Highlights:

  1. Malaysian economic growth to ease in Nov 2018-Jan 2019
  2. Malaysia Airlines. Amadeus team up to unveil booking chatbot
  3. Malaysia to launch road map on zero single-use plastic
  4. Email-based Cyber Attacks Continue to Target Users in Malaysia
  5. Nazir Razak to step down as CIMB chairman by year’s end
  6. Singapore competition watchdog fines Grab, Uber over merger deal

Malaysian economic growth to ease in Nov 2018-Jan 2019
The Department of Statistics said Malaysia’s economy is expected to continue growing at a slow rate between November 2018 to January 2019 in view of the current moderate trend. In a statement titled “Malaysian Economic Indicators: Leading, Coincident & Lagging Indexes June 2018” released today, the department said the monthly change of Leading Index (LI) increased by 0.2 per cent to 118.6 points from 118.4 points in June 2018. Chief Statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said five out of the seven LI components contributed to the increase, with the highest contribution from Real Imports of Semi-conductors at 0.5 per cent. “In contrast, the annual change of LI decreased slightly at negative 0.1 per cent in July 2018,” he said, adding that the LI was designed to monitor economic performance for an average of four to six months ahead. Meanwhile, the department reported that the Coincident Index (CI), a measure of current economic activity, grew 1.6 per cent in July 2018 with positive contributions from all of its components.

Malaysia Airlines. Amadeus team up to unveil booking chatbot
Malaysia Airlines has partnered with Amadeus to introduce MHchat, a flight booking chatbot, which helps travellers to book flights and pay through social media application Facebook Messenger. Group Chief Executive Officer Izham Ismail said the national carrier is committed to constantly improving its customer experience. “Our digital transformation strategy lies at the heart of this, as we continuously harness new and innovative technologies to enhance all touchpoints for our guests,” he said in a statement. Amadeus Asia Pacific, Airlines, Executive Vice President Cyril Tetaz said MHchat is a testimony to the airline’s commitment to evolving its digital channels. “Agility is crucial when working on innovative digital solutions, and working together with Malaysian Airlines, we have delivered this innovative platform in three months. Many airlines are embarking on turnaround transformation initiatives, driven by a real will to address competition but above all to improve the customer experience,” he added.

Malaysia to launch road map on zero single-use plastic
Malaysia will launch its “Road map towards zero single-use plastic 2018-2030” next month which aims to reduce Malaysia’s plastic waste including the policy on plastic straws nationwide. Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Yeo Bee Yin said under the new roadmap, plastic straws usage will be by default where it will be given upon request by consumers. “The road map will include a policy on the charge for plastic bags at shops and where the money goes to,” she told reporters in Putrajaya after a town hall session to address single-use plastic. Yeo said the road map will list suggestions for hydrocarbon based plastic manufacturers in the country to switch to more eco-friendly products, including producing reusable straws.

Email-based Cyber Attacks Continue to Target Users in Malaysia
Fortinet, a global leader in broad, integrated and automated cybersecurity solutions has reminded corporate users in Malaysia that email remains one of the most vulnerable vectors targeted by cybercriminals. The cyber-attacks are likely to happen to organizations that have yet to implement strong email security controls and best practices. According to the Verizon Data Breach Investigations report, two-thirds of installed malware are actually delivered by email. To gain access into an organization’s network, cybercriminals often use phishing or social engineering techniques in emails, thus counting on human error or a lack of cybersecurity know-how to trick users into providing login credentials or initiating fraudulent transactions, as well as to unknowingly install malware, ransomware, and other malicious payloads.

Nazir Razak to step down as CIMB chairman by year’s end
Datuk Seri Nazir Razak will step down from his post as CIMB Group’s chairman by December 31, 2018, the banking group announced today. The board of directors will now seek for the successor of Datuk Seri Nazir. “It was always going to be hard to find the perfect moment for me to leave CIMB — not too soon, not too late — but always with the firm’s best interest in mind,” Datuk Seri Nazir said in a statement.

Singapore competition watchdog fines Grab, Uber over merger deal
Singapore’s competition watchdog has fined Grab and Uber a total of S$13 million over their merger, saying that the deal has led to the substantial eroding of competition in the ride-hailing market. Uber was fined S$6.58 million while Grab was fined S$6.42 million. The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) said the penalties were imposed to “deter completed, irreversible mergers that harm competition”. In levying the fines, CCCS said it considered the companies’ turnovers, the nature, duration and seriousness of the infringement, and aggravating as well as mitigating factors.  US-based Uber sold its Southeast Asian business to bigger regional rival Grab in March in exchange for a 27.5 per cent stake in the Singapore-based firm. Responding to the move, Grab maintains it did not breach competition laws, but will abide by remedies set by watchdog. In an emailed statement, Grab Singapore head Lim Kell Jay said Grab completed the deal within its legal rights, and maintained that it did not intentionally or negligently breach competition laws. “Commuters are free to choose between street-hail taxis and private-hire cars, and it is a fact that private-hire car drivers’ incomes are directly impacted by intense competition with street-hail taxis,” he said.