Asean Morning News For March 15

The most comprehensive #Asean Morning News Roundup published

Asean Morning News For March 15
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Asean Morning News 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


India seeks Indonesia’s help in cementing ties with ASEAN
Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju on Tuesday sought Indonesia’s partnership in cementing India’s ties with the ASEAN bloc.
— Zee News

INSIGHT: ASEAN monetary authorities brace for uncertain 2017
ASEAN members must remain vigilant to ensure a stable 2017 follows their solid 2016, and are cautiously observing the latest developments in the world economies, particularly in the United States, China and Europe.
— The Jakarta Post

South China Sea dispute and ASEAN
As ASEAN prepares for its fiftieth anniversary of its foundation, the tensions in the South China Sea remains unabated. Despite some changes in the relationship between the Philippines and China and the Chinese “charm offensive”, there appears no real progress on the issue. This remains a flash point and unless all the disputants seriously take action for conflict resolution, the situation may go out of hand.
— Times of India (blog)

Asean urges clarity in US trade policies
Asean businesses urge that the current US administration provide more clarity and certainty in trade policies for the benefit of mutual growth in the US and Asean.
— The Sun Daily

Conference on Rohingya draws speakers, delegates from ASEAN, Muslim countries
The International Conference on Rohingya (ICR) 2017 rolled out smoothly as planned at the Putrajaya Marriott this evening, featuring prominent speakers such as Organisation of Islamic Co-operation’s (OIC) special envoy to Myanmar Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar Syed Jaafar; Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK president and human rights activist Tun Khin; Kaladan Press Network Myanmar executive director Tin Soe; UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) representative in Malaysia Richard J. Towle; and International Union of Muslims Scholars assistant secretary general Abdul Ghaffar Aziz.
— New Straits Times

Asean senior officials brace for Manila summit
Senior officials from the three community pillars of Association of Southeast Asian Nations–Political-Security Community (APSC), Economic Community (AEC) and Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC)–will meet at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) starting today up to March 16 for the Asean Joint Consultative Meeting (JCM) to discuss preparations for the 30th Asean Summit slated in Manila on April 26-29.
— The Manila Times


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Cambodia morning newsCambodia Morning News

Compiled by Vat Vin    @vin_vat


Microfinance to dry up? Experts say a new interest rate cap could cause dozens of MFIs to fold
Analysts say the central bank’s unprecedented decision to slash and cap microfinance interest rates at 18 percent a year, allegedly on the orders of Prime Minister Hun Sen himself, could bankrupt dozens of microfinance institutions (MFIs) while drying up credit channels to the poor – the very people the populist measure aims to help.
The Phnom Penh Post

Feed mill to take bite out of growing import demand
Chip Mong Group is the latest conglomerate to invest into local production of animal feed, announcing this week that it will sink $60 million into building a large-scale feed mill and industrial piggery, a move that agricultural experts welcomed but said would still not be able to curtail the Kingdom’s dependence on imported feed.
The Phnom Penh Post

NGO Wary of Promise to Cancel Hydropower Dam Project
Conservationists remain wary of the government’s recent pledge to sideline construction of the controversial Chhay Areng hydropower dam after finding the project on the Mines and Energy Ministry’s new to-do list.
The Cambodia Daily (paywall)

Sar Kheng Says CNRP’s Legitimacy In Question
Interior Minister Sar Kheng suggested on Tuesday that the government may not recognize the opposition party in upcoming elections if its transfer of leadership to Kem Sokha is found to have violated the CNRP’s own internal rules.
The Cambodia Daily (paywall)

Cambodian king grants honorary title of “Samdech” to deputy PM Sok An
Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni on Monday bestowed the royal honorary title of “Samdech” on Deputy Prime Minister and Cabinet Minister Sok An for his devotion to the nation and the throne.
Global 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 News Asia

Tax treaty with Thailand mooted to boost trade
Cambodian and Thai commerce officials met yesterday in Phnom Penh for the 6th Joint Trade Committee (JTC) meeting between the two countries, according to a government press release.
The Phnom Penh Post

Thai insurance broker to foray into Cambodia
Thailand-based insurance broker TQM plans to expand its service into Cambodia next year as part of a regional expansion aimed at maintaining the company’s double-digit annual business growth, according to Thai media reports.
The Phnom Penh Post

Jolie Movie Highlights Need for Renewal of Khmer Language, Experts Say
The premiere of Angelina Jolie’s latest movie, “First They Killed My Father”, the story of a young girl growing up under the totalitarian Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia last month, was for thousands of Cambodians who attended screenings in Battambang, Siem Reap and Phnom Penh — was the first time they had seen a major silver screen production in their native language.

Cambodia’s Government Questions Opposition Appointments
Cambodia’s minister of the interior on Tuesday questioned the legitimacy of the opposition’s newly appointed leadership, saying their promotion may violate internal regulations and could prevent the party from running in upcoming commune elections.
Radio Free Asia

Will Move to Cap Microfinance Interest Rates Backfire on CPP?
The ruling CPP doubled down on Tuesday on its decision to cap interest rates on microfinance loans as a way to help the poor get out of debt, even as analysts called it a political move that would have long-term negative effects on the rural economy.
The Cambodia Daily (paywall)

Six More Montagnard Asylum-Seekers Sent Back to Vietnam
Six Montagnard asylum-seekers who claim to have fled political and religious persecution by authorities in Vietnam’s Central Highlands were returned to their homeland on Tuesday after Cambodia rejected their refugee applications.
— The Cambodia Daily (paywall)

Cambodia seeks China’s aid to combat illicit drugs
Cambodia’s anti-drug chief Ke Kim Yan on Tuesday sought China’s assistance to combat illicit drugs and treat drug addicts, the National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD) said Tuesday.

Deputy PM meets Cambodia’s acting Prime Minister
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh paid a visit to Samdech Sar Kheng, Acting Prime Minister of Cambodia, in Phnom Penh on March 14.
Vietnam News Agency

KrisEnergy names new COO
KRISENERGY Limited announced on Tuesday that current vice-president, legal, and president of Cambodia operations, Kelvin Tang, has been appointed chief operating officer, effective March 15, 2017. He will remain as president of the Cambodia operations.
The Business Times


Indonesia morning newsIndonesia Morning News

Compiled by Stella-maris Ewudolu @Estee


Toyota to Increase Investment in Indonesia to $1.9b by 2019
Japanese automotive giant Toyota Motor Corporation will increase investment in Indonesia over the next two years, seeking to expand its production capacity, a minister said on Monday (13/03).
— Jakarta Globe

Jadestone to acquire 50% of Ogan Komering Production Sharing Contract
Jadestone Energy International Holdings Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Jadestone Energy Inc., which is listed on the TSX Venture Exchange, is acquiring 50 per cent in the Ogan Komering Production Sharing Contract, Sumatra, Indonesia, the company said in a statement Tuesday.
— Deal Street Asia

Repsol has sold its 50% stake in Ogan Komering production-sharing contract (PSC) in Indonesia to Singapore-headquartered Jadestone Energy for $5.8mn.
— Natural Gas World

Indonesia: Evergreen cuts offerings size; Steel Pipe to launch $250 bonds
Publicly-listed yarn maker Evergreen Invesco has cut two-thirds of its original fundraising target, from Rp 30 trillion ($2.2 billion) to Rp 10 trillion ($747.7 million).
— Deal Street Asia

Tax revenue in January, February higher than target: Official
Tax collection has reached Rp 134.6 trillion in January and February, 10.29 percent of the 2017 target, says Finance Ministry’s taxation directorate general.
— The Jakarta Post

Waskita Beton to spend Rp 1.9t on expansion this year
Construction services firm PT Waskita Beton Precast, a subsidiary of state-owned general contractor PT Waskita Karya, plans to spend Rp 1.9 trillion (US$142.07 million) this year mainly on two new factories.
— The Jakarta Post

Indonesia holds investment week in Singapore
The government is holding an event to attract foreign investors called “Indonesia Investment Week Singapore Chapter 2017,” which started on Monday and will end on Wednesday.
— The Jakarta Post

Jakarta election debate to be held in mid-April
A candidate debate ahead of the Jakarta gubernatorial runoff election is likely be held in the last week of the campaign period, an official says.
— The Jakarta Post

Digital transactions galore at Telkom Craft Indonesia
State-Owned Enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno recently called on state-owned companies to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) widen their market reach.
— The Jakarta Post

Gov’t to Seek Compensation After British Cruise Ship Damages Raja Ampat Coral Reef
The central government has established a joint task force team to investigate the damage to coral reefs in Raja Ampat, West Papua, after they were smashed into by a British cruise ship earlier this month.
— Jakarta Globe

President Jokowi, state institution leaders seek to build optimism
President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and state institution leaders held a meeting at the Merdeka Palace here on Tuesday to build the spirit of togetherness and optimism in all government programs.
— Antara News

Gov’t Seeks to Limit Online Ride-Hailing Services Nationwide
The central government will soon cap fares of online ride-hailing services and limit their fleets as part of an effort to stymie rising tension between the drivers of conventional modes of public transportation and those of popular app-based services, a senior official said on Monday (13/03).
— Jakarta Globe

SE Asia Stocks Higher Ahead of Fed Meet, Indonesia Hits 4-Month Peak
Most Southeast Asian stock markets edged up in thin trade on Tuesday as investor sentiment remained subdued ahead of a two-day policy meeting of the US Federal Reserve that is widely expected to raise interest rates.
— Jakarta Globe

Prominent Muslim Figure Calls for End of Politicized Religion
Political groups should not exploit religious sentiment to garner votes in the upcoming second round of the Jakarta gubernatorial election, Agus Muhammad, director of research institute Moderate Muslim Society, said on Monday (13/03).
— Jakarta Globe

Labor backs joint patrols with Indonesia
Federal Labor has thrown its support behind the idea of Australia conducting joint patrols with Indonesia in the South China Sea.

Indonesia to probe graft allegations implicating dozens of politicians
Indonesia’s anti-corruption agency said it will look into allegations that dozens of politicians siphoned off money causing state losses of up to $170 million in what could be one of the Southeast Asian country’s biggest graft scandals.
— Reuters

Indonesia, Chile resume talks after 2-year 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 was to run until yesterday.
— The Nation

Indonesia, Philippines Vie For Dominance In Nickel, And Confuse Traders
Nickel is now in play for investors trading on the political dynamics in the Philippines and Indonesia.
— Barron’s (blog)

Indonesia Contact Center Applications Market Report 2017: Digital Convenience has Created Opportunities for Multi-channel Customer Interaction – Research and Markets
Research and Markets has announced the addition of the “Indonesia Contact Center Applications Market – 2015” report to their offering.
— Business Wire (press release)

Jakarta Police dismantle child pornography network
The Jakarta Police have dismantled a vast pedophile network, containing as many as 7,000 members, in a closed Facebook group named Official Candy’s Group, which produced and distributed child pornography.
— The Jakarta Post


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Lao PDR morning newsLao PDR Morning News

Compiled by Vat Vin    @vin_vat


UNDP Chief Stresses Importance of Human Development for Graduation from LDC status
Ms Helen Clark met with high-level officials and representatives of the private sector on March 4, 2017, and launched new UNDP programmes during her farewell visit to the Lao PDR.
Lao News Agency

Startup Weekend Helps Young People to Run Businesses in Laos
The 5th Startup Weekend was held in Vientiane Capital Last Friday, with the theme “No Talk, All Action” to help young people to kick off new businesses in the Lao PDR.
Lao News Agency

Lao outbound travellers hit 3 million for 2016
Lao outbound travellers made more than 3.05 million trips in 2016 and more people are suggested to have made longer-distance trips in foreign countries, the latest statistics showed.
Vientiane Times

Vietnam channels investment capital to Laos
The Vietnamese government has approved total investment of almost US$21.4 billion, US$5.12 billion of which has been allocated to Laos.
Vientiane Times

Laos toughens up on foreign workers
THE LABOUR and security sectors in Laos are gearing up to register and issue temporary work permits to foreign workers as part of |government efforts to regulate|foreign nationals strictly.
The Nation

HCM City boosts comprehensive co-operation with Lao province
Leaders of Hồ Chí Minh City and Houaphan Province of Laos reached a consensus on co-operation and orientation in various fields for 2017 to 2020, during their talks yesterday.
Viet Nam News

AFC Travel Report – Laos
In line with our process of being on the ground in the countries we invest in, Scott Osheroff, Analyst at Asia Frontier Capital, travelled to Laos to visit portfolio companies and other companies on our shortlist. The photos in this article are all by AFC.
Seeking Alpha

Thai, Lao and Vietnamese food have a home at Spicy Noodle in Murrieta
There is no shortage of Thai and Vietnamese restaurants to fill your Southeast Asian hunger, but have you ever eaten Lao cuisine?
Daily Bulletin

U.S. and WFP Promote Children’s Education and Nutrition
The U.S. Ambassador to the Lao PDR, Rena Bitter, visited schools supported by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the U.S. government in Luang Prabang on the 10th of March, 2017.
Lao News Agency

Gov’t Plans to Promote Transport Infrastructure
The Lao government is preparing to initiate investment promotion for developing and improving transport infrastructure through the Public Private Partnership mechanism, which is considered as a favorable option.
Lao News Agency

Foreign workers’ legalisation must meet international standards: DPM
Officials in charge of registration and issuing temporary work permits for foreign workers have made impressive achievements over the past year but the priority is still on international standards, the Deputy Prime Minister advised recently.
Vientiane Times

Asia-Pacific transport forum eyes sustainable development
Government officials are confident that the Intergovernmental Tenth Regional Environmentally Sustainable Transport (EST) Forum in Asia currently place in Vientiane will help to spur the development of Laos’ transport network.
Vientiane Times


Malaysia morning newsMalaysia Morning News

Compiled by Vat Vin    @vin_vat


Petronas records higher net profit for FY16, to pay out RM13b in dividend to govt: CEO
Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) plans to pay out RM13 billion in dividend this year to the government, said its president and chief executive officer Datuk Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin.
New Straits Times

Saab Malaysia positive over this year’s growth in sales of defence, security products
Saab Malaysia expects sales of defence and security products here to hit RM100 million again this year.
New Straits Times

Banking outlook seen rosy
The Malaysian banking sector is sailing towards a rosy performance in 2017 as it is projected to register a better net profit growth this year amid a challenging business environment.
The Star Online

Invest Selangor eyes RM6bil investments in manufacturing
Invest Selangor Bhd has raised its investment target in the manufacturing sector to more than RM6bil this year, said chief executive officer Datuk Hasan Azhari Idris.
The Star Online

One month on, Malaysia embalms Kim Jong Nam’s body, awaiting next of kin
The body of the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was embalmed this week in Kuala Lumpur, with no family member coming forward to claim the remains and as a diplomatic spat with Pyongyang drags on.

‘Beauty and the Beast’ release postponed in Malaysia, even after ‘gay moment’ cut
Major cinema chains in Muslim-majority Malaysia have postponed the release of Walt Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”, cleared by censors after a “gay moment” was cut, due to “unforeseen circumstances”.

Malaysia Petchem JV search continues after Saudis join hub
Petronas Chemicals Bhd., a unit of Malaysia’s state energy company, said it’s in talks with petrochemical firms from Asia and Europe to invest in a $27 billion oil refining and petrochemical project, sustaining hope the country can find a partner after at least three previous deals fell through.
Deal Street Asia

People: iflix gets ex-Netflix executive Sean Carey as Chief Content Officer
Malaysia headquartered video streaming service iflix has hired ex-Netflix executive Sean Carey as Chief Content Officer, a week after the firm raised $90 million in a funding round to compete with global players like Netflix.
Deal Street Asia

Singapore, Malaysia near flat ahead of Fed rate call
Shares in Singapore and Malaysia ended little changed on Tuesday, as investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of the Federal Reserve’s two-day policy meeting.
Nikkei Asian Review

Malaysia to deport 50 North Koreans despite ban: Deputy PM
Malaysia will deport 50 North Koreans for overstaying their visas, the deputy prime minister said Tuesday (Mar 14), in an apparent exception to a departure ban after the assassination of Kim Jong-Nam.
Channel News Asia

Joint patrols in Sulu Sea to start in April: Malaysia navy chief
Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines will commence joint patrols in the Sulu Sea in April, potentially putting an end to decades of lawlessness in the resource-rich waters.
Channel News Asia

Deadly Foreign Conflicts Spill Onto Malaysia’s Streets
Malaysia’s open-border policy has long helped lend it notoriety as a way station for conspirators to plot terror attacks abroad.
The Wall Street Journal

North Korea blames US and South Korea for Malaysia attack
North Korea on Monday tried to shift the blame for the deadly attack in Malaysia on the estranged half- brother of its leader Kim Jong Un to the United States and South Korea.
ABC News

M’sian Solar PV Roadmap 2030 launched by year’s end: Mida
The Malaysian Solar PV Roadmap 2030 will be launched at the end of the year, the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) said today.
New Straits Times

Public Bank’s Teh receives honour for developing Vietnam’s banking industry
Tan Sri Dr Teh Hong Piow, founder and chairman of Public Bank Bhd, has been awarded the ‘Medal for the Development of Vietnam Banking Industry’.
New Straits Times

Malaysia’s gold output on the rise
While Malaysia’s gold industry has been dominated by its downstream sector, it is interesting to note that the upstream sector has grown three-fold in the past decade, to RM780mil in 2015 from RM211mil in 2006.
The Star Online

Short-term money goes out of Malaysia
Foreigners have sold RM21.71bil worth of government bonds in the last three months, reducing their share of holding in the debt papers to 28.7% as of end February from a peak of 34.7% last year.
The Star Online

Minister: Malaysians should thank me for minimal sugar price hike
Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin today said Malaysians should be grateful that the increase in sugar price was not more severe.
Malay Mail Online

Malaysia, Australia to share intel on any IS returnees from Iraq
Malaysia and Australia will share intelligence on militants in South-east Asia, a senior Malaysian minister said today, as the two allies brace for the possible return of Islamic State militants from Iraq.
Malay Mail Online

Nazri says debate with Dr M will boost tourism for Padang Rengas
Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said today the debate between him and former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will boost tourism in his Padang Rengas constituency in Perak.
Malay Mail Online


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Myanmar morning newsMyanmar Morning News

Compiled by Stella-maris Ewudolu    @Estee


Yangon Region to carry out 5-yr agriculture master plan
Yangon Region’s agricultural master plan will last five years, until 2022, according to the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI).
— Eleven

Government currently subsidising electricity bill
Ministers and industry experts say the government’s approach of paying the electricity bill using the union budget is a hindrance to the development of the sector.
— Myanmar Times

Catholic Charities welcoming group of Myanmar refugees Tuesday in Tulsa
Catholic Charities Tulsa will welcome a group of refugees Tuesday before President Donald Trump’s new immigration order goes into effect Thursday.

Labour Ministry plans to raise minimum wage
The Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population is planning to increase the minimum wage following claims that the present K3600 daily wage was too little for the people to survive on.
— Myanmar Times

Protest against Koh Tao verdict closes Thai embassy
A nationalist protest outside the Royal Thai Embassy in Yangon went ahead as planned Monday, as demonstrators prayed for the release of two Myanmar migrant workers sentenced to death in Thailand.
— Frontier Myanmar

Banned eggs, frozen meat from China sold openly in Kachin
Imports of eggs and frozen meat from China are banned in Kachin State, but they are still being sold in the state, shop owners and residents say.
— Eleven

Myanmar Wants to Modernize Its Banking System
Myanmar is embarking on the first comprehensive audit of state-owned banks in decades, part of a push to modernize the financial system and tackle risks to the nation’s rapid economic growth.
— Consult-Myanmar

US$4 bn Myanmar trade deficit higher than expected
With the end of this fiscal year (2016-2017) days away, Myanmar foreign trade value has reached over US$25 billion with a trade deficit of more than US$4 billion, which is higher than expected, according to official figures.
— Eleven

After Falam, Chin State govt to build five more airports
The Chin State government is planning to build five additional airports using its Area Development Fund after the Falam airport is built, announced State Transport Minister Shwe Hti Yo.
— Coconuts Yangon

Yangon Car Showrooms Suffer from Policy Vacuum
Since April 1, 2016, showrooms have been unable to import new cars for personal use, because the government in April told township officials in Yangon to stop issuing import recommendation letters, which are necessary to bring cars into the city for individual use. For almost a year since the halt, not much has changed and car showrooms are facing increasing difficulties with their business.
— Consult-Myanmar

Myanmar to implement four-year diabetes program
The Ministry of Health and Sports together with the Novo Nordisk Company have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to implement the Myanmar Diabetes Care Program from 2017 to 2020.
— Myanmar Times

UK to step up education engagement with Myanmar via InspireMeFestival
According to a research conducted for Universities UK by Oxford Economics in March 2017, international students studying in the UK generate more than £25 billion for the British economy and provide a significant boost to regional jobs and local businesses.
— Myanmar Times

Workers to be sent for S Korean fishing industry
Myanmar plans to send workers for the fishing industry in South Korea as there is a demand for labour in that sector, said U Thein Win, director of the Migration Affairs Department under the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population.
— Myanmar Times

24 injured in Monday night earthquake
Monday night’s 5.1-magnitude earthquake damaged several homes and religious buildings near Taikkyi Township in northern Yangon Region. 24 people – seven men and 17 women – were injured by the quake, according to Eleven.
— Coconuts Yangon

ESM Goh on 3-day visit to Myanmar
Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong kicks off a three-day visit to Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar from Tuesday (Mar 14), said Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).
— Channel NewsAsia

Moderate quake hits Taikkyi Township
An earthquake measuring 5.8 Magnitude on the Richter scale jolted about five miles, west-southwest of Taikkyi Township yesterday, according to the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology.
— Eleven

Myanmar and Indonesia to meet in football friendly
Myanmar’s national football team will now play Indonesia in Jakarta on March 21 after a friendly match with African nation Equatorial Guinea was called off.
— Eleven


Philippines morning newsPhilippines Morning News

Compiled by Stella-maris Ewudolu    @Estee


Villar urges dev’t of downstream mining industry
Despite the continued crackdown on the mining sector, the country should still develop new domestic mineral processing plants, Sen. Cynthia Villar said.
— Phil Star

Jobless rate up, underemployment down in January
The jobless rate rose in January even as the number of underemployed as a share of the labor force declined, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported Tuesday.

Lawyers’ group insists Aquino, Abad liable for DAP
The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) appealed the dismissal by the Ombudsman of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) case of former president Benigno Aquino III.

Court enters not-guilty plea for De Lima in disobedience case
DETAINED Senator Leila M. de Lima on Monday refused to enter a not-guilty plea before the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court (QC MeTC) Branch 24 on her disobedience to summons case filed by the Department of Justice (DoJ).
— Business World

Senate passes bills on free Wi-Fi, college education
THE BILLS for free Wi-Fi access in public places and free college education were among the key bills the Senate passed on third and final reading on Monday.
— Business World

Small business mentoring program expanded in Zamboanga region
THE Department of Trade in Industry (DTI)-Zamboanga Peninsula office is rolling out the Kapatid Mentor Micro Entrepreneur (KMME) program to other parts of the region to help more micro and small entrepreneurs (MSEs) following the successful pilot implementation in Zamboanga City last year.
— Business World

Bank exposure to property rises in 2016
BANKS raised their exposure to the property sector in 2016, according to preliminary data the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) released on Monday that bared double-digit increases in loans and real estate investments that were nevertheless deemed “manageable.”
— Business World

PSEi rallies ahead of Fed meet as SMIC rebounds
STOCKS rallied on Monday after SM Investments Corp. (SMIC) bounced back from last week’s losses, easing trading woes late last week.
— Business World

PH rebuffs China: Benham Rise is ours
The Philippine government asserted its right to Benham Rise on Tuesday, following China’s claim that Manila cannot declare the resource-rich water way as its territory despite a 2012 United Nations ruling.

Duterte says he won’t fight China over presence in Benham Rise
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he would rather seek a dialogue with China over the presence of Chinese ships in Benham Rise.

Joint patrols in Sulu Sea to start in April: Malaysia navy chief
Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines will commence joint patrols in the Sulu Sea in April, potentially putting an end to decades of lawlessness in the resource-rich waters.
— Channel NewsAsia

Philippine banana bonanza sparks debate on shift to China
The Philippines has boasted of an early win in its pivot from the US to China: a surge in sales of tropical fruits for which President Rodrigo Duterte’s home island is renowned.
— Financial Times

Philippines’ Duterte quips with American twang to mock minister’s downfall
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday poked fun at the dismissal of his foreign minister by lawmakers, delivering jokes in an American accent about a citizenship scandal that led to the downfall of one of his top loyalists.
— Reuters

Philippine lawmakers postpone vote on embattled resources minister
Philippine lawmakers on Tuesday deferred a decision to confirm or reject an ardent environmentalist as the country’s resources minister, stoking uncertainty over the outlook for mining in the world’s top nickel ore supplier.
— Reuters

Philippines outlines ‘second horizon’ procurement priorities
The Philippine government has outlined some of the priorities of the second-phase programme to modernise the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
— IHS Jane’s 360

Robredo reveals ‘palit-ulo’ scheme in war on drugs
Vice President Leni Robredo is criticizing human rights abuses being committed in the Duterte administration’s war on illegal drugs.
— ABS-CBN News

Phl, India eye pharma zone
The Philippines and India are exploring the possibility of setting up a pharmaceutical zone in the country to encourage the entry of more Indian manufacturing firms.
— Phil star

Senate concurs in Philippines’ accession to Paris Climate Pact
In a quick and unopposed vote, the Senate on Tuesday concurred in President Duterte’s ratification of the historic Paris climate agreement, a historic international pact to delay and mitigate the destructive impact of extreme weather events.
Philippine peace negotiators decry continued NPA attacks
Philippine government negotiators have lamented renewed attacks carried out by communist insurgents, despite ongoing efforts to put peace talks back on track.
— Gulf News

STANDPOINT | Political killings in the Philippines – complicity in murder
On Thursday, 2 March, Jimboy Tapdasan Pesadilla was contacted by a neighbour to go to his parents’ house urgently. When he got to the house, he found several neighbours outside the house and a team of police inside, taking pictures. His father and mother had both been shot dead.
— Davao Today

Seven Japanese trading houses investing $3.9b in Philippines
Seven major Japanese trading houses are looking at investing up to $3.9 billion (P198.5 billion) in different industries in the Philippines.
— Deal Street Asia

Berjaya Philippines 9-month earnings fall 31%
BERJAYA Philippines, Inc. saw its earnings drop by nearly a third in the first nine months of its fiscal year, after it booked losses from the sale of part of its local auto distribution business as well as from foreign exchange fluctuations.
— Business World

Changi named world’s best airport for 5th year in a row
Changi Airport has won the prestigious Skytrax World’s Best Airport award for the fifth consecutive year, it was announced on Tuesday (March 14).
— Today Online

PUB’s co-digestion plant now processing 3 tonnes of food waste daily
After a delay in completion caused by the woes of its technology provider, a project by national water agency PUB to use food waste to generate more electricity is now processing three tonnes of food waste a day.
— Today Online

PDP-Laban pushing ‘uniquely Filipino’ federal form of government
The Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas ng Bayan (PDP Laban) is advocating for a “uniquely Filipino, semi-presidential executive-legislative set-up” under the proposed federal system of government, Senate President Aquilino Martin Pimentel III said Tuesday.
— Manila Bulletin


Singapore morning newsSingapore Morning News

Compiled by Leakhena Khat    @leakhenakhat


Singapore Warns Investors about Trading Unregulated Binary Options
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) today issued a warning to investors in the country regarding trading of binary options with unregulated platforms. The regulator says this comes in the wake of an increase in the number of complaints from people who have suffered financial losses from such investments.
Finance Magnates 

SGX raises pro-rata renounceable rights issue cap
Singapore Exchange (SGX) has enabled companies to seek a general mandate for an issue of pro-rata renounceable rights shares of up to 100% of the share capital, up from 50% previously.
Singapore Business Review 

SMEs hope for more short-term relief as they feel the squeeze
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) say they continue to feel the immediate pain of manpower constraints and high operating costs – issues they believe the Budget did not do enough to address.
The Straits Times 

Indonesia holds investment week in Singapore
The government is holding an event to attract foreign investors called “Indonesia Investment Week Singapore Chapter 2017,” which started on Monday and will end on Wednesday.
The Jakarta Post 

Singapore: One of world’s highest for diabetes-related leg amputations
Singapore has one of the highest rates of lower extremity amputation (LEA) in the world, with public hospitals here needing to conduct some four amputation procedures a day.
The Independent 

Insurance association studying ‘worrying’ spike in motor accidents
The number of motor accident reports increased by almost 8 per cent last year, hitting an eight-year high, despite a falling vehicle population.
Today Online

Singapore uses three-pronged strategy to fight drugs: Desmond Lee
To address the public health impact of drugs, Singapore employs a three-pronged “harm prevention” strategy, said Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of National Development Desmond Lee on Monday (Mar 13).
Channel NewsAsia

Singapore tops city infrastructure rankings
The latest list from consulting firm Mercer ranked Singapore as the city with the best infrastructure in the world.
Singapore Business Review 

Singapore port authority suspends licences of five bunker tankers
Singapore’s Maritime Port Authority has temporarily suspended the harbour craft licences of five bunker tankers after it found irregularities with piping fixtures, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday.
The Business Times 

The Government’s New Singapore Landing Pad Provides Start-Ups With a Gateway Into Asia 
The Federal Government is providing Australian start-ups with a new gateway into Asia via its newly-launched Landing Pad in Singapore.
Dynamic Business 

Schoolings to launch academy to boost Singapore sport
Their dedication to their son’s Olympic gold medal dream saw a victory in Rio de Janeiro that inspired and galvanised a nation.
Today Online 

Singapore agrees to automatic exchange of tax information with Belgium and Luxembourg
Singapore has signed agreements with Belgium and Luxembourg for the automatic exchange of financial account information, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) announced March 13. Such agreements are designed to prevent tax evasion.
MNE Tax 

Singapore’s general insurance industry growth slows in 2016
GROWTH in Singapore’s general insurance industry was slower in 2016 given the intense competition and what the General Insurance Association (GIA) described as “Singapore’s economic maturity”.
The Business Times 

Singapore Eases on Property After Home Price Drop: QuickTake Q&A
Home prices in Singapore have ground steadily lower after reaching a record in 2013, when the government imposed the last of a slew of measures to cool a red-hot market. Last week, authorities in the tiny Southeast Asian island-state loosened some of those restrictions, causing developers’ shares to jump. Is this the end of the cooling measures?

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.
The Business Times 

Singapore, Malaysia near flat ahead of Fed rate call
Shares in Singapore and Malaysia ended little changed on Tuesday, as investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of the Federal Reserve’s two-day policy meeting.
Nikkei Asian Review 

More employees are ditching their jobs for better-paying ones
Jobseekers in Singapore are on the lookout for positions with better salaries and benefit packages than their previous jobs, according to the latest annual Hays Asia Salary Guide.
Singapore Business Review 

EW Singapore 2017 focuses on “The Future of Electronic Warfare in the Asia Pacific Region”
EW Singapore greeted 282 attendees on 17-18 January to the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. The two-day conference fulfilled the requirements of the EW community with a regional flavour and focused on the issues that particularly affect Southeast Asia.
Source Security

Singapore $14.4 Million Contact Center Applications Market, 2022 – Research and Markets
The Singaporean contact center applications market size is estimated to decline from $14.7 million in 2015 to $14.4 million by 2022, at a negative Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 0.3%.
Business Wire 

Singapore: LTA to open new underpass from Sims Way to Nicoll Highway
Land Transport Authority (LTA) will be opening a new vehicle underpass at the junction of Nicoll Highway and Sims Way at 6am on 2 April. The news was confirmed in a press release by the statutory board, which is under the Ministry of Transport of Government of Singapore, on Tuesday.
International Business Times 

Singapore must ensure no one spreads ill-will against other religions: DPM Teo
Singapore must keep a close watch on exclusivist teachings and divisive statements and ensure no one spreads ill-will against other religions or believers, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said on Tuesday (Mar 14).
Channel NewsAsia


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Thailand morning newsThailand Morning News

Compiled by John Le Fevre    @photo_journ


IMF expects growth at moderate pace amid risks
THAILAND’S economic recovery is expected to advance at a moderate pace in the near to medium term amid uncertainties and risks, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported yesterday.
The Nation 

Thailand ‘fails to address rights concerns’ at UN review
Thailand failed to address international concerns about the military government’s obligation to uphold civil and political rights at a UN review in Geneva, rights groups said on Tuesday.
Bangkok Post

Rhino horns worth $5m seized in Thailand off flight from Ethiopia
Twenty-one rhino horns worth an estimated $5m have been seized in Thailand after being found in luggage sent from Ethiopia in the biggest such haul in years.
BBC News 

World Bank says Thailand will take 20 years to gain high earning status country
According to the survey of poverty by the Poverty and Human Development, East Asia and Pacific Program with the World Bank, it said at present there are almost 7.1 million Thais who are extremely poor.
Thai PBS

Thai gains seen in US rate hike
THE US Federal Reserve is likely to raise its benchmark interest rate after the Federal Open Market Committee ends its two-day meeting today, seeking to tame inflation resulting from such government policies as higher infrastructure investment and wage increases, experts say.
The Nation 

US VP Pence skips Thailand for first Asia tour
US Vice-President Mike Pence (left) will visit Asia next month on the first trip abroad since he and President Donald Trump took office 50 days ago. (Reuters photo)
Concord Register

China-South Korea spat could boost Thai tourism: travel group
Thailand’s pivotal Chinese tourism sector is on the rise and may get an additional boost due to tensions between China and South Korea and the banning of Chinese tour groups to South Korea this month, the head of a Thai travel group said on Tuesday.
The Business Times 

7 in 10 N. Korean defectors arrive in South via Thailand: poll
More than seven in 10 North Korean defectors stayed in Thailand en route to South Korea, a poll released by Seoul’s unification ministry showed Tuesday, with over half of the defectors citing economic hardships as the top reason to flee the North.
Korea Herald 

PM wants Revenue Department to demand tax payment from Shinawatra family
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha has reiterated that he would not invoke Section 44 of the interim constitution to demand capital gains tax payment from the Shinawatra family over the sale of its stake in Shin Corporation to Singapore’s Temasek Holdings in 2006.
Thai PBS 

Thai Government Denies VAT Increase ‘Plan’
There has been confusion in Thailand over remarks made by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, after the premier appeared to suggest increasing the seven percent VAT rate to eight percent to boost the government’s coffers for the funding of various public projects.
Tax News 

Egat fires up coal plant plans
The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) says it will launch a new environmental and health impact assessment (EHIA) for the planned coal-fired power plant in Krabi and an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for its deep-sea port within three months.
Bangkok Post 

Thailand Tourism: Spend Analysis & Forecast
Exotic wildlife with a spectacular island setting, Thailand attracts millions of tourists every year. Tourism is a major economic factor in the Kingdom of Thailand.

IMF calls for growth through stimulus
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has recommended that Thai policymakers implement both fiscal and monetary stimuli in order to boost economic growth and steer inflation back to target.
Bangkok Post 

Vietjet Thailand builds on its success by adding Phuket – Chiang Rai daily flight
Vietjet Thailand will build on its successful growth in the Thai domestic air travel market. Now, Vietjet Thailand has introduced daily flight from Phuket to Chiang Rai along with increasing flight frequency from Bangkok to Chiang Mai to 3 flights daily which both are available from March 26, 2017 onwards to allow for wider travel opportunities for all passengers to access the northern region of Thailand.
Travel Daily News 

Large-Scale Electronic Music Festivals Boost Tourism in Thailand
Bangkok played host on Friday to Asia’s first edition of the global electronic music event Transmission, a large-scale indoor audio-visual dance experience.
Latin American Herald Tribune

MK group to invest Bt400m annually in 5-year expansion
MK RESTAURANTS Group plans to invest about Bt400 million a year over the next five years to expand in Thailand.
The Nation 

The Residences breaks Bangkok property records
The project has been recognised for some time as one of the most sought-after properties for Thai and foreign buyers, particularly in the property investment markets of London and Hong Kong.
The Nation 

Issuance of driving licenses to be tightened to improve road safety
The draft ministerial regulation is now being fine-tuned by the Council of State before it is submitted to the Transport Ministry to be announced, said Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisit, adding he expects the new regulation to become enforced within this year.
Thai PBS

App taxis must be registered: Land Transport Department
Representatives of App. Taxi operators, including Uber, are scheduled to meet with Deputy Transport Minister Pichit Akarathit, Mr Sanit and authorities concerned on March 20 at the Transport Ministry to resolve their conflict over App. Taxi service.
Thai PBS 

Thailand should finalise disappearances convention
The Thai government should urgently take the final steps to ratify the international convention against enforced disappearance, Human Rights Watch said today. The government should also end all delays in passing implementing legislation to criminalize torture and disappearances.
Pracha English 

Phuket golf club members outraged by fee hike
More than 180 members of the Blue Canyon Country Club have called on the Phuket Governor to step in over a hike in annual membership fees of more than 300%.
The Phuket News 

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars arrives in Phuket
Rolls-Royce has opened a new Boutique showroom on the resort island of Phuket in Thailand. The facility was opened by Paul Harris, Asia Pacific Regional Director for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, at a grand opening attended by customers, VIP guests, celebrities and members of the media.
Automotive World 

Groups urge Thai action against torture, disappearances
ights groups are urging Thailand’s government to enact legislation banning torture and forced disappearances as its human rights record comes under United Nations review.
Rdnews Now 

Cambodian workers see Thai salaries rise
Cambodian workers in Thailand are benefiting from a small bump in the country’s minimum wage, which went into effect at the start of this year in some Thai provinces, the Kingdom’s Ministry of Labour announced on Monday.
The Phnom Penh Post 

Thai govt woos Omanis to invest in Thailand Future Fund’s IPO
The Thai government has made an effort to attract Omani investors for the Thailand Future Fund (TFF), which is expected to raise 100 billion baht ($2.8 billion) from an initial public offering (IPO) in the second quarter.
Deal Street Asia 

Upbeat note on 2017 PC sales
Thailand’s computer market is projected to return to growth in 2017 after five straight years of contraction, thanks to improved consumer confidence and the government’s stimulus spending.
Bangkok Post


Vietnam morning newsVietnam Morning News

Compiled by Leakhena Khat    @leakhenakhat


Vietnam expressway project gets go ahead
Approval has been given for Vietnam’s Hoa Binh-Moc Chau expressway project. The go ahead has been given by Vietnam’s Government. The project has an estimated cost of US$881 million and is planned as a public-private partnership. The construction work is expected to take 42 months and the new route will connect Hoa Binh to Moc Chau. When complete the expressway will cut the journey time between Hanoi and Moc Chau by around two hours.
World Highways 

Microsoft to assist Hanoi to build e-government
Implementing the commitments to support Vietnam in information technology, Microsoft will support the Hanoi People`s Committee to modernize and build a comprehensive information technology system to bring practical benefits to the country.
Hanoi Times 

Ministry revises circular to simplify auto imports
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has decided to abolish a number of procedures for importers of cars with nine seats or less to simplify imports.
Viet Nam News 

Vietnam, Angola co-operate in IT and telecommunications
Vietnamese Minister of Information and Communications Truong Minh Tuan made this statement at a working session with the delegation of Angolan Ministry of Telecommunications and IT in Hanoi on March 13.
VietNamNet Bridge

Vietnam Looks for Trade Deal with US
Vietnam is seeking a trade deal with the United States to replace the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement.

Vinamilk sets up country’s 1st European-standard organic dairy farm
The Vietnam Dairy Products Joint Stock Company (Vinamilk) on Monday began operating the country’s first organic dairy farm that meets European standards.
Viet Nam News 

FDI firms praise Vietnam’s reform efforts
Foreign direct investment (FDI) firms operating in Vietnam highly evaluated the reform efforts the government, ministries, sectors and localities have made to create a more favourable and healthier business climate, experts have said.
VietNamNet Bridge 

First of three new wells under way at TGT offshore Vietnam
The Hoang Long Joint Operating Co. has resumed drilling at the TGT field in the Cuu Long basin offshore Vietnam.

Vietnam aims for safe, speedy railway
Nguyen Ngoc Dong, Vice Minister of Transport, speaks to Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper about his Ministry’s plan to develop a fast, yet safe railway service.
VietNamNet Bridge 

Vietnam, Angola seek closer telecom cooperation
The Vietnamese Government welcomes stronger cooperation between IT firms of Vietnam and Angola, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam told visiting Angolan Minister of Telecommunication and Information Technologies Jose Carvalho da Rocha.
VietNamNet Bridge

Vietnam catfish shipments to China rise to US$304m
Vietnam’s catfish exports to China last year grew to US$304.7 million, representing a rise of more than four times from five years ago, Xinhua said citing the Vietnam Economic Times.
The Standard 

Annual Tax Finalization and Remittance in Vietnam
Prior to transferring profits back to their home markets, foreign companies maintaining operations and taking in revenue in Vietnam must fulfill certain annual compliance requirements. These involve a statutory audit, audited financial statements, and tax finalization filings. Annual compliance procedures are not only required by law but are also a good opportunity to conduct an internal financial health check.

Vietnam’s public security forces tighten ties with European police
Deputy Minister of Public Security Nguyen Van Thanh has hailed the European Police Office (EUROPOL) as the Ministry of Public Security’s important international partner in the fight against crimes.
VietNamNet Bridge 

Israeli President and spouse to pay State visit to Vietnam
President of Israel Reuven Ruvi Rivlin and his spouse will make a State visit to Vietnam at the invitation of President Tran Dai Quang.
VietNamNet Bridge 

Bright prospects for steel firms despite challenges
Việt Nam’s listed steel companies can achieve higher growth in 2017 despite a volatile and predictable international market if they optimise operations and exploit missing links in the sector’s supply chain, experts said yesterday.
Viet Nam News 

The US’s 2016 human rights report is lack of objectivity
The US Department of State’s Human Rights Reports for 2016 still cover some prejudiced remarks and fail to provide an accurate overview of human rights in Vietnam, according to Foreign Ministry Spokesman Le Hai Binh.
Hanoi Times 

HCM City boosts comprehensive cooperation with Lao province
Leaders of Ho Chi Minh City and Houaphan province of Laos reached consensus on cooperation plans and orientations in various fields for 2017-2020 during their talks in Vietnam’s southern largest economic hub on March 14.
Vietnam Plus 

Deputy PM meets Cambodia’s acting Prime Minister
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh paid a visit to Samdech Sar Kheng, Acting Prime Minister of Cambodia, in Phnom Penh on March 14.
Vietnam Plus 

Health sector sets up scientific council to clarify incident’s cause
The Ministry of Health yesterday requested to set up a scientific council as per the law to clarify the cause of the incident in the Polyclinic and report to the Ministry before March 18.

HCM City to publicise pollution data
HCM City will publish air and water quality indexes on 48 electronic screens across the city, starting later this month, according to the municipal Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
Vietnam News

Public Bank’s Teh receives honour for developing Vietnam’s banking industry
Tan Sri Dr Teh Hong Piow, founder and chairman of Public Bank Bhd, has been awarded the ‘Medal for the Development of Vietnam Banking Industry’.
New Straits Times 

UNICEF Vietnam Humanitarian Situation Report No. 15, 14 March 2017
520,000 # of children affected out of 2,000,000 # of people affected
Relief Web 


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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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