Daily Highlights: 7 June 2018

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Highlights:

  1. Enough information that Jho Low is among main criminals in 1MDB
  2. NGO: Gender inequality, discrimination against minorities still rife
  3. BNM’s international reserves at US$108.5 billion as of May 31
  4. Asian start-ups flock to Singapore to seek funding and fame
  5. Carousell to introduce new payment method by year-end

Enough information that Jho Low is among main criminals in 1MDB
Home Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the authorities have sufficient information that Low Taek Jho, or widely known as Jho Low, is among the main criminals involved in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal. He said that stern action would be taken to bring Low to justice although it will take some time before any arrest is made. The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) today issued a notice asking for Low and a former director of SRC International to assist in investigations regarding SRC, a former unit of 1MDB. SRC International has been linked to transfers of RM42 million into the personal account of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Responding to the MACC notice, Low said he would help in an investigation linked to scandal-hit state fund 1MDB. Low has instructed his lawyers to make contact with the MACC after he was made aware they were seeking him for assistance, his representative said in an emailed statement. He has been described as the “best witness” to provide information on alleged crimes at 1MDB.

NGO: Gender inequality, discrimination against minorities still rife
In its report to the United Nations, a coalition of local NGOs highlighted the continued rampancy of gender inequality and discriminations over religion, race, sexual orientation and gender identity, rights of the Orang Asli, and disabilities in Malaysia. The report by Comango, which tracks progress in human rights in Malaysia, specifically highlighted the country’s dismal performance at the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (Cedaw) review earlier this year. According to Comango, there is poor participation of women, transgender, or Orang Asli in politics and judiciary, while only 53.6 per cent of women participate in the labour force compared to 80.7 per cent for men. Other concerns included the lack of legal provision recognising domestic violence among unmarried couples, marital rape, rape aside from penile-vaginal penetration as well as extremely limited protections against sexual harassment. Comango also noted cases of unilateral conversion of minors and “forced” conversion into Islam as well as racial polarisation including racism among government officials and ministers. The coalition was also concerned with the non-recognition of Orang Asli customary land rights, which it said has led to many problems including encroachments and the loss of livelihood. The Comango report was prepared following a series of consultation with Putrajaya between 2014 and 2017.

BNM’s international reserves at US$108.5 billion as of May 31
Bank Negara Malaysia’s international reserves amounted to US$108.5 billion as at May 31, 2018 compared with US$109.4 billion on May 15, 2018. In a statement today, BNM said the reserves position was sufficient to finance 7.6 months of retained imports and was 1.1 times the short-term external debt. The main components of the international reserves were foreign currency reserves (US$102.1 billion), International Monetary Fund reserves position (US$0.8 billion), Special Drawing Rights (SDRs)(US$1.2 billion), gold (US$1.6 billion) and other reserve assets (US$2.8 billion).

Asian start-ups flock to Singapore to seek funding and fame
A total of 14,000 people are expected to attend the Innovfest Unbound conference in Singapore this week, billed as the biggest gathering dedicated to innovation in Southeast Asia. Held at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre, the conference also featured dozens of start-ups in various stages of development. They came not just from Singapore but from the region, a reflection of the country’s ambition to become an innovation hub for its neighbouring region.

Carousell to introduce new payment method by year-end
Online classified marketplace, Carousell will be introducing a new payment method to facilitate transactions on its platform by year-end. Currently, the payments are made via online transfers or cash payments upon delivery. “With the new payment method in place, we aim to grow our business further,” said Carousell Malaysia Country Head, Tang Siew Wai during a media briefing today. Founded in 2012, Carousell is a Singaporean web-based consumer-to-consumer marketplace which sells new and second-hand goods. It entered the Malaysian market in December 2014. Today, the platform has 17 million listings, with Carousellers (sellers on the platform) earning an average of RM4,800.

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