Highlights:

  1. Dr Mahathir said Malaysia to review water agreement with Singapore
  2. Malaysia’s economic growth to remain favourable between August and October
  3. WAO calls for gender equality law
  4. Chinese facial recognition start-up Megvii makes push into Southeast Asia
  5. JLL and Lendlease launch Propell Asia
  6. DHL eCommerce opens Melbourne Distribution Center to boost e-commerce industry in Australia

Dr Mahathir said Malaysia to review water agreement with Singapore
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says he is seeking to renegotiate a longstanding water supply deal with Singapore, calling the agreement ‘too costly’. His remarks were made during an interview with Bloomberg Television. Water is among issues with Singapore “that we need to settle”, Tun Dr Mahathir said in Kuala Lumpur. Under the 1962 Water Agreement, Singapore’s national water agency PUB may draw 250 million gallons of raw water from the Johor River daily. In return, Johor is entitled to receive a daily supply of treated water of up to 2 per cent – or about five million gallons a day – of the water supplied to Singapore. The agreement expires in 2061. In the interview, Tun Dr Mahathir said he would be friendly with Singapore and other nations while focusing on striking fair deals and ensuring balance. “I think we can benefit from each other,” he added. “We need the expertise of Singapore. Lots of Singapore people invest in Malaysia because it’s much cheaper here.”

Malaysia’s economic growth to remain favourable between August and October
The growth of Malaysia’s economy is expected to remain favourable between August to October 2018, based on economic Indicators for April. In a statement, the Department Of Statistics Malaysia said the monthly change of Leading Index (LI) increased 0.1 per cent to reach 119.1 points from 119.0 points in March. LI indicators are designed to monitor the economic performance on an average of four to six months ahead. Two main components of the LI that contributed to this increase were the Number of Housing Units Approved (0.4 per cent) and Number of New Companies Registered (0.2 per cent). The annual change of LI also recorded a better growth of 1.4 per cent as against 0.3 per cent in the previous month.

WAO calls for gender equality law
The Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) has lobbied the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) for the enactment of a gender equality law and better constitutional protection for women. Citing the case of Siti Karim over the weekend, the WAO said the case underlined the importance of having better legislations to protect women. “We did not have the time to discuss the case in detail, but we did mention it, as an example,” acting executive director of WAO, Yu Ren Chung related to reporters in Kuala Lumpur after a 40-minute meeting with the CEP. He was referring to the high-profile arrest of the lawyer who has said she was sheltering a 24-year-old client from the latter’s allegedly abusive mother. Siti was arrested early yesterday for allegedly obstructing a civil servant on duty; she had questioned the police’s arrest of Anis in response to a report filed by her mother accusing the lawyer of kidnap though no ransom was made. Yu said that among the legislations brought up was a gender equality law and also strengthening the sexual harassment law. “Clearly, our sexual harassment law is not enough to protect the victims and provide them justice fairly and privately,” he added.

Chinese facial recognition start-up Megvii makes push into Southeast Asia
Megvii, the Beijing-based facial recognition start-up whose technology has been used by police departments to arrest fugitives, is seeking to expand its presence in Southeast Asia as China bolsters its export of surveillance and security technology. Founded by three Tsinghua University graduates in 2011, the company has appointed a distributor in Thailand and is in talks with commercial banks and building managers to deploy its facial recognition software. In Malaysia, the company is holding exploratory talks with state governments and banks. It is also working on demonstrating the feasibility of its technology – known as proof of concept in industry parlance – to qualify for tenders by airports in the region looking to upgrade their surveillance capabilities, according to the representatives. The global facial recognition market is forecast to be worth US$6.5 billion by 2021, up from US$2.3 billion in 2016, according to estimates from research company Technavio. (SCMP)

JLL and Lendlease launch Propell Asia
JLL and Lendlease have jointly launched Propell Asia, the first Singapore-based regional property technology accelerator that will connect ambitious start-ups to Asia Pacific’s commercial real estate market, which was worth US$16 trillion in 2017 and is set to grow to US$19.5 trillion by 2020. Propell Asia is an industry-first collaboration between JLL and Lendlease, two of the world’s leading and most recognisable international real estate companies. Together with partners coworking space District6 and creative design incubator MeshMinds, the accelerator programme is targeted at early stage start-ups in the region with a clearly defined product that can be applied to property management, real estate transactions, construction management or data collection. Propell Asia aims to select five start-ups from the region to enter a 10-week programme. Each of the startups stand to receive a S$20,000 grant, as well as access to reputable mentors comprising real estate industry experts and successful start-up founders. Applications for Propell Asia are open from 25 June to 17 August, and the accelerator programme for the five successful start-ups will commence in the third quarter of 2018.

DHL eCommerce opens Melbourne Distribution Center to boost e-commerce industry in Australia
DHL eCommerce has announced the opening of its Melbourne distribution center to support the strong growth of e-commerce exports out of Australia. The distribution center in Tullamarine will support e-commerce exports from Australia to popular destinations such as China, U.S., UK, Germany, New Zealand and Southeast Asia, utilizing DHL’s networks and routes to drive cost efficiencies for customers. The Melbourne distribution center will focus on e-commerce exports weighing up to 2kg shipped to over 220 countries and territories worldwide, and up to 20kg to popular e-commerce destinations such as China, U.S., UK, Germany, New Zealand and Southeast Asia.