1. Malaysia’s Central Bank to launch Risk Management Policy to tackle cybercrime
  2. Women entrepreneurs empowered via ASEAN-Japan Linkage Programme
  3. Minister calls for policy to support the development of a strong network for SMEs
  4. EcoWorld teams up with Taiwanese company to set up first intelligent accommodation
  5. Singapore’s Budget 2019 incorporates key benefits for the Merdeka Generation

BNM to launch Risk Management policy to tackle cybercrime
Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) will launching its Risk Management in Technology policy in June this year to provide guidelines, especially for financial institutions, to combat the rise in cybercrime. CyberSecurity Malaysia chief executive officer Datuk Amirudin Abdul Wahab said more than 10,000 cases of cybercrime were reported in 2018. “Of this, more than half of the cases involved cyber fraud amounting to millions of Ringgit.

Women entrepreneurs empowered via ASEAN-Japan Linkage Programme
The ASEAN-Japan Centre (AJC) recently organised the 3rd ASEAN-Japan Women Entrepreneurs’ Linkage Program (AJWELP), co-hosted by SME Corporation Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur. The governments of the ASEAN Member States and Japan are committed to promote development of micro, small and medium enterprises, including women entrepreneurs’ empowerment to enhance more gender equality societies. To boost the effort, AJC launched AJWELP, a support programme for women entrepreneur start-ups in ASEAN Member States to forge linkages among start-ups, companies and mentors. Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail delivered a keynote address, sharing facts of women-owned SMEs in Malaysia and how the Malaysian Government supported them. Dr Wan Azizah, who is also women, family and community development minister, said the programme would have greater success in empowering women within the ASEAN region as it was already in its third consecutive year of implementation. The programme highlighted a business presentation where start-ups from the 10 ASEAN Member States presented their businesses and challenges. Representatives of companies and mentors, who are also senior entrepreneurs attended the presentation. AJC is an inter-governmental organisation, established by the ASEAN Member States and Japan in 1981. It has been promoting exports from ASEAN to Japan while revitalising investment, tourism as well as people-to-people exchanges.

Policy needs to look into areas that will support the development of a strong network for SMEs
Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Yusof (pic) said while the government has set some goals for the SME sector, it may need to look into amending policy or strategies to ensure the policy environment remains conducive to helping SMEs meet the tagets. This is in view of new trends and technology developments taking place. “We have to assess further. There is an impact when we talk about digitalisation or the adoption of technology. For example, when we talk about using artificial intelligence (AI), it may reduce labour (and affect SMEs’ contribution to employment). So, there must be a balance between adoption of technology and innovations against employment. We have to pace ourselves when it comes to adopting technology to achieve the growth we want,” he said. He also notes that Malaysia needs to further identify high-growth sectors to invest in to ensure that our local businesses remain competitive. “And based on that, we can define our priorities and measure what needs to be done to spur the growth of SMEs in this country,” he adds. He points out that “high-growth” is defined as having sustainable growth of 20% over three years. According to Datuk Seri Redzuan, in 2017, SMEs achieved 37.1% contribution to GDP and 17.3% of exports. The sector made up 66% of the country’s employment. “Malaysia’s economic future hinges on the growth of SMEs. Therefore, the government is committed to develop and empower SMEs by providing a more conducive ecosystem.

Datuk Seri Redzuan said the National ASEAN SME Policy Index Dissemination (ASPI) serves as an assessment tool to benchmark Malaysia’s policies and practices against that of the region and globally. The Policy Index covers eight areas of SME policy: productivity, technology and innovation; environmental policies and SMEs; access to finance; access to market and internationalisation; legislation, regulation and tax; institutional framework; entrepreneurial education and skills; as well as social enterprises and inclusive SMEs. Malaysia has generally scored well on the Index, exceeding the median score for ASEAN in all eight areas. Singapore takes the top spot in most areas.

EcoWorld teams up with Taiwanese company to set up first intelligent accommodation
EcoWorld Development Group Bhd will lease 50 houses and retail lots to Taiwan intelligent hotel operator Dun-Qian Hotel Management Co Ltd as part of a collaboration to set up the first intelligent accommodation in Malaysia. EcoWorld president and CEO Datuk Chang Khim Wah said the pilot project will be at Eco Nest serviced apartments in Eco Botanic, starting in the third quarter this year. “Three service robots will be used for the first phase of this pilot project with two check-in kiosks at the check-in counter. “Dun-Qian Hotel Management is actually the first company to introduce robotic systems that are usually used in factories into serviced accommodation in Taiwan, and this is the first time it will be introduced in Malaysia,” he said. Chang added that tenants would be able to experience robotic aid in terms of self-service check-in and food ordering system.

Singapore Budget 2019
Singapore’s Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat delivered the Budget 2019 statement in Parliament on Monday. Mr Heng announced the key benefits that the Merdeka Generation will get, including MediSave top-ups and other healthcare benefits. The seniors born in the 1950s will also get a S$100 top-up for their PAssion Silver cards. Eligible Singaporeans will also get up to S$300 as part of a Bicentennial Bonus, as well as a personal income tax rebate. The finance minister also announced a tightening of the foreign worker quota for the services sector among other initiatives for businesses and workers. The tax system will be made more progressive and resilient, he said. Mr Heng concludes: “Budget 2019 lays out this Government’s approach to build a strong, united Singapore. We nurture our young, take care of our seniors, expand opportunities for our people to be at their best, and to live in a liveable, endearing home, secure and globally connected.” A basic deficit of S$7.1 billion is expected in the coming financial year. On the whole, a deficit of S$3.5 billion or 0.7 per cent of GDP, is predicted.