Asean Morning News For March 17

The most comprehensive #Asean Morning News Roundup published

Asean Morning News For March 17
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Asean Morning News is the most comprehensive selection of reports on what you need to know from around the Asean Economic Community (AEC) published. All articles are hand curated by the team at AEC News Today.

 

Asean morning newsAsean Morning News

Compiled by AEC News Today @aecnewstoday

 

Being Singaporean The Best in Asean
When it comes to ease of travelling nationals from Singapore and Malaysia have the fewest hassles with their passports among the most convenient  in the world for gaining visa-free entry to other countries.
– AEC News Today

ASEAN expects significant rise in investments
ASEAN has agreed to strengthen its focus on action agenda on investments as the 10-member states expect a significant increase in investments into the region, which seeks to become a production hub and single market.
— Manila Bulletin

Australia calls for enforceable South China Sea pact soon
Australia urged Southeast Asian nations and China to conclude a legally binding code of conduct in the South China Sea as soon as possible, voicing concern Thursday about the scale of reclamation and construction by China in the disputed territory.
— Phil Star

Rice prices fall in India; stable in Vietnam, Thailand
Rice prices in India and Vietnam advanced while Thai prices dropped due to a weaker baht, traders said on Thursday.
Zawya 

Trump, Brexit a big challenge to Asean – Danish economist
A former official of Denmark and an economic expert has advised the Association of Southeast Nations (Asean) to work hard to attain growth since member countries of the regional bloc could not expect much from the government of President Donald Trump.
— Manila Times

Matrade: Malaysia to further expand exports to Asean, Africa
Malaysia wants to further expand and strengthen its exports to Asean and African countries as they offered good business opportunities and growth prospects for local exporters.
— The Star Online

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EU, ASEAN Ministers Agree to Consider Trade Talks Reboot
The EU and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are preparing to examine the prospect of re-launching talks for a region-to-region trade accord, nearly eight years after the original plans for such a project were put on hold.
— ICTSD Bridges News

Folding Cartons Market to Reach a Value of US$4.9 Billion by 2024 – ASEAN Industry Analysis, Trends, Forecast by TMR
According to the latest market report published by Transparency Market Research titled ‘Folding Cartons Market’: ASEAN Industry Analysis and Forecast 2016-2024′, the revenue generated from sales of folding cartons has been estimated presented an opportunity worth US$2.8 bn in 2016.
— PR Newswire (press release)

ASEAN Pharmaceutical Industry Exhibition to be Held in Jakarta
Jakarta International Expo Kemayoran will hold Southeast Asia’s Convention on Pharmaceutical Ingredients of 2017 on March 22-24. The exhibition, which will mark its sixth event this year, is a venue for pharmaceutical industries, medicine suppliers, packaging, and health tools from across the globe to reach the Southeast Asian market.
— Tempo.co

A challenge to Asean
There have been some new developments regarding the ongoing dispute in the Asia Pacific. A US aircraft carrier strike group was reported patrolling the South China Sea last week. Days after, Beijing told Washington not to challenge its sovereignty in the waterway.
— Inquirer.Net

Asean’s attitude toward civil society
The relationship between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or Asean and civil society organizations (CSOs) has been a thorny one throughout 11 years of engagement. This is despite the fact that Asean has explicitly recognized the role that CSOs can play in the region. The main forum for CSO engagement with Asean is the Asean Civil Society Conference/Asean Peoples’ Forum (ACSC/APF).
— Inquirer.Net

Business expo to boost ASEAN-Africa trade
The 2017 Africa-ASEAN Business Expo (AABE) will take place in Johannesburg City, South Africa, from November 6-8.
— Viet Nam News

Duterte seeks ASEAN-China collaboration to boost tourism
Tourism in ASEAN member states and China can get the needed boost if there is stronger collaboration rather than conflict and division, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday night.
— Manila Bulletin

 

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Cambodia morning newsCambodia Morning News

Compiled by Vat Vin    @vin_vat

 

Hun Sen loses his right-hand man
The death of deputy premier Sok An leaves a substantial void in the Cambodian People’s Party-led government with crucial elections on the horizon
– Asia Times

Fears Hover Over Plan to Collect Data on All Cambodians
Every Cambodian will be assigned a 10-digit identification number under which information from various government departments, as well as the private sector, will be collected in a central database, Interior Minister Sar Kheng announced on Thursday.
The Cambodia Daily (paywall)

Thai-Cambodia rail link stalled by compensation claims
Settlement of compensation claims for 50 families living alongside a kilometre of rail track in the border town of Poipet threatens to delay the opening of a new rail service between Cambodia and Thailand.
Bangkok Post 

Malaysia-Cambodia-Thailand subsea cable launches
A new subsea cable connecting Malaysia, Cambodia and Thailand has been launched in Cambodia, adding at least 30Tbps of regional capacity.
Telecom Asia 

Air cargo service takes flight
Cambodia Angkor Air launched what it claimed to be the country’s first domestic air cargo service yesterday, using the existing capacity of its commercial passenger flights to fill the growing demand for air shipments.
The Phnom Penh Post 

NBC to make 40B riel available to bidders
The National Bank of Cambodia will hold its sixth liquidity-providing collateralised operation (LPCO) on March 21 with 40 billion riel ($9.89 million) available to Cambodian financial institutions in need of liquidity, it said in a press release.
The Phnom Penh Post

12 reasons why you should invest in Cambodia now
If Thailand is old story, and Myanmar is too young a market, then Cambodia is, economically and literally, just in between.
Property Report 

Not all is lost, says one of Cambodia’s real estate’s most prominent moguls
While the property bubble in Cambodia has been wavering and showing signs of bursting, Sear Rithy, founder and chairman of WorldBridge Land, remains bullish, pointing out how the flow of real estate purchasers have not been cut off completely.
The Phnom Penh Post

Environmental Experts Voice Concern About Effects of Dam Projects in Cambodia
Cambodian environmental experts have expressed concern that the country’s various hydropower dams will harm the livelihoods of people who live in the Lower Mekong Basin, especially since the government is permitting investment projects to be built along the country’s rivers despite expected negative impacts.
Radio Free Asia 

US sends Cambodia $500m Bill for Genocide Services Rendered
Wage slavery is very chic in the western world, but imagine if you were a Cambodian who was forced to “pay back” the U.S. for bombing your country and killing 500,000 of your own people nearly fifty years ago.
Mina

Blood Donations Climb, But Still Lag Far Behind Neighbors
Blood donations ticked up 22 percent last year, but still lagged behind other countries in the region, Health Ministry officials said on Wednesday, faulting provincial health officials for the lack of donations outside of Phnom Penh.
The Cambodia Daily (paywall)

Cambodia’s Brown Coffee brews up entrepreneurial success
Brown Coffee is the most popular coffee shop among Phnom Penh’s younger crowd. Managing partner Chang Bunleang, 30, cofounded the chain in 2009 with three cousins, including an architect and a software engineer.
Nikkei Asian Review

IFC to boost corporate governance
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) launched a corporate governance initiative yesterday aimed at enhancing the efficiency of Cambodia’s private sector to strengthen the business climate and spur foreign investment and job creation, it said in a release.
The Phnom Penh Post 

Cambodia Rights Official Calls for Minister of Justice to Resign
The president of an influential human rights group in Cambodia called on the country’s minister of justice to resign Wednesday for “turning a blind eye” to what he said was the “arbitrary detention” of his staff members, held amid an investigation into an alleged political sex scandal.
Radio Free Asia

The ‘Chinazation’ of Cambodia
Just a few blocks from the Royal Palace, in the traditional heart of downtown Phnom Penh, sits one of Cambodia’s most renowned Chinese schools. Over the past century, the Tuan Hoa School has witnessed the many ups and downs of the capital. Today, it has front-row seats to an unprecedented boom.
Nikkei Asian Review

Cambodia reluctant to repay US war debt
Cambodia is insisting that the United States should drop a nearly 50-year-old war debt.
Aljazeera 

Cambodian Officials Unaware of Thai Rhino Horn Smuggler
Authorities in Cambodia yesterday said they had no knowledge of a Thai woman who reportedly flew through Phnom Penh last week with millions of dollars in contraband rhinoceros horns that were eventually seized in Bangkok.
The Cambodia Daily (paywall)

Smart adds support to startup incubator
Cambodian telecom Smart Axiata announced a new partnership yesterday with the Asia Foundation to support their Tekhub initiative and help develop the country’s startup ecosystem.
The Phnom Penh Post 

Explore the wonders of Cambodia
More than one million Britons visited Thailand in 2016, but only a comparatively meagre 150,000 went to its neighbour Cambodia. The country dubbed the ‘Kingdom of Wonder’ is still a relative mystery for British tourists – but perhaps not for much longer. TripAdvisor users recently rated Siem Reap, in the north-west of the country, their number one destination in Asia.
Director 

Cambodia: towards single party dictatorship?
Cambodia’s ruling party is seeking to shore up its chances of electoral success with recent changes to the rules governing political parties, Sorpong Peou writes.
Policy Forum

 

Indonesia morning newsIndonesia Morning News

Compiled by Stella-maris Ewudolu    @Estee

 

Indonesia POS startup Pawoon raises series A from Kejora Ventures
Indonesia’s point-of-sales (POS) startup Pawoon has raised an undisclosed amount of series A funding round led by existing backer Kejora Ventures, the company announced today.
— Deal Street Asia

Indonesia’s first private airport to open up in 2018
Indonesia’s first private airport is set to open up on Bintan Island in Riau Islands province by the end of 2018 following approval from the Transportation Ministry last year.
— The Jakarta Post

Saudi King lavishes Rolex watches, diamond rings on Indonesian officials
Customised Arabian sabres, Rolex watches, gold ballpoint pens and diamond rings.
— The Star Online

Jokowi opts to kill tobacco bill
In an about face move that demonstrated stronger support for the country’s public health, the government said on Wednesday that it refused to deliberate the controversial tobacco bill, which seeks to boost cigarette production while dismissing the dangers of smoking.
— The Jakarta Post

Widodo wants 40th on ‘business ease’ index
INDONESIAN President Joko Widodo has reaffirmed his desire for his country to jump to 40th place on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business (EODB) index in 2018 from its current 91st position.
– The Nation

Bank Indonesia Keeps Interest Rates Unchanged
Bank Indonesia, the country’s central bank, has left interest rates unchanged after a policy meeting this week to counter the effects of higher United States interest rates and rising inflation in the country.
— Jakarta Globe

Indonesian people smuggler gets six years
He is said to have helped organise more than 1500 people’s passage to Australia and went as far as Kenya to evade authorities.
— News.com.au

Indonesia lender BRI hires Telkom exec to boost fintech, to form VC unit
State-owned lender Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) has appointed Indra Utoyo, a director for innovation and strategic portfolio at another state-owned firm Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Telkom), as operational director.
— Deal Street Asia

Top Indonesia Nickel Miner Seeks to Export 6 Mln Tons of Ore
PT Aneka Tambang, one of Indonesia’s biggest nickel producers, is seeking government approval to export 6 million metric tons of low-grade ore, two months after the nation relaxed its ban on shipments.
— Bloomberg

Singapore trumps peers in THE Asia rankings; Malaysia, Indonesia named emerging stars
They did it again. The prestigious National University of Singapore (NUS) beat its Asian peers for the second year running to emerge top in the Times Higher Education (THE) Asia University Rankings 2017.
— Study International News

Utilization of Indonesia’s Car Manufacturing Capacity Low
The utilization of Indonesia’s installed car production capacity is expected to fall from 58 percent in 2016 to 55 percent in 2017 as the expansion of domestic manufacturing capacity is not in line with growth of domestic car sales and car exports.
— Indonesia Investments

Jakarta election debate to be held on April 12
The Jakarta General Elections Commission (KPU Jakarta) has announced that only one more official candidate debate would be held ahead of the runoff in the capital’s gubernatorial election. That debate is scheduled for April 12.
— The Jakarta Post

New Bali Process Forum to Combat Modern Slavery: Australian FM
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop welcomed the launch of the new Bali Process Government and Business Forum, an Australian and Indonesian partnership to combat human trafficking and modern slavery, on Thursday (16/03).
— Jakarta Globe

Jokowi inaugurates Indonesia-Malaysia border post
President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) inaugurated an integrated Indonesia-Malaysia border post in Badau sub-district, Kapuas Hulu district in West Kalimantan province.
— Antara News

Thai participation in acquisition of Chevron geothermal assets in Indonesia
With an ownership stake in the Wayang Windu geothermal plant in Indonesia, and the participation in the acquisition of geothermal assets in Indonesia by Chevron, Thai firm EGCO Group continues its international investment strategy.
— Think GeoEnergy

Michael Essien Becomes the Highest-Paid Footballer in Indonesia
Michael Essien, a former Ghana and Chelsea star who had won the UEFA Champions League, two Premier League titles and four FA Cups with Chelsea, reportedly receives Rp 9 billion ($647,000) a year at his new club Persib Bandung, breaking the record for a footballer’s salary in Indonesia.
— Jakarta Globe

 

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Lao PDR morning newsLao PDR Morning News

Compiled by Vat Vin    @vin_vat

 

Foreign tourist arrivals drop by 10 percent in 2016
The number of foreign tourists visiting Laos dropped for the first time in 2016 after several successive years of visitor growth, newly compiled statistics suggest.
— Vientiane Times

Vientiane airport expansion not up to speed
The Vientiane International Airport Terminal Expansion project is now 13 percent complete after construction began in December 2015, but is a little behind schedule.
— Vientiane Times

Authorities Order Closure of 253 Furniture Factories in Savannakhet
During the cabinet monthly meeting for February, the Task Force Committee that was assembled by the cabinet, was instructed to continue carrying out the government’s order to regulate wood processing businesses across the country, and to address unlawful business operations and illegal logging.
— The Laotian Times

Switzerland Revives Agriculture and Forestry College in Laos
The Swiss government has granted US$4.2 million for the third phase of the Support to the Reform of the Agriculture and Forestry Colleges (SURAFCO) project in Laos.
— The Laotian Times

Suanthounxay Spends US$ Millions on Construction of Water Supply
The local company Suanthounxay has spent more than 72 billion kip (U$$9 million) for the construction of a water supply plant to supply the Savan-Seno Special Economic Zone.
— Lao News Agency

Laos in Process of Applying for Two More World Heritage Sites
The government is accelerating its preparation of key documents necessary to secure World Heritage Status for the Plain of Jars in Xieng Khuang and the Hin Nam No Protected Area in Khammuan Province.
— Lao News Agency

Regional forum ends with adoption of sustainable transport statements
The Intergovernmental Tenth Regional Environmentally Sustainable Transport (EST) Forum in Asia, which took place in Vientiane from March 14-16, ended yesterday with the adoption of two declarations on sustainable transport development.
— Vientiane Times

Muang Thai in Lao move
Muang Thai Life Assurance Plc’s president and chief executive Sara Lamsam (front row, centre) at the launch of STMuang Thai Insurance, a joint venture with Muang Thai Life Assurance Co Ltd, Muang Thai Insurance, Muang Thai Holding and Laosbased ST Group Co Ltd on Wednesday.
— The Nation

Vientiane Sustainable Urban Transport Project Underway
Vientiane is tackling the issue of its over crowded and congested streets by focusing on improving non-motorised transport and public transport in the city.
— The Laotian Times

Statistics Show Lao People Traveling More Than Ever Before
In 2016, Laos reported that an astonishing 3.05 million outbound travelers crossed its borders to other countries.
— The Laotian Times

Lao Front discusses achievements, structural improvements
Achievements over the past year and approval of a new organisational structure are tabled for discussion by the Lao Front for National Construction (LFNC) this week at the Front Committee’s second ordinary plenary session of the Tenth Congress.
— Vientiane Times

PM Urges Meun Authorities to Better Address Social Problems
Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith along with his delegation on March 14 visited Meun district, Vientiane province, where he urged local authorities to attach a greater attention to addressing social problems.
— Lao News Agency

Media Practitioners Enrich Knowledge of Forest Regulations
A two-day workshop by Lao National Radio and the Wildlife Conservation Association opened on March 16 in Vientiane Province to equip media professionals with knowledge of the action plan on the implementation of forest protection law and forest management.
— Lao News Agency

 

Malaysia morning newsMalaysia Morning News

Compiled by Vat Vin    @vin_vat

 

Thai authorities foil attempt to smuggle 27 Rohingyas to Malaysia
Immigration police and troops arrested a Thai truck driver while he was allegedly trying to smuggle 27 Rohingya people from Bangkok to Narathiwat to be further smuggled to Malaysia early Friday.
– The Nation

Malaysia vehicle sales rise 3.7 per cent in January
SALES of motor vehicles in Malaysia rose 3.7 per cent to 11.4 billion ringgit (Bt89.9 billion) in January from a year ago but fell 9.4 per cent from December, according to the country’s Statistics Department.
– The Nation

Malaysia says Interpol issued ‘red notice’ for four North Koreans
Interpol has issued a “red notice”, the closest instrument to an international arrest warrant, on four North Korean suspects wanted in connection with the murder of Kim Jong Nam, Malaysia’s police chief said on Thursday.
Reuters

TPG upbeat on prospects
TRIVE Property Group Bhd (TPG) is bullish on its solar power generation equipment business following the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a China-based company yesterday.
New Straits Times

Labuan IBFC ideal for Asian companies shifting to “new financial normal”
The Labuan International Business and Financial Centre (Labuan IBFC)’s physical location and accessibility makes it an ideal centre for Asian-based companies to establish their presence in order to conform to new “financial normals”, namely; the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) and Base Erosion Shifting (BEPS).
New Straits Times

Analysts bullish on Bursa
ARE the bulls back on Bursa Malaysia? Analysts appear to believe so, based on the sharp increase in average daily value (ADV) of local stocks traded so far this year.
New Straits Times

XOX Mobile eyes two million subscribers
XOX Mobile, Malaysia’s first mobile virtual network operator, targets two million subscribers this year.
The Star Online

Statistics Department: Sales value of motor vehicle up at RM11.4b in January
Sales of motor vehicles business rose 3.7% to RM11.4bil in January 2017 from a year ago but it fell 9.4% from December 2016, according to the Statistics Department.
The Star Online

Hunt is on for overstaying North Koreans in Sarawak
Malaysian authorities are tracing 87 North Korean workers with expired work permits in Sarawak for eventual deportation, according to Deputy Home Minister Datuk Masir Kujat.
– Malay Mail Online

Malaysia-Cambodia-Thailand subsea cable launches
A new subsea cable connecting Malaysia, Cambodia and Thailand has been launched in Cambodia, adding at least 30Tbps of regional capacity.
– TelecomAsia

Eco World Q1 net profit jumps 461% to RM116mil
Eco World Development Group Bhd’s net profit surged 461% to RM116.16mil in the first quarter ended Jan 31, 2017 compared with RM20.67mil in the same period last year, due to gain on dilution of its equity interest in Paragon Pinnacle.
The Star Online

Iskandar Waterfront to raise US$338 million to shrink debt
Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd (IWH), which recently offered to buy out its listed unit Iskandar Waterfront City Berhad (IWC) , said the merged entity was looking to raise about US$338 million this year by issuing new shares.
– FMT News

MDEC records new investments of RM16.3bil in 2016
Malaysian Digital Economy Corp (MDEC) has today announced that Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) companies have recorded new investments of RM16.3bil in 2016, of which RM6.43bil were from new investors.
The Star Online

PAS MP lambasted for mooting caning against illicit births
Pasir Puteh MP Datuk Dr Nik Mazian Nik Mohamad has been chastised for suggesting in Parliament yesterday that caning be used as a punishment to prevent out-of-wedlock pregnancies.
– Malay Mail Online

Cane drug addicts too, says PAS MP
Hot on the heels of his proposal to lash those caught for zina (illicit sex), PAS lawmaker Dr Nik Mazian Nik Mohamad now suggests that drug addicts be caned as well.
– FMT News

Minister: 2.6 million students received PTPTN loans between 1997-2016
A total of RM48.6 billion were given as study loans to 2.6 million students by the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) since 1997 to the end of last year, the Dewan Rakyat was told yesterday.
Malay Mail Online

Minister: Jong-nam’s kin has left body to Malaysia
The family of the murdered Kim Jong-nam will allow Malaysia to determine what to do with his body, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam.
Malay Mail Online

Penang halves fee for some foreign buyers, but raises price floor to RM3m
The Penang government has agreed to halve the approval fee for foreign purchasers of some stratified properties on the island from three per cent to 1.5 per cent.
Malay Mail Online

Prudent spending helps Petronas control earnings decline
Petronas has managed to control its decline in earnings in the wake of low crude oil prices due to cost optimisation initiatives, ratings agency Moody’s said yesterday.
– FMT News

 

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Myanmar morning newsMyanmar Morning News

Compiled by Stella-maris Ewudolu    @Estee

 

Trump’s planned reduction in refugees may hit Myanmar worst
Tin, her husband and five children have cleared years of refugee hurdles to come to the U.S.: blood tests, interviews, DNA and fingerprints, background checks. She has her one must-bring possession within reach, a well-worn Bible, and keeps their phone charged for the U.S. Embassy to call.
— Merced Sun Star

Myanmar must work to close Rohingya camps, says panel led by Kofi Annan
Myanmar should immediately start allowing Rohingya Muslims to return home and ultimately close rundown camps for the displaced in its western Rakhine state, a panel led by former U.N. chief Kofi Annan said on Thursday.
— Channel NewsAsia

Myanmar Ethnic Militias Meet With Chinese Envoy to Discuss Kokang Conflict
Ethnic armed groups fighting the Myanmar army in the country’s volatile northern states met with a Chinese special envoy on Wednesday to discuss stopping deadly clashes along the border that have forced tens of thousands of Myanmar residents to flee to China.
— Radio Free Asia

Myanmar to solicit bids for its 1st LNG terminal
An international tender to build Myanmar’s first liquefied natural gas terminal will start as early as April, presenting a business opportunity for Asian trading and energy companies, according to a government source.
— Consult-Myanmar

Accept Rohingya minority as citizens, DPM urges Myanmar
The way the Myanmar military is treating the Rohingya there has put the country at odds with the principles of Asean, says Malaysia.
— The Star Online

Massive Fire Destroys Dozens of Filling Stations in Kyauktaw
A massive fire burned through dozens of filling stations here in Kyauktaw Township on Wednesday (Mar 15) evening.
— Rohingya Vision

Myanmar’s AGD Bank Seeks Foreign Partners, Has Talked With Uber
Myanmar’s Asia Green Development Bank Ltd. is seeking foreign partners and has held talks with Uber Technologies Inc. as it seeks to harness digital platforms to service the most under-banked country in Asia.
— Consult-Myanmar

FDA testing foods in Pyin Oo Lwin
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in Mandalay is testing jams and various other food items produced in Pyin Oo Lwin township, Mandalay Region, to ensure safety and raise awareness on cleanliness among consumers.
— Myanmar Times

Emirates to launch direct Yangon-Phnom Penh air link
EMIRATES, a Dubai-based airline that flies to nearly 150 destinations globally, is set for the launch of its Dubai-Yangon-Phnom Penh route on July 1.
— Eleven

Small water pumps banned at three sides of palace moat
The public will not be allowed to use small water pumps along three streets bordering the Mandalay palace moat this coming Thingyan (Water Festival), said U Ye Myat Thu, member of the Mandalay City Development Committee (MCDC).
— Myanmar Times

New market building for Sittwe
A new building which will be constructed to replace the May Yu market in Sittwe township, Rakhine State, will include facilities such as a playground, hall, cinema and restaurants, as well as 268 shop lots offering goods such as clothing, commodities and electronic products.
— Myanmar Times

Japan’s watercraft for Rakhine water transport
One of the Three ships that will be used for sorely needed inland waterway passenger transport in Rakhine State arrived yesterday at the Ngalapway Jetty in Kyaukpyu.
— Global New Light Of Myanmar

US firm to help boost shrimp production
THOUGH MYANMAR’S shrimp export is much less than that of Vietnam and Thailand in terms of tonnage and value, the nation is set to leapfrog its production with American experts’ technical assistance, said Kyaw Tun Myint, president of the Myanmar Shrimp Association.
— Eleven

Local Militia Expels Myanmar Internal Refugees From Land in Kachin State
A local militia in the northern Myanmar town of Waingmaw has started clearing out refugees who have been staying on its land since 2012 when they were displaced by hostilities between ethnic rebels and the government army, villagers and a lawmaker from Kachin state said Thursday.
— Radio Free Asia

Japan set to provide Myanmar additional $30m grant in aid
JAPAN-BASED Nippon Foundation and sister organisations have granted Myanmar nearly $90 million to fulfill the nation’s basic needs since 1976, and have planned to support additional $30 million during the National League for Democracy Government term, said Yohei Sasakawa, special envoy of the Japanese government for national reconciliation in Myanmar and chairman of the Nippon Foundation (TNF).
— Eleven

N Health JV launches Myanmar’s first private medical lab
NATIONAL HEALTHCARE Systems Co Ltd, a Thai medical service provider supporting hospital businesses in Asean, opened on Sunday an independent clinical laboratory as a joint venture with two Myanmar firms – Sea Lion Group and Bahosi Hospital.
— Eleven

Tourists and guides found wearing shoes on pagodas will be prosecuted, warn Bagan authorities
Tourists and tour guides who are caught with their shoes still on while entering or climbing a pagoda will be prosecuted, according to Director Aung Aung Kyaw of the Bagan Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library. The statement comes after multiple reports of ignorant foreigners climbing Bagan’s pagodas with their shoes still on and negligent tour guides failing to inform their clients.
— Coconuts Yangon

Duterte to meet Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar
President Rodrigo Duterte is set to meet Burmese democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi during his visit to Myanmar this weekend.
— Rappler

Tackling Asia’s final technology frontier
Honey Mya Win didn’t have to look far to discover the tech potential for Myanmar. A 26-year-old former telecom engineer at Huawei, she was directly involved in configuring mobile phone towers and base station controllers that expanded 3G access to the once reclusive nation.
— CNBC

 

Philippines morning newsPhilippines Morning News

Compiled by Stella-maris Ewudolu    @Estee

 

EU Parliament calls for release of De Lima
The European Parliament on Thursday issued a joint motion calling for the release of Senator Leila de Lima who was earlier arrested for her alleged links in the illegal drug trade.
– Inquirer.Net

Philippines lags in Asian university rankings
The Philippines lags behind some of its regional counterparts in the latest Asian university rankings released by London-based Time Higher Education magazine on Thursday.
— Phil Star

COA holds ex-Aquino adviser accountable for P53-M ‘pork’
Former Dinalupihan, Bataan Mayor Joel Jaime Payumo, who also used to be a political adviser of former President Benigno Aquino III was held accountable by the Commission on Audit (COA) for the return of P53-million worth of pork barrel.
— Phil Star

First impeachment complaint vs Duterte filed
A congressman allied to Sen. Antonio Trillanes filed an impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte at the House of Representatives on Thursday for alleged betrayal of public trust and corruption.
— Phil Star

PLM officials charged over van purchase
State prosecutors have charged former Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila president Benjamin Tayabas and 12 others over the purchase of a P1.11-million Hyundai Starex van without public bidding in 2006.
Inquirer.Net

Labor dept issues new rules to fight ‘endo’
The Department of Labor and Employment released on Thursday new rules that it hoped would end illegal labor contractualization.
— ABS-CBN

Amid Philippine mining crackdown, OceanaGold shifts to Trump’s US
OCEANAGOLD Corp. is targeting an expansion of its new gold operation in the US amid a dispute between mining companies and President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s government in the Philippines.
— Business World

SMC’s net income surges 80% to P52 B in 2016 on better margins
Diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corporation (SMC) reported yesterday an 80 percent surge in net income to P52 billion last year, driven by higher revenues and better margins across its major businesses.
— Manila Bulletin

Dominguez identifies P326-B projects for implementation
The Duterte administration has identified P326 billion worth of projects for implementation this year aiming to transform the country’s source of growth from consumption to investments, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.
— Manila Bulletin

Julie Bishop urged to muscle up to Philippines’ Duterte
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will meet Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte in Davao today in a diplomatic overture that human rights campaigners have warned risks looking like a “pilgrimage to the home of a self-confessed killer”.
— The Australian

LNG project offers flood PNOC
STATE-OWNED Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC) has received unsolicited proposals from 26 groups — three Filipinos and 23 foreigners — for its plan to put up a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility in the country that can house a power plant as well as stations for storage, liquefaction and regasification, its president said.
— Business World

Australia calls for enforceable South China Sea pact soon
Australia urged Southeast Asian nations and China to conclude a legally binding code of conduct in the South China Sea as soon as possible, voicing concern Thursday about the scale of reclamation and construction by China in the disputed territory.
— Phil Star

Job losses loom due to ‘endo’ crackdown, employers warn
Filled with “ambiguities,” a labor department order targeting illegal contractualization could lead to job losses, the country’s main employers’ group said Friday.
— ABS-CBN

Foreign investors drop stocks, govt securities in February
Foreign portfolio investments posted net outflows of $409 million in February, a reversal from net inflows recorded during the previous month, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said.
— ABS-CBN

Labor dep’t spells out contracting curbs
THE DEPARTMENT of Labor and Employment (DoLE) yesterday issued an order that spelled out the rights of both employers and workers in a contractual hiring arrangement, ending nearly a year of speculation over the Duterte government’s labor policy.
— Business World

Duterte to meet Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar
President Rodrigo Duterte is set to meet Burmese democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi during his visit to Myanmar this weekend.
— Rappler

‘Philippines-US military alliance unshaken by sex-for-secrets’
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana reaffirmed the Philippine government’s commitment to honor and stand behind the country’s traditional alliance with the US even as the Duterte administration has opened up to possible military arms deals with Russia and China.
— Phil Star

Duterte seeks ASEAN-China collaboration to boost tourism
Tourism in ASEAN member states and China can get the needed boost if there is stronger collaboration rather than conflict and division, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday night.
— Manila Bulletin

New fund sources open up for Philippines
THE PHILIPPINES’ pivot to its Asian neighbours is opening up more sources of funds as China and Japan compete for the financing of local infrastructure projects.
— The Nation

 

 

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Singapore morning newsSingapore Morning News

Compiled by Leakhena Khat    @leakhenakhat

 

Being Singaporean The Best in Asean
When it comes to ease of travelling nationals from Singapore and Malaysia have the fewest hassles with their passports among the most convenient in the world for gaining visa-free entry to other countries.
AEC News Today 

MAS looking at legal tender limit for coins
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is proposing to change the legal tender limit for coins and will seek public feedback before making its decision, it announced yesterday.
The New Paper

President Tony Tan Keng Yam gives go-ahead for Budget 2017
President Tony Tan Keng Yam gave Budget 2017 the green light on Thursday (March 16), clearing the way for the Government to carry out its spending plans for the new financial year starting on April 1.
The Straits Times 

February exports surge 21.5% in 4th straight month of growth
Non-oil domestic exports (NODX) in Singapore surged 21.5 per cent year-on-year in February, beating analysts’ forecasts and marking the fourth straight month of expansion.
Channel NewsAsia 

Singapore’s Plan to Woo More Unicorns Would Be a ‘Game Changer’
Singapore ‘s plans to become the first Asian bourse to allow dual class share listings is catching the attention of tech entrepreneurs and could help turn a staid market into a buzzing tech hub, as the city-state looks to rebrand its image.
Fortune 

Singapore sees slow start to M&A activity: Thomson Reuters
THE mergers and acquisition (M&A) scene in Singapore is witnessing its slowest start since the first quarter of 2013.
The Business Times 

US State Department OKs mortar rounds sale to Singapore
The U.S. State Department has approved a possible foreign military sale to Singapore for 120mm guided mortar rounds worth $66 million.
Defense News 

Singapore medtech firm EndoMaster raises S$20.5m Series B funding
SINGAPORE medical robotics company EndoMaster said on Thursday it has raised S$20.5 million in Series B funding, said to be one of the largest such amounts for a medical technology (medtech) company here.
The Business Times 

Singapore banks to reap surprise benefits from real estate
Singapore banks are more than likely to get a boost from the recent easing of property rules.
Singapore Business Review  

US Fed hike will hit Singapore home loan customers
While the three-month Singapore Interbank Offered Rate (Sibor) has declined since January, analysts expect the benchmark rate to which most residential property loans are pegged to double by the end of 2017. The increase is in line with the expected rate hikes by the United States Federal Reserve this year.
Today Online 

Singapore February exports strongest in 5 years, beat forecasts
Singapore exports expanded for the fourth consecutive month in February, exceeding economists’ expectations, helped by shipments of electronics and non-electronics.
Today Online 

McKinsey picks Singapore to open Digital Capability Centre
McKinsey & Company has launched a global network of Digital Capability Centres (DCCs), with a key hub in Singapore for Southeast Asian companies. McKinsey’s Singapore DCC will help companies harness “the powerful emerging technological changes—known collectively as Industry 4.0—that are disrupting industries across the world”, said the company in a press statement.
Marketing-Interactive

Singapore trumps peers in THE Asia rankings; Malaysia, Indonesia named emerging stars
They did it again. The prestigious National University of Singapore (NUS) beat its Asian peers for the second year running to emerge top in the Times Higher Education (THE) Asia University Rankings 2017.
Study International News 

Singapore stocks at highest since August 2015 as Fed signals gradual rate hikes
Singapore stocks rose to their highest level in one and a half years on Thursday (Mar 16), taking cues from overnight gains on Wall Street after the US Federal Reserve signalled a more gradual pace of monetary tightening.
Channel NewsAsia 

Singapore endorses roadmap to fight piracy
SINGAPORE has endorsed a roadmap to fight piracy and armed robbery at sea, said a press release from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).
The Business Times 

Singapore Condemns Indonesia’s Detainment of Singaporean Boat and Captain
The government of Singapore protested against the Indonesian government’s detainment of a Singaporean vessel and its captain, Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Wednesday (16/03).
Jakarta Globe 

Singapore enacts key restructuring law reforms
The Singapore Government has just passed the Companies (Amendment) Bill 13/2017 (the Bill), which contains major changes to Singapore’s restructuring and insolvency laws. As planned, these changes are expected to come into effect at the latest by the second quarter of 2017,1 and will be a major shake-up to the restructuring landscape of the region.
Lexology

 

Thailand morning newsThailand Morning News

Compiled by John Le Fevre    @photo_journ

 

Junta lays out ‘legally binding’ 20-year masterplan
Thailand’s junta on Thursday said any future civilian government will be legally bound to follow a 20-year “masterplan” for the country as generals seek to entrench their political influence for decades to come.
– Pulse NG

Somkid foresees strong 2-year economic growth
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak expects the economy to grow strongly over the next two years if the country’s infrastructure development and enhancement of national competitiveness follows the plans as targeted.
– The Nation

Thai-Cambodia rail link stalled by compensation claims
Settlement of compensation claims for 50 families living alongside a kilometre of rail track in the border town of Poipet threatens to delay the opening of a new rail service between Cambodia and Thailand.
– Bangkok Post

BBL’s fintech scheme accepting applications
BANGKOK Bank (BBL) began accepting applications yesterday for its international fintech accelerator programme, “InnoHub”, in partnership with a company called Nest.
– The Nation

Roadmap for EV industry expected this month
The Board of Investment (BoI) will discuss plans for the development of electric vehicles (EV) at the meeting led by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on March 24.
– Bangkok Post

14-year-old Dhammakaya disciple detained for protesting Section 44
The police have revealed that they have arrested a 14-year-old disciple of Dhammakaya Temple for protesting against the junta’s use of Section 44 to tighten control around Dhammakaya Temple’s complex.
– Prachatai

TDRI urges wide swath of reforms
The national think-tank TDRI yesterday advocated a broad range of reforms in law, taxation, investment policy and international trade promotion to enable Thailand to become a trading nation.
– Bangkok Post

Krungsri Auto targets 10% growth in loans
KRUNGSRI Auto, the automotive-finance arm of Bank of Ayudhya, aims for outstanding loans of Bt307 billion this year, a 10-per-cent increase from 2016.
– The Nation

Plan unveiled to create 500,000 digital startups
Nuttapon Nimmanphatcharin, president of the Digital Economy Promotion Agency, has revealed a plan to create 500,000 digital startups in the country to support the government’s Thailand 4.0 economic policy and drive sustainable growth.
– The Nation

Thailand eyed in pet food labour reform
Swiss food giant Nestle SA and U.S. candy and pet food company Mars pledged on Thursday to take steps to ensure their pet food supply chains are free from human rights abuses and illegally caught seafood – in a move welcomed by campaigners.
– Bangkok Post

Entrepreneurship awards presented to 14 Thai firms
FOURTEEN Thai companies were among the recipients of Asia-Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards (APEA) from regional non-governmental organisation Enterprise Asia.
–The Nation

Finance chiefs unfazed by Fed hike
THE FINANCE Ministry is taking a sanguine view on the latest interest rate rise in the United States, playing down any concerns over the prospect of rising borrowing costs in Thailand.
– The Nation

ICCPR praises Thai govt’s handling of domestic issues
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights has praised the Thai government’s approaches to resolving domestic problems and restoring order in the country.
– NNT

B Grimm signs MoU for power line in
B GRIMM Power recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Poipet PP SEZ Co, one of the largest industrial-estate operators in Cambodia, to develop a power-transmission line at its industrial park in the western city of Poipet.
– The Nation

Tetra Pak builds new plant in Rayong, Thailand
Tetra Pak has annouced to build a new plant at its Rayong site in Thailand, dedicated to producing closures for carton packaging.
– ScandAsia

Airbnb Launches New Features in Thailand, Remains Totally Illegal
Airbnb announced new additions to its service in Thailand on Wednesday, even as a representative of the hospitality giant sidestepped questions about its legal status.
– Khaosod English

Phuket marine expert says coral restoration ‘successful’
An expert from the Phuket Marine Biological Center (PMBC) has stated that a decades-long coral restoration project at Koh Mai Thon has yielded significant improvements in marine life in the area.
– The Nation

Thailand to increase rice export to Mexico
The Ministry of Commerce is determined to increase the export of Thai rice to Mexico by 10,000 tons before the end of this year.
– NNT

‘The Single Greatest Risk’ for Thailand’s Largest Ethnic Minority
On a wet November morning, I’m traveling the steep and muddy back roads of Thailand’s Mae Hong Son province. The forest-covered mountains, wrapped in mist, seem uninhabited. But this area has long been home to a variety of hill tribes who still live off the land and preserve age old customs.
– The wall Street Journal (paywall)

Phuket governor presides over launch of SMART SMEs
Phuket governor Chokchai Dechamornthan presided over the launch of SMART SMEs campaign to turn SMEs operating in Phuket into corporate identities.
– NNT

DLT introducing new drivers license course
The Department of Land Transport (DLT) has developed a course for aspiring drivers license holders that has increased study time from 4 to 5 hours and will be put to use starting 2018.
– NNT

Elephant foundation in critical need of aid
The Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE) says it may have to close if it does not receive financial support soon.
– Bangkok Post

Street food mobile applications to be launched
he Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with Thailand Foundation, has prepared to launch a new mobile application for Thai street food, assembling information on all of the country’s top roadside eateries.
– NNT

Tackling Asia’s final technology frontier
Honey Mya Win didn’t have to look far to discover the tech potential for Myanmar. A 26-year-old former telecom engineer at Huawei, she was directly involved in configuring mobile phone towers and base station controllers that expanded 3G access to the once reclusive nation.
— CNBC

 

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Vietnam morning newsVietnam Morning News

Compiled by Leakhena Khat    @leakhenakhat

 

China upset at high Vietnam tariffs on steel imports
The Ministry said effective March 22, 2017, it will impose a 21.3% border tax for a period of one year followed by a 19.3% and 17.3% tax for years two and three to take effect on March 22, 2018 and March 22, 2019, respectively.
VeitNamNet Bridge

EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement – Market Access Overview
n 2nd December 2015, after nearly 3 years with 14 rounds of negotiations, President Donald Tusk, President Jean-Claude Juncker and Prime Minister of Viet Nam Nguyễn Tấn Dũng announced the conclusion of the negotiations of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).
Mondaq 

Gold up, dollar down in unusual VN reaction
The Federal Reserve’s decision on Wednesday to increase interest rates by 0.25 percentage points – to what is now between 0.75 to 1 per cent – has pushed down the Việt Namese đồng-US dollar exchange rate and elevated domestic gold prices in accordance with global market movements.
Viet Nam News 

VN footwear makers unfazed by TPP demise
Việt Nam’s leather and footwear industry will maintain its strong growth even if the TPP does not materialise, the Việt Nam Leather, Footwear and Handbag Association (Lefaso) has said.
Viet Nam News

China, Vietnam Agree to Develop Military Ties
Beijing, Mar 16 (Prensa Latina) China”s National Defense Minister, Chang Wanquan, and Vietnam”s People”s Army commander, Pham Hoai Nam, have agreed to develop relationships between their armies, official sources reported here.
Prensa Latina

Vietnam to Facebook, YouTube: Drop Dead
Fake news isn’t only a U.S. problem. Vietnam is calling on companies in the country to stop running advertisements on Facebook Inc. (FB), Alphabet Inc.’s (GOOG) YouTube and other social media networks until they get a handle on so-called fake news and what it called “toxic” anti-government news and information.
Investopedia 

Xiaomi enters Vietnam via local distributor
Chinese smartphone vendor inks partnership with Vietnamese ICT reseller, Digiworld, which will distribute, market, and provide customer support for Xiaomi products in the country.
Zd Net 

Expanding and developing tourism markets to Vietnam
According to the General Statistics Office, Vietnam received more than 2.2 million foreign visitors in the first two months of this year, an increase of 33% compared to the same period last year.
VietNamNet Bridge 

Serbia looks to boost political, economic ties with Vietnam
According to the Serbian government, Dacic said that political relations between the two countries are “traditionally good, with a high degree of mutual trust and support in the most important issues.”
B92 

Japan helps Vietnam with IT training
Japan will step up cooperation to train information technology (IT) engineers for Vietnam in the coming time, said Gen Narui, chairman of the Japan Linux Association.
VietNamNet Bridge 

Vietnamese agencies to inspect, remedy problems mentioned by Japanese firms
Japan External Trade Organization (Jetro) hosted a talk between Japanese enterprises and Vietnamese agencies about export import problems and food safety and hygiene standards yesterday, when agency representatives directly responded to some mentions by the enterprises and said that relevant ministries would immediately inspect and remedy other problems in HCMC.
Saigon 

City urges to improve online public services
At the conference, the Information and Communications Department reported the number of citizens and enterprises has used the public services in the recent time.
Saigon 

Economic restructuring outcomes remain modest: report
Economic restructuring outcomes so far remain modest and have yet to create favourable conditions to shift to a good growth model, according to the 2016 Vietnam economic report of the National Economics University.
Vietnam Plus 

Online public service for agricultural sector launched
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) on Wednesday launched its portal https://dvc.mard.gov.vn providing online information on administrative procedures.
Viet Nam News

VN-Index slips, awaits Fed results
Shares dropped slightly yesterday on the HCM Stock Exchange as investors remained cautious ahead of the results of the US Federal Reserve (Fed) meeting.
Viet Nam News 

Rice prices fall in India; stable in Vietnam, Thailand
Rice prices in India and Vietnam advanced while Thai prices dropped due to a weaker baht, traders said on Thursday.
Zawya 

Companies complain high trade costs at Haiphong port
Import-export companies complain high trade costs for using infrastructure from shipments at Haiphong port.
Hellenic Shipping News 

Give Trade a Chance: Russo-Vietnamese Ties Promise ‘Excellent Opportunities’
Total trade turnover between Russia and Vietnam is due to reach a record ten billion dollars annually by 2020, according to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Trutnev.
Sputnik News 

Asia Coffee-Supply low in Vietnam, expected to pick up in Indonesia
Discounts for Vietnamese coffee tightened this week on lower stockpile while the market is expected to be more robust in Indonesia as supplies rise when an upcoming harvest season starts, traders said on Thursday.
The Times of India 

China on track to become Vietnam’s largest pangasius importer
The Chinese market has recently accelerated imports of both shrimp and pangasius from Vietnam, said Vo Hung Dung, director of the Vietnam chamber of commerce and industry in Can Tho City, and general secretary of the Vietnam pangasius association, Vietnamnet reported.
Under Current News

 

 

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Asean Morning News is compiled by the editorial team at AEC News Today and published M-F: Governance, not government; policies not politics.

 

 

 

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