1. RHB partners SME Corp. Malaysia to drive SMEs towards cashless society
  2. Tetra Pak to develop paper straws for its portion-size carton packages
  3. Singapore’s Outgoing Labour Chief lays out NTUC’s focus going forward
  4. US search team extends Indian Ocean mission after failing to find MH370
  5. Indonesia to integrate transport by 2023

RHB partners SME Corp. Malaysia to drive SMEs towards cashless society
RHB Bank has signed a memorandum of understanding with SME Corporation Malaysia to drive Malaysian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) towards a cashless society. In line with the Government’s strategic commitment to drive a cashless society, BNM’s Financial Sector Blueprint 2011-2020 is one of the key initiatives to chart the future direction of the financial system over the next ten years. One of BNM’s key focus is to reduce the use of cheques in Malaysia from 207 million to 100 million per year. In support of this, RHB and SME Corp. Malaysia will reach out to SMEs with the aim of migrating them to a more efficient digital payments ecosystem using RHB’s holistic solutions for SMEs. Dato’ Khairussaleh Ramli, Group Managing Director, RHB Banking Group said, “Today’s MoU signifies the collaboration between RHB Bank and SME Corp. Malaysia in empowering SMEs to embrace the cashless environment. This includes RHB Bank collaborating with SME Corp. Malaysia as JomPAY’s strategic partner, the first of such partnership in the country, to champion cashless initiatives amongst SMEs. This collaboration offers SMEs the opportunity to adopt e-payment by leveraging on RHB Bank’s REFLEX Online Cash Management System and other RHB Bank digital enablers. These initiatives and systems are designed to fuel the Government’s efforts in increasing the efficiency of the country’s payment systems.”

Meanwhile, Datuk (Dr.) Hafsah Hashim, Chief Executive Officer, SME Corporation Malaysia said, “SMEs will definitely benefit from going cashless as it will improve their operational efficiency, reduce administrative cost and increase their ability to enjoy faster access to collection proceeds. With this collaboration, SME Corp. Malaysia will work along with RHB Bank and PayNet to create greater awareness of the usage and benefits of going cashless. SMEs will also be able to have direct access to various cashless options via SME Corp. Malaysia’s website which will be updated regularly by both RHB Bank and PayNet”.

RHB Bank has successfully grown its SME business with its share of the market rising to 9% last year from 8.7% in 2015 and 7% in 2014. Through this collaboration with SME Corp. Malaysia, RHB Bank is targeting to further extend its reach to the SME community and at the same time, grow its SME market share.

Tetra Pak to develop paper straws for its portion-size carton packages
Tetra Pak aims to launch a paper straw that is suitable for its portion-sized carton packages before the end of the year, as part of a broader programme to help address the issue of plastic straw waste. Straws play an integral functional role on portion packages, but if not properly disposed of, they then become part of the plastics waste problem. The company has been working to encourage consumers to push straws “back in the pack” once empty, so they can be collected along with the rest of the package. Now, work is under way to develop a paper straw that is suitable for use on its portion-size carton packages. “It sounds simple enough,” concedes Charles Brand, Executive Vice President, Product Management & Commercial Operations, “but in reality, there are a number of significant challenges to producing a paper straw with the required properties.” “That said, our development team is confident they can find a solution, and that we’ll have a paper straw alternative ready to launch by the end of the year.” On average, Tetra Pak packages are about 75% paperboard; paper straws would be another important step towards the company’s long-term ambition of offering a completely renewable portfolio.

Singapore’s Outgoing Labour Chief lays out NTUC’s focus going forward
In his final May Day address to unionists, outgoing labour chief Chan Chun Sing emphasised the Labour Movement’s mandate to remain “representative and relevant”. “For the Labour Movement going forward, we will still abide by the two words that galvanise us. We want to stay representative to represent the broad middle of the entire Singapore workforce. We want to stay relevant. They are mutually enforcing.” Mr Chan assumes his new portfolio as Minister of Trade and Industry today after three years with the National Trades Union Congress. Training and reskilling of workers will also be the key focus for the Labour Movement going forward, especially with a new S$200 million raised for the NTUC Education and Training Fund. Apart from providing the conventional 3 Ps of protection, privileges and work placement that most labour unions around the world provide, the Labour Movement must go one step further to add a fourth P – progression. “These three Ps are important and still must be done but we must add into our skill set a fourth P, progression. Helping our workers ahead of time to make sure they stay relevant because we firmly believe that the best welfare for our workers is a good job. A good job that they are ready ahead of time,” Mr Chan said.

US search team extends Indian Ocean mission after failing to find MH370
The search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 has expanded into a new area, after exhausting the main search zone without finding the plane. The search for MH370 will enter its final phase this week, more than four years after it disappeared. Searchers have so far failed to find the plane, despite exhausting a 25,000km “priority area” that had been identified by Australian experts as MH370’s most likely resting place. The renewed search, conducted by US company Ocean Infinity, has covered 80,000 sq km of the Indian Ocean since January. On Monday, the CEO of Ocean Infinity, Oliver Plunkett said the company remained “absolutely determined” to find the plane. “Whilst it’s disappointing there has been no sign of MH370 in the Australian Transport Safety Bureau search area and further north, there is still some search time remaining,” he said. Under its contract with the Malaysian government, Ocean Infinity has 90 days – not including rest stops – to find the plane. The company will only be paid if it finds the plane, with the fee rising the longer the operation takes.

Indonesia to integrate transport by 2023
The Indonesian government has set itself a target to integrate various modes of public transport in Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi by 2023- 2024. Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said recently that the population the Jabodetabek area was rising rapidly and that there should be an integrated transportation system capable of carrying four to five million people who commute every day. He said that the LRT and mass rapid transit (MRT) projects were important because based on the government’s assessment, the Cibubur-Jakarta, Bekasi-Jakarta and Bogor-Jakarta routes were the most commonly used of the intercity routes. Budi said he hoped state-owned construction company PT Adhi Karya (Persero) could finish the LRT project on time while continuing to prioritize safety during the construction phase.