Headlines:

  1. Malaysia forms Economic Action Council
  2. Thai election panel disqualifies Princess Ubolratana as PM candidate
  3. SC reviews proposals to spur venture capital industry
  4. MAHB records 3.1 per cent growth in passenger movement in January
  5. Singapore to host Asia’s Largest HR Tech Conference
  6. Singapore and NZ nationals to enjoy reciprocal automated immigration clearance

Economic Action Council formed
The Economic Action Council was formed today, tasked with scrutinising and making decisions regarding economic and financial affairs and the people’s well-being. The established of the Council was announced by the Prime Minister’s Office in a statement today. The PMO said that the main objectives of the council are promoting sustainable economic growth, ensuring equitable distribution of wealth, and enhancing the people’s well-being. “The council was formed to act on the feedback of the ordinary people on the problems they face, especially with the economy,” it said. The Economic Action Council will be headed by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. It comprises Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Darell Leiking, and Works Minister Baru Bian from the Cabinet. Other members include the prime minister’s economic adviser Muhammed Abdul Khalid, former International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz (pic left), Permodalan Nasional Berhad chairman Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Council of Eminent Persons member Professor Jomo Kwame Sundaram (pic centre), Public Bank managing director Tan Sri Tay Ah Lek (pic right), Majlis Amanah Rakyat chairman Hasnita Hashim, Bursa Malaysia chairman Datuk Shireen Ann Zaharah Muhiudeen, Asean Business Advisory Council chairman Tan Sri Mohd Munir Abdul Majid, Federation of Malaysian Consumers Association CEO Datuk Paul Selvaraj, lawyer Bah Tony @ Amani William Hunt Abdullah, and Institut MASA director Nizam Mahshar.

Thai election panel disqualifies Princess Ubolratana as PM candidate
Thailand’s election panel has disqualified the sister of the king from running for prime minister. The Election Commission released the official list of parties’ candidates for prime minister without the name of Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi, 67, the king’s elder sister. The list excluded Ubolratana “because every member of the royal family comes within the application of the same rule requiring the monarch to be above politics and to be politically neutral,” the panel said in a statement after a meeting. The princess had accepted the nomination of the Thai Raksa Chart party, a populist movement drawn from supporters of ousted ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who has been at the centre of more than a decade of turmoil in Thai politics. The Mar 24 elections will be the first since a 2014 military coup toppled a pro-Thaksin government. Among the candidates for prime minister is the current junta leader Prayut Chan-o-cha, who as army chief led the coup.

SC reviews proposals to spur venture capital industry
The Securities Commission (SC) is reviewing eight recommendations to spur the venture capital (VC) industry including making public VCs more commercially driven and liberalising VC tax incentives. In a statement, the SC said the recommendations were the findings of a study by the Institute for Capital Market Research (ICMR), which the SC commissioned as part of its ongoing efforts to facilitate the intermediation of risk capital and enhance access to financing for start-ups and early stage companies in the Malaysian capital market. The ICMR proposed six other recommendations which included the setting up of a dedicated government agency to bridge the funding gap for nascent and high-growth ventures, as well as, the setting up a fund-of-funds with matching elements and appropriate incentive mechanisms.

MAHB records 3.1 per cent growth in passenger movement in January
Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) has recorded 11.1 million passenger movements in January 2019, including Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen international Airport (SGIA) in Turkey, a 3.1 per cent growth over the corresponding period last year. The airport operator said the international sector registered 2.5 per cent growth with 5.4 million passenger movements in January 2019 while the domestic sector grew 3.6 per cent, registering 5.7 million passengers. “On a 12-month basis, the total MAHB network of airports grew 3.7 per cent, registering 133.5 million passenger movements, the highest to-date,” it said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia today.

Singapore to host Asia’s Largest HR Tech Conference
Asia’s largest HR Technology Conference, People Matters TechHR, will debut its Singapore edition on 28 February 2019 at the Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre. Organized by People Matters, the fastest-growing community for HR and business leaders in the region and the leading HR media brand in the space of work, talent & tech, the two-day program is set to attract over 1,000 business & HR leaders, with over 70 speakers, 75 HR digital solution providers and 50 startups across the globe. People Matters TechHR Singapore 2019 is structured to trigger thought-provoking conversations on talent, technology and digital transformation by bringing industry leaders, HR practitioners, government representatives, HR tech solution providers, startups and investors under one roof. The conference agenda will focus on practical insights for leaders to nurture a future-ready digital workforce; key technologies to accelerate effectiveness in learning, recruitment, performance and talent management; applications of AI, Robotics, Blockchain in the context of work and masterclasses on critical skills like talent analytics, building a digital roadmap and business case for HR technology.

Singapore and NZ nationals to enjoy reciprocal automated immigration clearance
From tomorrow, Singapore and New Zealand nationals will be able to make use of automated immigration clearance facilities when travelling to each other’s country. Holders of New Zealand passports aged six and above who are holding a passport with more than six months’ validity and have visited Singapore at least twice in the past two years are eligible to apply for Singapore’s Frequent Traveller Programme (FTP). Likewise, eligible Singaporeans will also be able to make use of similar automated immigration clearance facilities in New Zealand.