Asean Morning News For May 5

The most comprehensive #Asean Morning News Roundup published

Asean Morning News For May 5
Estimated Reading Time: 34 minutes |

Asean morning newsAsean Morning News

Compiled by AEC News Today    @aecnewstoday

 

ADB Launches New Initiatives to Improve and Monitor PPP Business Environment
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced two new initiatives to improve and monitor the business environment for public-private partnerships (PPPs) in Asia and the Pacific.
— Asian Development Bank (media release)

ADB, JICA Sign MOU to Strengthen Health Security for an Aging Asia-Pacific
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to establish a strategic partnership to strengthen health security and promote universal health coverage (UHC) in a rapidly aging Asia and the Pacific.
— Asian Development Bank (media release)

Moderate growth forecast for ASEAN+3
The ten ASEAN countries along with China, Japan and South Korea (ASEAN+3) are expected to experience moderate growth of around 5 per cent in the next two years despite external uncertainties.
— Viet Nam News

Singapore maps out goals for its Asean chairmanship
SINGAPORE will pursue tangible results for Asean in the areas of digital economy and facilitating trade when it takes over chairmanship of the regional bloc next year.
— The Business Times

Vietnam to work with TPP members on future orientations: Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson
“Vietnam considers its entry to Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and free trade agreements as one of the steps to execute the policy of active and proactive integration into the extensive world economy,” she said.
— VIETNAMNET Bridge

ASEAN PMI rises to 51.1 in April
The Nikkei ASEAN Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, or PMI, rose to 51.1 in April from 50.9 in March. The rate of improvement was the quickest recorded in 33 months.
— Nikkei Asian Review

Investors urged to maximize benefits provided by new ASEAN Ro-Ro maritime route
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has urged investors and businessmen from the Philippines and Indonesia to utilize the benefits that will be provided by the newly opened ASEAN roll-on, roll-off (Ro-Ro) shipping route during the arrival ceremonies of the maiden voyage of M/V Super Shuttle RORO 12 at the port of Bitung in Indonesia Tuesday.
— Northbound Philippines

Tillerson urges ASEAN to cut North Korea funding, minimize ties
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged Southeast Asian foreign ministers on Thursday to do more to help cut funding streams for North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and to minimize diplomatic relations with Pyongyang.
— Reuters

Combined Asean+3 economies set to grow 5.2% this year: Report
The combined economic growth of Asean, China, Japan and South Korea – known as Asean+3 – will be 5.2 per cent this year, amid global uncertainties that may prove disruptive to the outlook.
— The Straits Times

SMEs told to tap into Asean e-commerce market
Local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are told to penetrate the Asean e-commerce market and not rely solely on the local market.
— The Star Online

Investment, infrastructure, digital economy to drive Asean prospects: EY
A NEW report has given an upbeat reading of Asean’s prospects: investment interest in the region in the next five years will be high, as will be infrastructure spending on regional transport connectivity, energy security and digital connectivity.
— The Business Times

Japan proposes expanding bilateral FX swap scheme with ASEAN
Japan’s Ministry of Finance on Friday proposed launching bilateral foreign exchange swap arrangements of up to 40 billion dollars with Southeast Asian nations to enable Tokyo to provide yen funds to these countries during times of financial crisis.
— Reuters

Intellectual property, affordable medicine, and universal health care
MANILA IS SET to host the 18th round of the multilateral trade deal — the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that encompasses 50% of the global population.
— BusinessWorld Online

Malaysia has highest number of Waze users in ASEAN
It seems Malaysians like Waze, and they like it a lot. The country has the highest number of users for the community-based traffic and navigation app in South-East Asia, and we’re even ranked among the top five countries globally, The Star reports.
— Paul Tan’s Automotive News

 

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Cambodia morning newsCambodia Morning News

Compiled by Vat Vin    @vin_vat

 

Ground broken for oil refinery
After years of delays and setbacks, the Cambodian firm set to operate the Kingdom’s landmark oil refinery finally broke ground yesterday on a $1.62 billion project with an updated completion date set for the middle of 2019.
The Phnom Penh Post

Local coffee sector gets a jolt
Several international and local coffee industry representatives gathered yesterday for the start of a three-day event promoting partnerships and franchising opportunities to satisfy Cambodia’s growing coffee cravings.
The Phnom Penh Post

Brewing Coffee Culture Brings Cafe Expo to Phnom Penh
In a nod to the percolating market for upscale cafes and trendy coffee shops in Cambodia, more than 75 companies from 18 countries have turned out for the country’s first international cafe and bakery conference.
The Cambodia Daily (paywall)

Cambodia’s First Oil Refinery Breaks Ground in Preah Sihanouk
Construction began on Thursday in Preah Sihanouk province on Cambodia’s first oil refinery, a massive $1.6 billion project capable of producing almost three times Cambodia’s domestic needs, the Mines and Energy Ministry announced on its Facebook page.
The Cambodia Daily (paywall)

Cambodia to deploy 37,530 security personnel for upcoming local election
Cambodian National Police chief Gen. Neth Savoeun said on Thursday that the Southeast Asian country will deploy 37,530 security personnel to ensure security and public order during the commune election on June 4.
Xinhua

Cambodian PM says hospitalizing in Singapore due to fatigue
Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen said on Thursday that he has been hospitalizing in Singapore after getting sick due to fatigue.
Xinhua

Acleda profiting in foreign markets
Acleda Bank’s foreign operations in Laos and Myanmar performed well during the first quarter of 2017 while recording strong net profits last year, leading the bank to seek further regional expansion, according to a senior executive.
The Phnom Penh Post

WEF forum to bring new investment
With the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Asean less than a week away, government officials yesterday said that the theme of the three-day event would focus on “Youth, Technology and Growth”, while providing an opportunity to raise Cambodia’s international profile and attract more investors and tourists.
The Phnom Penh Post

Radio Free Asia Journalist Back on the Air—From Washington
The journalist who had been leading Radio Free Asia’s (RFA) news operations in Cambodia returned to the airwaves on Wednesday for the first time since he left the country and a day after a court issued a warrant for his arrest.
The Cambodia Daily (paywall)

Laos Dam Poses Environmental Dangers to Lower Mekong Basin
Plans for the newest hydropower dam on the Mekong River will need dramatically improved environmental safeguards in order to minimize damage to fish and other wildlife in the river basin, researchers say.
The Cambodia Daily (paywall)

In Bid to Renew Coral, Biodiversity, Cambodian Navy Makes Use of Old Shipping Containers
Two disused shipping containers were dumped in the waters off the island of Koh Rong Sanloem last Saturday in an effort to create a better marine environment and protect coral reefs, a navy official said.
VOA

Cambodian Workers Out in Force on Labor Day
Workers from some 20 unions and workers’ associations gathered on Monday in central Phnom Penh to demand better working conditions and protections.
VOA

First int’l cafe, bakery exhibition held in Cambodia
The first international cafe and bakery exhibition kicked off here at the Diamond Island Exhibition Center on Thursday, aiming to boost the development of the fast-growing coffee industry in the kingdom, officials said.
— Xinhua

Is this the best way to travel across Cambodia?
It’s one of the easiest ways to get around — but traveling by bus in Cambodia can be a confusing experience.
CNN

 

Indonesia morning newsIndonesia Morning News

Compiled by Stella-maris Ewudolu    @Estee

 

Tencent Leads $1.2 Billion Investment in Indonesia’s Rival to Uber
Chinese internet giant Tencent (700.HK) led a USD1.2 billion funding round into Indonesia’s answer to Uber.
— Barron’s

Foreign Tourist Arrivals Increased 15 Percent in First Quarter of 2017
The number of foreign tourist arrivals in Indonesia showed a 15 percent increase in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the same period last year, according to a statement by the Ministry of Tourism.
— Jakarta Globe

Lippo Group to Build $21 Billion ‘Meikara’ Industrial Center Near Jakarta
Indonesia’s diversified conglomerate Lippo Group plans to build a $21 billion (Rp 278 trillion) industrial city in the outskirts of Jakarta, targeting the automotive and electronic industries, and will include five-star hotels and shopping malls in the area.
— Jakarta Globe

Gov’t to Abolish Cash Payments on Toll Roads by October
The government will require all toll road users in the country to conduct electronic transactions beginning in October in an attempt to ease traffic flows on major thoroughfares.
— Jakarta Globe

Victoria Insurance posts 42% decline in Q1 profit
Publicly listed insurer PT Victoria Insurance has posted Rp 2.33 billion (US$174,793) profit before taxes in the first quarter of 2017, a 42.62 percent decrease compared to the Rp 4.05 billion in the same period last year.
— The Jakarta Post

Gov’t Resurrects Plan to Tax Plastic Bags
The government is wrapping up a study that will back its plan to impose a tax on plastic bags as part of efforts to curb their use, while at the same time boost state revenue, a senior official said on Wednesday (03/05).
— Jakarta Globe

Viettel plans to expand to Indonesia, Nigeria
Vietnam’s Viettel is reportedly eyeing a foray into Indonesia and Nigeria as part of its international expansion drive.
— Telecom Asia

Fishery sector needs to move to aquaculture: Jokowi
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo wants the Indonesian fishery sector to pay closer attention to modern breeding methods, such as offshore aquaculture, instead of focusing on fishing trawlers.
— The Jakarta Post

Ahok plans to pass decree giving victims of domestic violence access to free medical examinations
Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama is putting together a gubernatorial decree so that the city takes a more proactive approach towards protecting and ensuring justice towards victims of domestic violence.
— Coconuts Jakarta

Q1 Earnings Indonesia’s Property & Industrial Estate Firms Remain Weak
The performance of those Indonesian property companies and industrial estate managers that are listed on the Indonesia Stock Exchange is not very encouraging so far this year. When we take a look at the corporate earnings of 17 listed property firm and industrial estate managers, then we see a combined 37.6 percent year-on-year (y/y) fall in net profit in the first quarter of 2017 (from their net profit in the same quarter one year ago). Meanwhile, their combined revenue fell 0.6 percent (y/y) in Q1-2017.
— Indonesia Investments

Live cattle exports to Indonesia slow as beef price pressure takes a toll
High cattle prices continue to make difficult trading conditions for Australian live cattle exporters, as Indonesia looks to cheaper forms of protein.
— ABC Online

Exclusive: CapSquare Partners hits final close for $150m Indonesia-focused fund
Indonesia-based private equity (PE) firm CapSquare Partners is learnt to have hit the final close for its $150 million fund, according to three individuals close to the development. The firm is set to officially announce the close of this fund, that will be be focussed on Indonesia, within the next couple of weeks, DEALSTREETASIA has learnt.
— Deal Street Asia

Indonesia launches $2.6 billion lawsuit over WA oil spill
The Indonesian government has launched a $US2 billion ($2.6 billion) lawsuit against the company responsible for the worst oil spill in the history of Australia’s offshore petroleum industry.
— The Sydney Morning Herald

UOB unit drives FDI worth over $27b in S-E Asia
A unit at United Overseas Bank (UOB) that deals with foreign direct investment helped steer more than $27 billion worth of business spending in South-east Asia last year – double the amount recorded in 2015.
— The Straits Times

 

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Lao PDR morning newsLao PDR Morning News

Compiled by Vat Vin    @vin_vat

 

China steps in to help control locust plague
The locust invasion in the north has reached plague proportions and despite a chemical spraying campaign their numbers are continuing to grow in Huaphan, LuangPrabang, Oudomxay, Phongsaly and XiengKhuang provinces.
Vientiane Times

Govt borrows more money to address deficit
The government needs 2,420 billion kip to respond to budget expenditure that occurred in the first quarter of this year (January to March), a government leader has said.
Vientiane Times

Over 2,100 Tourist Sites Magnetise Tourists to Laos
More than 2,100 tourist sites in Laos attracted a large number of both domestic and foreign tourists last year, according to a 2015-2016 report made by the Ministry of Planning and Investment.
Lao News Agency

Japan Donates Equipment to Improve Disaster Alert Systems
The Japanese government has donated meteorology and hydrology equipment to the Lao Weather Forecast Centre for improving the capacity of the disaster alert systems for weather forecasts and water level to give ample warning to the general public.
Lao News Agency

Government Encourages Contraception Among Adolescents
In an effort to reduce maternal and child morbidity and mortality rates, Laos will focus on reducing the unmet need for contraception to 13 percent, and increase the contraceptive prevalence rate from 42 to 65 percent by the year 2020.
The Laotian Times

PM to Slash Civil Servant Stipends, Shifts Focus to Rural Volunteers
Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith has stated that ‘benefits’ should no longer be given to those working in public administration, but insists that such support go to volunteers working for the government in remote and rural areas instead.
The Laotian Times

China hands over materials to combat locusts in Laos
The second batch of materials sponsored by China for Laos to combat locust plague has been handed over to the Lao Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) on Thursday in Lao capital Vientiane.
Global Times

VN projects booming in Lao province
OVER 20 investment projects worth millions of US dollars have been proposed to Khammuan provincial authorities by Vietnamese entrepreneurs, pending official approval.
The Nation

Dry season rice yield falling short of target
Less rice was planted this dry season with the government reducing the target from last year, largely due to the lack of irrigation.
Vientiane Times

Grants from overseas plummet, govt tells parliament
Grants provided to Laos by foreign countries in the first quarter of 2017 dropped by more than half compared to the same period last fiscal year, the government has told parliament.
Vientiane Times

New Law on Performing Arts Expected to Be Approved
A new draft Law on Performing Arts was presented at the ongoing 3rd Ordinary Session of the National Assembly on May 4 by the Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Bosengkham Vongdara, and is expected to be approved this session.
Lao News Agency

Vang Vieng Photo Contest Winners Announced
The winners of the 2017 Stunning Vang Vieng photo contest comprising four categories of tourism, nature and landscapes, local life, and local people have been announced.
Lao News Agency

Laos Dam Poses Environmental Dangers to Lower Mekong Basin
Plans for the newest hydropower dam on the Mekong River will need dramatically improved environmental safeguards in order to minimize damage to fish and other wildlife in the river basin, researchers say.
The Cambodia Daily (paywall)

Laos; a Key Part in the Grand Scheme of Things
The “One Belt, One Road” initiative is a crucial part of China’s development strategy to deepen economic cooperation with countries in Asia, Europe and Africa.
The Laotian Times

Apple of Her Eye: Nothing Like The Real Thing
The manager of Laos’ only official Apple Authorised Reseller store says there’s nothing like the real thing.
The Laotian Times

Lao Officials Not Doing Enough to Enforce Land Concession Regulations
Unlawful land concessions in Laos are increasingly forcing villagers to abandon their livelihoods and move far away from their homes to find alternative employment—a sign that government officials are not enforcing regulations meant to mitigate the adverse impact of involuntary land acquisitions, a legal expert on land issues and a villager said.
Radio Free Asia

‘Belt and Road’ rock video from Laos goes viral in China
An unusual music video extolling the benefits of China’s Belt and Road Initiative has been released by a singer from Laos and has quickly grown in popularity on Chinese social media.
gbtimes

 

Malaysia morning news

Malaysia Morning News

Compiled by Vat Vin    @vin_vat

 

China fund fears creep up in Malaysian market
Fears of companies from China not putting their money in Malaysian government projects, following the surprise cancellation of a deal that would have given a state-owned Chinese firm a stake in the development of the prestigious Bandar Malaysia project, caused sentiment on Bursa Malaysia to go south.
The Star Online

Spotlight on China investments after failed Bandar M’sia deal
The fall through of the Bandar Malaysia deal involving Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd (IWH) and China Railway Engineering Corp (M) Sdn Bhd (CREC), the local unit of Beijing-based China Railway Group Ltd, has put the spotlight on other China investments in the country.
The Star Online

Bank Rakyat to launch Islamic lifestyle app, Barakah
Bank Rakyat is introducing an Islamic-centric, non-commercial mobile application, called Barakah, featuring everything from Quranic verses to the various zakat rates in different Malaysian states and other information suited to the Islamic lifestyle for the general public.
New Straits Times

BNM issues warning to those involved in illegal financial schemes
Bank Negara Malaysia has warned those involved in illegal financial schemes that they can be charged under any of the various laws.
New Straits Times

Najib: Selangor government unstable, imagine if this happened at federal level The Opposition’s directionless leadership will lead to frequent Cabinet changes and a disruption in public services if they take over government, Datuk Seri Najib Razak claimed today.
Malay Mail Online

Malaysia Vision Valley to draw RM290b in investments, says PM
The development of the world class metropolis, Malaysia Vision Valley (MVV) in Negri Sembilan, is expected to attract more than RM290 billion in investments and transform the lives of millions of people in Negri Sembilan, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Malay Mail Online

Malaysia stocks tumble after mega property deal scrapped, Singapore shares fall
Malaysian stocks suffered the worst fall in three months on Thursday as termination of a $1.7 billion infrastructure deal between a state fund and a consortium backed by a Chinese partner raised concerns the move could affect foreign equity inflows into the country.
Nikkei Asian Review

Malaysia, China look to strengthen ties with warships’ visit to Penang
In a historic act, three Chinese warships will call at a Penang port next week amid warming ties between Beijing and Putrajaya.
Today Online

Jitters over China projects with axing of Bandar Malaysia deal
Malaysia’s decision to scrap the sale of a 60 per cent stake in its signature Bandar Malaysia project to a Malaysia-China consortium came as a rude shock, with the fallout set to spread from the 197ha township earmarked to house a terminus for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail, to the rest of the economy.
The Straits Times

Current weakness offers buying opportunities, says Maybank Research
Maybank Investment Bank Research sees the current weakness, where the FBM KLCI fell nearly 14 points on Thursday, as an opportunity to accumulate.
The Star Online

Ringgit lower against US$ early Friday
The ringgit extended yesterday”s losses to open lower against the US Dollar Friday as more investors shifted interest towards the greenback, on possibility of another US interest rate hike in June.
The Star Online

Pos Malaysia, Lazada to develop e-commerce regional distribution centre
Pos Malaysia is collaborating with Lazada (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd on the development of an e-commerce regional distribution centre in Sepang.
New Straits Times

Companies should tap into local talent pool, build 100pct M’sian workforce
Malaysian companies have been urged to hire locals in an effort to reduce the number of foreign workers.
New Straits Times

China warships to call on Penang port
In a historic act, three Chinese warships will call on a Penang port next Friday to improve bilateral and military relations between China and Malaysia, an official from China announced today.
Malay Mail Online

Education Ministry urges schools in high risk areas to install high-tech CCTV
The Education Ministry is urging schools in high risk areas and with disciplinary issues to install high-technology closed circuit television (CCTV) security system.
Malay Mail Online

Malaysia has highest number of Waze users in ASEAN
It seems Malaysians like Waze, and they like it a lot. The country has the highest number of users for the community-based traffic and navigation app in South-East Asia, and we’re even ranked among the top five countries globally, The Star reports.
Paul Tan’s Automotive News

Economist foresees doom for Melaka Gateway
An economist has voiced concern that the Melaka Gateway project may not materialise due to China’s strict capital controls.
Free Malaysia Today

 

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Myanmar morning newsMyanmar Morning News

Compiled by Stella-maris Ewudolu    @Estee

 

Ks250 million each donated to two philanthropic foundations
Two philanthropic foundations working for orphans, aged people and HIV patients were provided with cash assistance by a donor yesterday.
— Global New Light Of Myanmar

MFI Myanmar Finance raises $1m debt from Maybank
Myanmar Finance International Limited (MFIL), a microfinance joint venture of AIM listed Myanmar Investments International (MIL), has raised an additional local currency denominated $1 million debt facility from Malaysia’s Maybank.
— Deal Street Asia

UOB unit drives FDI worth over $27b in S-E Asia
A unit at United Overseas Bank (UOB) that deals with foreign direct investment helped steer more than $27 billion worth of business spending in South-east Asia last year – double the amount recorded in 2015.
— The Straits Times

Unilever in ‘Land Grab’ Phase in Myanmar
Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever (UL) has reportedly inked a joint venture with local rival Europe & Asia Commercial Company (EAC) in Myanmar as it bets on the “fast-opening country.” Despite a decline in both economic growth and the local currency, the consumer producer maker is bullish on the growth opportunity after trade restrictions have been lifted.
— Investopedia

Myanmar manufacturing PMI down to 52.9 in April
The Nikkei Myanmar Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, or PMI, fell marginally to 52.9 in April from March’s 53.1, which was the highest reading since the survey began in December 2015.
— Nikkei Asian Review

Myanmar coal plant growth could kill 280,000: study
Myanmar’s plans to grow the country’s desperately needed but polluting coal-fired power plants could kill more than a quarter of a million people in the coming decades, environmentalists said Thursday.
— News Straits Times

Oil flows through Myanmar pipeline
China National Petroleum Corp, the country’s largest oil and gas producer, has pumped the first crude oil through the China-Myanmar oil pipeline and the oil is expected to arrive in China within three weeks, the energy giant said on Wednesday.
— China Post

Running dry in Yangon as hot season rages
Outdated infrastructure and increased urbanisation are placing a huge burden on water supplies for the commercial capital.
— Frontier Myanmar

Home Affairs to investigate, prosecute presidential resignation rumours
NLD heavyweight U Win Htein says the Ministry of Home Affairs is investigating the source of rumours claiming the impending resignation of President U Htin Kyaw, with criminal charges expected for any culprits found during the probe.
— Frontier Myanmar

Missing Funds in Embezzlement Scandal Returned to Myanmar’s Magwe Government
The former chief minister of central Myanmar’s Magwe region on Thursday returned 3 billion (U.S. $2.2 million) kyats in missing funds to the regional government and said he will transfer nearly 5 billion (U.S. $3.6 million) more this week, a regional government official said.
— Radio Free Asia

Myanmar Grants 123 Licenses to Telecoms Companies Since 2015
Myanmar authori­ties issued a to­tal of 123 licens­es to companies in the booming telecommuni­cations sector in the past two years, official media reported last week.
— Consult-Myanmar

Huawei Tests 5G Technology, Eyes Potential Roll Out in Myanmar
Only a year after the arrival of 4G in Myanmar, Chinese mobile technology com­pany Huawei has revealed the roll out 5G technology could be on the horizon, according to a company executive.
— Consult-Myanmar

A private company proposes to supply electricity in Myeik
A private company, South East Asia Energy and Electricity Company, has submitted a proposal to Taninthayi regional government to supply 60 megawatts of electricity generated from hydropower, solar power and fuel oil (FO), with an investment of more than US$60 million in Myeik district, sources said.
— Eleven

Mandalay blocks marble mining
The Mandalay Region minister for natural resources and environmental conservation said he would permit no more marble mining in the Yakkinsin and Shwesanshin mountains in Pyin Oo Lwin District.
— Eleven

Vatican and Myanmar agree to establish diplomatic ties
The Vatican and Myanmar established full diplomatic relations on Thursday (May 4) in the latest step in the Southeast Asian nation’s rehabilitation by the international community.
— Channel NewsAsia

 

Philippines morning newsPhilippines Morning News

Compiled by Stella-maris Ewudolu    @Estee

 

Philippines is top economic performer in region – Asean research
The Philippines is “the top economic performer” in the region and the Duterte administration does not pose political risks that might make the country less attractive for investments, according to the ASEAN +3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO).
— The Philippine Star

Philippine judge warns inaction over South China Sea dispute with Beijing is ‘unforgivable’
The warning was clearly directed at the Philippine president who, as Asean chair, moved to have the landmark tribunal award won by the Philippines against China last year off the agenda at last week’s summit in Manila
— South China Morning Post

PHL remains as ‘darling’ of economists in Asean
The Philippines continues to be the “belle of the ball” for many analysts, including the Asean+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (Amro), which projected the country’s economic growth to remain robust until next year.
— Business Mirror

Davao businessman Uy’s Udenna gets permit for $300-million Cebu casino
PHILIPPINE Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) has awarded a gaming license to a group led by Davao-based businessman Dennis A. Uy for the development of the country’s first integrated resort and casino outside Metro Manila seen to further improve tourism and expand the gaming market.
— BusinessWorld Online

Diesel tax, fuel levy hike to take effect in 2018
If passed by Congress, the tax on diesel and higher taxes on other oil products that members of the House committee on ways and means approved on Wednesday will take effect next year, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda said yesterday.
— The Philippine Star

DOH says 6M Filipinos ‘walking time bombs’
About 12 million Filipinos are hypertensive and half of them are “walking time bombs” who could succumb to a heart attack or stroke because they are unaware of their condition. To raise greater awareness of hypertension, the Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday launched a monthlong campaign to screen Filipinos for abnormal high blood pressure.
— Inquirer.net

DOJ starts probe of P9.56-B Mighty tax case
The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday started its preliminary investigation of the P9.56-billion tax evasion case the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) filed against tobacco firm Mighty Corp.
— Inquirer.net

Philippine Senate passes mental health bill
The Philippine Senate passed on May 2 a national mental health policy bill, the first of its kind in the country.
— UCA News

Unilever Philippines eyes Asian halal growth with new factory
Unilever Philippines will begin exporting halal meat to markets in southeast Asia, after obtaining certification for a new factory south of the country’s capital, Manila.
— FoodBev Media

Intellectual property, affordable medicine, and universal health care
MANILA IS SET to host the 18th round of the multilateral trade deal — the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that encompasses 50% of the global population.
— BusinessWorld Online

Central bank sees weaker peso on Fed
PHILIPPINE POLICY makers have no reason to adjust borrowing rates too soon despite hawkish comments from the Federal Reserve, central bank officials said yesterday even as they flagged the likelihood of a weaker peso given optimism over the US economy.
— BusinessWorld Online

Inflation steady at 3.4% in April
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said that headline inflation last April held at 3.4%, same rate recorded in March, but faster than the 1.1% clocked in April 2016.
— BusinessWorld Online

PHL abaca export jumped 13.5% to $130.44 million in 2016
The country’s earnings from outbound shipments of abaca in 2016 rose 13.5 percent to $130.44 million, from $114.792 million in 2015, data from the Philippine Fiber Development Authority (PhilFida) showed.
— Business Mirror

DOTr keen on removing Davao airport rehab from PPP pipeline
With investments still pouring into the hometown of President Rodrigo Duterte, the government is keen on scrapping the auction for the rehabilitation, operations, and maintenance of the Davao International Airport, which was initially pegged at P40.57 billion.
— Rappler

Tax bill axes P90B in VAT exemptions
The House Committee on Ways and Means removed P90 billion worth of Value Added Tax (VAT) exemptions under 79 special laws and gave up P6 billion of potential government revenues from taxes on luxury cars in approving the Duterte administration’s tax reform bill dubbed as Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train).
— The Manila Times

PH delegation to present real state of human rights in Switzerland
A 16-member Philippine delegation left for Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday morning on a mission to present the real state of human rights in the country during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) slated Monday, May 8.
— Manila Bulletin

Philippine justice writes online book on China’s sea claims
A Philippine Supreme Court justice launched a book on Thursday (May 5) that questions China’s historic claims to most of the South China Sea and said he will distribute it online to try to overcome China’s censorship and reach its people.
— Today Online

Why Did China’s Warships Visit the Philippines?
A closer look at the significance of the goodwill visit within the context of Sino-Philippine relations.
— The Diplomat

 

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Singapore morning newsSingapore Morning News

Compiled by Stella-maris Ewudolu    @Estee

 

Singapore banks seek to simplify online transactions
Four banks in Singapore are participating in a pilot that aims to explore ways to simplify online banking transactions with the use of the government’s MyInfo online authentication service.
— Telecom Asia

Singapore online users are 9th worst Internet pirates in the world: Report
Despite having an abundance of content options such as Netflix and Spotify, online users in Singapore are the ninth-worst Internet pirates in the world, a report has found.
— Today Online

Singapore: Vertex backs Israeli ag-tech firm Taranis in $7.5m Series A round
Israeli precision agriculture intelligence platform Taranis has closed a $7.5 million Series A round of financing led by Finistere Ventures, an AgTech venture pioneer, and Vertex Ventures.
— Deal Street Asia

Cromwell set for $1.8bn portfolio listing in Singapore
Cromwell Property Group is ­advancing plans to list a $1.8 billion portfolio of European office buildings and industrial assets on the Singapore stock exchange with rights over more assets that could lift the value to nearly $3bn.
— The Australian

UOB unit drives FDI worth over $27b in S-E Asia
A unit at United Overseas Bank (UOB) that deals with foreign direct investment helped steer more than $27 billion worth of business spending in South-east Asia last year – double the amount recorded in 2015.
— The Straits Times

8,000 visit first day 
of Star Wars festival
On Thursday night (May 4), at 8pm, something special took place at the Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay.
— Today Online

Changi Airport’s Terminal 4 to have 80 retail outlets, ‘heritage zone’
More than 80 retail outlets and a new heritage-themed zone will open at Changi Airport’s Terminal 4 (T4) when it opens in the second half of this year.
— Channel NewsAsia

FLT’s Q1 DPU slightly above projection at 1.75 Singapore cents
INDUSTRIAL landlord Frasers Logistics & Industrial Trust (FLT) on Friday posted a first-quarter distribution per unit (DPU) of 1.75 Singapore cents, above a projected 1.64 Aussie cents.
— The Business Times

Singapore shares open 0.1% higher on Friday
SINGAPORE stocks opened 0.1 per cent higher on Friday, with the Straits Times Index rising 4.17 points to 3,232.79 as at 9.02am. The blue-chip index edged up as fears lessened over the outcome of the French presidential elections.
— The Business Times

IMDA Singapore signs MOIs with three leading local banks to provide IMDA-accredited companies with access to innovative banking sector projects
During the ongoing Smart Nation Innovations Week, the Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore signed individual Memorandum of Intents (MOIs) with three leading local banks, United Overseas Bank (UOB), Development Bank of Singapore (DBS) and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) to provide accredited companies with increased access to innovative projects in the banking sector.
— Open Gov

SGX reprimands SingPost over inaccurate declaration in FSM deal
Singapore Post (SingPost) was reprimanded by the Singapore Exchange (SGX) on Thursday (May 4) for breaching listing rules relating to the acquisition of FS Mackenzie (FSM).
— Channel NewsAsia

Singapore maps out goals for its Asean chairmanship
SINGAPORE will pursue tangible results for Asean in the areas of digital economy and facilitating trade when it takes over chairmanship of the regional bloc next year.
— The Business Times

Online suicide game prompts MOE advisory
With youngsters increasingly consumed by the world of social media, parents and educators here are increasingly concerned about their mental well-being, especially with suicide-related content trending online
— The Newpaper

POSB e-payment trial to track maids’ pay
A new e-payment scheme is being tried out here to minimise disputes over money between employers and maids.
— The Newpaper

Singapore aims for homegrown P&I Club; expands marine insurance footprint
Singapore is aiming to have a protection and indemnity club, or P&I Club, in the medium term and is also working to have its own clause, a senior industry executive said at the recent Singapore Maritime Week.
— Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

 

Thailand morning newsThailand Morning News

Compiled by John Le Fevre    @photo_journ

 

Prayut wants port, rail progress report
The government wants a progress report by the end of the month on its priority schemes: the projects to link three major deep-sea ports and the construction of the railway projects to link the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).
— Bangkok Post

Thai media demand gov’t withdraw media regulation bill
Thai media organizations called on the military government Wednesday to withdraw a bill that would set up an appointed council to regulate print and online media and require journalists to be licensed or risk jail.
— Pattaya Mail/ AP

Panel to oversee single info window
THE NATIONAL committee on logistics development yesterday gave the green light to the establishment of a unit for management and development of a single window linking electronic information for imports, exports and logistics.

— The Nation

Sub deal to be signed before completion of vetting process
Navy chiefs to attend signing ceremony in Beijing on Sunday for purchase of first of three submarines despite criticism.
— The Nation

Consumer confidence hits 25-month high
Consumer confidence surged for a fifth straight month in April to the highest level in 25 months, driven by stronger exports, rising farm prices and growing tourism.
— Bangkok Post

Double track railway expedited for EEC
The Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) committee is pushing for a study on the construction of a double track railway to connect three main ports in Thailand.
— NNT

Alibaba’s Ma warns of stifled e-commerce
Developing countries looking to e-commerce as a way to bolster their emerging economies need to prioritise the sector’s growth instead of creating regulations and taxes that could kill it in its infancy, Alibaba Group executive chairman Jack Ma told a recent UN gathering in Geneva.
— Bangkok Post

Thailand: DCORP to pick 30% in online broadcasting app developer
Thai listed energy and media firm Demeter Corporation Pcl (DCORP) plans to spend up to 74.37 million baht ($2.2 million) on acquiring a 30 per cent interest in Blue Finix Digital Pcl, the app developer for internet broadcasting, the company said in a filing on Thursday.
— Deal Street Asia

Bank interest rate causes doubling in apartment cost
THE CURRENT interest rate causes buyers to pay double the cost of an apartment despite use of an instalment plan.
— The Nation

Energy peak could hike electricity bills
Soaring temperatures have pushed energy usage to 30,303.4 Megawatts (MW) per day, the year’s highest figure so far and possibly a cause for a hike in production cost.
— NNT

Thailand Prepares for Sweeping Changes to Aviation Law
Proposed changes to Thailand’s aviation legal framework will prove more extensive than first thought, senior government officials have told AIN.
— AIN Online

IS terrorist cell has smuggled weapons from Thailand into Malaysia: sources
AN ISLAMIC STATE (IS) terror cell has been smuggling weapons from southern Thailand into Malaysia and stockpiling them for about a year to prepare for attacks on home soil and abroad, a source told The Star newspaper in Malaysia.
— The Nation

13 groups get nod for tourism cash
The Tourism Department has approved a budget of 1.3 million baht for 13 community tourism groups to develop tourism personnel and infrastructure.
— Bangkok Post

‘Recklessness’ led to Red Line extension collapse that killed three
The Engineering Institute of Thailand (EIT) has blamed recklessness for last week’s incident when large metal beams used to supporting the construction of a concrete cross support on the elevated Red Line extension fell, killing three workers in front of Bangkok’s Wat Don Mueang School on Kamphaeng Phet 6 Road.
— The Nation

ISPs ask Facebook to kill content
A group of local internet service providers (ISPs) has emailed an official request to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking the company to block content on its web pages in Thailand that breaks the country’s strict lese majeste laws, as ordered by the Criminal Court.
— Bangkok Post

Thailand to seek Interpol alert for fugitive ‘Boss’
Thai police will seek an Interpol blue notice for Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya on Friday after British police said they could not find the heir to the Red Bull fortune who is wanted in a hit-and-run case that killed a police officer in Bangkok in 2012, Pol Maj-General Apichat Suriboonya, head of the Royal Thai Police’s Foreign Affairs Division, said on Thursday.
— The Nation

 

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Vietnam morning newsVietnam Morning News

Compiled by John Le Fevre    @photo_journ

 

Lotte gets approval for $884m Smart City
Korean conglomerate Lotte Group got the go-ahead from the HCM City People’s Committee on Wednesday to develop the Thủ Thiêm Eco Smart City in District 2.
— Viet Nam News

Vietnam remains destination for investors
Up to 78 percent of businesses have been positive about Vietnam’s economy, according to a survey on the private equity (PE) sector conducted by Grant Thornton Vietnam, which provides assurance, tax and advisory services.
— VIETNAMNET Bridge

VIETNAM – DEMAND FOR MID-LEVEL AND SENIOR-LEVEL WORKERS UP IN Q1
Recruitment demand for mid-level and senior-level staff in Vietnam increased by 73% during the first quarter compared to the same period last year, according to data from executive search service Navigos Search.
— Staffing Industry Analysts

VN prepares domestic trade strategy
A strategy is being developed to promote domestic trade by 2025 with a vision to 2035.
— Viet Nam News

Vietnam’s top leader dispatches anti-corruption task forces ahead of key gathering
Vietnam’s Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong has set up eight special task forces to oversee the handling, investigation and trial of major corruption cases across the country on the eve of a major meeting of senior Party members this week in Hanoi.
— VnExpress.net

PMI records slight April decline
The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) of Việt Nam dipped to 54.1 in April, a slight decline from March’s 22-month high of 54.6, reported Nikkei on Wednesday.
— Viet Nam News

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc asks for detailed plans to achieve set targets
The PM made the request during the monthly government meeting in Hanoi on May 4 which discussed the socio-economic performance in April and the first four months of this year as well as specific measures to ensure that economic growth targets for the remaining quarters and the whole year are met.
— VIETNAMNET Bridge

Vietnam busts Asia Live Tech-powered gambling site ibet789
Vietnamese authorities have broken up an illegal online gambling ring they claim handled wagers worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
— CalvinAyre.com

Leukemia medicine dumped after red tape holds up clearance process in Vietnam
A Ho Chi Minh City hospital was forced to jettison nearly 20,000 pills used to treat leukemia in 2015 after prolonged customs procedures and pharmaceutical checks.
— VnExpress.net

Viet Nam among top countries for internationalised domain name distribution
There are currently about one million Vietnamese domain names issued and Viet Nam is among the top countries in terms of internationalised domain name distribution in the world, according to Government portal chinhphu.vn.
— Viet Nam News biz hub

Vietnam gears up for 11th Eco-products International Fair
EPIF 2017 to focus on future-proofing productivity and sustainable industrial development initiatives in member countries. Includes a three-day parallel conference on Action for the Future and Moving toward a Virtuous Circle for Sustainable Development. Scientific Workshop on Applications of Environmentally Friendly Technologies in Waste Treatment to be held 12 May 2017.
— Asia One

Inspections set for massive aluminum stockpile in Vung Tau
Following instructions from Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung, officials from the Ministries of Industry and Trade, Finance, and Planning and Investment will verify the origin and purpose of the aluminum stockpile in Vung Tau city in mid-May.
— VIETNAMNET Bridge

VN objects to China’s East Sea ban
Việt Nam adamantly opposes and rejects China’s unilateral ban on fishing in the East Sea from May 1 to August 16, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lê Thị Thu Hằng told the media at a regular press conference yesterday.
— Viet Nam News

Banks report high profits in first quarter
Many commercial banks posted positive business performances in the first quarter of the year, earning high profits.
— Viet Nam News

Vietnam to work with TPP members on future orientations: Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson
“Vietnam considers its entry to Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and free trade agreements as one of the steps to execute the policy of active and proactive integration into the extensive world economy,” she said.
— VIETNAMNET Bridge

Vietnamese scientists reluctant to register inventions
Phung Minh Hai from Niptex (National Institute of Patent and Technology Exploitation), said that Vietnam only had 661 patents in the last 33 years, from 1982 to 2015.
— VIETNAMNET Bridge

Sands of time: VN faces severe shortage
Poor planning and management of sand mining has led to a stunning but unsurprising warning: Việt Nam is very likely to run out of sand in less than 15 years.
— Viet Nam News

Dong Nai earns $5.2b from exports till April
The southern province of Dong Nai shipped goods worth US$5.2 billion abroad from January to April, up 12.8 per cent from the same period last year.
— Viet Nam News biz hub

Cyber defense alone not enough
In 2011, the global entertainment network of a major Japanese technology enterprise was compromised and hackers managed to steal 77 million user accounts.
— VIETNAMNET Bridge

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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. It is published M-F by AEC News Today: Governance, not government; policies not politics.

 

 

 

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