1. Retailers Cannot Impose Surcharge for Payments Using Debit and Credit Card
  2. Malaysia on track to complete autonomous vehicle R&D by 2025
  3. Lazada is most visited e-commerce site in 2017
  4. Best Companies to Work for in Asia Award Debuts in Vietnam
  5. China tests driverless tanks that could be powered by artificial intelligence

Retailers Cannot Impose Surcharge for Payments Using Debit and Credit Cards
Bank Negara Malaysia today issued a statement reiterating that retailers are not permitted to impose surcharges for payments using debit and credit cards under the rules of international card schemes such as Visa and Mastercard under the Payment Card Reform Framework. The Central Bank clarified that the response provided by the Deputy Finance Minister in the Dewan Rakyat was with reference to the interest imposed by credit card issuers on cardholders for outstanding credit card balances that were overdue and not on surcharges imposed by retailers on credit and debit card transactions. It said the prohibition on surcharges was monitored and enforced by the banks that provided e-payment facilities to merchants. Bank Negara advised consumers who encounter merchants that impose surcharges to lodge a complaint with their respective banks or payment card issuers.

Bank Negara said globally, countries have adopted different approaches in dealing with the issue of surcharges imposed by retailers for card payments. In the European Union and the United Kingdom, retailers are prohibited from imposing a surcharge on consumers for credit and debit card transactions. In Australia, retailers have the right to impose surcharge on customers who pay using the more expensive payment cards such as the credit card. The rationale of such approach is to send the correct price signal to encourage consumers to pay using the more cost-effective debit card.

The statement added that in Malaysia, BNM has introduced measures such as the Payment Card Reform Framework and the Interoperable Credit Transfer Framework to lower the cost to retailers when accepting cost-effective electronic payment methods. This would in turn lessen the pressure for retailers to impose surcharge on customers. To benefit from lower operational cost, retailers are encouraged to accept the more cost-effective payment methods, i.e. debit cards and mobile payments (instant fund transfers). Retailers who cannot afford to pay the higher MDR for credit card are encouraged to liaise with their respective acquiring bank to accept only debit card payments.

Malaysia on track to complete autonomous vehicle R&D by 2025
Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Chua Tee Yong said Malaysia is on track towards completing autonomous vehicle research and development (R&D) by 2025. He said in this regard, the automotive sector would remain competitive, with automated vehicles being in demand in the future. “Malaysia is not far behind and several notable companies and universities have initiated several development projects relating to autonomous vehicles and its related technologies,” Chua told reporters in Kuala Lumpur. Datuk Chua said the technological evolution will not only benefit the automotive sector, but also move forward the electrical and electronics (E&E) sector. “The E&E sector has been a significant contributor to the nation’s economy as the largest export earner for 2017 at RM343 billion or 36.7 per cent of the total export value,” he said.

Lazada is most visited e-commerce site in 2017
Lazada is the most visited e-commerce site in Malaysia, recording a 13.8 million increase in the number monthly average visitors between the third (Q3) and fourth quarter of 2017. A study from iPrice Group reported that Lazada led its nearest competitors, 11street (which recorded an increase of 5.9 million average visitors) and Shopee (an increase of 5.3 million average visitors) over the same period. “Lazada, supported by Alibaba, will continue to flourish as investors from China have shown interest to invest up to US$2 billion (RM7.83 billion) in the platform,” iPrice Group said in a statement today. It said Shopee has seen tremendous growth, replacing Lelong as the third most visited e-commerce platform in Q4 2017. This occurred not long after its holding company, Sea Ltd (Sea), obtained US$550 million in funding in September 2017. The majority of the funds raised were invested to grow Shopee.

On Monday, Chinese tech giant Alibaba said it would invest an additional $2 billion in Lazada as part of its continued push into the region. Last year, Alibaba increased its stake in the Singapore-based firm from 51 percent to 83 percent with an additional billion-dollar investment. Alibaba acquired control of Lazada in 2016 with an initial $1 billion investment. The region’s internet economy is expected to grow to $200 billion by 2025, primarily driven by growth in e-commerce. Last year, Amazon entered the market for the first time by launching its express, same-day delivery service, Prime Now, in Singapore.

Best Companies to Work for in Asia Award Debuts in Vietnam
This year, Vietnam will be witnessing for the first time crowning of best companies to work for in Asia Vietnam Chapter by HR Asia Magazine. This most prestigious award recognising best companies to work for in Vietnam is jointly organised by HR Asia Magazine, a publication of Business Media International and Snowball Consulting Co. Winners of the award will be selected from pool of nominees among 20 industries, based on a proprietary survey that assesses the company’s working environment, HR practices, employee engagement and the resulting job satisfaction. HR Asia, Asia’s most authoritative publication for senior HR professionals, aims to elevate the quality of employment across Asia through healthy competition and the comparison it brings during the judging process. By including the most prominent employers in Vietnam, the HR Asia Best Companies to Work for in Asia Award aims to improve and regulate qualities discovered in quality employers. Simultaneously, it encourages participants to participate in the growth of economy and society of Vietnam. The Awards covers 8 markets across Asia, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
“This is one of the most structured and extensive survey on employee engagement and workplace practices in this region. Through this survey, HR Asia has discovered that many of companies in Asia have workplace practices that are on par with the best in the world,” said Mr. William Ng, group publisher and editor-in-chief of Business Media International, the publishers of HR Asia.

China tests driverless tanks that could be powered by artificial intelligence
China is testing driverless tanks which could be equipped with artificial intelligence as the country continues with its military modernisation programme. State television showed images this week of the unmanned tanks undergoing testing, the Global Times reported. Footage showed a Type 59 tank being driven by remote control, in what the paper said was the first time a Chinese-made unmanned tank has been shown in a public forum. The Type 59 tank is based on an old Soviet model first used in China in the 1950s and has been produced in large numbers and has a long service life, it said. The report added that driverless tanks will be able to work with other unmanned equipment and integrate information from satellites, aircraft or submarines. China is in the middle of a major modernisation programme for its armed forces, including building stealth fighters and new aircraft carriers.