Headlines:
  1. Government allocates RM13.2 billion to six less developed states
  2. MYEG invests RM6.1 million in AI-based education company in China
  3. Malaysia’s first industry 4.0 training course for the plastics industry sees 100 pioneer graduates
  4. Malaysia Autoshow 2019 to showcase 32 OEMs
  5. China and US starts fresh round of trade talks
  6. New Facility to Mobilize $1 Billion for ASEAN Green Infrastructure
  7. IATA: Airline passenger demand slows down in February
Government allocates RM13.2 billion to six less developed states The government will allocate RM13.2 billion this year to the less developed states of Sabah, Sarawak, Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah and Perlis under the Fourth Rolling Plan of the 11th Malaysia Plan. Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said the allocation was a 10.6 per cent increase compared to RM11.9 billion allocated last year, making up 24.1 per cent of the total allocation for development in Malaysia. MYEG invests RM6.1 million in AI-based education company in China MY E.G. Services has invested RM6.1 million in China’s Jingle Magic (Beijing) Technology which develops virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI)-based educational equipment and software. MYEG said the investment in Jingle Magic, through venture investment arm MY E.G. Capital, marked the second of its kind by MYEG in a China-based company in the AR/VR/AI space, following last year’s 3.125 per cent interest in Guangzhou-based Ximmerse. In a filing with Bursa Malaysia today, MYEG said it had agreed to subscribe to 46,044 shares in Jingle Magic. There is no mention of the percentage shareholding. Malaysia’s first industry 4.0 training course for the plastics industry sees 100 pioneer graduates A group of 100 technicians and engineers from the Malaysian plastics industry have completed Malaysia’s first Industry 4.0 training course, under a 12-month pilot programme organised by the Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association (MPMA). This pioneer batch graduated from MPMA’s First Step to Injection Moulding 4.0 (FSIM4.0) programme that ran from September 2017 to November 2018. Comprising of four different courses, MPMA’s FSIM 4.0 was supported by a RM2.9 million grant from Pembangunan Sumber Manusia Berhad (PSMB) under its InBase Scheme.  The programme aims to upskill those working in Malaysia’s plastics industry, and help Malaysian plastics manufacturers stay competitive through achieving operational excellence. Malaysia Autoshow 2019 to showcase 32 OEMs Thirty-two original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and 170 exhibitors from seven countries will take part in the Malaysia Autoshow 2019 in Kuala Lumpur next week. Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii) chief executive officer Datuk Madani Sahari said the auto show will showcase the latest vehicles in the market, including energy-efficient models, highlighting the advances in technology, safety and comfort. Themed ‘Mobility for All’ and dubbed as the largest auto show in the country and ASEAN, he said the event, which offers a combined floor space of 50,000 square feet, is expected to attract over 350,000 visitors and generate about RM250 million in sales.   China and US starts fresh round of trade talks China and the United States started a fresh round of talks on Wednesday in Washington amid upbeat hopes of finalising a comprehensive agreement to end their protracted trade war. Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He was greeted by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer outside the USTR office on Wednesday morning, shaking hands. In a rare display of enthusiasm. Larry Kudlow, White House economic adviser, said that China acknowledged for the first time issues of intellectual property thefts, cyber hacking and forced technology transfer accused by the US but largely denied by China previously, according to a report by CNBC. New Facility to Mobilize $1 Billion for ASEAN Green Infrastructure Southeast Asian governments, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and major development financiers today launched the “ASEAN Catalytic Green Finance Facility”, a new initiative to spur more than $1 billion in green infrastructure investments across Southeast Asia. The new facility provides loans and necessary technical assistance for sovereign green infrastructure projects such as sustainable transport, clean energy, and resilient water systems. It aims to catalyze private capital by mitigating risks through innovative finance structures. The facility will mobilize a total of $1 billion including $75 million from the ASEAN Infrastructure Fund (AIF), $300 million from ADB, €300 million ($336 million) from KfW, €150 million from the European Investment Bank, and €150 million from Agence Française de Développement. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the Global Green Growth Institute will support knowledge sharing and capacity building on green finance. The Overseas Private Investment Corporation has expressed interest in potential financing for emerging projects. The facility is part of a new “Green and Inclusive Infrastructure Window” under the AIF, a regional financing initiative established by ASEAN governments and ADB in 2011 and administered by ADB. Since its establishment, the AIF has committed $520 million for energy, transport, water, and urban infrastructure projects across the region. IATA: Airline passenger demand slows down in February The total distance travelled by paying airline passengers — also known as revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) — rose by 5.3 per cent year-on-year globally in February, the slowest rate of growth in more than a year, said the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Nonetheless, this was still in line with long-term demand trends, it said in a statement today. Monthly capacity (available seat kilometres or ASKs) increased by 5.4 per cent, and load factor slipped 0.1 percentage point to 80.6 per cent, which was still high by historic standards, the association said. “After January’s strong performance, we settled down a bit in February, in line with concerns about the broader economic outlook. Continuing trade tensions between the United States and China, and unresolved uncertainty over Brexit are also weighing on the outlook for travel,” IATA director general and chief executive officer Alexandre de Juniac said.