Asean Morning News Roundup February 13

Asean Morning News Roundup February 13

The Asean Morning News Roundup presents a selection of reports on what you need to know from around the Asean Economic Community (AEC).


Cambodia morning newsCambodia Morning News

Compiled by Leakhena Khat    @leakhenakhat


Auto parts makers steer toward Poipet
For nearly two decades, Poipet was a one-trick pony, relying on the casinos huddled around its Thai border crossing for its economic fortune. But now a different type of cluster is emerging on the frontier town’s outskirts, where industrial parks are attracting predominantly Japanese manufacturers with a vision for a vast Southeast Asian supply chain network that spreads risk and capitalises on the region’s economic diversity.
The Phnom Penh Post 

Gaming tax to fall in Cambodia
The kingdom is preparing to make its taxation on gross gaming revenue (GGR) the lowest in the region, experts and government officials said over the weekend.
Khmer Times

New offices to monitor imports
Six provinces will soon have merchandize quality control offices – also known as sanitation and phyto-sanitation (SPS) offices – to monitor and prevent poor-quality imported products, meat and vegetables from flowing across the border into Cambodia.
Khmer Times

A greater commitment to boost Malaysia-Cambodia trade
Mr. Faizal: Cambodia is an important trade and investment partner for Malaysia. Malaysian companies are always encouraged to collaborate strategically with their Cambodian partners, so that both parties can work together within Asean and also globally. In 2015, Malaysia was ranked the seventh largest trading partner for Cambodia.
Khmer Times

City Officials Work to Wipe Out Drug Village
Authorities continued to knock down rows of shacks and arrest more drug users in Phnom Penh’s notorious Trapaing Chhouk village slum as City Hall said it was on course to completely demolish the remaining drug dens by the end of the month.
The Cambodia Daily (paywall)

Cambodia’s estates look to reap benefits of Thai ‘Industry 4.0’ drive
PPSEZ, which was founded in 2006, runs two industrial estates – one in the capital and the other in the Poipet Special Economic Zone.
The Nation

Cambodian Maids Repatriated From Malaysia
A 19-year-old pregnant woman was among five Cambodians slated to return home on Saturday after being illegally trafficked to Malaysia last year to work as maids, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MFAIC) announced in a statement on Friday.
The Cambodia Daily (paywall)


Indonesia morning newsIndonesia Morning News

Compiled by Vat Vin    @vin_vat


‘Grab 4 Indonesia’ 2020 Master Plan: Grab to Invest USD 700 Million
Grab, the leading ride-hailing platform in Southeast Asia, has launched its ‘Grab 4 Indonesia’ 2020 master plan, endorsed by Badan Koordinasi Penanaman Modal (BKPM), the Government of Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board.
The Online Citizen

RI sees long but possible path to developing own satellites
Indonesia is taking baby steps to reduce its dependence on foreign telecommunications satellites through technology-transfer arrangements and micro-satellite development.
The Jakarta Post

PH-Indonesia shipping route ready for April 28 launch
Agricultural products will be among the first batches of cargo to be transported on the new shipping route to be launched in April between the Philippines and Indonesia, the trade department said.
The manila Times

Orange imports from around the world crushing Indonesia’s home-grown varieties
Inflows of imported oranges have put the country’s own exotic orange variants in a tight squeeze, further jeopardising local businesses that are already facing a hard time against their foreign counterparts.
The Nation

Mitsubishi distributor eyes sales rebound in 2017
After poor sales over the past four years, PT Krama Yudha Tiga Berlian Motors (KTB), the country’s authorized Mitsubishi car distributor, has increased its sales target for the year on the back of rising demand from logistics, constructions, mining and plantation businesses and public transportation.
The Jakarta Post


Lao PDR morning newsLao PDR Morning News

Compiled by Stella-maris Ewudolu @Estee


Pact formed to resurrect once-thriving FDI into Laos
To salvage once-thriving Vietnamese investment into Laos, the countries’ respective governments have vowed to remove obstacles facing this investment flow.
—Vietnam Investment Review

‘Fifty Shades Darker’ Banned in Laos
In the 18 months since the first cineplex opened in Laos, the Cinema Department, under the Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism has never censored nor banned a film — until now. Screenings of the erotic romantic drama “Fifty Shades Darker” have been cancelled at all three cinemas in Laos.
—The Laotian Times

Nation sets sights on trade policy improvement
Laos will continue to be active in improving its regulations and work plan to adapt to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules after the country became a member in 2013.
— Vientiane Times

Vietnam to provide new hospitals for Huaphan, Xieng Khuang
Huaphan and Xieng Khuang provinces will soon have much-needed modern hospitals funded by the Vietnamese government.
— Vientiane Times

DPM offers measures for Xekong to pursue robust growth
Xekong provincial authorities were told to translate the government’s measures, outlined to boost 2017 socio-economic development, into the province’s planning and projects to drive local growth and improve people’s livelihoods.
— Vientiane Times

Thailand supports animal feed project in Laos
The Thai government is continuing to support two projects related to the animal feed quality control and also fish diseases.
— Vientiane Times


Malaysia morning newsMalaysia Morning News

Compiled by Stella-maris Ewudolu    @Estee


Police to trace ‘missing’ RM55m in investment scam
Police are trying to trace the bulk of the RM55 million put up by investors in an illegal scheme after finding the bank accounts of the suspected syndicate members empty.
— Malay Mail Online

Strategic Partner For Proton To Be Finalised After Feb 15, Says Johari
The prospective strategic partner for national car manufacturer, Proton Holdings Bhd (Proton), will be made known after Feb 15, says Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani.
— Bernama

Now Shahrir says Felda didn’t lose RM4.3b as reported
Felda chairperson Shahrir Abdul Samad today clarified that the agency had not lost RM4.3 billion as reported.
— Malaysiakini

Mufti: Amputations or not, stealing still haram
A thief may have his hands spared but he or she will still have to face punishment in the afterlife, Perlis mufti Asri Zainul Abidin told a forum on hudud today.
— Malaysiakini

Will Malaysia’s new evidence over Pedra Branca overturn ICJ verdict favouring Singapore?
Malaysia filed new evidence in the International Court of Justice seeking a review of the court’s 2008 decision to award Pedra Branca island to Singapore. Kuala Lumpur submitted the dossier saying it’s not an appeal against the ICJ verdict but an attempt at drawing the court’s attention to the new set o evidence available.
— International Business Times, Singapore Edition

Malaysia: Continued persecution of Anwar Ibrahim symbolizes crackdown on human rights
On the second anniversary of the politically-motivated conviction of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, Amnesty International calls for his immediate and unconditional release.
— Amnesty International

Malaysian VC Midana Capital to invest $6.5m this year
Malaysian seed-to-exit venture capital firm Midana Capital is likely to have an active 2017 with six investments lined up for this year clocking $6.5 million, which also includes large ticket sizes in two local technology startups, a clear shift in a firm’s investment pattern that mostly leaned towards the conservative side earlier.
— Deal Street Asia

PM Urges People To Stay Moderate
Malaysian should continue practicing the concept of moderation to ensure the nation remains peaceful and harmonious to enable the government to plan numerous programmes to boost their standard of living, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
— Bernama

Johari: No need for subsidy mechanism at current fuel prices
While the government is considering ways to provide aid for the poor should fuel prices go up, this is currently unnecessary.
— Malaysiakini

No restrictions on organ, blood donation between Muslims and non-Muslims, FT Mufti says
There are no restrictions for organ donation and transplantation between a Muslim and a non-Muslim, said Federal Territories mufti Datuk Dr Zulkifli Mohamad al-Bakri.
— Malay Mail Online


Myanmar morning newsMyanmar Morning News

Compiled by Vat Vin    @vin_vat


Shareholders urged not to sell as FPB share prices plunged
AS share prices have fallen sharply, First Private Bank (FPB) issued a statement urging shareholders not to sell their shares.
— The Myanmar Times

Amnesty International Urges Myanmar to Halt Copper Mine Work
The human rights group Amnesty International is urging Myanmar’s government to suspend operations at a copper mine jointly owned by its army and a Chinese state enterprise until its impact on human rights and the environment is properly addressed.
— The New York Times

Aid to be distributed for both communities in Rakhine State
The Malaysian food flotilla for Myanmar humanitarian mission arrived in Thilawa International Port yesterday with a total of 358 tonnes of relief goods intended for both communities in Rakhine state, the Myanmar government said.
— The Myanmar Times

Indonesia urges ‘significant steps’ on Rohingya issue
Myanmar should take significant steps to achieve peace in Rakhine state, Indonesia’s foreign minister said Friday, warning that the bloody crackdown on the country’s Muslim Rohingya minority could lead to instability across South East Asia.
— Coconuts Yangon

Kirin to buy Mandalay Brewery to dominate Myanmar market: report
Japanese brewer Kirin will buy Mandalay Brewery of Myanmar for an estimated several hundred million yen (several million dollars) in its latest effort to strengthen its presence in the Asia-Oceania region, a newspaper said Saturday.
— Coconuts Yangon

Trading Volume Rises on Yangon Stock Exchange
Trading volume remained strong on the Yangon Stock Exchange (YSX) in recent days despite fluctuations in some share prices.
— The Irrawaddy

Lawmaker Complains of State Surveillance in Lower House
A Lower House lawmaker complained on Friday about the government use of surveillance, tailing, taking photos, and recording conversations of lawmakers, saying that these types of actions harm security and violate the privacy and dignity of elected officials.
— The Irrawaddy

Breaking: Military Besiege KoeTanKauk and Force Villagers to Accept NVC
The Myanmar armed forces have besieged the village of ‘Koetankauk’ and begun to force the villagers to accept the National Verification Cards also known as NVC at gun points, a reliable source has reported.
— Rohingya Vision TV

Latest Mobile Money and Agent Banking Technologies on Show at This Month’s Summit in Myanmar
The latest cutting-edge technologies and innovative solutions for the mobile telecommunications and banking sectors will be showcased this month at the 8th Mobile Money & Agent Banking Summit 2017 to be held on February 21-22 at the Park Royal Hotel in Yangon, Myanmar. The Exhibition is being organized in-synch with a compelling conference agenda tackling the industry’s most pressing issues and most attractive growth opportunities in rapidly expanding Myanmar and other surrounding high-growth markets around the Asian region.
— MilTech

Measles vaccine drive hits 33 percent in 3 days
About 33 percent of the 300,000 children targetted by the Yangon Regional Public Health Department have received the measles vaccine since the mass vaccination campaign started three days ago.
— The Myanmar Times

No plans to seize cars: Ministry of Commerce
The Ministry of Commerce clarified that they have no plans to seize the cars which were already imported to Myanmar under the consignment system by sales centres and dealers over the last two years.
— The Myanmar Times

Sri Lanka to import 50,000 MT of rice from Myanmar
Sri Lanka has entered into an agreement with Myanmar to import 50,000 metric tons of rice by June, according to the Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF).
Global New Light Of Myanmar

16m mobile users registered: MPT
Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) says it has more than 23 million users nationwide and 16 million of them are now officially registered. The state-owned enterprise said it was busy with the official registration process for non-registered users.

US company in Thilawa looks to export
The US Ball Corporation producing drinking cans for the domestic market at Thilawa Special Economic Zone is planning to export its products, according to the firm’s country manager Min Tala Nyan.

FDI reaches $5.81bn since April
Total foreign direct investment (FDI) reached US$5.81 billion since April, according to the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration. By the end of January, the total foreign investment amounted to US$69.53 billion since records began.

Diebold Nixdorf Targets Retail Market
New York and Frankfurt-listed Diebold Nixdorf, an international financial services and technology company, opened its first Myanmar office in Yangon on February 3 to establish its direct presence in the country. The company is hoping to launch its financial retail services in Myanmar.
— Consult-Myanmar

MoUs Inked to Step up Thailand-Myanmar Cross-Border Trade
Business communities and the governments of Thailand and Myanmar have agreed on bolstering cross-border trade by improving existing channels and developing new routes, and with an emphasis on the exchange of data and a new cross-border SEZ.
— Consult-Myanmar

MIC Recommends Constructing Garment Factories in Sittwe
The Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) recommended constructing garment factories in Sittwe Township’s Ponnakyun town, according to a statement released last week.
— Consult-Myanmar

Myanmar’s deadly roads and how to fix them
On a frigid evening in January, Hung Khen, a lawmaker in the Chin State parliament, was passing along the potholed roads of Matupi Township in southern Chin State when his motorbike slammed into a bike driven by three youths. Hung Khen died before dawn the following morning, on the way to a hospital in Mandalay. He was 38 years old.
— Mizzima


Philippines morning newsPhilippines Morning News

Compiled by Jose Rodriguez Senas    @15Souter


PH among least vulnerable to US risks
Among emerging markets, the Philippines is among the least vulnerable to external risks, although looming protectionism in the US amid a Trump presidency is seen impacting on remittances, Washington-based Institute of International Finance (IIF) said.
Philippine Daily Inquirer

PH could face credit ratings revisions
The Philippine economy remained buoyant at the start of 2017, but the loose fiscal stance of the current administration and sustained revenue shortfalls could prompt revisions to its credit ratings, global lender Deutsche Bank said over the weekend.
Manila Times

The story behind PH’s 6.8 GDP growth
While much has been said  about  the Philippine’s  rise to become Asia’s fastest  growing economy,  the story beneath the numbers is far  more compelling. The  economy if fundamentally stronger today than it was in the last 60 years.
Manila Bulletin

Duterte: ‘Nothing I can do’ about mining closures
President Rodrigo Duterte said on Sunday, February 12, that there is “nothing” he can do over the closure of 23 mining operations, which had been ordered by Environment Secretary Gina Lopez.

Duterte 10-pt agenda on right track – ADB exec
President Rodrigo Duterte’s 10-point agenda to expand the economy is on the right track despite the Philippines’ development challenges, according to an official of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Manila Times

Government puts NAIA upgrade on hold
The government is putting the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) upgrade project on hold as it studies various options and proposals being floated to develop airports to serve Mega Manila or the Greater Capital Region.
Philippine Star

Gaming sector faces rising competition
THE PHILIPPINES faces stiffer competition from other Asia-Pacific economies in the gaming industry, according to Fitch Ratings, but the local market should still see a high single-digit revenue growth this year.
Businessworld Online

‘New MRT-3 coaches not working’
An administration lawmaker is seeking an inquiry into the reported “rush” by the Department of Transportation to pay P2.7 billion to a Chinese firm that won the bidding to supply 48 coaches for Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3) that were not operational yet
Philippine Star

Dominguez: Improving governance at BIR, Customs won’t be enough
FINANCE Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said calls to improve tax administration in lieu of new taxes will not yield sufficient gains to fund the government’s aggressive spending program as the revenue-generating bureaus were already close to hitting their targets in 2016.
Businessworld Online

PAL boosts connectivity to the islands with 5 Bombardier
National flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) is expanding its fleet of small aircraft with the delivery of five Bombardier airplanes and two A321 in the second half this year to be able to fly to almost all island destinations with smaller airports in the country that are currently serviced by boutique airline operators.
Manila Bulletin


Singapore morning newsSingapore Morning News

Compiled by Jose Rodriguez Senas    @15Souter


CFE sets defiant tone on free trade
The wide-ranging report of the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) last week is hard to summarise in a word
The Straits Times (paywall)

Budget likely to detail ways to spur innovation, boost skills: Economists
The upcoming budget will likely flesh out details for implementing the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) recommendations, especially those related to boosting innovation and helping workers acquire relevant skills, economists said.
— The Straits Times (paywall)

Singapore’s Big Banks’ Bad-Loan Woes May Be Getting Worse
The woes of Singaporean energy-services provider Ezra Holdings Ltd. are a stark reminder to the city’s biggest banks of the threat souring oil and gas loans pose to their earnings.

Rethink what innovation can mean in Singapore
Innovation is touted as a quality that Singapore will need to propel itself to greater heights

New graduates in Singapore shouldn’t wait too long to find a job
If new graduates wait longer than 6 months to find a job, you’ll risk not landing any job at all.
The Online Citizen

Singapore a ‘key market’ for HK-listed Fullshare Holdings
HONG Kong-listed Fullshare Holdings, which last week entered an agreement to pay S$725.2 million for a holding company of prime commercial building GSH Plaza, is eyeing more investments in Singapore.
Business Times

Singapore: LH Group placement oversubscribed ahead of proposed RTO
LH Group Limited, specialist contractors of aluminium works and manufacturer of traction devices and vehicle parts listed on the Mainboard of the Singapore Exchange (SGX), that is currently attempting to do a reverse takeover, to acquire real estate fund management company Pacific Star Development, has said its conditional placement at the issue price of S$0.80, has received subscriptions for about 10.1 million shares, amounting to about S$8.1 million.
Deal Street Asia


Thailand morning newsThailand Morning News

Compiled by John Le Fevre    @photo-journ


THAI staff asks PM to probe “policy corruption” in airline
A group of employees of Thai Airways International Plc gathered at Suvarnabhumi international airport on Sunday morning to demand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha to use his special power vested by Section 44 to set up a special panel to investigate former boards and managements of the national flag carrier for alleged policy corruption.
– Thai PBS

Exclusive: Thai B2B fresh food e-marketplace Freshfood raises 6-digit funding
FreshKet, a business-to-business online marketplace between restaurants and fresh food suppliers, has raised its first round of venture capital funding, which is a six-digit dollar from 500 TukTuks and a local corporate venture capital fund, founder and chief executive officer Ponglada Paniangwet told DEALSTREETASIA. She declined to mention the exact amount raised, and also did not name the corporate VC, but only said it was one of the leading agricultural firms in Thailand.
– Deal Street Asia

IBank loan limit raised to B500m
The State Enterprise Policy Office (Sepo) has approved raising the loan limits for state-owned Islamic Bank of Thailand (IBank) to 500 million baht per new borrower from 200 million to sharpen the beleaguered…
– Bangkok Post

PTT seeks an upward curve
THAILAND’S leading energy conglomerate PTT will set up a US$45 million (Bt1.6 billion) venture capital fund as part of its search for the new S-curve, said its chief executive Tevin Vongvanich.
– The Nation

Commerce Ministry set to propose modified retail and wholesale bill to Cabinet
THE COMMERCE MINISTRY will this month again try to propose the draft Retail and Wholesale Business Act for Cabinet’s approval, with the aim of controlling aggressive expansion of hypermarkets and protecting local businesses under the spectre of globalism.
– The Nation

AIS and True in battle to attract more subscribers with global digital content
ADVANCED INFO Service and True Corp group are competing intensely to offer appealing content to bring in new subscribers and boost revenue from the broadcast of TV programmes on various platforms.
– The Nation

NBTC Risks Credibility by Silencing Critical Media, Commissioner Warns
A member of the national broadcasting regulatory agency said it is undermining its own credibility by repeatedly going after media for criticizing the military regime.
– Khaosod English

Skilled workforce and strong R&D keys to Thailand 4.0 success
Several of the government’s recent economic initiatives have the potential to kick-start Thailand’s economy. To achieve the economic transformation it has been aspiring for, having a skilled workforce and much more strategic investments in research and development (R&D) will be important.
– World Bank

Three Pagodas Pass back in business
The Three Pagodas Pass border crossing into Myanmar in Kanchanaburi has reopened after being temporarily shut following a hostage-taking incident last month.
– Bangkok Post


Vietnam morning newsVietnam Morning News

Compiled by John Le Fevre    @photo-journ


HCM City targets 8.7 per cent growth in 2017
HCM City authorities have urged the city’s Department of Planning and Investment to propose solutions to achieve a Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) of between 8.4 and 8.7 per cent this year.
– Viet Nam News biz hub

Thai rice worries VN exporters
Thailand’s plan to sell all its rice reserves of about eight million tonnes this year has sparked concerns that this move will undermine Viet Nam’s rice exports.
– Viet Nam News biz hub

Transport Ministry rejects Uber Viet Nam proposal
The Transport Ministry has declined to approve a Uber Việt Nam request to pilot an IT upgrade for its services, citing, among other things, a lack of authorisation and validation from its parent firm.
– Viet Nam News

Anticipation builds for Vietnam’s APEC meeting as Trump invited to join world leaders
Vietnamese leaders have officially invited U.S. President Donald Trump to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Da Nang this November.
VN Express

Vietnam poised to become Asia’s ‘Silicon Valley’
Vietnam is likely to become one of the most important markets for Google and many other information- technology (IT) companies in the near future. This is thanks to its talented IT students, ambitious high-tech projects and pursuit of innovation.
Business Mirror

Vietnam banks to slam doors on home-based business owners
Home-based businesses in Vietnam will soon find it, not just increasingly difficult, but impossible to find a bank loan.
– VnExpress

Ha Noi office and retail competition heating up
The market segment for offices and retail space for lease in Ha Noi is expected to become fiercely competitive as supply increases.
– Viet Nam News biz hub

Vietjet $1.2b listing set for Feb 28, GIC is large shareholder
Vietnam’s low-cost carrier Vietjet will make its listing debut on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange on February 28 at the reference price of VND90,000 ($3.9) per share, the company announced in Thursday and Friday filings, marking the first most expected IPOs in 2017.
– Deal Street Asia

Car prices jump following tax adjustment
The price of domestic cars have soared since the beginning of this year due to the Government’s adjustment of special consumption taxes on imported automobiles.

20% insurance growth target set
Viet Nam’s insurance sector is predicted to grow 20 per cent this year thanks to a change in Government policies, experts said.
– Viet Nam News biz hub

Auto parts market thrives despite infamy
Almost a year after Hà Nội authorities said they were determined to eradicate a market selling mostly stolen automotive parts, nothing much has changed.
– Viet Nam News

Here’s what Vietnam’s multibillion-dollar airport will look like
The public has voted and shortlisted three designs for Long Thanh International Airport. The government will soon have a final say.
– VnExpress

Ho Chi Minh City ranks best, worst hospitals
Ho Chi Minh City published an internal health department ranking of its hospitals for the first time on Friday.
– VnExpress



The Asean Morning News Roundup is compiled by the editorial team at AEC News Today.





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