Asean Morning News Roundup For March 1

Asean Morning News Roundup For March 1
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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).


Asean morning newsAsean Morning News

Compiled by AEC News Today @aecnewstoday


Call for Swift Finalisation of RCEP
THAILAND should work towards a swift finalisation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to offset the prospect of protectionism in global trade, the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) says.
– The Nation

Infrastructure funding needs in Asia to rise sharply to maintain growth: ADB
Infrastructure needs in developing Asia and the Pacific will exceed US$22.6 trillion (Bt789 trillion) through 2030, or $1.5 trillion per year, if the region is to maintain growth momentum, according to a new flagship report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
– The Nation

Airasia X becomes first Asian low-cost airline to fly to the US
AirAsia X (flight code: D7) has received clearance from the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to fly to the US.The airline is the first Asian low-cost carrier to secure approval to operate scheduled passenger flights to the US.
– The Nation

ASEAN responds to the challenge of biodiversity loss
An event that showcased ASEAN’s efforts in biodiversity conservation was held at the sidelines of the 13th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity on 16 December in Cancun, Mexico.
– The Nation

AirAsia eyes sharp growth
AIRASIA GROUP says it will push for higher passenger loads while keeping a tight lid on costs to sustain earnings this year and mitigate the effects from rising oil prices and volatility in currencies.
– The Nation

The Asean Post brings on board new managing editor
Gareth Corsi has been appointed as the managing editor of The Asean Post. He was previously the associate editor at
— Marketing Interactive

Asean leading the battle against forces of anti-globalisation
Kavi Chongkittavorn’s latest column is highly valuable in its assessment that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations has the diplomatic duty and power to counter the backlash against globalisation sweeping some Western countries.
— The Nation

ASEAN PMI inches up to 50.3 in February
The Nikkei ASEAN Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, or PMI, rose slightly to 50.3 in February from 50.0 in January.
— Nikkei Asian Review

Malaysia to be China firms’ platform for Asean markets
China could be looking at turning Malaysia into its hub for the Asean markets, said HSBC Bank Malaysia Bhd chief executive officer Mukhtar Hussain.
— South China Morning Post


Cambodia morning newsCambodia Morning News

Compiled by Vat Vin    @vin_vat


Canada Adds to Pressure on Cambodia Over Political Parties Law
Cambodia’s government is continuing to feel the fallout from its decision to amend the political parties law ahead of elections in June and next year.

Cambodian Government Cites Trump in Threatening Foreign News Outlets
In a sign that President Trump’s criticism of the news media may be having a ripple effect overseas, a government spokesman in Cambodia has cited the American leader in threatening to shutter foreign news outlets, including some that receive money from Washington.
The New York Times

Report Highlights Surplus of Gated Real Estate
In another indication of Phnom Penh’s oversaturated real estate market, a report released on Tuesday says that a third of individual houses in gated communities launched for sale last year have yet to sell, in addition to tens of thousands of units still in various stages of completion soon to hit the market.
The Cambodia Daily (paywall)

Government Soliciting Money to Fund $62M Project For Farmers
A government project aimed at helping farmers make better profits from small-scale agricultural businesses is looking to secure more than half of the $62 million cost through international funding, the Economy and Finance Ministry announced on Tuesday.
The Cambodia Daily (paywall)

Exports driving shift in Thai trade
Cambodian exports to Thailand surged by 46 percent last year compared with 2015 while imports from the neighbouring country decreased slightly, according to statistics provided yesterday by the Ministry of Commerce.
The Phnom Penh Post

KDIC moves closer to assets
Investigators from South Korea’s state-run deposit insurer have announced that they will open a dedicated branch office in Phnom Penh next month to advance efforts to recover Cambodian property assets linked to bankrupt Korean savings banks.
The Phnom Penh Post

Senate feeling ‘violated’ by UN
Cambodia’s Senate yesterday swiftly rubber-stamped widely criticised amendments to the Law on Political Parties, but not without first promising to “take action” if the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights interfered in domestic affairs.
The Phnom Penh Post

Accounting, finance skills most sought after
Job applicants with accounting and finance skills stand a better chance of being hired by Cambodian employers seeking to fill vacancies in their companies, according to a report released yesterday by online career portal Everjobs.
Khmer Times

100 Benzes to hit streets
Star Auto (Cambodia) Co. Ltd, the authorized general distributor for Mercedes-Benz in Cambodia, is aiming big. The company wants to sell around 100 luxury Mercedes-Benz cars this year, which represents a fivefold increase compared with their sales last year.
Khmer Times

Japanese banking giant opens branch
Tokyo-based Mizuho, one of largest banks in Japan, is to open a branch in Cambodia in response to rising investment from the world’s third-largest economy in the kingdom.
Khmer Times

Cambodia Scores 157th in World for Open Data
Cambodia has scored dismally in a global development index, the 2016 Open Data Inventory, which assesses the accessibility of official national statistics from government and private sector websites in 173 countries.
The Cambodia Daily (paywall)

Public Perception of Government Anti-Corruption Efforts Diminishes
Though a smaller proportion of Cambodians reported bribing public officials last year, more people indicated the government was doing a poor job fighting corruption than five years ago, according to a new report.
The Cambodia Daily (paywall)


Indonesia morning newsIndonesia Morning News

Compiled by Stella-maris Ewudolu    @Estee


American Mining Company Suspends Work in Dispute with Indonesia
An American mining company has suspended work at the world’s largest gold mine in West Papua, New Guinea in a dispute with the Indonesian government.
— Voice of America

Indonesian maid ‘had kidney stolen in Qatar’ in suspected case of organ trafficking
An Indonesian domestic worker has claimed her kidney was stolen without her knowledge while she worked in Doha, Qatar, three years ago.

Iran, Indonesia to Open Joint Bank Account
The establishment of a joint bank account between Iran and Indonesia will foster financial cooperation and facilitate bilateral transactions, said the Central Bank of Iran’s governor.
— Financial Tribune

Honda to Invest $360m in Indonesia by 2022
Honda Prospect Motor, the local car manufacturing unit of Japan’s Honda Motor, will invest Rp 4.8 trillion ($360 million) over the next five years in Indonesia to expand its engine, frame and polymer injection production line capacity at its plant in Karawang, West Java.
— Jakarta Globe

DuPont gets Indonesian approval for bakery enzymes
DuPont Danisco has received regulatory approval by the Indonesia food watchdog for a range of bakery enzymes.

Bandung Bomber Is Afiliated With Islamic State: Police
Yayat Cahdiyat, the suspect who allegedly detonated a low-explosive device near Pandawa Park in Bandung, West Java, on Monday morning (27/02) is affiliated with the radical Islamic State movement, a National Police spokesman said on Tuesday.
— Jakarta Globe

Indonesia to Woo Saudi King With $25b Investment Opportunities
Indonesia will dangle $25 billion worth of investment opportunities, mainly in infrastructure projects, to Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud when he visits Jakarta and Bali this week as the country seeks to increase ties with Saudi Arabia.
— Jakarta Globe

KPK Wants to Cooperate With Universities, Introduce Anti-Corruption Curricula
The national antigraft agency seeks to introduce anticorruption curricula to educational institutions, its deputy chairwoman said in a seminar at Atma Jaya University in Yogyakarta on Monday (27/02).
— Jakarta Globe

Shareholders Tell Miner Freeport to Get Tough With Indonesia
Shareholders are pressuring miner Freeport-McMoRan to stand up to the Indonesian government over changes the Southeast Asian country wants to make in the US miner’s contract, Freeport’s chief executive officer said on Monday (27/02).
— Jakarta Globe

Indonesia’s startups continue to attract investors
Startups are not only about big money but it is more about sustainability. After dominating the investment market for the past few years, startups continue to attract investors this year.
— The Nation

Astra’s ’16 Profit Up on Bigger Auto Market Share, Improving Commodity Prices
Indonesian diversified conglomerate Astra International booked a 4.8 percent increase in net income last year, as rising car sales and improving global commodity prices made up for a slump in the company’s bank and heavy machinery businesses.
— Jakarta Globe

State Intelligence Agency Appoints Former Jakarta Military Chief as New Deputy Chief
Maj. Gen. Teddy Lhaksamana, the former Jakarta military command chief, was appointed as the new deputy chief of State Intelligence Agency, or BIN, on Tuesday (28/02), replacing Lt. Gen. Torry Djohar Banguntoro.
— Jakarta Globe

Indonesian suspect partied night before assassination
The night before the assassination, Siti Aisyah partied with her friends ar a wellknown night club in Kuala Lumpur.
— The Nation

French Renewable Energy Group set up in Indonesia
French delegates established on Tuesday a new business group representing French companies that aim to tap into the huge potential in Indonesia’s renewable energy sector.
— Jakarta Post

Indonesia And France Sign Agreement on Space Program
Foreign Affairs Minister Retno L.P. Marsudi, held a bilateral meeting with the French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean Marc Ayrault at the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters on Tuesday, February 28, 2017.

Indonesia to receive US$225 million in dam safety funding
The World Bank Board of Executive Directors on Feb. 27 announced it has approved US$125 million in financing to support the second phase of the Dam Operational Improvement and Safety Project (DOISP) for Indonesia. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is co-financing the project with an additional $125 million.
— Hydro World

Chances rare for Indonesian women peacekeepers
Despite increasing evidence that women play a vital role in post-conflict resolution and peacekeeping operations, Indonesian women are still not given enough opportunities to participate in such missions.
— Jakarta Post

Hardline Indonesian cleric testifies at Jakarta governor trial
The head of an Indonesian Muslim hardline group insisted on Tuesday (Feb 28) that Jakarta’s Christian governor had committed blasphemy as he gave evidence at the city leader’s trial.
— Channel NewsAsia

Indonesia needs stronger participation by its youth
The United Nations categorizes young people as those between 10 and 24 years of age. In Indonesia, Law 40 of 2009 categorizes young people as 16-30 years old. Youth participation is a right protected by the law according to Chapter III on the function, direction and strategy for youth services of Law No 40. Article 7 mentions increased participation and an active role for youth in developing themselves, society, and the nation.
— Asia Times

PNG group unfairly held by Indonesia last year
A Papua New Guinea man says he and several countrymen were subject to unfair incarceration in West Papua by Indonesian authorities.
— Radio New Zealand

Three common facets of Indonesian international schools
Education in Indonesia has undergone many diverse phases of change. One of the most notable developments in the 21st century is the growth of international and national plus schools throughout the country.
— Jakarta Post

Indonesia’s PMI returns to contraction in February
The Nikkei Indonesia Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, or PMI, fell to 49.3 in February from 50.4 in January.
— Nikkei Asian Review

Cop claims trial to robbing Indonesian
A police corporal claimed trial in a Sessions Court to robbing an Indonesian while armed with a pistol.
— The Star Online


Lao PDR morning newsLao PDR Morning News

Compiled by Jose Rodriguez Senas    @15Souter


Tourism agencies urged to plan for activities ahead of Visit Laos Year 2018
IN ANTICIPATION of 2018 being a Visit Laos Year, the Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism has called on tourism agencies to start preparing activities for inclusion in the official programme.
— The Nation

GDP expected to grow at 6.8 percent: IMF
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted that Laos’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will grow at 6.8 percent this year, less than the government’s projected rate of 7 percent.
— Vientiane Times

Laotian Soldiers Are Digging Trenches in Cambodia, Official Says
Laotian soldiers have begun digging trenches in Cambodia to ensure that construction of a disputed road cannot restart, while authorities from both countries have continued to lock horns over the dispute, an official said on Monday.
— Cambodia Daily (paywall)

GEF grant to enhance agro-climatic monitoring
The Global Environmental Facility has provided more than US$5.4 million (about 44.4 billion kip) to support a project strengthening agro-climatic monitoring and information systems to improve climate change adaptation and food security in Laos.
— Vientiane Times

KOICA completes digital maps of Vientiane
A joint cooperation project between Laos and the Republic of Korea on the digital mapping of Vientiane, covering 4,600 hectares on a scale of 1 to 2,000 was completed recently, with a handover ceremony held in Vientiane yesterday.
— Vientiane Times

Phongsavanh keen to build Thai links
REPRESENTATIVES from Laos’ Phongsavanh Group discussed business proposals during a recent visit to Khon Kaen.
— The Nation

Trade with CLMV countries grows to $10 bn: Sitharaman
India’s trade with Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam or CLMV countries has grew from USD 1.5 bn to more than USD 10 bn in the last 10 years, said Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday
— SME Times

Historic auction earns 11.6 billion kip; PM’s car draws highest bid
A historic auction of 14 luxury cars withdrawn from government leaders has earned 11.6 billion kip with the BMW driven by Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith attracting the highest bid at the public sale held at the National Convention Centre yesterday.
— Vientiane Times

PM outlines focal work for March to spur development
Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith has advised authorities in charge to urgently and effectively apply the one-stop service in line with the amended Investment Promotion Law, which was passed by the National Assembly in November last year.
— Vientiane Times

Cigarettes Market Provides Extensive and Highly Detailed Current and Future Market Trends in the Laos Market
“The Report Cigarettes in Laos, 2016 provides information on pricing, market analysis, shares, forecast, and company profiles for key industry participants. –”
— South China Morning Post


Malaysia morning newsMalaysia Morning News

Compiled by Vat Vin    @vin_vat


Saudi Aramco to take 50% stake in Petronas’ refinery and cracker project
The Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco) will take up a 50% stake in the refinery and cracker project in the Pengerang Integrated Complex (PIC) in Johor under the US$7bil deal with Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas).
The Star Online

AirAsia warns of fake ticket sales on social media
AirAsia and AirAsia X have warned the public not to fall victim to deceiving advertisements by unauthorised travel agents on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram who claim to sell heavily discounted flights for AirAsia and AirAsia X.
The Star Online

Malaysian palm oil price recovers from near four-month low
Malaysian palm oil futures recovered late on Tuesday, tracking stronger soyoil prices after hitting their lowest level in nearly four months earlier in the day.
The Star Online

Azalina: Saudi Aramco’s Rapid investment proves Opposition wrong
Opposition claims that the Saudi Arabian Oil Company will pull out of the Refinery and Petrochemicals Integrated Development (Rapid) project in Pengerang, Johor, fizzled out with Saudi Aramco signing an MoU with Petronas today, said Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.
Malay Mail Online

Singdollar hits record high against ringgit
The Singapore dollar yesterday touched a record high against the Malaysian ringgit – and at least one analyst believes the rate could be headed for RM3.30.
New Straits Times

Exabytes acquires HT Internet to offer complete website solutions
Web hosting services and eCommerce solutions provider, Exabytes Group has acquired 100 per cent in HT Internet Sdn Bhd to offer more comprehensive online solutions to its customers as a group.
New Straits Times

Thailand, Southern Rebels Agree to Framework for Limited Ceasefire
Negotiators from Thailand’s military government and a panel representing insurgent groups achieved a small breakthrough in exploratory talks by agreeing Tuesday to a framework for a limited ceasefire in the Thai Deep South, according to officials from both sides.
Benar News

North Korea spy agency runs arms operation out of Malaysia, U.N. says
It is in Kuala Lumpur’s “Little India” neighborhood, behind an unmarked door on the second floor of a rundown building, where a military equipment company called Glocom says it has its office.

MY food delivery startup Delivereat gets $450,635 from Gobi-MAVCAP fund
Malaysian food delivery startup Delivereat has bagged $450,635 (MYR 2 million) in a Pre-Series A funding round lead by Shanghai-based venture capital firm Gobi Partners‘ Gobi MAVCAP ASEAN Superseed Fund that is focused on Southeast Asia’s tech startups.
Deal Street Asia

The Latest: N. Korea sends diplomats to Malaysia to get body
North Korea has sent a high-level delegation to Malaysia to seek the return of the body of leader’s Kim Jong Un’s slain half brother.
ABC News

North Koreans Arrive In Malaysia Seeking To Claim Kim Jong Nam’s Body
The body of Kim Jong Un’s slain half-brother has become the subject of a diplomatic turf war between North Korea and Malaysia, where he was poisoned earlier this month with a powerful nerve agent.
The Two-Way

N. Korean diplomats seek Kim’s brother’s body as Malaysia prepares to charge women for airport murder
North Korea sent a high level delegation to Malaysia on Tuesday to demand the body of leader Kim Jong-un’s half brother, the victim of a deadly nerve-agent attack that many suspect the reclusive regime of orchestrating.
The Telegraph

Construction sector third largest contributor to accident cases, minister says
The construction sector is the third biggest contributor to the 31,943 accident cases referred to the Social Security Organisation (Socso) last year.
Malay Mail Online


Myanmar morning newsMyanmar Morning News

Compiled by Stella-maris Ewudolu    @Estee


Over 100 Myanmar workers arrested in Thai immigration crackdown
Thai authorities arrested more than 100 Myanmar nationals working in Maesot and the surrounding area on February 27 as part of a crackdown on illegal immigration, Eleven reported today.
— Coconuts Yangon

Myanmar accuses UN envoy of bias over Rohingya violence
The Myanmar government has hit out at UN Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee’s latest comments on people who have fled Rakhine state, saying it disagrees with her statements and finds them “unfortunate”.
— Channel NewsAsia

Parliament approves German loan for locomotives project
Yesterday Parliament approved the Ministry of Transport and Communications proposal to take out a Euro 5 million loan from the KFW known as German Government-owned Development Bank to upgrade the Locomotive Shed (Ywahtaung) under the Myanmar Railways (MR).
— Eleven

Myanmar: 160 killed in clashes with rebels in Shan
Clashes with ethnic rebels in Myanmar’s southeastern Shan State have killed more than 160 people including 74 soldiers, according to the military Tuesday.
— Anadolu Agency

Myanmar citizens in Singapore cast their votes for the 2017 by-elections
Myanmar eligible citizens residing in Singapore have begun voting early for the upcoming 2017 by-elections.
— Eleven

Myanmar slowly making life easier for foreign investors
AN ISSUE that foreign investors often struggle with in Myanmar is the inability to import and sell their products directly.
— The Nation

Himalaya Airlines makes Myanmar its fourth international market
Himalaya Airlines launched its second new route of 2017 on 24 February. Having started service to Kuala Lumpur on 10 February, the carrier has now added Yangon (RGN) in Myanmar to its network from Kathmandu (KTM).

Myanmar education offers Thailand a lesson in pluralism
In a sign of what the future may offer, two major reports on Myanmar’s education system released by Save the Children and the Asia Foundation underline what can be achieved by ethnic communities educating themselves. The reports detail the rise of ethnic basic-education providers (EBEP) in Myanmar, a local response to the policy of ultra-nationalist “Burmanisation” – equivalent to ongoing “Thai-ification” here.
— Prachatai English

Addressing drug problems in Myanmar
This policy briefing was drafted by a group of local and international organisations with indepth knowledge and extensive experience of drug-related issues in Myanmar. It is structured around a set of five strategic interventions, each of which comes with concrete recommendations that are adapted to the Myanmar context. It contains reliable, up-to-date information and examples of evidence-based practices from Myanmar and around the world.
— Transnational Institute

Myanmar plans to establish diplomatic relations with seven nations
Myanmar is extending its hand in friendship to seven small nations, according to an announcement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
— Myanmar Times

Mandalay to fulfill clean water demand by 2020
Mandalay City Development Committee’s Water and Sanitation Department has kicked off a plan to supply 100 percent of the demand for drinking water to all seven townships within the district by 2020.
— Myanmar Times

Independent centre reports on nation’s natural resources
The Ethnic Nationalities Affairs Centre (ENAC) (Union of Burma), has released a report recommending greater government emphasis on the possession, management, share of revenues and impact of the country’s natural resources during the second 21st Panglong Conference.
— Myanmar Times

Fruits of labour: Following Myanmar’s produce trail
From north to south, east to west – much of the produce that is available to Yangon’s residents has travelled from far-flung corners of the country.
— Frontier Myanmar

A Burmese monk’s conflict between his calling and rapidly changing society will be featured at weekend edition of what’s billed as the only festival bringing independent films from Myanmar.
— Khaosod English

Myanmar’s Cardinal Bo calls for ‘green theology of liberation’
Warning of the dangers of ecological crisis, especially its impact on the poor, Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon addressed participants Monday (Feb. 27) on the opening day of the 17th Asia-Oceania Meeting of Religious, saying, “Today, we face an environmental holocaust — it is a scary moment.”
— National Catholic Reporter (blog)

The muzzling of the Myanmar Times
Myanmar’s English newspaper of record has outlasted the jailing of one of its founders for contrived offences, a suffocating censorship regime not lifted until 2012 and a controversial early connection with the junta. It may not outlast its current management.
— Frontier Myanmar

Road plan seen as vital for Naga Region
A new axis for the Leshi-Lahe road is being sought so that it can form the basis of a road network for the whole Naga Region, MP Maung Tae said.
— Eleven

7.9 per cent inflation rate expected in next FY
The average inflation rate is expected to reach 7.9 per cent in next fiscal year, according to the summary report on the Union Budget for 2017-2018 fiscal year.
— Eleven

Yangon residents honor Ko Ni, Nay Win at Yangon airport
Yangon residents gathered at the Yangon International Airport yesterday to mark the month that has passed since lawyer U Ko Ni and heroic taxi driver Nay Win were killed there by a hired gunman.
— Coconuts Yangon

Hlaingthaya fire kills one, destroys 50 homes
A fire broke out in Hlaingthaya Township’s Dinesu Ward at about 5:30pm yesterday, killing a woman and burning down more than 50 homes. The site of the blaze was near the Pun Hlaing Golf Resort and Hlaingthaya Industrial Zone-6.
— Coconuts Yangon

22 Yangon townships to see decrease in water supply from March 1-6
If you hadn’t heard by now, Yangon is having a mini collective freak-out as news that the water supply in certain townships will be cut off for nearly a week have spread across social media.
— Coconuts Yangon

NLD brings defamation suit against Pathein couple over Facebook post
The head of the National League for Democracy chapter for Chaungtha Village has sued a teacher and her husband under section 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law over Facebook post that is allegedly defamatory toward State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD.
— Coconuts Yangon


Philippines morning newsPhilippines Morning News

Compiled by Jose Rodriguez Senas    @15Souter


Govt allocating P7.89T for 3-year infra buildup
SOME 5,215 projects have been identified for public funding under the P7.89-trillion Three-year Rolling Infrastructure Program (TRIP) from 2018 to 2020, data obtained by the BusinessMirror from the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) showed.
Business Mirror

Foreign investors turn more cautious after Duterte’s tirades
The Philippines needs to attract more foreign direct investments to achieve the gross domestic product growth target of 7 percent to 8 percent this year, DBS Bank of Singapore said Tuesday.
The Standard 

February inflation likely exceeded 3%, an over 2-year high — Tetangco
A combination of higher minimum fare in public utility vehicles and increases in electricity as well as oil prices likely pushed inflation to its highest level in over two years, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said Monday.
Philippine Daily Inquirer 

Gov’t debt stock hit record high in January
The government’s outstanding debt hit P6.115 trillion, a record high, in January as the government sold more debt paper to finance infrastructure expenditures.
Philippine Daily Inquirer 

PH banks seen to sustain loan growth
The country’s biggest commercial banks are expected to sustain robust loan growth in the next two years amid an expanding economy, although global debt watcher Fitch Ratings warned of a potential overheating in real estate lending.
Philippine Daily Inquirer 

China-Philippine economic ties stable
The economic relationship between China and the Philippines is expected to post stable development, given increasing Chinese investment in the Philippines under the One Belt and One Road initiative and rapid bilateral trade growth driven by free trade agreements.
Global Times 

Philippines likely to continue with strong economic growth in near-term, says ANZ
The Philippines’ robust economic growth is expected to sustain, according to an ANZ research report. However, it also weakens the external accounts. The Philippine authorities have taken a benign view of the situation as the decline in current account is mainly because of imports of capital goods.
Econo Times 

PAL prepares for entry of strategic investor
The consolidation of taipan Lucio Tan’s Philippine Airlines under listed PAL Holdings Inc.— a key step before a new strategic investor can enter PAL—has been given the go-ahead by the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC).
Philippine Daily Inquirer 

Duterte signs Paris climate deal
Despite his misgivings, President Rodrigo Duterte has signed the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Philippine president apologizes for failing to rescue German hostage
Philippine President Rodrigo Dutere on Tuesday apologized to the German government and the family of Juergen Kantner after the Philippines failed to save the German hostage from being beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf group.
Global Times 

Plan to tax lottery winnings opposed
State-run Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) is opposing the Department of Finance’s proposal to tax lottery winnings, saying revenues intended for health and other services will be slashed once bettors get deterred by taxed winnings.
— Philippine Daily Inquirer 

Rice sector awaits government help
THE government announced last week it has decided to extend an executive order (EO) that reduces the tariffs on raw materials used for making processed-meat products, such as offal and mechanically deboned meat (MDM).
Business Mirror 

SMC Philippines mulls airline industry comeback
Filipino food, beverage and packaging multinational San Miguel Corporation (SMC) is considering returning to the airline business, CAPA has reported.

Why miners are not ready for Gina Lopez
Mining industry players did not invest enough in building goodwill. And this explains why they were not prepared for someone like Gina Lopez.

Peso weakens to fresh over 10-year low of 50.27:$1
“Uncertainty” in local politics coupled with global markets’ anticipation of US President Donald J. Trump’s first speech before the US Congress pulled the peso to a fresh over 10-year low of 50.27:$1 on Monday.
Philippine Daily Inquirer 

Duterte fires campaign spokesman as NIA chief
The President mentions his decision to fire Peter Laviña in a recent meeting with labor groups.

Presidential immunity: a catch-22
The public admission of a confessed leader of the much-storied Davao Death Squad or DDS raises the specter of criminal prosecution of an incumbent president.
Philippine Daily Inquirer 

Rule of law, not rule by one
Because of the complexity of the physical world, the sound management of the environment has always required a balancing act, the involvement and cooperation of people and a whole range of stakeholders. This means a brand of environmental governance that sees the forest in addition to the trees, passionate but not discriminatory.
Philippine Daily Inquirer 

PHL’s ‘Smart Cities’ dream: Too slow?
INTERCONNECTION is important in building smart cities. This means that each component of a city should “communicate” with one another in order to make life easier for its population.
Business Mirror 

P125-B ecozone in Quezon awaiting Palace proclamation
The application to convert more than 1,500 hectares in Quezon province into an economic zone was approved by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) in January.
BusinessWorld Online 


Singapore morning newsSingapore Morning News

Compiled by Leakhena Khat    @leakhenakhat


Singapore Military Hack ‘Probably State Sponsored’
The Singaporean military’s dedicated web access system was breached this month by hackers thought to be hunting for official secrets, the government said on Tuesday.
South China Morning Post 

‘Changi Recommends’ initiative seen as success
From one store in 2012, the “Changi Recommends” initiative has grown to eight outlets offering Wi-Fi routers, tours and more.
The Nation 

Singapore trains equipped with automatic fire detection system: Shanmugam
The automatic fire detection system will be triggered to alert the station staff and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) should a fire break out in the MRT train, said Minister for Home Affairs K Shanmugam on Tuesday (Feb 28).
Channel NewsAsia 

Revised Tax Treaty With Singapore Takes Effect
India’s revised tax treaty with Singapore, aimed at checking round-tripping of funds, has come into force.
NDTV Profit 

Cyber attack on Mindef: Take steps to secure online accounts, experts urge
If you are using your NRIC and telephone numbers or birth date as a password to secure online accounts, change it immediately.
The Straits Times 

WP questions need for water price hike
Workers’ Party (WP) Members of Parliament yesterday questioned the decision to raise water prices, calling on the Government to thoroughly explain how the impending 30 per cent hike was calculated. They also suggested that the timing was “political” to avoid having to raise prices when elections draw near.
Today Online

Singapore Commuters Can Soon Use Credit Cards to Board Public Transit
Singaporean commuters, like straphangers just about everywhere, endure the hassle of having to reload prepaid fare cards when taking public transit. But the city-state’s Land Transport Authority has plans the speed things up, launching a pilot program that will let riders pay directly at the fare gates with compatible credit and debit cards. The money will come right out of riders’ bank accounts, eliminating the need to stop at a machine to top off fare cards that are running low.
City Lab

Singapore PM offers blunt assessment of US relationship
Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong turned heads Tuesday when video of a blunt commentary on his nation’s U.S. and China relationships was posted online.

Manage costs but look to higher revenues for SMEs to survive
It was water, water everywhere – and precious little relief for local businesses as more than half the 17 MPs who debated Budget 2017 yesterday voiced concerns about how the upcoming hike in water prices will hurt companies here.
The Straits Times 

New law to help architects work abroad
It will soon be easier for architects here to internationalise their businesses and practise overseas, under changes to the law approved in Parliament yesterday.
The Straits Times 

Should Singapore employees expect bigger paychecks this year?
Amidst the tight labour market, Singapore employees are expecting their employers to raise their salaries by up to 6%, the 2017 Hays Asia Salary Guide revealed.
Singapore Business Review 

World’s largest food and beverage trade show gets a taste of Singapore
Food companies in Singapore donned their aprons to give local tastes and flavours a global exposure.
The Straits Times 

Singapore Bags Innovation Centre
International consulting company Capgemini has chosen Singapore for its newest Applied Innovation Exchange to serve Southeast Asia.
Finews Asia 

Singapore can be pacesetter in Asia
Our way of life is changing, with economies shifting from the third to the fourth industrial revolution – from computers to digitisation and the Internet of Things (IoT).
The New Paper 

MINDEF Internet system breached; data stolen from national servicemen, employees
A breach in an Internet-connected system at the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) earlier this month has resulted in the personal data of 850 national servicemen and employees being stolen, the ministry said on Tuesday (Feb 28).
Channel NewsAsia 

Govt can set table, but it’s up to businesses to succeed: Iswaran
The Government can be an enabler for businesses, but it cannot make decisions for businesses, or pick winners, said Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran in Parliament yesterday, as he reiterated the measures in place to support businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises.
Today Online 

Singdollar hits record high against ringgit
The Singapore dollar yesterday touched a record high against the Malaysian ringgit – and at least one analyst believes the rate could be headed for RM3.30.
The Straits Times


Thailand morning newsThailand Morning News

Compiled by John Le Fevre    @photo-journ


New Thai tax law doubles alcohol prices
In response to a new tax law that doubles the tax rate on Thai liquor, Thai social media has questioned whether the ruling junta has exhausted its budget.
– Prachatai English

Thailand’s PMI unchanged at 50.6 in February
The Nikkei Thailand Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, or PMI, came in at 50.6 in February, unchanged from January’s reading.
– Nikkei Asian Review

Income tax cuts approved as EEC sweetners
THE CABINET yesterday approved the Finance Ministry’s proposal to cut personal income tax for executives, experts and researchers working in the three Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) development-project provinces of Chon Buri, Rayong and Chachoengsao.
– The Nation

Thailand’s share of world GDP may shrink
THAILAND is projected to become the world’s 25th-largest economy in 2050, and as emerging economy will overtake some of the advanced economies, but it will fall behind neighbouring Vietnam and the Philippines, a PwC report says.
– The Nation

Thailand’s January Exports Buoy Gradual Economic Recovery
Thailand’s economy continued its gradual pace of recovery in January, with public expenditure and export growth strengthening but weakness in other indicators, according to the monthly report from the Bank of Thailand.
– Hellinic Shipping News

Revenue Dept eyes Bt100 bn in tax on online transactions
THE REVENUE Department expects to be collecting Bt100 billion from online transactions via indirect taxes over the next five years.
– The Nation

Myanmar education offers Thailand a lesson in pluralism
In a sign of what the future may offer, two major reports on Myanmar’s education system released by Save the Children and the Asia Foundation underline what can be achieved by ethnic communities educating themselves. The reports detail the rise of ethnic basic-education providers (EBEP) in Myanmar, a local response to the policy of ultra-nationalist “Burmanisation” – equivalent to ongoing “Thai-ification” here.
– Prachatai English

Thailand Insurance Market Liberalization: Relaxation of Foreign Shareholding Limits
The long-term growth forecast for Thailand’s insurance industry is quite positive, with increasing income, an ageing population, low market penetration rates, increased market liberalization in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), and supportive regulatory framework all expected to contribute to double-digit growth for the industry over the next few years.
– Lexology

Thailand ranks among countries with slowest mobile internet
Downloading music on your smartphone is a pain, and streaming videos is nearly impossible. So it’s no surprise that Thailand ranks near the bottom in terms of mobile internet speed, according to a chart released this month.
– Coconuts Bangkok

AIS partners with Netflix in Thailand
Netflix, world’s leading internet television network and AIS (Advanced Info Service) announced their partnership. This is Netflix’s first partnership with a mobile network in Thailand, enabling the largest mobile operator in the country to offer its customers the world-class and exclusive entertainment.
– The Nation

Saudi Arabia says travel ban to Thailand still in place
Claims that Saudi Arabia has lifted restrictions on travel to Thailand have been dismissed as untrue by a senior official.
– Thompson Reuters Zawya

Imperial Couple depart for weeklong visit to Vietnam, Thailand
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko arrived in the capital of Vietnam on Tuesday evening on their first trip to the Southeast Asian country where they will meet with the Vietnamese wives and children of former Japanese soldiers to promote goodwill and soothe some of the wounds left over from World War II.
– The Japan Times

With high standards in place, Thailand moves toward MICE sustainability
Hot on the heels of a year of strong and consistent growth, Thailand’s MICE industry looks onward and upward toward new levels of standardisation.
– CIM News Magazine

Thailand feels the Trump effect
I arrived at Government House, the headquarters of Thailand’s military government, on a sweltering afternoon in mid-February. After convincing an assault-rifle packing solider that I wasn’t a confused tourist, I found my way to the office of the government’s spokesman.
– The Washington Post

DSI set to summon 10 Dhammakaya protesters amid crackdown
THE DEPARTMENT of Special Investigation (DSI) has enough evidence to summon 10 protesters, including monks and laymen, and has identified 20 individuals who helped with crowd mobilisation at Pathum Thani’s Khlong Luang Market, DSI deputy chief Songsak Raksaksakul said yesterday.
– The Nation

Thailand, Southern Rebels Agree to Framework for Limited Ceasefire
Negotiators from Thailand’s military government and a panel representing insurgent groups achieved a small breakthrough in exploratory talks by agreeing Tuesday to a framework for a limited ceasefire in the Thai Deep South, according to officials from both sides.
– Benar News

AIT eyes revenue growth on govt projects
Advanced Information Technology “conservatively” expects its revenue to grow by about 15 per cent to Bt5 billion this year, thanks to higher project backlogs and more government tenders coming up.
– The Nation

Popularity of bullfighting grows in South
BULLFIGHTING has been booming in Thailand’s South, attracting tourists and stimulating local economies, amid animal-right activists’ concerns.
– The Nation

Government of Thailand offering scholarships to SKN
The Government of Thailand is offering postgraduate scholarships to candidates from St. Kitts and Nevis, for studies in Thailand for the 2017 academic year.
– The Nation

Shiseido and King Power Thailand target millenial jetsetters
Shiseido Travel Retail has partnered with King Power Thailand to deliver a series of NARS activations in Bangkok, aimed at promoting the brand’s first ever Traveller’s Exclusive collection – NARSissist Jetsetter.
– Duty Free News International


Vietnam morning newsVietnam Morning News

Compiled by John Le Fevre    @photo-journ


Oceanbank scandal court case starts
The Ha Noi People’s Court on Monday opened legal proceedings in one of the biggest economic crime cases in Viet Nam at Ocean Bank, which involves 48 former leaders and employees of the bank.
Viet Nam News Biz hub

Foreign visitors to VN exceed 1 million/month
INTERNATIONAL tourists to Vietnam reached nearly 1.2 million in February, increasing 19.1 per cent on month and 42.2 per cent on year.
The Nation

Saigon in need of a million affordable homes over next decade – expert
The southern hub is in the grips of a major affordable housing shortage amid a rapidly growing population.

Viet Nam approves double taxation agreement with US
Viet Nam has issued a resolution to approve an agreement with the US for avoiding double taxation and preventing fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.
Viet Nam News Biz hub

Gov’t urges early completion of Hanoi rail projects
Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung has urged relevant ministries and agencies to speed up construction of two key rail projects in Hanoi.

Mass fight breaks out at Samsung plant in northern Vietnam
A protest involving hundreds of construction workers broke out at a Vietnamese plant run by electronics giant Samsung in the northern province of Bac Ninh on Tuesday, after clashes with guards at the plant.

Canadian beef exporters seek bigger slab of Vietnamese market

More and more Canadian beef exporters are seeking a bigger share of the market in Viet Nam, Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay told attendants of an event held in Ha Noi on Monday to introduce his country’s beef products.
Viet Nam News Biz hub

Da Nang launches solar power project
Da Nang has announced its first solar power project, funded with 415,000 USD from the European Commission (EC) and 75,000 USD from the city’s counter fund.

Ministries to focus on improving business climate
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) and Finance Ministry (MoF) have set out plans to improve the country’s business environment and the national competitive ability.
Viet Nam News Biz hub

12,000 smuggled chickens culled
Law-enforcement force in Hai Ha district, Quang Ninh province on February 28 confiscated 12,000 breeding chickens smuggled from China.

Vietnam, Brunei target 500 mln USD two-way trade by 2025
Vietnam and Brunei committed to lifting two-way trade to 500 million USD by 2025 at the first meeting of their Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation in Hanoi on February 27.

Vietnam’s ‘bikini airline’ Vietjet takes off in public listing
Vietnam’s low-cost carrier Vietjet – known for its occasional bikini PR stunts – has soared the maximum 20% in its trading debut in Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnam Wants Its Gamblers Staking Their $800 Million at Home
Vietnam’s revolutionary founder Ho Chi Minh relied on lottery ticket sales to raise money for schools and hospitals during the war years. Now Hanoi’s Communist leaders are looking to casinos, horse betting and modern lottery- ticket machines to do the same.

Kim Jong-nam: North Korean team seeks body as women face charges
A high-level North Korean delegation has arrived in Kuala Lumpur as Malaysia announced it will charge an Indonesian and a Vietnamese woman with the murder of Kim Jong-nam, the exiled half-brother of North Korea’s leader.
The Guardian

Vietjet completes $1.2bn listing on Ho Chi Minh City bourse
Low-cost Vietnamese carrier Vietjet has completed its public listing and officially become a fully-listed entity on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange (HOSE), the bourse announced on Tuesday.

Thailand’s Ton Poh Fund invests $11mn in Vietnam’s leading mobile retailer
The Ton Poh Fund, run by Bangkok-based Ton Poh Capital, officially received the shares from their previous owners, two other foreign funds, on Tuesday, the Vietnam Securities Depository has announced.

Vietnam to cater more to Chinese tourists
According to the Chinese tourism administration agency, in the last five years, the number of Chinese travelers has increased by twofold to 120 million. One out of every foreign travelers is from China.
Vietnam Breaking News

Vietnam – one of ASEAN’s most promising economies: Thai newspaper – News –Investment
According to the newspaper, with the growth of 6.5% in 2015, the 92 million- strong country has been a magnet for global investors in recent years as it has actively concentrated on improving diplomatic ties, business-friendly
policies and international trade agreements.
Vietnam Breaking News

Vietnam, Thai firms’ sincere cooperation needed for AEC’s success
Vietnamese and Thai enterprises should sincerely cooperate and actively share experiences and resources towards the success of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), which is scheduled to take shape later this year.
Vietnam Breaking News

New lending regulations worry small firms
Small-sized enterprises are concerned that they would have to borrow from credit institutions at higher rates when a new lending regulation takes effect next month.
Vietnam News

60% use internet in VN
Over 20 years of development, Việt Nam’s internet has made sustainable
contributions to society and Government policies have resulted in 60 per cent of the population using the web, said Phan Tâm, deputy minister of Information and Communications at the on-going APRICOT 2017 conference in HCM City.
Vietnam News

City aims for high-quality low-cost housing
Low-cost housing projects planned by the municipal administration should have the same quality of construction and infrastructure as their commercial counterparts, Đinh La Thăng, Secretary of the HCM City Party’s Committee, has said.
Vietnam News

VN brewing better tea quality
Việt Nam’s tea sector plans to produce 25,000 tonnes of tea using techniques to increase the quality and productivity of tea plants while protecting the health of farmers and land for future generations, the chairman of the Việt Nam Tea Association Nguyễn Hữu Tài said yesterday.
Vietnam 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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