its Bt48 billion in non-performing loans and invite 35 financial firms to invest in the bank to restructure its business and boost its new loans – which stand at Bt30 billion.
– The Nation

EGA Thailand joins forces with OCSC & TPQI to maximise digital knowledge for government authorities
This collaborative action will bring further technical progress to both public and private sectors in accordance with the normative guidelines determined by the Prime Minister
– OpenGov

World Bank urges education reform
Education reform is needed to put Thailand back on track towards its potential growth and becoming a high-income country, says the World Bank.
– Bangkok Post

TCEB heralds rise in Thai Mice standards
The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) has seen progress in setting Thai Mice venue standards while encouraging other countries in Southeast Asia to jointly develop Asean Mice standards.
– Bangkok Post

EXIM Thailand signs financial deal with Food and Drinks Plc
EXIM Thailand signed a financial facility agreement with Food and Drinks Plc on Monday.
– The Nation

High-speed trains to accelerate towards bids
Bidding on construction of the Bangkok-Rayong high-speed train is expected to take place this year as part of efforts to jump-start the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), the government’s flagship project…
– Bangkok Post

U-tapao, high-speed rail top list
THE GOVERNMENT will move first with two transport projects – the upgrade of U-tapao International Airport and the construction of a high-speed railway – out of the five mega-projects under the Eastern Economic Corridor master plan.
– The Nation

Document Disproves Top Cop’s Booze Salary Story: Watchdog
The state watchdog on Monday rejected the Bangkok police chief’s denials about monthly payments from the biggest alcohol producer, saying it had obtained his original financial disclosure document and found it certified with his signature.
– Khaosod English

AIS unveils new 4.5G network
Mobile leader Advanced Info Service (AIS) has developed its wireless broadband network to support the parade of upcoming 4.5G smartphones in Thailand as the company seeks to serve the proliferation of data.
– Bangkok Post

Incentive package to lure foreign investment for BEV project
The Finance Ministry is to propose to the cabinet this month a package of measures to attract foreign investments in the development and production of BEVs (battery electric vehicles) in the country.
– Thai PBS

Ministry of Interior preparing to cope with drought season
The Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Interior has reiterated to all local officials across the nation that they must adhere to water management guidelines during the drought season while also urging farmers to cooperate with the government and desist from planting crops during this period.

Government sets up operation centre to tackle homeless and begging problems in capital
The government has set up an operation centre to regulate homeless people and wandering beggars in the capital. The centre began operation with a total of 120 people rounded up in the first week of this month.
– Thai PBS

Govt ramps up long-term care for elderly
OF ABOUT 1.3 million housebound and bed-bound elderly people, just a little over 10 per cent have received long-term care services from the state.
– The Nation

Thai developer aims for rich foreigners with investment vacation home pitch
Buoyed by foreign interest in its Thai property projects amid burgeoning tourist arrivals, Thai property developer Sansiri is expanding internationally with its sale pitch of a vacation home that will also attract rental yields.

Thai chicken farmers stamping out slavery win government recognition
1,000 chicken farmers will receive a certificate from Thailand’s government that states the broiler growers adhere to strict anti-slavery standards.
– Global Meat News

Number of new companies increase by 3% in Feb
More than 5,700 new companies registered with the Ministry of Commerce in February. The ministry has expressed confidence that the continuously recovering economy will lead to an increase in new companies by more than 66,000 companies this year.

A New Taste! Kit Kat’s Limited Edition Durian Flavor Coming To Thailand
Every once in awhile we are treated to some unique combinations in candy. We have seen some great renditions of M&M’s over the years and other candy variations, but it seems the good stuff or the most interesting gets unleashed overseas.
– StupidDope


Vietnam morning newsVietnam Morning News

Compiled by Leakhena Khat    @leakhenakhat


US human rights report includes unfair assessments on VN: spokesperson
The US Department of State’s 2016 annual Human Rights report acknowledges some of Vietnam’s achievements in protecting human rights, but makes biased statements and does not reflect the real situation in Vietnam, said Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson Le Hai Binh.
Vietnam Plus 

Vietnam earns 27.3 bln USD from export in two months
Vietnam’s total export earnings hit 13 billion USD in February, raising the total in the first two months of this year to 27.3 billion USD, up 15.4 percent annually, said the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).
Vietnam Plus 

Domestic revenue reaches $7.17 billion in first two months
Domestic revenue was estimated to reach VND63,500 billion (US$2.79 billion) in February and VND163,100 billion ($7.17 billion) in the first two months this year, reported the General Department of Taxation.

Avian flu scare: VN halts US poultry imports
Việt Nam has halted the import of poultry and poultry products from two US states, Tennessee and Wisconsin, which have been affected by avian flu.
Viet Nam News 

Hanoi to promote the development of private economic sector
Hanoi People`s Committee has recently issued the Plan No.60 to implement the Action Program No.16 of the municipal Party Committee.
Hanoi Times 

Country needs $7.46 million to upgrade highway-railroad crossings
Vietnam Road Administration said that the railway industry now has 100 highway-railroad crossings in need of upgrading with the total cost of VND170 billion (US$7.46 million).

China must stop cruises in South China Sea: Vietnam
Vietnam on Monday demanded that China stop sending cruise ships to the South China Sea in a response to one of Beijing’s latest steps to bolster its claims in the strategic waterway. A Chinese cruise ship with more than 300 passengers visited the disputed Paracel Islands earlier this month.
The Economic Times 

Vietnam is always active in regional economic integration
Vietnam will continue reforming its economy, improving the business climate and fully implementing the commitments it has made to the free trade agreements (FTAs), actively contributing to regional economic and trade integration.
Hanoi Times 

Vietnamese tea firms eye US market
Representatives of tea-growing regions and tea companies in Việt Nam recently took part in a seminar in New York to seek opportunities to enter the US market.
Viet Nam News 

Vietnam to Test Trump on Signing Solo Trade Pacts
Vietnam will test U.S. President Donald Trump’s openness to one-on-one trade deals as it starts nudging Washington for an eventual agreement to replace its role in the defunct Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Asia beef conference in Vietnam hears of market price pressures, as boxed meat and live cattle go head to head
The number of Australian cattle exported to Vietnam in 2017 will largely be dictated by price, with importers baulking at the high cost of stock, according to LiveCorp.
ABC Australia 

China increases investments in Vietnam
According to the Foreign Investment Agency (FIA), in the first two months of 2017, China registered $608 million worth of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Vietnam, accounting for 30 percent of total newly registered capital, making it the biggest foreign investor in Vietnam.
VietNamNet Bridge 

Green technology becomes focus of firms to secure a place in Vietnam energy future
Foreign firms have shown increasing interest in supplying environmentally-friendly equipment for coal-fired power plants in Vietnam, as coal looks to retain its hold on the national power grid over the next decade.
VietNamNet Bridge 

Industrial growth slow, labour productivity low: Party official
Vietnam’s industry is developing too slowly and is still reliant on many foreign-invested enterprises, said Nguyen Van Binh, head of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Economic Affairs.
Vietnam Plus 

Stocks in Vietnam tipped to fall further as US interest rate hike looms
STOCK markets in Vietnam look likely to continue falling this week as investors remain cautious ahead of the US Federal Reserve’s meeting. The sharp drop in oil prices during the last three sessions is also dampening expectations, analysts say.
The Nation 

AES among firms to make USD-3.3bn solar investment in Vietnam – report
March 13 (Renewables Now) – US power group AES Corp (NYSE:AES) is among the companies that are expected to build solar parks with a total value of USD 3.3 billion (EUR 3.1bn) in Vietnam, Reuters reports.
Renewables Now 

Talks aim to better manage social insurance fund
The Việt Nam Social Insurance Agency will prioritise the development of e-transaction systems to help control costs and prevent abuse of the social insurance fund this year, officials have said.
Viet Nam News 

Hollywood director vows to promote Vietnam tourism
Hollywood film director Jordan Vogt-Roberts said he is honoured to be Vietnam’s tourism ambassador and will do his utmost to help Vietnamese tourism take off.
Vietnam Plus 



Asean Morning News is compiled by the editorial team at AEC News Today and published M-F: Governance, not government; policies not politics.




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