Today’s Highlights: 16 March 2018

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  1. R2R Coalition presents recommendations for migrant labour
  2. Malaysia-Australia bilateral trade rises 23.7 Per Cent
  3. Malaysian PM in Sydney for ASEAN-Australia special summit
  4. ACCA calls on accountants to understand risks of cryptocurrencies
  5. Seven startups chosen for Sunway iLabs accelerator programme

R2R Coalition presents recommendations for migrant labour
The Migrant Workers Right to Redress Coalition (R2R Coalition) has presented 43 recommendations to the government outlining the need for a comprehensive national policy on migrant labour in the country. The report, titled ‘Towards a Comprehensive National Policy on Labour Migration For Malaysia’ was presented to the Human Resource Ministry today. The report is the outcome of four roundtables held in 2016 which brought together representatives from different ministries, agencies, embassies, employers and workers’ organisations, migrant workers, academia and civil society attending and contributing to the roundtables held between August and October 2016. Coordinator for R2R Coalition Rani Rasiah said the report contained a series of recommendations in seven areas of concern namely recruitment, employment rights, undocumented labour, arrest and detention, social security, health and housing, family, children and socio-cultural rights. She said the recommendations emphasised three things – to fully enforce existing law, to speedily implement crucial and positive commitments of the 11th Malaysia Plan and to introduce new initiatives to cover some of the gaps in the provision.

Malaysia-Australia bilateral trade rises 23.7 Per Cent
Total trade between Malaysia and Australia increased by 23.7 per cent to RM52.48 billion last year from RM42.43 billion in 2016. Foreign Affairs Ministry Secretary General, Datuk Ramlan Ibrahim said Malaysia’s exports rose by 20.8 per cent to RM32.39 billion compared with RM26.82 billion previously. He said total imports reached RM20.09 billion, up 28.7 per cent from RM15.61 billion in 2016. “Australia was Malaysia’s 12th largest trading partner in 2017. Malaysia in turn was Australia’s ninth largest trading partner,” he told the Malaysian media in Sydney in conjunction with the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit this weekend. He added that among ASEAN countries, Malaysia was Australia’s second largest trading partner and import destination after Thailand, and third biggest export source after Singapore and Indonesia.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak arrived in Sydney to attend the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit 2018. He is scheduled to deliver a keynote address at the closing segment of the Counter-Terrorism Conference on the first day of the summit. Datuk Seri Najib is the only ASEAN leader invited to deliver a speech at the closing segment of the conference on Saturday. The other leader to address the conference will be Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The Malaysian Prime Minister is also scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting with Turnbull on Saturday morning, before the summit begins. The summit is organised to discuss the future direction and cooperation between ASEAN and Australia. It is also to commemorate the elevation of ASEAN-Australia relations to a strategic partnership. Australia and ASEAN have been close partners since the inception of the regional body in 1967. ASEAN economies as a group are one of Australia’s top three trading partners, and ASEAN and Australia cooperate closely to address shared security challenges facing the region. The special summit is an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen the partnership and enhance the region’s security and prosperity. During the special summit, ASEAN and Australia will build on their deep legacy of cooperation to establish a contemporary and outward-looking partnership for the rapidly changing world. They will unlock new opportunities for the economies and strengthen their joint work to countering terrorism and other common security threats. The ASEAN-Australia Special Summit comprises three sessions, namely the ASEAN-Australia Leaders’ Summit, the ASEAN-Australia Business Summit and the ASEAN-Australia Counter-Terrorism Conference.

ACCA calls on accountants to understand risks of cryptocurrencies
The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) has issued a new warning to professional accountants over the importance of maintaining an up-to-date understanding of developments in the fast-moving space of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Maggie McGhee, director of Professional Insights at ACCA, said Bitcoin has at least three dimensions that are causes for concern. Firstly, its pseudonymous nature means that while one may identify the address a given payment goes to, it is not possible to confirm the identity of the underlying beneficiary. This is an obvious risk for money laundering, terrorist financing and the funding of other types of illegal activities.  Secondly, its high volatility makes it inherently risky and unstable. Thirdly, it is funding a speculative bubble in other areas like Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) with speculators chasing poorly formed business propositions. She goes on to explain that the global accountancy profession has an important role to play in enabling stable economies and secure societies where consumers are not exploited.

Seven startups chosen for Sunway iLabs accelerator programme
SUNWAY’S non-profit incubator, Sunway iLabs has handpicked seven startups for the second phase of its Sunway iLabs Accelerator Programme. The startups will receive RM50,000 in seed funding to be provided by Sunway University and Nexea Angels, and RM150,000 worth of Google Cloud credits and legal advisory from Chooi & Company. The Sunway iLabs Accelerator Programme, launched in January this year, is organised by Sunway University and Nexea Angels, and is supported by the combined resources of Sunway Group, Sunway Ventures, Google Cloud, Chooi & Company, and US Market Access Center (USMAC). In exchange for the seed funding, Sunway University and Nexea will receive 8% (4% each) in the startups. The startups are Beacon Systems, EzySpark, JobWorks, JomRun, Kravve, Infinoil, and Red Dino Ventures. After a month of minimum viable product (MVP) development, the startups will now proceed to the remaining five months of market validation and grow customer traction so that they are well-positioned to raise follow-up funding in an investor showcase (demo day) to be held on July 20, 2018. The seven startups were selected from a pool of 25 startups which were shortlisted from an initial over 200 over applications who applied to be part of the Sunway iLabs Accelerator Programme.

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