• Presence of multinationals reflective of their confidence in Malaysia
  • BNM’s International Reserves Higher at US$103 Billion
  • MaGIC Signs MOU with Accenture, Think City and MIMOS to Lay Foundation of the Future Economy
  • MaGIC: Partnership and trust key to innovation supercluster
  • Singapore and France Launch Year of Innovation 2018
  • US Government shut down enters third day

PM Najib: Multinationals Confident of Malaysia’s Resilience, Economy
Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said planned investments and measures to enhance their presence taken by multinationals are reflective of the confidence of the international community towards Malaysia over the past year. In addition, he said, institutions such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and many other respected global bodies had commended the government’s prudent handling of the economy. Datuk Seri Najib added that international companies and foreign capital were coming into the country at a pace not seen before.

BNM’s International Reserves Higher at US$103 Billion in January
Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) international reserves stood at US$103 billion as at 15 January 2018, higher than the US$102.4 billion recorded on 29 December 2017. In a statement today, the central bank said the reserves position was sufficient to finance 7.1 months of retained imports and is 1.1 times the short-term external debt. BNM said the main components of the international reserves were foreign currency reserves (US$96.3 billion), International Monetary Fund reserves position (US$0.8 billion), Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) (US$1.2 billion), gold (US$1.5 billion) and other reserve assets (US$3.2 billion).

MaGIC Signs MOU with Accenture, Think City and MIMOS to Lay Foundation of the Future Economy
Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Accenture, Think City and MIMOS Berhad to drive collaboration and active involvement in Malaysia’s entrepreneurship development as part of MaGIC’s Corporate Entrepreneurship Responsibility (CER) network. The MOU signing took place alongside a panel discussion on “Shaping the Industries of the Future”. Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred Madius Tangau said, “This MOU will see Accenture and MIMOS becoming members of MaGIC’s CER Circle initiative. The partnership will bring together important factors for successful entrepreneurship programs such as MIMOS’ advanced technologies and Accenture’s prowess in strategy, services, as well as technology and business consulting.”

Meanwhile, MaGIC chief executive officer Ashran Ghazi said that they are trying to “hack” a new approach to an innovation supercluster. First announced during the Global Entrepreneurship Community 2017, innovation superclusters are intended to accelerate innovation in Malaysia by connecting new ideas to capital and markets. Ashran explained that it’s not enough to just have a big budget cantered on a particular geographic locality, which may be the impression given by other similar initiatives. Instead it must be about creating genuine partnerships. “Otherwise it will just be a very nice macro theoretical perspective,” he explains “but it may be a mismatch.”

Singapore and France Launch Year of Innovation 2018 to Enhance Bilateral Collaboration
Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry S Iswaran and French Minister for Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Dr Frederique Vidal today discussed ways Singapore and France could advance cooperation on innovation. Dr Vidal is in Singapore to launch the France-Singapore Year of Innovation (YOI) 2018 with a line-up of bilateral exchanges, aimed at strengthening innovation for economic and societal transformation. Key platforms under the YOI include VivaTech in France and Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology (SWITCH) in Singapore, which provide startups and enterprises the opportunity to build partnerships, strengthen networks and also serve as key gateways for businesses and talents to expand into our respective regions. France is Singapore’s second largest trading partner in the European Union and 16th largest in the world, with total trade close to S$17 billion.

US Government still shut down on Monday as US Senate fails to clinch deal
A U.S. government shutdown enters its third day Monday as Senate negotiators failed to reach agreement late on Sunday to restore federal spending authority and deal with demands from Democrats that young “Dreamers” be protected from deportation. The Senate set a vote for 12 p.m. (1700 GMT) on Monday on advancing a measure to provide temporary government funding through February 8, end the shutdown and allow hundreds of thousands of federal employees to return to work. At the core of Democrats’ demands is the fate of young people, known as Dreamers, who were brought to the country illegally as children. Former Democratic President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme extended legal protections to about 700,000 of them, shielding them from being deported.