Headlines:
  1. Deputy MITI Minister says local talent pool adaptable
  2. Proton, Perodua set to dominate sales in 1Q2019
  3. PIKOM welcomes 6 per cent digital tax
  4. Microsoft Digital Civility Index for Malaysia 2019
  5. Let’s eBay ties up with SIRS to help eCommerce in Singapore
  6. Singapore ranks #1 on overall AI readiness in Asia-Pacific
  7. Iris, facial scanning trial for immigration clearance under way at Tuas Checkpoint
Dr Ong Kian Ming: Local talent pool adaptable Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry, Dr Ong Kian Ming said Malaysia has a good talent pool that is flexible and adaptable to be trained for different conditions and operating environments. He pointed out that the trust shown by China-based telecommunications and electronics giant Huawei to train and develop human capital in Malaysia for both local and global operations, is an encouraging sign of the group’s confidence in local talent. “I am confident as more Chinese companies expand their operations into ASEAN and other parts of the world, they will see Malaysia similar to Huawei’s view, that of a place to recruit, train and deploy talent not only in Malaysia but to other parts of the world,” he told reporters after his visit to Huawei’s Malaysian Global Training Centre (MGTC) in Cyberjaya. The training centre is Huawei’s first outside of China and has over 2,500 employees, two-thirds of whom are Malaysians. Dr Ong said Huawei was also collaborating with 300 local partners from across the information and communications technology ecosystem and has shown commitment in working with local education institutions to train young Malaysians in various areas such as 5G and cloud computing. Proton, Perodua set to dominate sales in 1Q2019 National carmakers Proton and Perodua look set to dominate sales over their foreign counterparts in the first quarter of this year, as more drivers traded their cars for more competitively-priced, local sport-utility vehicles (SUVs). According to Kenanga Research, sales of Proton and Perodua’s maiden SUVs – the X70 and Aruz – saw the national brands surpassing the non-national makes’ market share in the first two months of this year for the first time since 2013. The research house said the market share of both Proton and Perodua, compared with foreign makes, stood at 56% to 44% in the first two months of 2019. In light of the steady demand for Proton and Perodua vehicles, Kenanga Research has revised upwards its 2019 total industry volume (TIV) forecast to 600,000 units from 590,000 units previously. PIKOM welcomes 6 per cent digital tax announcement The National ICT Association of Malaysia (PIKOM) has welcomed the government’s announcement to impose a six per cent digital tax on foreign service providers from January next year. The six per cent tax will be imposed on imported online services, including software, music, video and digital advertising. PIKOM chairman Ganesh Kumar Bangah said the digital tax creates a level playing field for local players. “Under the current tax regime, business-to-business sales are already covered, however, foreign business to local consumer sales, in particular for digital goods and services, are not taxed,” he said in a statement today. Other countries like Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Taiwan, Norway, South Africa and Japan already have such taxes or rulings on imported digital related transactions. New Zealand, Russia and Norway are currently imposing relatively higher taxes – at 15 per cent, 18 per cent and 25 per cent respectively. “In comparison, Malaysia’s six per cent digital tax can be considered low,” said Ganesh. PIKOM represents the ICT industry in Malaysia with a membership of over 1,000 companies involved in ICT products and services that command about 80 per cent of the country’s total ICT trade. Microsoft Digital Civility Index for Malaysia 2019 Microsoft has released the findings of its latest Digital Civility Index (DCI), which is an annual survey that examines people’s attitudes and perceptions about online behaviour and interactions. The survey is conducted in 22 countries around the world, including Malaysia, with an aim to raise awareness of the real-world consequences of online risks. The survey polled teens aged between 13-17 and adults between 18-74, asking about their experiences and encounters with 21 different online risks. These online risks are then categorized within four umbrellas; behavioral risk such as online harassment, intrusive risk such as unwanted contact, sexual risk such as unwanted sexting and reputational risk such as doxxing. Worldwide, Microsoft’s DCI fell two points from the previous year, driven by a widespread decline in unwanted contact. Malaysia however, registered a small loss in DCI, falling two spots and ranking #6 out of the 22 countries surveyed. Based on the survey, 53% of Malaysians have been asked inappropriate or personal questions by a stranger online, 20 points above the global average, which also makes it the most common type of unwanted contact. According to the survey, social circles have become riskier, with risks from family and friends increasing significantly from 11% to 26%. Malaysians have also reported a noticeably higher levels of severe pain as a result of these risks (37%) when compared to the rest of the world (28%). The survey also indicated that Malaysians face more consequences from online risks and are less inclined to take positive actions as a result of these risks. Similar to last year’s results, millennials, boomers and teenage girls were the most impacted in terms of risk exposure and its consequences, with 94% of boomers being significantly impacted by the consequences of online risks, suffering moderate to severe pain as a result. On a positive note, the survey also found that more Malaysian teenagers asked for help from their parents when facing and online risk (33%).   eBay and Singapore Institute of Retail Studies to deliver eCommerce training for small businesses and individuals eBay and the Singapore Institute of Retail Studies (SIRS) are joining forces to deliver training to small businesses and entrepreneurs seeking new and global sales channels in the fast-growing eCommerce sector. Singapore’s eCommerce market is expected to grow by 48% to S$10.04 billion by 2022, and a rising number of entrepreneurial Singaporeans are capitalising on the opportunity to sell their products directly to customers all around the world on eBay. According to eBay Head of Southeast Asia Seller Growth Wong Mei Inn, “Singapore’s cross border trade (CBT) exports continue to grow and there is huge opportunity for more small businesses to join the ranks of eBay sellers. By listing their products on eBay’s global marketplace, Singaporean businesses can reach 179 million active buyers all around the world.” “Let’s eBay with SIRS has been designed for the small business and entrepreneur who has little or no ecommerce experience but wants to learn directly from the source,” said Wong. “eCommerce has been recognised as one of the key growth opportunities under the 2020 vision of the Retail Industry Transformation Map launched by SPRING Singapore (now Enterprise Singapore),” said Nanyang Polytechnic’s Singapore Institute of Retail Studies Director Megan Ong. “By partnering eBay, we will be able to encourage retailers in Singapore to adopt eCommerce and omni-channel strategies to succeed in today’s digital context.” Small medium enterprises (SMEs) contribute to 72% of Singapore’s employment, and in 2018, added a nominal value of S$213.6 billion, or 48% to the economy. The government has acknowledged the importance of SMEs plugging into the digital economy as it would make a noticeable impact on Singapore’s economic growth.   Singapore ranks #1 on overall AI readiness in Asia-Pacific Singapore has come up tops on overall artificial intelligence (AI) readiness in Asia-Pacific, in a new study commissioned by Salesforce. It was followed by Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Thailand, Phillippines, and Indonesia, respectively. The Asia-Pacific AI Readiness Index evaluates the quality and strength of AI frameworks and ecosystems in the above markets – specifically, AI readiness across the spheres of consumer, business and government. Singapore also takes the lead in terms of business and government readiness. Thailand takes the lead in terms of consumer readiness, followed by Hong Kong and Singapore.   Iris, facial scanning trial for immigration clearance under way at Tuas Checkpoint Singapore has started a six-month trial for a new contactless immigration clearance system at the Tuas Checkpoint. The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) announced today that the trial, which began on 8 April, uses one of the automated arrival lanes in the checkpoint’s bus hall. Travellers are not required to present their passport or thumbprints for clearance in this lane. Their identity is verified using iris and facial images. A back-end system then verifies if the identified traveller holds a valid passport, ICA said.