1. Malaysia’s Economic Environment Positive Ahead of GE14
  2. Malaysia Champions Livelihoods Of 650,000 Oil Palm Smallholders
  3. Bank Negara Updates Financial Consumer Alert List
  4. Shopee launches China Marketplace
  5. Love Harbour Sets to Boost Tourism in Melaka
  6. Australia to curb orphanage tourism to stop exploiting fake orphans

Malaysia’s Economic Environment Positive Ahead of GE14
Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani said Malaysia’s economic environment and market sentiment remain positive ahead of the coming 14th General Election. He said the economy had performed well in 2017, posting a 5.9 per cent growth in gross domestic product, the second best in ASEAN after the Philippines, which registered 6.7 per cent. “The strengthening Ringgit, double-digit growth in exports and improved oil prices translate into better revenue for the government. “Hence, in terms of economic environment, the country is doing fine,” he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur. On the stronger Ringgit, he said, the fluctuations in the local currency reflected the economic fundamentals.

Malaysia Champions Livelihoods Of 650,000 Oil Palm Smallholders
Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said Malaysia is fighting hard to champion the livelihoods of the more than 650,000 smallholders in the rural areas who will be affected by a ban on palm oil. He said Malaysia was figting hard to press the European Union not to impose the ban and he would raise the issue when he meets EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem on the sidelines of the 24th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Retreat and Related Meetings in Singapore. The European Parliament had voted in favour of a draft law on renewable energy that calls for the use of palm oil in biofuels to be banned from 2021. The EU has reasoned that the widely-used commodity would derail Europe’s ambitions to green its transport sector if used as biodiesel. Malaysia and Indonesia, as the world’s top exporters of palm oil will be hardly hit by the move. The EU is the second-largest palm oil export market for both Malaysia and Indonesia.

Bank Negara Updates Financial Consumer Alert List
Bank Negara Malaysia has updated the Financial Consumer Alert list. The list consists of companies and websites which are neither authorised nor approved under the relevant laws and regulations administered by the Central Bank. Bank Negara pointed out that the list is not exhaustive and only serves as a guide to members of the public based on information and queries received by the Bank. The latest list consists of 413 companies. Four companies were added to the latest list, Globamas Trading, Mayuni Enterprise, Making Money For You (MM4U) and Empires Making Money For You (EMM4U). Bank Negara said the list would be updated regularly.

Shopee launches China Marketplace
Shopee, the leading e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia and Taiwan has officially launched China Marketplace. Users can access the newly-launched China Marketplace via a dedicated entry point on Shopee’s home page. Bolstered by an increasingly sophisticated audience, the new marketplace opens doors to an expanded variety of affordable and quality products from China. Shopee’s China Marketplace also provides inroads for sellers in China to tap on Shopee’s thriving retail ecosystem in Singapore. Shopee conducted a survey with local online shoppers and found that over 60% of recipients shop for products from China at least once a month. Almost 90% of survey respondents indicated that they shop from China more today, as compared to five years earlier, citing product variety, convenience and cost savings as key reasons. In addition, according to a recent Paypal report, an estimated half a million Singaporeans spent approximately S$1.2 billion (RM3.55 billion) on cross-border shopping.

Love Harbour Sets to Boost Tourism in Melaka
Malaysia’s first love-themed harbour, Love Harbour Melaka was launched earlier today at The Riviera. The recently developed harbour is a collaboration project between Mythas Legacy Sdn. Bhd., a Malaysian-based property management and tourist attraction development company, and First Avenue Partners (Asia) Sdn. Bhd. The entire area is five acres with 100 units. RM15 million is planned to be invested to promote the area which promises to be a game-changer for tourism in Melaka. Tourism in the state has grown steadily to reach 6.7 million tourists last year.

Australia to curb orphanage tourism to stop exploiting fake orphans
Australia plans to curb the orphanage tourism and divert well-meaning Australian volunteers from foreign orphanages, which is exploiting fake orphans. Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop announced a movement involving the states, territories, schools and universities to curb Australian involvement in so-called orphanage tourism in developing nations. It is also still considering whether to follow an inquiry’s recommendation to divert Australian government aid funding away from foreign orphanages. In a joint statement with Education Minister, Simon Birmingham, Julie Bishop said the campaign against the orphanage tourism would help the Australian volunteers make informed decisions and avoid becoming involved in the exploitation of children. The announcement comes after significant vendetta by the Liberal senator Linda Reynolds within the coalition. It also comes after campaigns from groups like the Cambodia Children’s Trust and ReThink Orphanages, an alliance of charities and not-for-profits opposed to orphanages in developing nations. Organisations such as the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have long called for western nations to diminish their support for orphanages in developing nations like Thailand, Myanmar, India, Indonesia, Cambodia and instead redirect their efforts to funding familial or community-based care for children. According to Friends International, in Cambodia, there around 80% of children in orphanages still have living parents. The number of orphanages in the country has exploded by 60 percent in the last 10 years from 2005, largely appearing in the main tourist areas of Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.