1. HK leader formally withdraws Extradition Bill, but protestors call for all 5 demands to be met
  2. September 9 public holiday is compulsory for employees
  3. MATA Aerotech offers drone technology in agriculture sector
  4. Kuala Lumpur is the world’s fifth most popular city to visit
  5. Singapore’s 2019 growth forecast slashed to 0.6%,
  6. SlingApp Announces Talent Search Feature

Hong Kong protesters dismiss formal withdrawal of extradition bill as ‘band-aid on rotting flesh’
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam today announced the formal withdrawal of the Extradition Bill after three months of turmoil. With the move, the government has met one of the key demands of protesters who have taken to the streets over the past 13 weeks in demonstrations that have turned increasingly violent. A government source said the withdrawal of the bill was to streamline the legislative agenda and was a technical move, given that Lam had already declared the bill to be “dead” and pledged she would not be reintroducing it. Responding to the announcement, two masked protestors held a civilians’ press conference outside the legislative complex, reiterating calls for the government to meet all five demands. Apart from the formal withdrawal of the legislation, the protesters have asked for the government to set up a commission of inquiry to investigate police conduct in tackling the protests, grant amnesty to those who have been arrested, stop characterising the protests as riots, and restart the city’s stalled political reform process. “Lingering violence is damaging the very foundations of our society, especially the rule of law,” Lam said in a video statement released via her office. Lam appealed for protesters to abandon violence and to embrace a “dialogue” with the government.

Hong Kong’s main share index surged more than 4 per cent on Wednesday afternoon after local news outlets reported that leader Carrie Lam would withdraw the Bill. The Hang Seng closed at its highest in a month at 26,523.23 points, having rallied over 4 per cent at one point, outpacing the 1.6 per cent gains in MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares ex-Japan and 0.9 per cent rise in Shanghai shares.

September 9 public holiday is compulsory for employees
The Human Resources Ministry said the public holiday on September 9 in conjunction with the birthday of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is one of five compulsory holidays for employees. This was provided for under section 60D (1) of the Employment Act 1955, said the ministry in a statement. It issued the clarification following confusion among many people, particularly employers and private sector employees, in reference to the King’s installation celebrated recently on July 30 (which had been declared an additional public holiday) and the upcoming birthday celebration.

MATA Aerotech offers drone technology in agriculture sector
Drone and robotic technology firm, MATA Aerotech aims to expand the use of drone technology in the management and operation of Malaysia’s agriculture within the next five years. Its chief executive officer Wan Azrain Adnan said the move was to help improve the quality and productivity of the agriculture yield while reducing dependence on labour and operating costs. He said the use of the drone was in collaboration with GEOSAT Aerospace and Technology Inc. based in Taiwan, that specialized in drones for more than 10 years.

Five destinations attract 22 percent of all international traveler arrivals in Asia Pacific
Asia Pacific’s five most popular destinations for international travellers – Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo and Seoul – welcomed over one-fifth, or 22 percent, of all overnight visitors to the region’s top 161 cities and regional centers in 2018. This is according to Mastercard’s Asia Pacific Destinations Index (APDI), a regional subset of the Global Destination Cities Index (GDCI) which is now in its tenth year. Primarily driven by explosive growth in outbound travel from mainland China, these five cities are also capturing more than one-quarter, or 25.2 percent, of total international travel spending in the region. In 2018, Asia Pacific hosted travellers making 342.2 million business and leisure trips, up from 159.1 million in 2009, representing an 8.9 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the nine year period. During the same period, travel spending in Asia Pacific more than doubled, rising from US$117.6 billion to US$281.1 billion, equating to a compound annual growth rate of 10.2 percent. Bangkok, edged out Paris and London as the world’s most popular city to visit, according to the survey. Paris and London were ranked second and third, each with about 19.1 million arrivals, trailed by Dubai with 15.9 million. Kuala Lumpur was fifth in the rankings, based on third-party research, proprietary analysis and public data across 200 destination cities.

Singapore’s 2019 growth forecast slashed to 0.6%, trade tensions remain top risk
Private sector economists and analysts have lowered their forecast for Singapore’s economic growth in 2019, according to a survey report released by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) today. The economy is now expected to expand by 0.6 per cent this year, down from an earlier estimate of 2.1 per cent in June, with the escalation of trade tensions remaining the top risk cited by most survey respondents. The revised forecast came after Singapore’s economy grew by 0.1 per cent in the second quarter, lower than the 1.6 per cent projected by respondents in the previous survey. Statistical projections also show the economy most likely growing by between 0.5 per cent and 0.9 per cent this year – lower than the findings from the previous survey of between 2.0 per cent and 2.4 per cent. Last month, the Ministry of Trade and Industry downgraded its expected growth for 2019 to between 0 and 1 per cent, saying that the GDP is expected to come in “at around the mid-point of the forecast range”.

SlingApp Announces Talent Search Feature
Malaysian job-hunting startup SlingApp has announced a new feature called Talent Search that allows recruiters to search and contact active job seekers who qualify for their job openings. Fee to use Talent Search feature starts at RM12.88 per Talent profile. SlingApp plans to introduce the Talent Search feature starting in November. Teh Tian Ji, CEO of SlingApp says, “The Talent Search feature will equip recruiters and employers with a tool to quickly look for talent without having to wait for applicants submit applications. This process is far more efficient and easily done.” As of now, there are more than 50,000 active job seeker profiles available on SlingApp, and the startup aims at growing the number to at least 100,000 by year end. So far 240,000 jobs applied since its inception in 2017. Job seekers can sign-up and use SlingApp to look for a job at no charge.


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