Singapore morning news for February 19

Singapore morning news for February 19
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Singapore morning newsDBS chief sounds cautious note, but expects modest growth this year
Looking to the future, DBS CEO Piyush Gupta sounded a cautious note. For one, mortgage bookings have fallen by 30% to 40% since additional cooling measures were announced in July last year, he said.
— The Edge Singapore

Businesses welcome digital push, emphasis on reskilling workers
Amid slowing global growth, ongoing geopolitical uncertainty and technological disruptions to industries and jobs, the 2019 Budget unveiled on Monday (Feb 18) was perceived by business and industry leaders to be focused on accelerating the development of digital skills and adoption of innovative solutions, strengthening cyber security, and reskilling the workforce with less reliance on foreign workers.
— The Strait Times (annoying popups)

GST increase, 9 per cent “not high by international standards”, says Heng
After the unveiling of all the goodies of the budget such as the Merdeka Generation Package and the $1.1b Bicentennial Bonus, (which includes up to $300 in GST voucher-cash that will benefit 1.4m people), Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced that the Government will raise GST by 2 percentage points sometime between 2021 and 2025.
— The Independent

Everything you need to know about the Big 4’s reactions to Budget 2019
Finance minister Heng Swee Keat declared a Budget that will build a “strong, united Singapore” amidst a decline in support for globalisation in 2019.
— Singapore Business Review

Winners and Losers From Singapore’s Budget as Election Looms
Singapore Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat boosted health-care and military spending, gave tax rebates to citizens and tightened rules on foreign workers ahead of an election that could come as early as this year.
— The Edge Market

Like a ‘small but quick-witted mousedeer’, Singapore can make its way in the world
Delivering his first Budget speech since he was earmarked to succeed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on Monday (Feb 18) reflected on Singapore’s 700-year history and, at the same time, sought to provide assurance to Singaporeans and prepare them for a future of “faster and deeper” changes.
— Today Online

Dovish Fed, stable rates continue to buoy REITs as office space fundamentals improve
The “less hawkish, more dovish” US Federal Reserve statements since December are likely to limit the upside for the US dollar.
— The Edge Singapore

Government needs to recognise trade-off that comes from streaming students in secondary school: Ong Ye Kung
Dividing students into Normal and Express streams in secondary school has “very successfully” improved educational outcomes, but the Government needs to recognise the “trade-off between customisation and stigmatisation”, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Monday (Feb 18).
— Channel NewsAsia (very annoying popups)

Best date ideas in Singapore: Unique and creative ways to romance your partner with a night out
Who says Singapore is boring? We’re anything but, especially if you’re in-the-know about what to do and where to go.
— Asia One

Heng Swee Keat says Singaporeans must work together to build a ‘strong and united Singapore’ in 2019 budget speech
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in his budget speech said that Singaporeans have to play their part to build a “Strong, United Singapore”.
— The Independent

‘Room for improvement’ in how CPF Board communicates payout messages: Manpower Minister
Clearing the air on the debate sparked by an online post on Central Provident Fund (CPF) payouts, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo stressed that there is “no advantage” for CPF Board or the Government to want members to defer payouts.
— Today Online

Smaller duty-free alcohol allowance and GST relief for overseas shopping
From midnight on Tuesday (Feb 19), returning travellers will have a smaller allowance on tax-exempt overseas shopping.
— The Strait Times (annoying popups)

Government to set aside $6.1 billion for Merdeka Generation Fund
Singapore will set aside $6.1 billion for a new Merdeka Generation Fund to provide benefits for close to 500,000 Singaporeans born in the 1950s.
— The Edge Singapore

Singapore woos India’s millennial travelers
Singapore wants to attract Indian millennial tourists. And it is hoping a three-day festival will showcase to young Indians all that Singapore has to offer – from art and entertainment to a bustling nightlife.
— The Jakarta Post

Singapore personal finance site DollarsAndSense acquires local fintech startup
DollarsAndSense, a Singapore-based personal finance portal, has acquired local financial planning startup FundMyLife. The value of the deal was not disclosed.
— Tech in Asia

Lower-wage, older workers to receive greater support amid tighter labour market
Lower-wage and older Singaporean workers aged 55 and above will receive more support with the introduction of the Budget 2019 measures, announced Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat during his Singapore Budget speech today.
— The Edge Singapore

Seniors at work: The new norm for ageing in Singapore
With one of the highest life expectancies and lowest fertility rates in the world, Singapore is on the cusp of an extreme demographic shift.
— Asean Today

Singapore water supplier Hyflux aims to cut some debt by 89%
Water treatment company Hyflux has proposed a restructuring plan that will slash some of its debts by 89%, bringing the utility closer to a rescue led by Indonesian conglomerate Salim Group.
— Nikkei Asian Review (paywall)

Burning smell detected in northeast Singapore ‘likely’ related to Johor landfill fire: NEA
A burning smell detected in the northeast of Singapore over the last two days was likely related to a fire at a landfill in Johor, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said on Saturday (Feb 16).
— Channel NewsAsia (very annoying popups)

CITIC Envirotech wins $95 mil industrial waste treatment project in China
CITIC Envirotech has secured a RMB 474 million ($95 million) hazardous industrial waste treatment project in Linfen City, Shanxi Province, China.
— The Edge Singapore

Singapore Exports Sink Under Growing Weight of Trade War
Singapore’s exports dropped the most in more than two years in January, flashing another warning sign for the trade-reliant economy under stress from ongoing tariff tensions and slowing global demand.
— Bloomberg

Singapore says soccer star could face jail after missing enlistment
Singapore’s first soccer player signed to the English Premier League has missed his compulsory military service and now faces charges that carry up to three years in jail, the city-state’s defence ministry said on Monday.
— The Star Online

The Singapore Exchange is a shrinking capital market, but still has its strong points – Bloomberg
“The decline over recent years has been clear and pronounced,” the study stated. This decline was due to a number of companies dropping out of the listing, while others merged with bigger corporations or went private.
— The Independent

The global economy could surprise on the upside
Despite the growing pessimism, we think that many of us could be underestimating the chances of a turnaround in the global economy.
— The Edge Singapore

Singapore’s Jan non-oil exports suffer biggest decline in more than 2 years
Singapore’s exports stumbled more than expected in January, getting 2019 off to a bumpy start amid signs trade frictions are having an impact on Asia’s trade-reliant economies.
— Today Online

First of four custom-built RSN submarines launched in Germany
The first of four customised submarines designed for operations in Singapore’s shallow and busy tropical waters was launched in Germany on Monday (Feb 18).
— Channel NewsAsia (very annoying popups)

S$1.1 billion Bicentennial bonus, rebates, and vouchers pour in ahead of the next General Election
As many Singaporeans expected, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced a Bicentennial bonus, rebates and vouchers as he delivered his Budget 2019 speech today.
— The Independent

More benefits for local workforce from enterprise initiatives; services to undergo foreign worker quota cuts
Starting from April 1 2020, Singapore will require all transformation efforts supported by Enterprise Singapore’s Enterprise Development Grant to include positive outcomes for workers, such as wage increases.
— The Edge Singapore

Customisation of Type 218SG submarine includes use of materials suited to saltier Singapore waters
Starting on a clean slate has allowed Singapore to customise the new Type 218SG submarines more extensively, compared to what it could do with second-hand submarines.
— The Strait Times (annoying popups)

Greater healthcare assurance; additional $3.1 bil set aside for healthcare subsidies and support
As more Singaporeans enter their senior years, healthcare needs to grow, according to finance minister Heng Swee Keat in his Budget 2019 speech.
— The Edge Singapore

Budget 2019: Govt to spend S$3.6 billion in next 3 years to help workers and SMEs
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced in the Budget speech that the government will spend S$3.6 billion over the next 3 years on Singapore workers and small-medium enterprises (SMEs).
— The Independent

Encouraging strong partnerships within Singapore and across the world
To support industry transformation, Budget 2019 will continue to support deep partnerships among companies within Singapore and across the world.
— The Edge Singapore

Singapore hits top spot in Asia-Pacific as preferred millennials’ destination
Singapore hits top spot in Asia-Pacific as preferred millennials’ destination
— The Independent

Interning abroad a good way for young Singaporeans to gain exposure
Ms Bernice Chan was only 19 when she went to China to intern on a farm run by seafood supply chain manager Oceanus Group.
— The Strait Times (annoying popups)

Singapore to invest $15.5 bil in defence, security & diplomacy efforts
The Singapore government has committed to invest some $15.5 billion – which is equivalent to about 30% of its total expenditure this year – to support the city state’s defence, security and diplomacy efforts.
— The Edge Singapore

Over S$8 billion dollars to be spent on Merdeka Generation Package that will benefit 500,000 Singaporeans
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat is presently delivering this year’s Budget speech and has given additional details on the Merdeka Generation Package, based on what Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced during last year’s National Day Rally speech.
— The Independent

Overall budget surplus of $2.1 billion for Financial Year 2018
An overall budget surplus of $2.1 billion is expected for the 2018 financial year, a $2.7 billion increase from the $600 million deficit that was forecast a year ago.
— The Strait Times (annoying popups)

SilkAir to launch non-stop flights to Busan from May 1
Singapore Airlines’ regional subsidiary SilkAir will soon operate non-stop flights between Singapore and Busan in South Korea, the carrier announced in a press release on Monday (Feb 18).
— Channel NewsAsia (very annoying popups)

$1.3 bil worth of initiatives launched to commemorate Singapore bicentennial
In commemoration of Singapore’s bicentennial this year, the Singapore government is introducing two special initiatives to “support the spirit of giving back” in the form of a $200 million Bicentennial Community Fund, as well as a $1.1 billion Bicentennial Bonus.
— The Edge Singapore

Republic has a place in the world as long as it stays relevant and adapts, says Heng Swee Keat
To chart Singapore’s future, the Government picked up on three lessons from the country’s history, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said as he closed his Budget speech on Monday (Feb 18).
— The Strait Times (annoying popups)

Revival of water talks, price of raw water to S’pore still too cheap, says Malaysian PM
Malaysian PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad said, “We are of the view that the price of 3 sen for 1,000 gallons of raw water was decided in 1926.
— The Independent

Mildly expansionary, but socially generous
Singapore has one of the most conservative fiscal accounting systems worldwide. The “primary balance” here subtracts total government spending (operating and development) from operating revenue alone.
— The Strait Times (annoying popups)

Singapore unveils more support for local firms to grow
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in the Budget 2019 speech on Monday announced measures to support start-ups and enable firms to grow, amid a push to build deep enterprise capabilities.
— The Edge Singapore


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Singapore morning news by AEC News Today is your one stop source for Singapore news on matters of governance and policies affecting Asean business communities. It is published M-F by AEC News Today: Governance, not government; policies not politics.


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Piseth Pov graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics Science from the Royal University of Law and Economics, Phnom Penh in 2017, and a Bachelor’s degree in English Communications from Western University, Phnom Penh, the same year.

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