1. Sabah gets products of 262 SMEs into 50 supermarkets, mini markets
  2. CITP records overseas projects worth RM4.85 billion
  3. Indonesia leads in financial inclusion progress: Global Findex 2017
  4. Fintech Hubs Singapore and London boost professional development in their regions with launch of AI programme in finance
  5. China’s Alibaba signs agreement with automakers to connect cars to homes
  6. Marina Bay Sands toilets awarded 6-star rating

Sabah gets products of 262 SMEs into 50 supermarkets, mini markets
Over 260 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Sabah have managed to sell their products in 50 supermarkets and mini markets through the launch of the Shared Services and Outsourcing Centre. Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Raymond Tan said the opening of the centre at the Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park two years ago by the state government was aimed at helping SMEs market their products at local supermarkets and mini markets. He said the centre was an integrated service developed by the Sabah Ministry of Industrial Development to assist local SMEs, which encountered problems in terms of marketing, packaging, logistics, as well as storage, but boasted good and potential products to be marketed throughout the state. He said the 50 mini markets are in Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan and Tawau and will be expanded to Keningau this year. He added that the centre moved a step further with the launch of BORNEO KAKI in March to help SMEs market local products online or via e-commerce.

CITP records overseas projects worth RM4.85 billion
The Construction Industry Transformation Programme (CITP) has seen Malaysian companies win RM4.85 billion worth of overseas projects from 2016 until December 2017. The Construction Industry Development Board Malaysia (CIDB) said on a year-on-year basis, the value of these projects surged to RM3.14 billion in 2017, from RM1.71 billion in 2016. “Through CITP, we aim to assist 10 more local construction companies to export their services globally to achieve the targeted collective export value of RM8 billion between 2016 and 2020,” CIDB Chief Executive, Datuk Dr Ir Ahmad Asri Abdul Hamid said. CITP is a national agenda driven by the Ministry of Works through CIDB. Datuk Ahmad Asri said to-date, 129 Malaysian construction companies had engaged in various construction projects in 63 countries.

Indonesia leads in financial inclusion progress: Global Findex 2017
THE latest Global Findex (Financial Inclusion Index) database released by the World Bank finds that Indonesia has made the most progress, across East Asia and the Pacific, in bringing its citizens into the formal financial system in the past three years. Almost fifty percent (48.9%) of the adults in Indonesia now own a bank account, reflecting a true turning point in the country’s journey to boost financial inclusion. This also registers a marked improvement from its 36% of account ownership in 2014 and 20% in 2011. Between 2014 and 2017, Indonesia also saw the biggest account ownership increase of any developing economy in the East Asia and Pacific region. Indonesia also boasts a strong use of accounts for saving, registering 10 percentage points higher than the developing world average. Forty-two percent of account owners save at a formal financial institution such as a bank or microfinance institution. The Global Findex database is the world’s most comprehensive data set on how adults save, borrow, make payments, and manage risk. Launched with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the database has been published every three years since 2011. The data are collected in partnership with Gallup, Inc, through nationally representative surveys of more than 150,000 adults in over 140 economies.

Fintech Hubs Singapore and London boost professional development in their regions with launch of AI programme in finance
Imagine having your bank loan approved within a minute. Or if you’re a finance professional, how about having a virtual assistant to plough through tons of financial data to decide which investment would yield a better return? These scenarios are not too far from reality, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence (AI) in the finance arena. Globally, the immense potential of AI applications, which could change radically the way the financial sector works, is getting everyone excited yet concerned about how AI may impact jobs and their organisations. Singapore’s Ngee Ann Polytechnic and London’s Centre for Finance, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CFTE) launches AI in Finance (AIF), an online programme by industry professionals for industry professionals. Despite the growing awareness of AI technology, many finance professionals are still unfamiliar with its impact on the industry. To give these professionals a good grasp of the emerging technologies that are shaping their industry’s future, Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP), one of Singapore’s leading institutes of higher learning, is partnering with London-based Centre for Finance, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CFTE) to launch the AI in Finance (AIF) course. Through this course, both NP and CFTE hope to support and to nurture talent in fintech and to boost fintech development in their respective regions and around the world.

China’s Alibaba signs agreement with automakers to connect cars to homes
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has signed an agreement to supply its artificial intelligence technology to global automakers, assisting Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and Volvo car owners in China to control their cars from home, Xinhua news agency reported. The voice-activated assistant Tmall Genie, which was developed by Alibaba AI Labs, the company’s artificial intelligence arm, will allow home-to-vehicle connectivity, Alibaba said Monday. “Users will be able to turn on air conditioning, lock car doors, and open the trunk from their home,” said Chen Lijuan, head of Alibaba AI Labs. Tmall Genie could also perform functions like planning a route or controlling music. The voice assistant will also allow car owners to perform diagnostics on the car’s engine, battery, and other components and check the car’s location and fuel levels in the future, according to Alibaba.


Marina Bay Sands toilets awarded 6-star rating

Six toilets in Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands have received the six-star rating from the Restroom Association of Singapore – the first toilets in Singapore to be awarded its top rating. The association had introduced the six-star rating in 2014, but it was only today that any toilets in Singapore hit the mark.  Under the grading system, six-star or “magnificent restrooms” are expected to use smart technology and employ cleaners who have completed a Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) module in washroom cleaning. This is on top of the standards laid out under the five-star rating. Toilets under this category are expected to have facilities in working condition, provide basic amenities such as soap and toilet paper, be odour and litter-free, have a “reasonably dry floor” as well as include “special delights, user-friendliness and/or eco-friendly facilities”, according to the Restroom Association. In one of Marina Bay Sands’ six-star toilets, for instance, there is a detector which measures the level of ammonia in the air and relays this information to cleaners via SMS. Once odour levels exceed a certain threshold, a text message will be sent to the cleaners with information about which toilet is affected.


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