Asean Morning News Roundup February 15

Asean Morning News Roundup February 15

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

 

Asean morning newsAsean Morning News

Compiled by AEC News Today @aecnewstoday

 

Asean nations review stance on intellectual property
Experts from Asean member countries and their development partners in the region are meeting in Vientiane to discuss issues relating to the 52nd Asean Working Group on Intellectual Property Cooperation (AWGIPC) and intellectual property protection.
Vientiane Times

Vietnam expects President Trump’s participation in APEC 2017
Vietnamese Ambassador to the United States Pham Quang Vinh has expressed his hope that President Donald Trump would attend the 2017 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), which will take place in Vietnam near the end of this year.
– Tuoi Tre News

Chinese weapons reaching ‘near-parity’ with West: study
China is beginning to export its own weapon designs, including armed drones, worldwide and is reaching “near-parity” with the West in terms of military technology, according to a report on Tuesday.
– Yahoo News

 

Cambodia morning newsCambodia Morning News

Compiled by Leakhena Khat    @leakhenakhat

 

Credit growth slowed in Q4
The country’s credit growth slowed slightly in the fourth quarter of 2016, compared with previous quarters in the year, due to low commodity prices as well as a decline in mortgage loans, according to a Credit Bureau of Cambodia (CBC) report released yesterday.
Khmer Times 

Government Officials Reconsider Amnesty for Parents, Surrogates
When the government announced a ban on surrogacy last year, foreign parents who had hired Cambodian women to carry their babies received assurances from officials that they would be allowed to safely take their children from the country.
The Cambodia Daily (paywall)

Surrogacy options to PM

Members of the inter-ministerial committee charged with drafting a law to regulate commercial surrogacy met yesterday to discuss potential penalties for people involved in the industry, officials said.
The Phnom Penh Post 

Smart help for innovators
Smart Axiata, one of the leading mobile operators in Cambodia, yesterday officially launched its digital young innovator program SmartStart, aimed at helping young Cambodians develop their innovative digital-related business ideas into actual businesses or products.
Khmer Times

Firm putting drones to work on farms
After the technician’s countdown, “moi, pi, bai”, an AS-III fixed-wing drone launches off a catapult into the air, ascending rapidly at 25 metres per second until it is high above the Cambodian countryside. The drone, equipped with a special camera capable of detecting what the human eye cannot see, surveys the crops below, assessing the health of vegetation while charting the precise layout of the terrain.
The Phnom Penh Post

Government Launches New Policy on Health Care for the Elderly
Ensuring that older residents have access to health care is one of the challenges for Cambodia as it faces an aging population, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.
The Cambodia Daily (paywall)

Government plugs rubber switch
The government is seeking intrepid smallholder farmers to pilot a project that would transform 6,000 hectares of cropland in two provinces into a patchwork of small rubber plantations.
The Phnom Penh Post 

Cambodia and Russia talk crime
Cambodia and Russia have pledged to enhance cooperation in the fight against terrorism, drugs and transnational crimes.
Khmer Times 

Cheated Mob Surrounds Fake Tour Agency Demanding Money Back
Military police arrested the owner of a tour agency on Monday evening after an angry mob surrounded its office to confront her after being swindled out of thousands of dollars meant to be used to purchase airline tickets.
The Cambodia Daily (paywall)

Businesses urged to join the fight against drugs
Labor Minister Ith Samheng has urged business owners, workers and unions to take up the government’s six-month campaign against illegal drugs
Khmer Times 

 

Indonesia morning newsIndonesia Morning News

Compiled by Vat Vin    @vin_vat

 

Indonesia set to export 100,000 tons of rice in 2017
The nation is set to export some 100,000 tons of rice this year as the commodity’s production is estimated to reach a surplus, an official has said.
The Jakarta Post

Tax amnesty’s progress slow in third round
The tax amnesty’s progress has been slow in the third round, or final round, as the redemption payment that has been collected since it started in early January only reached Rp 710 billion (US$53.25 million), far from the figures of the previous two rounds.
The Jakarta Post

Freeport Indonesia Halts Production
PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) has decided to stop production activities starting February 10, 2017, as a direct result of failing to acquire the copper concentrate export permit and the protest that is taking place at PT Smelting, a smelter operator company.
Tempo.Co

Why the Jakarta election could change the face of Indonesia
It’s the vote that could change Indonesia. The country’s capital Jakarta goes to the polls on Wednesday, February 15, to elect a new governor.
CNN

Indonesia launches Telkom 3S satellite successfully
The Indonesia’s biggest telecommunication company Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Telkom) has successfully launched its Telkom 3S satellite from Arianespace’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, at 6.39 p.m. on February 14 local time or Wednesday at 4.39 am Jakarta time.
The Jakarta Post

Bank Mandiri sees profit nosedive in 2016 amid rising NPL
State-owned lender Bank Mandiri saw its net profit plummet by 32.1 percent year-on-year (yoy) to Rp 13.8 trillion (US$1.03 billion) last year on the back of rising bad debts.
The Jakarta Post

Indonesia: Moka gets $2m from in Mandiri Capital-led round
Point-of-sale app operator Moka has just received $2 million in a funding round led by Mandiri Capital, with participation from Convergence Ventures, East Ventures, Fenox VC, and Northstar Group, according to an announcement today.
Dealstreetasia

IDX targets 110,000 new investors in 2017
The Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) has set a target to attract 110,000 new investors by the end of 2017, a 20 percent increase from the 540,000 investors recorded late last year.
The Jakarta Post

Goverment to distribute rice, sugar through cards
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said the government planned to kick off a cashless assistance program to provide rice and sugar to low-income households starting Feb. 23.
The Jakarta Post

Lippo Group launches its first REIT in Indonesia
Lippo Group has just launched its first real estate investment trust (REIT) in Indonesia called DIRE Bowsprit Commercial and Infrastructure.
The Jakarta Post

 

Lao PDR morning newsLao PDR Morning News

 Compiled by Vat Vin    @vin_vat

 

Property Investors To Draw Law On Foreign Acquisition
Property investors are currently drawing up a law that will call on the National Assembly (NA) to consider foreigners to be able to purchase apartments, according to officials in the sector.
Vientiane Times

KOICA extends support for immigration capacity development
The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) will provide grant aid of US$8.6 million to support Laos’s immigration capacity development project.
Vientiane Times

Laos Vying for Chinese Tourism
There is no dispute when stating that Chinese tourism in Laos has been on the rise. In 2011, according to statistics from the ministry’s tourism sector, data showed that 150,791 Chinese tourists traveled to Laos.
The Laotian Times

Third River Festival Announced on Laos Border
Cambodia’s third annual River Festival will be held near the Laos-Cambodia border this year, with the Tourism Ministry organizing a wider tour through the two countries to coincide with the event, the ministry announced on Tuesday.
The Cambodia Daily (paywall)

Asean nations review stance on intellectual property
Experts from Asean member countries and their development partners in the region are meeting in Vientiane to discuss issues relating to the 52nd Asean Working Group on Intellectual Property Cooperation (AWGIPC) and intellectual property protection.
Vientiane Times

 

Malaysia morning newsMalaysia Morning News

Compiled by Stella-maris Ewudolu    @Estee

 

Malaysia’s Q4 growth seen quickening in sign economy on the mend
Malaysia’s economy is expected to have grown at a faster pace in the fourth quarter, supported by its oil and commodity exports after over a year of tepid global demand that bodes well for a more durable recovery over 2017.
— Malay Mail Online

Malaysia confirms N.Korea leader’s brother assassinated
The half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was assassinated at an airport in Kuala Lumpur, telling medical workers before he died that he had been attacked with a chemical spray, a Malaysian official said Tuesday.
— Bangkok Post

Weaker ringgit dampens travel to Singapore
Malaysia’s depreciating ringgit dampened travel to Singapore, causing a two per cent decrease in tourist arrivals last year, says Singapore Tourism Board (STB).
— Malay Mail Online

Sold into marriage: How Rohingya girls become child brides in Malaysia
The slight girl in a turquoise headscarf held back tears as she recalled what happened when she fled to Malaysia from Myanmar’s violence-hit Rakhine state. Just 12-years-old at the time, she was forced to wed a man she did not know, and who was more than a decade older than her.
— Malay Mail Online

Malaysia: Sunway acquiring Austral Meridian Property, to get Jalan Peel land
Sunway Bhd has entered into joint venture (JV) agreement to acquire Austral Meridian Property Sdn Bhd. This will enable it to acquire an additional 3.41ha of leasehold land in Jalan Peel, a KL road known as a food destination.
— Deal Street Asia

Royalty should renounce privileges to contest public posts, lawyer says
Privileges and immunities enjoyed by members of the royalty vying for or holding public positions could discourage open discussions about their performance, according to a lawyer.
— Malay Mail Online

Sabah mulls collaborative method in awarding tenders for Pan Borneo Highway
The government is considering the use of a collaborative method between contractors in Sabah and those outside the state, be they from Peninsular Malaysia or Sarawak, in awarding tenders for the implementation of the Pan Borneo Sabah Highway Project.
— Malay Mail Online

Porsche has nothing to do with RM90m, says PAS Youth leader
Federal Territories Youth chief Khairil Nizam Khairudin today lambasted those unearthing claims that PAS spiritual leader Hashim Jasin owns a Porsche Cayman car, in light of the RM90 million controversy.
— Malaysiakini

SIS to hold Twitter dialogue on Act 355
Sisters in Islam will hold a two-day “tweet chat” session to answer questions on the proposed amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, or Act 355.
— Malaysiakini

 

Myanmar morning newsMyanmar Morning News

Compiled by Stella-maris Ewudolu    @Estee

 

Pathein introduces Pilot Court Project
The longest time allowed for a hearing will be 270 days for criminal cases and 540 days for civil cases, according to Pathein Township court.
— Eleven

More than 60 political organisations held peace talks to mark the 70th Anniversary of Union Day
More than 60 political organisations held talks on Monday to discuss Myanmar’s ongoing peace process and to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of Union Day, including the Panglong Agreement pledges.
— Eleven

Repairs and maintenance work on Mandalay Region’s famed U Bein Bridge in the Amarapura township are set to resume
The Mandalay branch of the Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library said the missing and decayed teak pillars of the country’s longest teakwood bridge will be replaced as part of the maintenance exercise.
— Myanmar Times

Two laws to be amended to solve land disputes
To resolve disputes over confiscated lands and to streamline the process of returning them to the rightful owners, the Union government will amend two land-related laws, said Dr Aung Thu, Union Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation.
— Myanmar Times

Parliament approves to take out JICA’s loan
Parliament yesterday approved a Yen 10.787 Billion (2.2 trillion kyat) from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for renovations to hydropower plants.
— Eleven

Joint Bill Committee suggests reducing 3% commercial tax to 1% in buying gold jewellery
While the 2017 Tax Revenue Bill states that 3 per cent commercial tax shall be levied on sales of gold jewellery, the Joint Bill Committee has suggested that the amount should be only 1 per cent, in a report to a regular session of the Union Parliament held in Nay Pyi Taw on Monday.
— Eleven

Myanmar, Finland Hold Discussions on Bilateral Cooperation
State Counsellor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Aung San Suu Kyi met last Thursday with Finland’s Foreign Trade and Development Minister Kai Mykkanen in Nay Pyi Taw for discussions on bilateral cooperation.
— Consult-Myanmar

Yangon to Draw up Master Plan for Energy, in Push for Foreign Investment
A master plan for electricity and energy for the Yangon Region is going to be drawn up with foreign and local investment invited for power distribution once the law for electricity has been completed, the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) has revealed.
— Consult-Myanmar

Support Daw Aung San Suu Kyi out of respect for Bogyoke, urges Speaker
The Speaker of Pyidaungsu Hluttaw and Amyotha Hluttaw, U Mahn Win Khaing Than, urged the people of Myanmar to support State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in all her work out of respect for her father Bogyoke Aung San, who is also known as the Father of Independence.
— Myanmar Times

Military Arbitrarily Arrest Five Rohingya Villagers
The Myanmar military arbitrarily arrested five local Rohingya people at the village of Kyikanpyin locally known as Hawar Bil in Northern Maungdaw in the early morning last Friday (on Feb 10), a reliable source has reported.
— Rohingya Vision

Police Arrest 20 For Jade Smuggling in Myanmar’s Hpakant
Police in Myanmar’s Hpakant mining region in Kachin state have arrested and charged 20 people for smuggling jadestone loaded in nine trucks and driven to Mongnyin region, a police official said on Tuesday.
— Radio Free Asia

Myanmar Investigation Commission Says it Cannot Verify U.N. Report on Rakhine Violence
A national-level commission investigating accusations of abuse of Rohingya Muslims during a security crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine state has received information contrary to accounts of the violence detailed in a report by the United Nations, a member of the commission said Tuesday.
— Radio Free Asia

 

Philippines morning newsPhilippines Morning News

Compiled by Jose Rodriguez Senas    @15Souter

 

Gina Lopez scraps 75 mine contracts
For Environment Secretary Gina Lopez, it was a “gift of love” to the Filipino people on Valentine’s Day. But for the mining industry, it was a Valentine’s Day massacre.
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Pinoys see better life in 2017 – SWS
More Filipinos expect their lives to get better this year, a recent survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) shows.
Philippine Star

PH seeks review of economic agreement with Japan
The Department of Trade and Industry will soon review the Philippines-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (PJEPA), aiming to request its counterpart in Japan to lower the seasonal tariffs on pineapples and bananas.
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Duterte targets Philippine children in bid to widen drug war
Before Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on drugs had even begun, allies of the Philippines president were quietly preparing for a wider offensive. On June 30, as Duterte was sworn in, they introduced a bill into the Philippine Congress that could allow children as young as nine to be targeted in a crackdown that has since claimed more than 7,600 lives.
Reuters

Foreign businessmen urged to support Philippine government
Foreign businessmen who have nothing good to say about the country should just help the government instead of magnifying local issues, a local business leader said.
Philippine Star

Philippines says Japan offers help in anti-piracy effort
Japan has offered to send patrol ships to deal with a growing piracy threat in the southern Philippine waters bordering Indonesia and Malaysia, a senior Philippine defence official said on Tuesday.
Japan Today

Japanese Billionaire Plans to Transform Philippines into “The Next Hawaii”
Billionaire Kazuo Okada, whose net worth stands at $2.4 billion currently, intends to transform the Philippines (EPHE) (PIE) into “the next Hawaii.”
Frontera

Separations, not marriage drop, affect housing sector
While fewer Filipino choose to tie the knot these days, this does not mean that mortgage financing is on the decline.
Philippine Daily Inquirer

DOF amenable to lower tax hike on small cars
The Department of Finance (DOF) has adopted the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)‘s proposal to  lower the excise tax hike for “small cars” or those priced below P1 million, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said.
Philippine Star

Abus demand P30 M for German hostage
Abu Sayyaf bandits have threatened to execute their German hostage if the P30-million ransom is not paid by Feb. 26.
Philippine Star

 

Singapore morning newsSingapore Morning News

Compiled by Jose Rodriguez Senas    @15Souter

 

Singapore Expects Slower 2017 Growth
Singapore forecasts slower growth in tourist arrivals this year, citing global economic and political uncertainties and stiffer competition from neighbors in the region.
Financial Tribune

Singapore to allow foreign acquisitions of finance companies
Singapore’s central bank said it will allow foreign takeovers of the country’s three finance companies, as part of wider industry changes that seek to boost lending to small and medium-sized enterprises.
Deal Street Asia

Singapore’s tourism numbers hit historic high in 2016
Singapore’s tourism sector thrived last year despite challenging economic conditions, with both visitor arrivals and tourism receipts exceeding forecasts to hit historical highs, according to figures released by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) on Tuesday (Feb 14).
Channel NewsAsia

Singapore: Temasek-backed One Championship eyes $1b valuation
Sports entertainment brands are emerging as compelling investments for both individual and institutional investors given the rising middle class in Asia.
Deal Street Asia

Singapore Fast-Tracks FinTech Space
Increasingly, early stage start-ups and FinTech businesses are seeing incentives in Singapore as an attractive location to set up shop.
National Law Review

Google rolls out Shopping Ads in Singapore
Brands now have a faster way to reach shoppers in Singapore with the launch of Google Shopping Ads, which show product images and information in search results alongside Google’s standard text ads.
Campaign

Singapore’s REITs ripe for consolidation
Singapore’s real estate investment trusts became popular because they had the things local investors love — steady income, high yields and property. Now, it’s all turning upside down, and holders need to hope that a round of consolidation comes to their rescue.
Deal Street Asia

 

Thailand morning newsThailand Morning News

Compiled by John Le Fevre    @photo-journ

 

Thailand Slaps Philip Morris With More Tax Evasion Charges
Prosecutors in Thailand widened their tax-evasion allegations against the Thai subsidiary of tobacco giant Philip Morris International Inc., alleging that the company under-declared the value of cigarettes imported from Indonesia.
– The Wall Street Journal (paywall)

Thailand showcases EEC at “Opportunity Thailand” international seminar today
The government today held “Opportunity Thailand” international seminar to showcase it’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) program with aim to draw more foreign investment into the country
– Thai PBS

B4.5bn Dawei development loan okayed
Plans for the Dawei special economic zone have inched ahead after the Myanmar government agreed to borrow 4.5 billion baht from Thailand to finance the construction of a 132-kilometre road from Dawei’s proposed deep-sea port to Ban Phu Nam Ron in Kanchanaburi.
— Bangkok Post

PM warns against anti-coal plant rally
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has warned opponents of the controversial coal-fired power plant project in Krabi against their plan to rally at Government House this Friday, arguing the move would violate the law.
— Bangkok Post

Japan and Thailand mull pact on weapons transfer: The Nation Columnist
Japan is currently drafting a legal framework with Thailand to allow the future transfer of its defence equipment and technology. If that happens soon, it would represent a significant milestone in their mutual defence cooperation since the end of World War II.
– The Straits Times

Electricity system endorsed
The cabinet yesterday approved the electricity system development project in big cities at an investment cost of 11.6 billion baht. The move is aimed at accommodating new technologies to be applied in local economic development.
— Bangkok Post

DTAC allots B17bn this year for network expansion
Total Access Communication (DTAC) aims to become a digital service provider with service innovations, network expansion and modernisation of the working culture as flagship initiatives are guided a new brand philosophy, “Flip it”.
— Bangkok Post

Pacific Aerospace delivers first P-750 to Thailand
New Zealand’s Pacific Aerospace has delivered the first P-750 XSTOL to the Thai market, as it looks to double annual shipments of the single-engined turboprop in 2017.
– FlightGlobal

Cabinet Oks fund to bring electrical cables underground in 4 cities
The cabinet on Tuesday agreed to set aside 11,668 million baht fund for the Provincial Electricity Authority to bring all the overhead electrical cables in Chiang Mai, Hat Yai, Pattaya and Nakhon Ratchasima underground and to boost the efficiency of power transmission.
— Thail PBS Network

Authorities rush to collect marine garbage off Chumphon
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is expediting the collection of a large amount of garbage found in the Gulf of Thailand and has ordered officials to lay down long-term solutions.
— National News Bureau of Thailand

 

Vietnam morning newsVietnam Morning News

Compiled by John Le Fevre    @photo-journ

 

Car imports from ASEAN states explode in January, sparking fierce local competition
The number of cars of nine seats and less imported from Thailand and Indonesia soared in January, sparking fierce competition between importers and local automakers.
– Viet Nam News

Vietnam inbound M&A to cross $1b in 2017, but unlikely to touch 2016 levels
Vietnam’s inbound M&A activity is likely to exceed the $1 billion mark for the third successive year in 2017 although global economic uncertainties could drag the momentum and levels reached in 2016, according to a recent research report by Baker McKenzie.
– Deal Street Asia

Firms shocked by rocketing Hai Phong port fees
Businesses complained at a Ha Noi conference Monday about the decision to charge high fees for using infrastructure, service facilities and public utilities at all ports in Hải Phòng City.
– Viet Nam News

Japanese firms plan VN expansion: report
More than 60 per cent of Japanese firms operating in Việt Nam have intentions to expand their business here to cash in on the improved investment climate, a survey by Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) has revealed.
– Viet Nam News

Draft decree on State monopoly in trade submitted to Government
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has submitted to the Government a draft decree declaring a State trade monopoly in 16 goods and services.
– VietnamPlus

EVN banned from investing in property, banking sectors
Electricity of Việt Nam (EVN) is not permitted to mobilise capital to invest in the real estate and finance sectors.
– Viet Nam News

Ho Chi Minh City to operate 11 inland ports
The construction of 11 inland wharves throughout Ho Chi Minh City has been completed, with each expected to facilitate local tourism after they become operational.
– Tuoi Tre News

Garment exports to US, Japan touch $15 billion
The US and Japan imported garments and textile products worth US$15 billion from Viet Nam in 2016, the Viet Nam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) has said.
– Viet Nam News biz hub

Vietnam’s building code in a “messy” situation
The Vietnamese government faces a messy situation when it comes to issuing and monitoring the current regulations on construction.
– VietnamPlus

Get Japan to remove tuna import duty: exporters
The Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) on Monday submitted a proposal to the Government to renegotiate the high import duty on Vietnamese tuna products in Japan.
– Viet Nam News biz hub

Vietnam’s January auto industry sales falls 13 pct y/y: industry body
Automobile total industry sales in January fell 13 percent annually to 20,232 units, Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (VAMA) said in a report released on Monday.
– Tuoi Tre News

Vietnamese administrations obliged to inform press under new gov’t decree
Vietnam’s administrative bodies are required to hold regular press briefings to update media on news within their scope of management, according to a recent government decree.
– Tuoi Tre News

Vietnam ranked the top among cheap destinations in 2017: Forbes
The prestigious American magazine Forbes recently published an article about 21 of suitable destinations for low-cost travelers in 2017. Northern Vietnam led the top in Forbes among the cheapest destinations in 2017.
– Hanoitimes

How did Vietnam Airlines find its strategic investors?
VNA, the national flag air carrier, has for the first time revealed how it found the strategic shareholder – ANA Holdings, which bought 8.8 percent out of a 20 percent stake offered to strategic shareholders some months ago.
– Talk Vietnam

Vietnam to pilot granting E-visa for foreign citizens from 40 countries
The Immigration Department under the Ministry of Public Security recently announced at a press conference in Hanoi that since February 1, Decree 07/2017-ND-CP by Vietnam Government has been enacted with the content about piloting electronic visa (E-visa) in 2 years for citizens from 40 countries.
– Hanoitimes

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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