1. Malaysia’sl banking system asset quality remains healthy
  2. Malaysia to see first neo bank by 2020
  3. China and US resumes trade talks
  4. Singapore to introduce laws to tackle deliberate online falsehoods
  5. Millennium Hotels and Resorts launches new business product for SMEs

Bank Negara: Local banking system asset quality remains healthy
Bank Negara Malaysia said the local banking system asset quality remains healthy in February 2019, as overall gross impaired loans edged slightly higher, contributed by several distressed corporate borrowers. Nevertheless, the banks´ net impaired loans ratio was stable at 0.9 per cent, the Central Bank said in its “Monthly Highlights – February 2019 ” report. “Banks have continued to maintain sufficient buffers against potential credit losses with total provisions to total loans ratio sustained at 1.4 per cent, ” it said.

Malaysia to see first neo bank by 2020
Financial technology (fintech) industry players are optimistic that Malaysia will be able to kick off its virtual banking revolution and set up its first neo or virtual bank in the third quarter of 2020 at the soonest. This followed Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) recent announcement on the release of virtual banking licence requirements by year-end. Fintech Association of Malaysia (FAOM) said the optimism was based on the experiences from other jurisdictions, lessons gathered from more than 50 existing virtual banks, as well as the interest from various parties that the industry players had come across.

China and US resumes trade talks
Trade talks between China and the United States began with a working dinner in Beijing on Thursday night. The US delegation led by trade representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin arrived in Beijing on Thursday for the latest round of talks aimed at resolving sticking points at the centre of the ongoing US-China trade war. “Although some progress has been made during the telephone negotiations between Vice-Premier Liu He and his US counterparts, there are still lots of work to do,” commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng said, adding that a full day of talks was scheduled for Friday. Liu, China’s top trade negotiator, is then expected to visit Washington next week, but any final deal to end the trade war which has rattled the global economy since last year can only then be agreed at a proposed summit between President Xi Jinping and US counterpart Donald Trump.

Singapore to introduce laws to tackle deliberate online falsehoods
Singapore Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong said legislation to tackle deliberate online falsehoods will be introduced in Parliament on Monday. He said the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill will be introduced for first reading in Parliament. This comes after the Government accepted the proposals from the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods, which included legislation to tackle the problem. The new Bill will give the Government the power to hold online news sources and platforms accountable if they proliferate deliberate online falsehoods, he said. “This includes requiring them to show corrections or display warnings about online falsehoods so that readers or viewers can see all sides and make up their own minds about the matter. “In extreme and urgent cases, the legislation will also require online news sources to take down fake news before irreparable damage is done,” the prime minister said.

Millennium Hotels and Resorts launches new business product for SMEs
Global hospitality group, Millennium Hotels & Resorts has launched a brand-new corporate bookings product, Millennium for Business. Breathing new life into their previous offering, Business Direct, the new digital programme has been created for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), empowering them to manage team travel with flexibility and ease. Millennium for Business offers an intuitive online booking experience that is integrated with the recently relaunched My Millennium Guest Reward Programme. The dedicated service, with its simple social sign-on and central dashboard, allows the business to manage travel, make itinerary style bookings, cater to team members’ needs and earn rewards. The new programme is available across all of MHR’s hotels in Asia, Europe, Middle East and the US. London, Paris, New York, Beijing, Los Angeles, Singapore and other destinations are on offer to the SMEs for combining business and leisure trips, an up-and-coming trend seen within travel.