1. Malaysians go to the polls on May 9
  2. Special event holiday for schools on polling day
  3. AirAsia offers flight change fees waivers for bookings where travel date falls on polling date
  4. Malaysia’s IT spending to grow 5.8 per cent to RM64.4 bln
  5. Malaysia launches Digital Transformation Acceleration Programme
  6. Data Driven Startups to Benefit from Accelerator Programme
  7. Rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets and multi-device ownership has complicated the online user path to conversion
  8. FASTBOOKING and Serenata join forces to enhance Hotel’s Direct Booking

Malaysians go to the polls on May 9
Malaysians will vote on Wednesday 9 May 2018. Election Commission Chairman Tan Sri Mohd. Hashim Abdullah, announced the date today in Putrajaya. He also announced that nomination for the 14th general election is on Saturday April 28 and early voting, on Saturday May 5. “The campaign period has been set for 11 days, from Nomination Day to 11.59 pm on Tuesday May 8,” he said at a press conference. Tan Sri Mohd. Hashim said the EC would use the electoral rolls as of the fourth quarter of 2017 containing the names of 14,940,624 electors for the polls. Of the number, 14,636,716 are regular electors, 300,255 early voters comprising military personnel and their spouses and police personnel and 3,653 absentee voters who are overseas. He added that the EC would provide 8,989 premises as polling centres which would have 28,995 polling streams. Observers from 14 countries from ASEAN, the Commonwealth, Asia and Europe will be invited to observe GE14. Tan Sri Mohd. Hashim said this is apart from the 14 local non-governmental organisations and university representatives that will also be observing the polls. “Other than those who have been appointed and invited, no other organisation or individuals will be recognised. “The observers will be allowed to go to nomination centres, early voting centres and counting stations,” he said.

Special event holiday for schools on polling day
In response to the EC announcement, Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said all schools in the country will be given a special event holiday on May 9 in conjunction with polling for the general election on that day. He said 6,941 schools would be used as polling centres on that day.

AirAsia offers flight change fees waivers for bookings where travel date falls on polling date
In a related development, AirAsia said it is offering flight change fee waivers for bookings where the travel date falls on 9 May 2018 to ensure the travel plans of Malaysians are not affected. In a statement today, the low-cost airline said, in conjunction with the coming 14th general election, the offer would apply to Malaysians only, and must be done within ten days from the announcement of the polling day by the Election Commission (April 10, 2018). It said guests may choose one of the following options by filling in an e-form available at support.airasia.com. “Option one: Move Flight: Perform one date change for all bookings without flight change fee to postpone travel by up to thirty days from the original travel date, subject to seat availability and any fare or tax differences; or, “Option two: Credit Account: Retain the fare value in your AirAsia BIG Loyalty account for future travel with AirAsia, to be redeemed within 90 calendar days from the date of credit issue,” it said.

Malaysia’s IT spending to grow 5.8 per cent to RM64.4 bln
Malaysia’s spending on technology products and services is projected to grow 5.8 per cent to RM64.4 billion in 2018. According to the latest forecast by Gartner, Inc. the highest spending segments are expected to come from communications and information technology (IT) services. The US research and advisory firm said spending in communications and IT services were projected to hit RM33.19 billion and RM12.14 billion respectively. Spending for devices are expected to reach RM11.58 billion, data centre systems (RM2.33 billion) and software (RM5.17 billion). Meanwhile, Gartner Research Vice President John-David Lovelock said global IT spending was projected to hit US$3.7 trillion in 2018, an increase of 6.2 per cent from 2017, the highest annual growth rate projection since 2007 which would be a sign of a new cycle of IT growth. “Although global IT spending is forecast to grow 6.2 per cent this year, the declining US dollar has caused currency tailwinds, which are the main reason for this strong growth.

Malaysia launches Digital Transformation Acceleration Programme
In line with its commitment to accelerate the nation’s digital transformation, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) has kicked off the Digital Transformation Acceleration Programme (DTAP). The programme will provide Malaysian companies a structured approach to digital transformation and will leverage on Digital Transformation Labs’ expertise to help businesses adopt emerging digital technologies. Established for large corporations and mid-tier companies, DTAP is an outcome-driven programme which aims to help businesses achieve an increase in productivity, reduce foreign labour dependency as well as create new sources of growth or business models. Through this programme, Malaysian businesses will receive support, guidance and be part of an ecosystem that will provide a structured approach to the transformation into the digital world,” said MDEC chief executive officer Yasmin Mahmood. The programme will unfold in two phases. In the pilot phase, the businesses will leverage on the expertise of the Digital Transformation Labs to identify pain points and opportunities in the digital space, uncover potential solution and implement proof of concept/minimum viable product with measurable outcomes. Upon successful completion of the pilot phase, between six months to one-year period, businesses can apply to undergo for full-scale implementation. DTAP is accompanied by an outcome-based matching grant, which is a partnership between MDEC and MIDA. With the grant, companies will be reimbursed based on the outcome achieved – increase productivity, reduce foreign labour dependency as well as create new source of growth or business model.

Data Driven Startups to Benefit from Accelerator Programme
The ASEAN Data Startup Accelerator (ADSA), a programme by the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) in partnership with the Open Data Institute (ODI), saw to the graduation of its first 19 data driven startups, solidifying MDEC’s commitment towards the growth of big data in Malaysia and the region. ADSA is a six-month accelerator programme designed to help startups in the ASEAN region to cultivate network, business and data skills; through a series of intensive boot camps conducted in ASEAN Data Analytics Exchange (ADAX). Participants will be able to work in a community of startups that allows for peer learning and support, access a global network of mentors and previous ODI startups, as well as exposure to a wide curriculum of startup trainings. ADSA startups will also receive hands-on support on the area of business development and get a head start on building valuable relationships with MDEC and ODI at the early phases of their careers. ADSA received over 110 applications from regional and international startups during the intake of two cohorts in 2017 and had shortlisted 10 Malaysian and 10 ASEAN startups to participate in the programme. Notably, several startups from the two cohorts have already attracted the attention of large institutions such as Allianz Malaysia Berhad, Axiata Business Services Sdn Bhd, and Nanotechnology & Catalysis Research Centre (NANOCAT), University Malaya.

Rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets and multi-device ownership has complicated the online user path to conversion
Appier, a leading artificial intelligence (AI) company, published today its 2017 Digital Consumer Behavior Report, providing a roadmap for marketers looking to make sense out of a consumer journey that is fragmented by multi-device ownership. The report is based on analysis of over 5 trillion data points from Appier-run marketing campaigns across Asia in 2017. It examines device usage online by time of day and during the week and segmented the data by country, gender, age group and industry vertical. These AI-driven insights provide a clearer picture for marketers and help them understand the fragmented consumer journey of their customers in Asia. Multi-device ownership is the new normal in Asia Pacific, even in emerging markets, with 4 or more devices per user the dominant profile. Hong Kong and Taiwan rank at the top for multi-device ownership with Japan and Thailand at the bottom. One of the biggest blind spots for marketers are consumers who use their devices for completely different purposes. On average, AI-driven cross-screen campaigns resulted in 150 per cent more conversions than single-screen campaigns. Consumers using three devices or more in their consumer journey delivered 400 per cent conversions than single-screen consumers. These figures highlight the benefits of AI to marketers.

FASTBOOKING and Serenata join forces to enhance Hotel’s Direct Booking
FASTBOOKING and Serenata join forces to enhance hotel’s direct booking with seamless connectivity all in one-stop. This collaboration will provide the hospitality industry with the best-in-class e-commerce and CRM solutions to drive qualified traffic to the hotels’ website and to provide a memorable experience for every guest. According to tnooz.com, the new guest acquisition cost for hotels vary by property but typically ranged from 15%-20% of room revenue, and industry figures indicate that the cost of customer retention is five times lower than acquiring a new customer. With the importance of guests’ retention and the battle for direct bookings, hotels are now re-evaluating and enhancing this infrastructure to take advantage of the efficiencies of digital communications to influence future booking behaviour. To reinforce this partnership and its focus for hoteliers, FASTBOOKING and Serenata will be sharing best practices in the new series of Hotel Digital Lab tour for 2018.