Asean Morning News For March 8

The most comprehensive #Asean Morning News Roundup published

Asean Morning News For March 8
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The Asean Morning News Roundup presents a selection of reports on what you need to know from around the Asean Economic Community (AEC) and is the most comprehensive Asean Morning News Roundup published. All articles are hand curated by the team at AEC News Today.


Asean morning newsAsean Morning News

Compiled by AEC News Today @aecnewstoday


Will TPP Diehards Stall The RCEP Seeking a ‘Gold Standard’?
During the Obama administration, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was crucial to US foreign policy in Asia. In February 2015, the same month that the TPP was signed, Obama suggested that ‘we have to make sure that the United States — and not countries like China — is the one writing this century’s rules for the world’s economy’. But the fate of the TPP has turned upside down.
– AEC News Today

World’s Best: Malaysia Medical Tourism Sector to Experience Extraordinary Growth
A new report forecasts the Malaysia medical tourism market to grow at a compounding annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30.05 per cent over the next eight years, reaching some US$3.5 billion before the end of 2024.
AEC News Today

Views on nuclear energy development showcased at Nuclear Power Asia
The seventh Nuclear Power Asia conference being held in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday and Wednesday is bringing together the leaders of the Asian nuclear-power industry.
– The Nation

The US and ASEAN: Deal or no deal?
Should the United States and ASEAN make a trade deal? First, let’s discuss the facts and trends of the economies. Based on the value added, five out of seven gainers in terms of value added in the manufacturing sector — the ones that have increasing trends of value added — in the last three decades were developing countries. They are China, Korea, India, Indonesia and Thailand.
— The Jakarta Post

Asean forum mulls border crimes hub
The Asean Regional Forum (ARF) has agreed in principle to set up a regional anti-transnational crime centre, but says a survey is needed to avoid work overlapping with existing Asean centres.
— Bangkok Post

Clarion Events Asia acquires RetailEX ASEAN
Clarion Events Asia has acquired RetailEX ASEAN, an exhibition focusing on retailers in the Southeast Asia region.
— Exhibition World

New vision for CSO engagement with Asean
The Philippines hosts the Association of Southeast Asian Nations this year, as the latter marks the 50th year of its founding. Civil society organizations (CSO) across the region have long been challenging Asean to address issues that affect Southeast Asian peoples.

Farm tech suppliers seek Asean harvest
THE COMPANY behind a major European agriculture exhibition has its sights set on Asean as a prime market for the continent’s farm technology and as a base to expand its own brand.
– The Nation

HomePro mulls CLMV investment
SET-listed Home Product Center Plc (HMPRO) is considering expanding to neighbouring countries with a total investment budget of 6-7 billion baht, says Rakpong Aroonwatdhana, HomePro’s head of investor relations.
– Bangkok Post

Thailand’s SCG unit takes over Vietnam Construction Materials in ASEAN operation push
SCG Cement – Building Materials Company Limited, a subsidiary of Thai major SCG, has fully acquired Vietnam Construction Materials JSC from its existing owners, the company said in a filing.
– Deal Street Asia

Thailand remains one of top three in region
COINCIDING with International Women’s Day today, a report based on Grant Thornton’s annual survey of 5,500 businesses in 36 economies reveals that the proportion of senior business roles held by women in the Asia-Pacific region has risen from 23 per cent in 2016 to 25 per cent so far this year.
– The Nation

Malaysia has least senior business roles held by women in Asean
Malaysia has the lowest proportion of senior business roles held by women in Asean, according to a latest report by Grant Thornton.
— The Star Online

Asean officials work toward realising single aviation market
Senior officials from Asean aviation and dialogue partners continuously contribute their commitments to realise their vision and targets in relation to build up the comprehensive Asean Single Aviation Market (ASAM), which is one of the key milestones in realising the AEC.
– Vientiane Times

Third anniversary of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH 370
A file photo shows a passenger writing messages for the passengers of missing Malaysian Airline flight MH370 on a banner at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia. March 8 marks the third anniversary of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
– The Nation

Yasay: Duterte, Trump may meet in ASEAN Summit in November
oreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. on Tuesday said President Rodrigo Duterte and United States President Donald Trump may meet during the ASEAN Summit in November.
— GMA News

Asean Exchanges sees more new listed products
The Asean Exchanges anticipates that the recent move by leading index provider, MSCI, to introduce new Asean tradable indices will create new listed products across the Asean exchanges.
— The Star Online

Here is an Asean online start-up on the way to profit
AN Internet company that’s still private, venture-backed and about to make an actual profit —huh? Say again?
— Business Mirror


Cambodia morning newsCambodia Morning News

Compiled by Vat Vin    @vin_vat


Heineken cracks open a new local beer production facility
Cambodia Brewery Ltd (CBL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Heineken Asia-Pacific, inaugurated its second brewery plant on the eastern outskirts of the capital yesterday, tripling its beer production capacity and opening a new line to produce its Dutch parent company’s flagship lager, Heineken.
The Phnom Penh Post

UN defence of free press comes amid gov’t threats
The UN’s human rights body came out against so-called “fake news” while staunchly defending freedom of the press yesterday, in a message seemingly aimed at the administrations of Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump – albeit one that resonates in Cambodia after recent government statements.
The Phnom Penh Post

Nordic Nations Eye Investment In Cambodia
Companies from Europe’s frigid north are taking steps toward moving into the fish and environmental industries in Cambodia’s warmer climes.
The Cambodia Daily (paywall)

City Hall Bans Garment Workers From Marking Women’s Day
Phnom Penh City Hall has rejected a request for an International Women’s Day celebration for the country’s majority-female garment factory workers at Wat Phnom today, though Prime Minister Hun Sen is set to mark the occasion with a speech.
The Cambodia Daily (paywall)

City Hall Officials to Go on Trial Over Graft Claims
Two City Hall officials were on Wednesday arrested on corruption charges after evidence was uncovered leading to allegations that they had misappropriated public funds.

Hollywood Comes to Cambodia
Angelina Jolie and Netflix bring the story of the Khmer Rouge back to Cambodia and let Cambodians tell it.
The Diplomat

Cambodia’s Ruling Party Threatens Lawsuit Over Opposition Slogan
Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Cambodia People’s Party (CPP) has threatened the opposition with legal action for suggesting a ruling party commune chief has neglected the interests of his constituents ahead of local elections in June.
Radio Free Asia

The tangled web: how leaks, lies and fake news took over Cambodian politics
As social media becomes the number one news source for young Cambodians, the spectre of ‘fake news’ is haunting a nation whose politics is wracked by rumour and ridicule.
Southeast Asia Globe

In Leaked Recording, Hun Sen Seeks to Divide Opposition, Admits Influence on Courts
Leaked phone recordings purporting to be back-door discussions between Prime Minister Hun Sen and opposition leader Kem Sokha are authentic, the premier said this week.

Q&A: Robert H. Lieberman, Director of ‘Angkor Awakens: A Portrait of Cambodia’
“Angkor Awakens: A Portrait of Cambodia” is an emotional film chronicling Cambodian history from ancient times up to the present.

CNRP: slogan shall remain
Opposition officials said yesterday that they would not bow to pressure and change a catchy campaign slogan after the ruling Cambodian People’s Party threatened legal action, calling the catchphrase “incitement”.
The Phnom Penh Post

China to donate new infectious disease lab
Cambodia and China inked a deal yesterday to build a new communicable disease control facility in the Kingdom for the country to expand its capacity to detect and respond to communicable disease outbreaks, such as Zika and Ebola, in a timely fashion.
The Phnom Penh Post

Years of Leaks Leave Few Clear Winners
A little over a week had gone by since recordings were leaked of Prime Minister Hun Sen advising Kem Sokha—then head of the Human Rights Party—to poach members of the rival Sam Rainsy Party (SRP).
The Cambodia Daily (paywall)

Arresting Dealers Remains a Challenge, Anti-Drug Chief Says
From private establishments that permit drug use to police officers involved in the drug trade tipping off dealers, landing major traffickers is proving harder than ever, the nation’s top anti-drug czar said on Tuesday.
The Cambodia Daily (paywall)

Cambodia drug arrests reach nearly 5,000
Cambodian authorities have arrested more than 4,800 people in a two-month-old campaign against drugs and that number could more than double, the country’s drug czar said on Tuesday.


Indonesia morning newsIndonesia Morning News

Compiled by Stella-maris Ewudolu    @Estee


Indonesia offers Saudi Arabia chance to invest in three more oil refineries
Indonesia has offered Saudi Arabia the opportunity to invest in three more oil refineries — in Dumai, Riau; Balongan, West Java; and Bontang, East Kalimantan.
— The Jakarta Post

Hyperloop begins feasibility study in Indonesia
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), one of the entities developing a type of futuristic vacuum-tube based transportation system, says it’s conducting a US$2.5 million feasibility study for three possible routes in Indonesia.
— Tech in Asia

Indonesia Foreign Exchange Reserves Up by USD3bn
Indonesia’s foreign exchange reserves was up by USD3 billion to USD119.9 billion as of end-February 2017. The increase was attributable to, among others, the stability of the rupiah against foreign currencies that resulted in the lack of use of foreign exchange reserves for monetary operations.
— Tempo

Malaysia, Indonesia biodiesel production forecast to rise in 2017
Malaysia will produce about 900,000 tonnes of biodiesel in 2017, up about 80 percent from half a million tonnes last year, while Indonesian output will rise to 3.5 million tonnes this year from 3 million tonnes in 2016, an industry expert said on Tuesday.
— Astro Awani

Goldman sees Indonesia luring US$5b from Japan on S&P
Indonesia is set to attract as much as US$5 billion in funds from Japan should S&P Global Ratings raise the nation’s debt rating to investment grade, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
— The Business Times

Japanese, Singaporean banks finance controversial Indonesian coal plant
After French banks pulled out of the project, $3.36 billion in financing for the Tanjung Jati B coal plant has been provided by a syndicate of Asian banks.

OJK to set up investment alert task force
The Financial Service Authority (OJK) plans to set up an investment alert task force at a district/municipal level across Indonesia, a spokesman said.
— Antara News

Installation of nationwide fibre-optic network in Indonesia to be completed by 2019
The Indonesian Minister of Communications and Information said last week that the installation of fibre-optic network under the Palapa Ring Project is expected to be completed by 2019. Currently 400 out of 514 regencies have been connected with the network enabling high-speed Internet access and the remaining 114 will be completed by the deadline.
— Open Gov

Australia Says No Plan for Joint South China Sea Patrols With Indonesia
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Tuesday (07/03) that his country aimed to work more closely with Indonesia over maritime security, but there was no plan for the neighbors to hold joint patrols in the South China Sea.
— Jarkata Globe

Telekomunikasi Indonesia Delivers 14% Sales Growth In 2016
Indonesian communications giant Telekomunikasi Indonesia (NYSE:TLK) reported fourth-quarter results Tuesday morning. The company enjoyed strong growth in broadband subscriptions and business data sales.
— Motley Fool

Indonesia: Mandiri Capital leads series-A round in P2P startup Amartha
Mandiri Capital Indonesia, the investment arm of state-owned Bank Mandiri, has led a series-A funding round into Amartha, a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform for small and medium enterprises.
— Deal Street Asia

Indonesia’s Anti-Gafatar Campaign Ends in Blasphemy Convictions
The Indonesian government’s persecution of the Gafatar religious community resulted in blasphemy convictions today of three of the group’s leaders. A Jakarta court handed down five-year prison terms to both Gafatar’s founder, Ahmad Moshaddeq, and president, Mahful Muis Tumanurung, while the group’s vice-president received a three-year sentence. The judge ruled the three men had “tarnished one of the religions in Indonesia deliberately in public.”
— Human Rights Watch

Leaders’ Retreat to mark 50 years of Singapore-Indonesia ties to be held in September
Singapore will hold a Leaders’ Retreat in the Republic in September to celebrate 50 years of “good, wonderful” bilateral relations with Indonesia.
— The Straits Times

Indonesia: Government must investigate Wilmar labour practices as company attempts to cover up abuse claims
Agri giant Wilmar’s campaign to cover up labour abuses exposed in a damning Amnesty International report is being aided by the Indonesian government’s failure to investigate claims against the palm oil company.
— Amnesty International

Indonesia Hopes to Export Goods, Not Workers, to Saudi Arabia
Indonesian businesses should expect a steady increase in trade relations and closer cooperation on infrastructure development projects with Saudi Arabia following King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s visit to the country this month.
— Jakarta Globe

MP Steven Ciobo Apologises For Announcing Indonesia Flights Deal On Anniversary Of Plane Crash
Federal Tourism Minister Steven Ciobo has apologised for announcing an agreement for additional flight services between Indonesia and Australia on the 10th anniversary of a plane crash in Indonesia that killed 21, including 5 Australians.
— Huffington Post Australia

Iran, Indonesia mull expanding ties
As two developing Muslim countries, Iran and Indonesia have always enjoyed many commonalities.
— Mehr News Agency

Indonesia sells 6.1 trln rupiah of Islamic bonds, above target
Indonesia’s finance ministry sold 6.1 trillion rupiah ($457.17 million) of Islamic bonds at an auction, above the indicative target of 6 trillion rupiah, its financing and risk management office said on Tuesday.
— Nasdaq

Indonesia’s Dattabot, HukumOnline develop legal search engine
JAKARTA-based data analytics company Dattabot, previously Mediatrac, joins forces with legal media and reference company HukumOnline to develop what they say is Indonesia’s first smart search engine called HukumOnline Advanced Search.
— Digital News Asia

Indonesia Used Car Industry Outlook to 2021: Carmudi, OLX and Mobil88 have Streamlined the Used Car Industry in the Country – Research and Markets
Research and Markets has announced the addition of the “Indonesia Used Car Industry Outlook to 2021 – Increasing Online Used Car Portals and Competitive Used Car Financing Schemes to Foster Future Growth” report to their offering.
— Business Wire (press release)

Jokowi Highlights Commitment to Eradicate Illegal Fishing in IORA Summit
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo highlighted his commitment to eradicate illegal fishing in Indonesian waters as part of an effort to preserve the country’s maritime ecosystem and environment during the Indian Ocean Rim Association, or IORA, Summit in Jakarta on Tuesday (07/03).
— Jarkata Globe

Sumarsono Returns as Jakarta Acting Governor While Ahok Starts Runoff Campaign
Director general for regional autonomy at the Ministry of Home Affairs, Sumarsono, has temporarily taken over as Jakarta governor, while incumbent Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama on Tuesday (07/03) starts his runoff election campaign.
— Jarkata Globe

Indian Ocean can become new economic power: Jokowi
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has said that fast economic growth in countries bordering the Indian Ocean could turn the region into an economic force to be reckoned with.
— The Jarkata Post

Three developers ordered to build low-cost apartments
The Jakarta administration has ordered three developers to build seven new towers of low-cost apartments in West Jakarta.
— The Jarkata Post

Bali to become promising destination for Middle East tourists
Bali, which has various attractive aspects ranging from natural beauty, culture, culinary, and religious diversity, is already known as one of the worlds best tourist destination.
— Antara News

Business sector urges IORA to empower women
The business sector of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) urged governments and private sector to further encourage the empowerment of womens roles in society.
— Antara News

Whirlwind destroys hundreds of houses in Malang
A whirlwind struck Lang Lang village in East Javas Malang district on Tuesday, leaving seven people injured and 248 houses damaged.
— Antara News


Lao PDR morning newsLao PDR Morning News

Compiled by Jose Rodriguez Senas    @15Souter


China Starts Controversial Lao Rail Project
On Christmas Day last year, work officially started on the China-Laos high-speed railway, a major engineering feat snaking from Kunming, in China’s southwestern Yunnan Province, to Vientiane in Laos.
— Asia Sentinel

Laos, Vietnam Discuss Building an Oil Depot and Pipelines
Laos and Vietnam recently discussed a construction project for an oil depot and pipeline connecting Vietnam’s Hon La Port to Khammuan Province.
— Lao News Agency

Ministry reduces dry season rice target after farmers produce less
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has set this year’s target for dry season rice production lower after the country’s rice farmers failed to meet last year’s mark.
— Vientiane Times

SEZs driving economic growth in the south
The establishment of Special and Specific Economic Zone (SEZ)s and untapped tourism potential is expected to drive economic growth in Champassak province, a senior official has noted.
— Vientiane Times

Sepon Contributes over US$1.5 billion to National Revenue
MMG Lane Xang Minerals Limited of Sepon has contributed over US$1.5 billion to the state revenue of Lao PDR since it began operating in Laos.
— Lao News Agency

Vietnam, Laos share experience in management decentralisation
Lao National Assembly Chairwoman Pany Yathotou and Vietnam National Assembly Vice Chairwoman Tong Thi Phong co-chaired the event, which demonstrates the role and duties of the two countries’ legislatures in State management.
— VietNamNet Bridge

Three Lao Workers Jailed For Criticizing Government Online Still Held After More Than a Year
Three Lao workers arrested last year for criticizing their government on Facebook while working in Thailand are still in custody with no resolution of their case in sight, prompting calls from friends and human rights groups for their release.
— Radio Free Asia

Vientiane’s ODOP Exhibition to Open in Late May
The fourth Vientiane Capital “One District One Product” (ODOP) exhibition will be held between May 27 and Jun 1 at the Lao-ITECC in Vientiane Capital, a press conference was told in Vientiane Capital last week.
— Lao News Agency

Vientianale International Film Festival 2017 to be held late this month
The annual Vientianale International Film Festival will fall on Mar 22-26 with an exciting and diverse programme of 40 feature and short films from 25 countries, including award-winning productions.
— Lao News Agency

Vientiane authorities mull inspection of Nong Taler
Vientiane authorities plan to manage and develop the Nong Taler in Naxaithong district to be a tourism attraction after some sections of shoreline were illegally taken by local residents.
— Vientiane Times

Vancouver man found dead in Laos
A Vancouver man with family ties to the B.C. Interior is being remembered online after he was found dead in Laos.
— Lake Country Calendar

New Satellite Office Opened in Vientiane
A new satellite office of the University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa Province, Japan was officially opened at the Setthathirath Hospital in Vientiane Capital on March 3.
— Lao News Agency


Malaysia morning newsMalaysia Morning News

Compiled by Vat Vin    @vin_vat


World’s Best: Malaysia Medical Tourism Sector to Experience Extraordinary Growth
A new report forecasts the Malaysia medical tourism market to grow at a compounding annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30.05 per cent over the next eight years, reaching some US$3.5 billion before the end of 2024.
AEC News Today

Bank Negara: International reserves remain at US$95 billion
International reserves of the central bank remained unchanged at US$95 billion (RM426.3 billion) as at the end of February.
New Straits Times

Malaysia has strong FDI prospects, says economist
Malaysia holds strong prospects for foreign direct investments (FDI), thanks to mega infrastructure plans like the High-Speed Rail, East Coast Rail Link, and China’s One Belt One Road initiative.
New Straits Times

Hap Seng sells logistics business for RM750mil
Hap Seng Consolidated Bhd is selling its 100% stake in logistics service provider Hap Seng Logistics Sdn Bhd (HSL) to a unit of Hong Kong-based Lei Shing Hong Ltd for RM750mil.
The Star Online

Time dotCom acquires 49% stake in Thailand’s Symphony for RM280mil
Time dotCom Bhd has announced its strategic investment plan of 2.2 billion baht (RM280mil) for a shareholding of up to 49% in Symphony Communication Public Company Ltd.
The Star Online

North Korea bars Malaysians from leaving, in ‘diplomatic meltdown’
North Korea barred Malaysians from leaving the country on Tuesday, sparking tit-for-tat action by Malaysia, as police investigating the murder of Kim Jong Nam in Kuala Lumpur sought to question three men hiding in the North Korean embassy.

Malaysia says it foiled attack on Arab royalty ahead of Saudi king’s visit
Malaysia said on Tuesday that suspected militants from Yemen arrested late last month ahead of a visit by Saudi King Salman had been planning an attack on Arab royalty.

North Korea and Malaysia in tit-for-tat travel ban on citizens over Kim Jong-nam murder
North Korea has temporarily banned Malaysians from leaving the country to ensure the safety of its diplomats and citizens in Malaysia, amid an escalating row over the murder of the North Korean leader’s estranged half brother, Kim Jong-nam.
ABC Online

Once strong ties between North Korea and Malaysia rapidly unravel
If hunger pangs hit in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, a ravenous resident could hail a taxi, head to a supermarket and stock up on Maggi noodles, Milo and Julie’s biscuits – all produced in Malaysia.

Netflix competitor Iflix raises $90m from Liberty Global, Zain, others
Liberty Global, the international telecommunications company controlled by American tycoon John Malone, and Zain, a Kuwait-based telecom operator, are investing in iflix, a Malaysian provider of streaming video, iflix announced on Tuesday.
Deal Street Asia

Higher biodiesel production
Malaysia is expected to produce 900,000 tonnes of biodiesel in 2017, up about 80% from half a million tonnes last year, while Indonesia’s production is projected to rise to 3.5 million tonnes this year from three million tonnes in 2016, according to industry expert U.R. Unnithan.
The Star Online

Malaysia, Indonesia biodiesel production forecast to rise in 2017
Malaysia will produce about 900,000 tonnes of biodiesel in 2017, up about 80 percent from half a million tonnes last year, while Indonesian output will rise to 3.5 million tonnes this year from 3 million tonnes in 2016, an industry expert said on Tuesday.
Astro Awani

Third anniversary of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH 370
Upcoming March 8 marks the third anniversary of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
The Nation

No changes in Malaysia-North Korea trade status
There are no changes so far regarding Malaysia’s trade status with North Korea, says Second International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan.
New Straits Times

Managing Sabah State IT Department’s 5-Year Strategic Plan and tackling the challenges of emerging technologies
With more than 3 decades of experience in the IT field spanning across consultation, planning, procurement, network, R & D of application systems and IT roles, Dr. Mingu Jumaan is CIO and Director of the Sabah State IT Department.
Open Gov

Sarawak State government to invest MYR 1 billion for improving ICT infrastructure
The state government of Sarawak in Malaysia is going to invest MYR 1 billion (USD 225 million) to improve ICT infrastructure in the state.
Open Gov


Myanmar morning newsMyanmar Morning News

Compiled by Stella-maris Ewudolu    @Estee


K55 billion allocated for National Health Plan
Basic primary healthcare packages will be implemented in the National Health Plan (2017-2021) for township and primary-level hospitals such as those with 16 and 25 beds, said its director Dr Thant Sin Htoo.
— Myanmar Times

Ministers give details of spending on disaster management
Union-level officials explained to Parliament on March 6 how they spent the funds they took from Ks18.3 billion (US$13.4 million) budget earmarked for managing natural disasters.
— Eleven

H&M supply factory in Myanmar damaged in violent labour protest
Workers demanding better conditions and benefits have destroyed the production line of a Chinese-owned factory in Myanmar making clothes for Swedish fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz, in one of the most violent labour disputes in the country in years.
— The Guardian

Ayeyawady region faces drinking water shortage amid drought
As drought-hit lakes dry up in Ayeyawady region, some villages in Tharbaung, Ngapudaw, Bogalay and Latputta townships are already facing a scarcity of drinking water, say local people.
— Eleven

MOEAF requests for lifting of worker ban to Malaysia
The Myanmar Overseas Employment Agencies Federation (MOEAF) has urged the Myanmar government to lift its temporary suspension on sending workers to Malaysia, according to MOEAF officials.
— Myanmar Times

Minimum wage to be raised within the year
Speaking at a conference on Saturday, Thein Swe, Union Minister of the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population said that the government had plans to raise the minimum wage by the end of this year.
— Coconuts Yangon

PM seeks Jakarta help to send back Myanmar refugees
rime Minister Sheikh Hasina today requested the Indonesian government to play a role in sending back the Myanmar refugees from Bangladesh.
— The Daily Star

Over-invoicing found in development projects
The public accounts joint committee told the Parliament on March 6 through its report that developers’ proposed costs in government projects were higher than market prices.
— Eleven

Mandalay gets its first water park
In some strange twist of irony, Mandalay has received a surplus of water in the form of the city’s newest (and only) water park, just as Yangon citizens have pulled ourselves through six days of water shortage.
— Coconuts Yangon

Loss-making factories to be closed: Joint Bill Committee
The Joint Bill Committee has suggested that 44 loss-making state-owned factories should be closed.
— Eleven

134 mining blocks to expire this month
The Myanma Gems Enterprise under the Ministry of Resources and Environmental Conservation announced that a total of 134 authorised mining blocks in the country’s gemstone tracts are going to expire within this month.
— Myanmar Times

State counsellor says anti-corruption measures gathering speed
Myanmar’s fight against corruption is beginning to gather momentum, and graft is not that difficult to eradicate, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi said during a business talk with women entrepreneurs held in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday.
— Eleven

Kayin State: Tigers, leopards and elephants spotted in Southeast Asia’s last great wilderness
Six camera trap surveys set up by the Karen Wildlife Conservation Initiative (KWCI) in the hill forests of Northern Karen State have identified at least 31 mammals, including tigers, leopards and Asian elephants in an area previously inaccessible to biologists and conservationists for security and political reasons.
— Coconuts Yangon

Government to return land to farmers
Dr Soe Than, regional minister for agriculture, livestock and irrigation, said: “We’re assessing the land. It shouldn’t take long. Within this year we will be able to give back the land to the owners.”
— Eleven

Women crucial for Myanmar’s development: State Counsellor
Many people, including women, have the impression that the fairer sex have equal rights in Myanmar, but in reality, they do not, said State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
— Myanmar Times

MoE not responsible for religious content in textbooks
The Ministry of Education has responded to criticisms on social media that new civic education textbooks have included the four great religions – Buddhism, Islam, Christianity and Hinduism – by denying it is responsible for the curriculum.
— Myanmar Times

Health Minister attends Digital Health Conference in Myanmar
Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Dr. Rajitha Senarathna left for Myanmar yesterday (6th March) to attend the Asia-Pacific region digital health conference.
— The Official Government News Portal of Sri Lanka


Philippines morning newsPhilippines Morning News

Compiled by Jose Rodriguez Senas    @15Souter


Environment chief asks Duterte to halt second review of mines
THE COUNTRY’S Environment chief has asked President Rodrigo R. Duterte to halt a second review of 28 mines that she ordered closed or suspended, challenging its legality despite initially supporting it.
— BusinessWorld

China commits $3.4B for Philippine infra projects
China has committed to finance at least three infrastructure projects in the Philippines worth $3.4 billion, two of which could be rolled out in the first half of this year, trade officials from both countries said on Tuesday.

Phl, China reconvene joint trade panel
The Philippines and China reconvened yesterday their Joint Commission on Economic and Trade Cooperation (JCETC) after a five-year hiatus brought about by the territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea, with the two nations forging various agreements that seek to strengthen and deepen their economic and trade relations.
— Philippine Star

Duterte goes slow on smoking ban
The forthcoming executive order on a smoking ban is expected to be patterned after a similar measure in Davao City, where President Duterte had served as long time mayor, Malacañang said yesterday.
— Philippine Daily Inquirer

Duterte orders arrest of Mighty Corp. owner
President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said he has ordered the arrest of Alex Wong Chu King, owner of local cigarette manufacturer Mighty Corp., for the alleged use of fake cigarette tax stamps.
— Manila Times

Abad liable over DAP – Ombudsman
The Office of the Ombudsman has found basis to file a complaint against former Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad for violation of Article 239 (Usurpation of Legislative Powers) of the Revised Penal Code in connection with the implementation of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
— Manila Times

The Philippines’ Alarming Death Penalty U-Turn
The Philippine House of Representatives voted today to reinstate the death penalty for serious drug-related offenses in yet another blow to the country’s deteriorating human rights situation.
— Human Rights Watch

Philippines Angered by Fictional President Portrayed on ‘Madame Secretary’
Relations between the U.S. and the Philippines have deteriorated sharply since controversial new president Rodrigo Duterte took office.
— NBC News

Mindanao Power Corp., Railways bills hurdle House committees
BILLS CALLING for the establishment of Mindanao Power Corp. (Minpocor) and Mindanao Railways Corp. were approved recently by the House committee on government enterprises and privatization in its joint hearings with the committees on energy and on transportation.
— BusinessWorld

Japan going bananas for Philippine food exports as trade chiefs eye record business at FoodEx show
The 17-strong delegation of Philippine food firms showcased at FoodEx Japan this week is targetting record total sales topping US$28m from the four-day event – with banana-based products booming in the Far East.

PLDT sees earnings recovery this year
PLDT Inc. expects 2017 to be a better year as it implements initiatives to increase revenue particularly from the fixed line business.
— Philippine Star

Plunder, graft trials for Napoles, ex-Rep. Valdez over pork scam raps to begin in May
The Sandiganbayan has finally set the trial dates for the plunder and graft charges against businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles and former APEC party-list Rep. Edgar Valdez over the alleged pork barrel scam.
— GMA News Online


Singapore morning newsSingapore Morning News

Compiled by Leakhena Khat    @leakhenakhat


Why high-flying Singapore is scrapping grades
Singapore is in top place in the international rankings for education. But it wants the next upgrade of the school system to focus on keeping students positive and resilient, as well as high achievement in academic results.
BBC News 

More than 150 government services to be linked to digital vault
By June, Singaporeans and permanent residents opening bank accounts with OCBC, UOB, DBS and Standard Chartered Bank will no longer need to key in information such as their NRIC number and address, or submit physical documents to verify such data.
The New Paper 

Building Next Gen Singapore Armed Forces: Cyber defence, Analytics, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics
The new Defence Cyber Organisation will oversee policies, capability development and implementation to monitor and defend Defence Cluster networks.
Open Gov

Trendlines launches Singapore incubator
Trendlines Ltd. (SI:42T) , one of the first Israeli companies to be listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange, recently launched its technology incubator in Singapore. The incubator will deal mainly in medical devices.

Grab launches beta shuttle bus service application in collaboration with GovTech Singapore
The ride hailing platform, Grab, has launched GrabShuttle, a beta shuttle bus service mobile application, in collaboration with the Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech).
Open Gov

Singapore Data Innovation Programme Office to facilitate data-driven innovation projects
Singapore plans to set up a Data Innovation Programme Office (DIPO) to boost data-driven projects, with a data sandbox providing a platform for companies to share data securely.

Singapore corporate lawyers among the top in South-east Asia
Over 50 Singapore-based corporate lawyers have proven to be among the most influential and innovative in the region, according to an inaugural list by Legal 500.
The Straits Times 

SGX proposes bringing back lunch breaks for traders
Singapore Exchange (SGX) launched a public consultation on Wednesday (Mar 8) on bringing back a lunch break for traders and increasing the minimum bid sizes for some stocks.
Channel NewsAsia 

Singapore sure of China’s economic reforms: envoy
Singapore is confident that China can successfully transform its economy, and its success will benefit the world, Singapore’s Ambassador to China Stanley Loh has said.
The Nation 

Singapore’s elderly to get more help with financing new homes
Elderly flat buyers will be able to make payment upon key collection and enjoy temporary loans when buying new homes, announced the Ministry of National Development on Tuesday (Mar 7).
Channel NewsAsia 

Leaders’ Retreat to mark 50 years of Singapore-Indonesia ties to be held in September
Singapore will hold a Leaders’ Retreat in the Republic in September to celebrate 50 years of “good, wonderful” bilateral relations with Indonesia.
The Straits Times 

Japanese, Singaporean banks finance controversial Indonesian coal plant
A consortium of Asian banks will provide US$3.36 billion in loans to support the expansion of the Tanjung Jati B coal-fired power plant project in the Jepara district of Indonesia’s Central Java province.

Singapore to aid PMETs facing redundancies
As Singapore records a slight rise in retrenchment and unemployment, the Ministry of Manpower unveiled several strategies to alleviate workers’ woes.
Singapore Business Review 

Local cycling group raises $320,000 for Kidney Dialysis Foundation
It was challenging enough for the 67 cyclists to cycle 1,000km from Belum, Perak, to Singapore to raise funds for the Kidney Dialysis Foundation (KDF).
The New Paper 

Inbound sets up shop in Singapore
London-based inbound marketing consultancy The B2B Marketing Laboratory has opened an office in Singapore as part of its expansion into Asia-Pacific and support its international customers in the region.
Singapore Business Review 

Core group of 250 professionals in GovTech and CSA to drive data and cybersecurity capabilities in Singapore’s Public Service
In addition, 10,000 public officers will be trained over the next 4 years for leveraging data in policy formulation, service delivery and corporate services, and strengthening cybersecurity.
Open Gov

Young couples in Singapore to get HDB homes faster
Shorter waiting time for some Build-To-Order flats, unsold balance flats made available regularly and a sped-up resale transaction process are some initiatives by the Ministry of National Development to make housing more accessible for first-time home buyers.
Channel NewsAsia 


Thailand morning newsThailand Morning News

Compiled by John Le Fevre    @photo-journ


Govt to make Thailand major aviation center in South Asia
The government is planning to transform Thailand into a major aviation center of South Asia.
– National News Bureau of Thailand (NNBT)

Thailand remains one of top three in region
COINCIDING with International Women’s Day today, a report based on Grant Thornton’s annual survey of 5,500 businesses in 36 economies reveals that the proportion of senior business roles held by women in the Asia-Pacific region has risen from 23 per cent in 2016 to 25 per cent so far this year.
– The Nation

The New York Post blocked in Thailand
Without any explanation, Thailand has blocked access to the New York Post.
– Prachatai English

Outflows surge on US rate rise signal
Hot money will keep flowing out of Thailand’s bond market in anticipation of a US Federal Reserve rate hike this month, says a Maybank economist.
– Bangkok Post

Ministry offers guidelines on how to use social media
The Digital Economy and Society (DE) Ministry has released guidelines and a handbook for consumer and business protection in the context of safe social media use and cyberthreats.
– Bangkok Post

DSI Suspects Dhammajayo Hiding in Newly Fortified Hospital
Just north of the sprawling Wat Dhammakaya complex is an unfinished hospital called Boonraksa. Soldiers tried to search it weeks ago, but were pushed back by a crowd of monks and the faithful.
– Khaosod English

Thailand’s SCG unit takes over Vietnam Construction Materials in ASEAN operation push
SCG Cement – Building Materials Company Limited, a subsidiary of Thai major SCG, has fully acquired Vietnam Construction Materials JSC from its existing owners, the company said in a filing.
– Deal Street Asia

Employee-vendor relationships are a key financial crime risk: PwC
THE OVERWHELMING interest in PwC’s Forensics Summit held in Bangkok yesterday shows how seriously Thailand’s top companies are treating the threat of corruption and other financial crimes, said Vorapong Sutanont, PwC Consulting (Thailand) Forensics partner.
– The Nation

Ending widespread tax evasion by SMEs in Thailand
The old tricks that some smaller Thai businesses have used to avoid paying taxes like other citizens may be coming to an end with new govt measures and technologies.
– Bangkok Post

Cabinet approves Asset Management amendment bill
The Cabinet Tuesday approved a bill for amendment of the BE 2551 (2008) Royal Decree defining Asset Management Corporation, to provide more authority to purchase and restructuring debts of state agencies and non-bank financial institutions.
– The Nation

Revenue eyes on e-commerce, entertainment venues to generate more tax incomes
The Revenue Department (RD) is eyeing on online business, pubs, discotheques, and restaurants to generate more tax income after tax collection this year falling six billion baht short of target.
– Thai PBS

Enforced disappearance in Thailand worsening since coup: civil society
A coalition of human rights organisations has condemned the junta’s suspension of a bill aimed at criminalising state enforced torture and disappearance, arguing the legal gap facilitates human rights abuses.
– Prachatai English

Heavy crackdown looms on Uber, ride-sharing apps
THE LAND Transport Department is planning to propose the use of Article 44 of the interim charter to ban drivers using Uber and other ride-sharing apps. Deputy director-general Nanthapong Cherdchu yesterday said a sting operation on Monday in Bangkok had led to 18 Uber drivers being arrested. Each was fined Bt2,000.
– The Nation

Thailand’s plan to release rubber stocks affects local prices
Indonesian rubber farmers have suffered losses from the decline in global rubber prices as their product now sells for Rp 9,000 (67 US cents) per kilogram, from Rp 12,000 previously
– The Jakarta Post

HomePro mulls CLMV investment
SET-listed Home Product Center Plc (HMPRO) is considering expanding to neighbouring countries with a total investment budget of 6-7 billion baht, says Rakpong Aroonwatdhana, HomePro’s head of investor relations.
– Bangkok Post

Court judgements soon accessible online
LITIGANTS WHO have cases in the Administrative Courts will soon be able to ask for the judgements online or with a mobile application.
– The Nation

Thailand 4.0 Means Opportunity Thailand’: Government taking steps to attract investments in targeted industries
The government of Thailand is taking a number of measures to shift the country from a production-based to a service-based economy, moving from producing commodities to innovative products, emphasising on promoting technology, creativity, and innovation in the industries under focus.
– Open Gov Asia

Time dotCom acquires 49% stake in Thailand’s Symphony for RM280mil
Time dotCom Bhd has announced its strategic investment plan of 2.2 billion baht (RM280mil) for a shareholding of up to 49% in Symphony Communication Public Company Ltd.
– The Star Online

Vittoria opens tire and wheel test center in Thailand
Vittoria’s manufacturing company, Lion Tyres Thailand, has opened a bicycle tire and wheel test center at its rubber compound factory and R&D complex at Rayong Industrial Estate in Thailand.
– Bicycle Retailer

Thailand seizes 422 pieces of smuggled elephant tusks
Thai authorities have seized 422 pieces of elephant tusks and arrested a Gambian man suspected of smuggling the ivory, customs officials said Tuesday.
– Chicago Tribune

Thailand drops defamation case against human rights activists
The announcement by the Thai military that it will drop the criminal case against an Amnesty International chairperson and two other human rights activists who would have faced prosecution for reporting on torture is a step in the right direction, Amnesty International said today.
– Amnesty International


Vietnam morning newsVietnam Morning News

Compiled by John Le Fevre    @photo-journ


Vietnam: Trump’s Immigration Policies Could Put Dong At Risk
The Vietnamese dong, which is loosely pegged to the U.S. dollar, has depreciated by 2.2% since last November.
– Barron’s Asia

India temporarily suspends import of agri-commodities from Vietnam
India has temporarily suspended the entry of coffee beans, bamboo, black pepper, cinnamon, cassia and dragon fruit from Vietnam with effect from March 7due to “repeated interception of quarantine pests”.
– The Hindu Business Line

Brands suspend Vietnam YouTube ads due to government probe
Brands in Vietnam are stopping advertising on YouTube as the company is embroiled in a government investigation over alleged inappropriate content on its platform.
– Campaign

Vietnam’s high demand for IT professionals shoots up salaries
Vietnam’s growing information technology (IT) is seen driving recruitment demand and boost salaries for tech jobs, a recent survey found.

Hanoi city administration exploring the use of Smart technology to automate public parking zones
Car owners in Hanoi often struggle to find suitable parking spaces, and have to pay high fees. The smart system could improve conditions for car owners and management efficiency.
– Open Gov Asia

Firms happy with tax reforms, want further simplification
Reforms in taxation procedures have elicited increased satisfaction from enterprises over the last two years, but they continue to expect further simplification, a survey by the Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) has found.
Viet Nam News 

AIIB urged to invest into Vietnam in 2017
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Tuesday expressed his hope that there will be Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)-sponsored projects in Vietnam in 2017.

Global Fund pledges to continue support for Vietnam’s HIV fight
The financing organization said it wants to help Vietnam maintain the success in containing new infections and deaths.
– VnExpress

Visa QR payments coming to Indonesia, Pakistan, Vietnam
Visa will soon be expanding its QR-based mobile payment service to ten more markets, including Indonesia, Pakistan and Vietnam.
Telecom Asia 

Vietnam’s internet environment ranked 32nd in the world
The country is number one in the world for local content, but scores poorly on internet education.

Japanese capital streaming into Vietnam
According to Jetro, Japan is ranked second in the list of nations and territories investing in Vietnam with the total investment value of US$42.29 billion.
VietNamNet Bridge 

Vietnam to prosecute 49 inmates for leading mass rehab center breakout
Over 500 inmates broke out of the facility in the southern province of Dong Nai and terrorized local people.

Vietnam commits to 2030 Agenda for sustainable development
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh has highlighted Vietnam’s commitments to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as well as the country’s support for cooperation partners at a UN meeting in Hanoi on March 7.
VietNamNet Bridge

Vietnam to develop tourism on Danang peninsula
The Vietnamese government is moving ahead with plans to develop Danang’s Son Tra Peninsula into a national-level tourism area by 2025.
Travel Daily Media 

New Zealand willing to support Hanoi in education, agriculture
On March 7th, Chairman of Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung received Mrs Wendy Matthews, New Zealand Ambassador in Vietnam.
Hanoi Times

Ho Chi Minh City unveils $220m proposal to host 2021 SEA Games
A plan to host Southeast Asia’s biggest sporting event in 2021 will cost Ho Chi Minh City over VND5 trillion (US$220 million) in organization and upgrade expenses over the next five years, it is estimated.
Tuoi Tre News 

Vietnamese brands find footing in US, EU food markets
Instead of selling raw materials to foreign food producers, more and more Vietnamese food businesses are exporting quality branded products to strict markets like the U.S. or European Union (EU) for higher values.
Tuoi Tre News 

Shifting sands: illegal VN sales to Singapore
Quite a few Vietnamese companies are taking advantage of sand dredging privileges authorised by the Government to rake in huge illegal profits, according to an expose by the Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper.
Viet Nam News



The Asean Morning News Roundup is compiled by the editorial team at AEC News Today: Governance, not government; policies not politics.




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