Headlines:
  1. Malaysia to be removed from list of Rome Statute signatories
  2. Malaysians spend more time looking at properties than going to the gym or reading
  3. Pakatan needs roadmap for human rights reforms, says Amnesty International
  4. MAS Transfers S$45 billion to the Government for Long-term Investment Singapore
  5. US President repeats plan to keep tariffs on Chinese imports
Malaysia to be removed from list of Rome Statute signatories The United Nations will remove Malaysia as a signatory of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). This comes following Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announcement on April 5 that Malaysia would not be ratifying the treaty. The government had later issued a withdrawal letter to UN secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, on April 29 to inform the international body of Malaysia’s withdrawal from ratifying the statute. In a statement, Wisma Putra said that Malaysia would be removed from the list after the UN completes the necessary procedure. Malaysia had initially agreed to ratify the statute after acceding to it in March. The ICC is the first permanent, treaty-based international criminal court. Its objective is to end impunity against perpetrators of the most serious crimes – genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of aggression. Only individuals and not the country would be taken to task. Malaysians spend more time looking at properties than going to the gym or reading Malaysia is the most property obsessed country in the Southeast Asia and ranked at fourth place globally after the United Arab Emirates, the United States and Taiwan, according to HSBC Malaysia. “Malaysians spend longer time viewing property than they do keeping fit at the gym, reading books, or reading and watching the news,” said country head for retail banking and wealth management Tara Latini. She said on average, Malaysians spent 4.37 hours per week  viewing property than go to the gym, which is about one hour a week, or reading books (1.95 hours) or reading and watching the news (2.27 hours). She pointed out that almost one out of five Malaysian was an extreme house hunter who spends more than 10 hours looking at property magazines every week. “More than 26% of these Malaysian extreme property addicts spend between 7 and 9 hours searching for properties online,” she said. Globally, about 6.3% of people can be defined as an extreme house hunter and that the research reveals the quirks and irrationalities that have started to play a prominent role in their property searches, she adds. Pakatan needs roadmap for human rights reforms, says Amnesty International Amnesty International (AI) Malaysia today suggested that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government formulate a strategic roadmap for introducing human rights reforms. Its executive director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu said that while PH started out strong in its aim to introduce reforms and abolish repressive laws as well as ratifying international human rights treaties, it however seems in lack of a direction now. “We need to see a plan that is clearly articulated and in the spirit of promoting and protecting human rights in the country,” she said, adding that some of the bold statements of rights reforms made in the past year, were swiftly followed by disappointing U-turns, indicating a lack of political will. MAS Transfers S$45 billion to the Government for Long-term Investment Singapore The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said today that it would be transferring S$45 billion from the official foreign reserves (OFR) to the Government for longer-term investment. This amount is the excess over what MAS deems necessary to maintain confidence in Singapore’s exchange rate-centred monetary policy. MAS, as the central bank of Singapore, manages the country’s OFR, which stood at S$404 billion as at April 2019. Singapore’s monetary policy is aimed at ensuring medium-term price stability. Given the dominant role that the exchange rate plays in determining core inflation in Singapore, MAS conducts monetary policy by managing the exchange rate of the Singapore Dollar. MAS does this through market intervention operations to keep the nominal effective exchange rate of the Singapore Dollar (S$NEER1) within a policy band consistent with ensuring price stability. The transfer will take place in May 2019. US President Trump repeats plan to keep tariffs on Chinese imports US President Donald Trump reiterated his intention to keep tariffs on Chinese imports and accused Beijing of attempting to negotiate with his political opponents to avoid having to make concessions. Just a day before Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is scheduled to arrive in Washington for an 11th round of trade talks, Trump said via Twitter that China hopes “they will be able to ‘negotiate’ with [Democratic presidential candidate] Joe Biden or one of the very weak Democrats, and thereby continue to rip off the United States (($500 Billion a year)) for years to come”. Trump tweeted on Sunday that he intends to raise tariffs on US$200 billion worth of goods from 10 to 25 per cent. That change will take effect Friday, according to a special filing announced on Wednesday in the US government’s Federal Register. Trump’s latest comments and the Federal Register notification confirms fears among investors that a worsening trade war will cut into profits and revenues of multinational companies dependent on supply chains running between the US and China.