News Reel: 16 May 2018

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  1. Anwar Ibrahim a free man, scheduled to make public address tonight
  2. GLC reviews will create more vibrant, competitive private sector
  3. Council of eminent persons inspires confidence – investment banks
  4. MaGIC signs MOU with Petrosains and Social Enterprise Academy Malaysia to Support and Nurture the IDE Sector
  5. Funding Societies Launches FS Bolt, financing approval within 24 hours
  6. E-commerce in APAC is thriving, and the risk of online fraud for consumers is rocketing
  7. PIKOM launches Sea Dragon venture platform

Anwar Ibrahim a free man
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is a free man after the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V granted him a full pardon. The Pardons Board met today and decided on his case, according to a statement from Istana Negara. The PKR de facto leader was serving a five-year jail term after being convicted of sodomy. The King granted Anwar, his wife and PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as well as party deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali an audience at Istana Negara at noon. Datuk Seri Anwar was earlier discharged from the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital in Kuala Lumpur, where he was warded to recover from a recent surgery, and went straight to Istana Negara for the special audience with the King. He is scheduled to address his supporters at Padang Timur in Petaling Jaya tonight.

GLC reviews will create more vibrant, competitive private sector
The National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (NCCIM) said a review of the role played by government-linked companies (GLCs) and limiting government intervention in business will create a more vibrant and competitive private sector. Its President, Tan Sri Ter Leong Yap made the comments in response to the Pakatan Harapan manifesto which stated that GLCs should operate in sectors that suffer from market failure, and not compete against private companies. Tan Sri Ter added, “Above all, enhancing transparency and implementing open tenders for government projects, which is estimated to be worth over RM100 billion annually, will be instrumental not only in levelling the playing field for qualified private sector players, but also ensure that taxpayers´ money is properly spent. “This will create a win-win situation for all stakeholders,” he said in a statement today. He said the government´s express intention to participate more actively in ASEAN, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the European Union, Chambers of Commerce and business groupings were positive signs for the local and the global business communities.

Meanwhile, investment banks are confident the Council of Eminent Persons has inspired the confidence of local investment banks, as it has identified key measures to address the nation´s economic issues by taking a holistic view of revenue and expenditure. “While details are still patchy at this juncture, unsurprisingly so, considering that it has barely been a week since the change in government, it would seem that the new administration has hit the ground running,” said Public Investment Bank in a statement today. It said although the council was only set up last Saturday, it has met up with government-linked investment companies, various pension funds, international ratings agencies, ministries and workers unions, among others. “Expectations are running high that the country will actually come out stronger post-adjustments. “However, we will also have to acknowledge that there will likely be short-term pains for the longer-term gains of structural reform, ” it added.

MaGIC signs MOU with Petrosains and Social Enterprise Academy Malaysia to Support and Nurture the IDE Sector
Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC) has signed two MOUs with Social Enterprise Academy Malaysia (SEAM) and Petrosains Sdn Bhd, a supporter for social enterprise in Malaysia. The MoU signing took place alongside the launch of MaGIC’s IDEA Accelerator, a programme for early-stage Impact Driven Enterprise (IDEs) and social enterprises (SEs). As part of the agreement Petrosains will become an official mentor, partner and trainer for the Impact Driven Enterprise Accreditation (IDEA) Programme. The partnership with Petrosains will further support IDEs and SEs in relation to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). It will focus on generating further value creation for impact driven entrepreneurship by providing access for IDEs seeking retail opportunities at Xplorasi, the Petrosains gift shop and the PETRONAS Twin Tower gift shop. In addition to continuing support for MaGIC’s Social Procurement and Buy for Impact initiatives, other areas of focus will include offering IDEs a platform, through #PetrosainsAfterHours, to host workshops and talks on STEM- related topics.  Accredited IDEs will also have the opportunity to participate in Petrosains’ annual Science Festival, which will take place between 14 to 16 September in Kuala Lumpur City Centre. The theme of the festival will focus on science discoveries of the future and aims to further include IDEs in Petrosains’ operations.

MaGIC also signed a MOU with Social Enteprise Academy Malaysia (SEAM) to collaborate and provide quality learning and development content targeted for social entrepreneurs in Malaysia and around the region. Together, MaGIC and SEAM aim to help develop the nation’s impact driven enterprise ecosystem further by improving the ease of access to knowledge for aspiring, increasing the number of accredited IDEs in Malaysia; and scaling up current IDEs to help them expand their impact and solve social and/or environmental challenges facing the community. The collaboration also represents the spirit of Malaysia’s Social Inclusion & Vibrant Entrepreneurship (MasSIVE), an initiative that aims to establish a thriving IDE sector by building coalitions of programs aimed at IDEs and forge collaborations between key stakeholders to accelerate industry growth. These are key in helping the nation fulfill its national goal of enhancing inclusiveness towards an equitable society, pursuing green growth for sustainability, accelerating human capital development, and improving well-being for all.

Since 2016, the partnership between MaGIC and Petrosains has resulted in over RM100,000 worth of value creation for the impact-driven ecosystem. Petrosains has been a MaGIC Impact Partner since 2017, encouraging social procurement through its programmes, Xplorasi Gift Shop and Twin Towers Gift Shop.  Petrosains is currently working with IDEs focused on job creation to support the inclusion of marginalised persons from the autistic and B40 groups in the workforce as well as address environmental issues.

Funding Societies Launches FS Bolt, financing approval within 24 hours
Funding Societies, the first and largest peer-to-peer (P2P) financing platform in Malaysia, has announced the launch of FS Bolt: the first mobile microfinancing solution in the country that provides fast and collateral-free working capital financing for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with approval from Securities Commission Malaysia (SC). FS Bolt offers up to RM50,000 in SME financing for companies incorporated in Malaysia, focusing on the micro SME segment. The app is available on both iOS and Android devices. FS Bolt boasts an application process that takes a mere two minutes to complete. Its automated credit assessment enables decision time in 24 hours. The process from approval to disbursement similarly only takes 24 hours – making FS Bolt the fastest source of working capital financing in Malaysia. Besides an emphasis on speed, FS Bolt also focuses on flexibility for its users, whereby SMEs would not be charged interest on early repayments and hence lowering their interest cost. Alternative finance providers such as P2P financing helps to address the challenges faced by unserved and underserved SMEs. For example, these SMEs typically lack credit history, collateral, and comprehensive financial documents required by traditional institutions when applying for financing. FS Bolt considers the various aspects of SME needs by incorporating automation and highly intelligent systems to include non-traditional datasets into the firm’s credit assessment processes, rather than focusing only on collateral requirements and conventional finance reports.

E-commerce in APAC is thriving, and the risk of online fraud for consumers is rocketing
E-commerce in Asia-Pacific is booming – with 71 percent of APAC consumers making an online purchase — but so is the risk of fraud, with one in five customers already falling victim. These are among the headline findings of the Digital Consumer Insights 2018, published by the world’s leading information services company Experian, and co-authored with advisory firm IDC. The report is based on a consumer survey across ten APAC markets namely Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The study delves into how well businesses mitigate fraud risk through the eyes of their most important stakeholders, the customers. It found that as brands and consumers look for ever-easier ways to buy and sell products online and via mobile devices — with electronics, travel and groceries being the most popular — the opportunity for online fraud is escalating. The report revealed that almost one in five APAC consumers have already had the misfortune of experiencing fraud. “Asia Pacific is one of the most dynamic digital and mobile economies in the world,” said Ben Elliott, CEO of Experian Asia Pacific. “71% are buying online, and 63% who have adopted mobile payments consider them convenient. But as more people adopt faster and more effortless ways to shop, bank and engage with businesses, fraud exposure will increase. This is a concern with 18% of consumers in the region already experiencing fraud.” More than half (51%) of consumers would switch service providers in the event of fraud proving that consumers are willing to trade convenience and a better customer experience for better fraud protection.

PIKOM launches Sea Dragon venture platform
The National ICT Association of Malaysia (PIKOM) has launched the South East Asia (SEA) Dragon Venture Platform, an initiative aimed at connecting scale-up companies in Malaysia and across Southeast Asia with global venture capitalists, corporate investors and high net-worth individuals. Chairman Ganesh Kumar Bangah said the initiative stemmed from the fact that the lack of funding and public exposure were some of the biggest hurdles faced by companies in the scale-up stage. “Through this platform, we could be looking at some of these companies receiving funding of up to US$25 million on it, ” he said in a statement. PIKOM´s SEA Dragon Venture Platform comprises two categories of funding, namely Series A: US$1 to US$3 million and Series B/C: US$3 to US$25 million or more. The SEA Dragon Venture Platform, co- organised by PIKOM with Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) as a strategic partner, has proven to be a fruitful initiative, while attracting 170 applications.

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