• TM, TNB In JV To Accelerate Broadband Reach
  • Cashless payment is the ‘next wave’ for mobile commerce in Malaysia
  • Six-Month Review Will Not Affect Electricity Bill
  • China’s Banking Watchdog Concerned about Household Debts

TM, TNB In JV To Accelerate Broadband Reach
Telekom Malaysia Bhd. (TM) and Tenaga Nasional Bhd. (TNB) will jointly develop an implementation plan for the Government’s Nationwide Fiberisation Plan (NFP) delivery. The collaboration would capitalise on the combined strength of both government-linked companies (GLCs) in terms of reach, infrastructure and expertise. “In particular, the synergies will enable the most efficient cost structure, and further accelerate the fibre broadband network reach,” they said in a joint statement. The proposed network will also continue the existing open access participation of industry players to promote private sector competition in retail broadband.

Over 2 million app downloads and 8 million mobile session reaffirms cashless payment as the ‘next wave’ for mobile commerce in Malaysia
With the high rate of smartphone penetration and a steady increase in the adoption of advance payment options, mobile payment is set to drive the transformation of Malaysia’s mobile commerce industry this year. As of 2017, there was a reported 42.8 million mobile phone users in Malaysia, out of which 70% are smartphones. In line with this, Malaysia’s Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin predicted that Malaysia will be a cashless society by 2050. The entrance of big mobile payment companies such as AliPay and WeChat is further proof of the country’s potential as a growing market for cashless payment options. This is solidified with Bank Negara Malaysia’s increased efforts to accelerate mobile payments in the country. With rewards and customer loyalty benefits at the core of Fave’s business, the app is now at the forefront of Malaysia’s evolving mobile commerce industry. Last year, Fave recorded over 2 million app downloads and 8 million mobile sessions. This high usage transcended to a 100% month-on-month increase in adoption of its mobile payment feature, FavePay. As such, it subsequently resulted in a 400% increase in the acceptance of FavePay as a payment option among its merchant base. To date, Fave has partnered with over 10,000 merchant outlets.

Six-Month Review Will Not Affect Electricity Bill
The Incentive-Based Regulation (IBR) will allow an effective review of electricity rates every six months, without affecting the bills of consumers, said acting Energy Commission Chief Executive Officer, Azhar Omar. He said the IBR, features the Imbalance Cost Pass Through (ICPT), a mechanism that allowed adjustments that produce varying rates of a rebate or surcharge to reflect changes in the price of fuel for electricity generation. “The new pricing system is linked to generation costs, such as anything which has do with piped gas, liquefied natural gas and coal prices. Should there be a sharp rise in fuel costs, for instance, an increase in coal prices, then consumers would have to pay extra for their electricity consumption. In December last year, Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili said the government had agreed to keep the current electricity tariff rate at 38.53 sen per kilowatt-hour (sen/kWh) for Peninsular Malaysia for the next three years.

China’s Banking Watchdog Concerned about Household Debts
China’s banking watchdog has publicly acknowledged that household debt levels are becoming a cause for concern. In an interview published in Monday’s People’s Daily, Guo Shuqing, chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, said it was necessary for China to “lower corporate debt ratio and to curb the leverage ratio of households”. Efforts to rein in household borrowing would be part of a broader campaign to lower debt levels across the economy, he said. “The financial system is still prone to risks … And any financial turmoil will greatly endanger the country’s economic and social development.” The tone of the message was in stark contrast to comments made three months ago by Zhou Xiaochuan, the long-time governor of China’s central bank. He said in October that the country’s household leverage ratio was “not too high in a global perspective but has been growing very fast in recent years”. Household debt in the world’s second-largest economy – mainly in the form of mortgage loans – has been growing. At the end of June last year, its ratio to gross domestic product was 46.5 per cent, up from 37.3 per cent at the same point in 2015 and 18.6 per cent in 2008.