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Jan 15. 2019
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By Asia News Network

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Law on digital currency comes into forces in Malaysia

The law on digital currencies and digital tokens in Malaysia came into effect on Tuesday and any person operating unauthorised initial coin offerings (ICOs) or digital asset exchange faces a 10-year jail and 10 million ringgit (Bt78 million) fine.

With this ruling, digital currencies and digital tokens or digital assets are prescribed as securities and will be regulated by the Securities Commission (SC).

Lim said such instruments and their associated activities must be first approved by the SC and need to comply with the relevant securities laws and regulations.

“The Ministry of Finance (MOF) views digital assets, as well as its underlying blockchain technologies, as having the potential to bring about innovation in both old and new industries. 

“In particular, we believe digital assets have a role to play as an alternative fundraising avenue for entrepreneurs and new businesses, and an alternate asset class for investors,” he said.

Lim said the SC would put in place regulatory requirements for the issuance of ICOs and the trading of digital assets at digital asset exchanges in Malaysia. 

“Any person offering an ICO or operating a digital asset exchange without SC’s approval may be punished, on conviction, with imprisonment not exceeding 10 years and fine not exceeding RM10mil,” he said. – The Star 

Indonesia to offer ten oil, gas blocks this year

Indonesian Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry Oil and Gas Director General Djoko Siswanto has said the ministry plans to offer 10 oil and gas blocks in two auction phases.

Djoko said that the first auction phase will involve the Anambas, West Ganal and West Kaimana blocks as well as two exploitation blocks - West Kampar and Selat Panjang and the auction process would be opened before the end of this month.

“It [the first auction] will kick off this month. We have just finished the terms and conditions,” he said.

West Ganal Block is actually a cut-off field from US-based energy giant Chevron’s Makassar Strait Block, which has been excluded from the Indonesia Deepwater Development (IDD) mega gas project.

In 2018, the ministry signed off nine exploration blocks through auction schemes, three of which were agreed in December. The three are the South Andaman offshore block in Aceh, South Saka Kemang onshore block in South Sumatra and Maratua onshore block in Central Java. – The Jakarta Post 

S$75m to boost Singapore’s enterprise financing hub status

In a bid to raise Singapore’s status as an enterprise financing hub, a S$75 million (Bt1.8 billion) grant has been launched to defray costs of enterprises hoping to list on the Singapore bourse, support research initiatives and subsidise the salaries of Singaporean equity research analysts.

The Grant for Equity Market Singapore (Gems) was launched by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat at a UBS wealth insights conference at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre on Monday.

Funded by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and administered by the Singapore Exchange (SGX), the grant has several components to it, and follows other programmes for the bond and private equity market launched in previous years.

Gems will kick in from Feburary 14.

To support the fund-raising needs of companies when they choose to list on the SGX, a listing grant will be given out to eligible companies - including foreign enterprises but excluding real estate investment trusts and business trusts - helping to defray the costs involved, such as legal and underwriting fees.

All eligible firms will be able to receive up to 20 per cent of the funds for their listing expenses up to a cap of S$200,000, while those in high growth sectors with a minimum market capitalisation of S$300 million will enjoy a higher cap of S$500,000.

These high growth sectors include those in the digital cluster, advanced manufacturing, hub services, logistics, urban solutions and infrastructure and healthcare.

Technology companies - including fintech, consumer tech, on-demand services and gaming services and peripheral manufacturers - with a S$300 million market capitalisation will benefit most, as the grant allows them to co-fund their expenses by 70 per cent, up to S$1 million. – The Straits Times 

Watsons to open first store in Vietnam tomorrow

Hong Kong-based healthcare and beauty retailer Watsons will launch its first store in Vietnam tomorrow (January 17), according to the news website InsideRetail Asia.

The Watsons store will be located in the lower floors of the Bitexco financial tower in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.

Teasing the launch, a huge backdrop with the slogan “Look good, Feel great” has been built outside the space, attracting many Vietnamese youngsters to take selfies and check in on social media, the source noted.

On its LinkedIn page, Watsons Vietnam has been recruiting staff for the store and featuring the same artwork as on the Bitexco backdrop.

Watsons is operated by AS Watson, a subsidiary of retail and telecommunications giant CK Hutchison which is quarter-owned by Singapore sovereign investment fund Temasek Holdings.

Currently, AS Watson has some 6,800 Watsons health and beauty stores in 12 markets in Asia and Europe, including Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Macau, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia.

The broader AS Watson group also owns other retail brands such as Drogas, Superdrug and Watsons’ Wine, with more than 14,500 stores in 24 markets. – Viet Nam News 

Clark workers offered ‘just’ severance pay

In a bid to stop a planned workers’ strike, management of the Clark International Airport Corp (Ciac) has offered a “just, fair and lawful severance package” and the option to retire and be rehired by a consortium that would operate and maintain the airport here.

“We are all in this together, no one will be left behind,” Ciac said in statement issued on the heels of a strike referendum.

At least 158 of 245 members of the Samahan ng mga Manggagawa sa Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (SMD) voted to stop work over uncertainties about their employment after the airport’s operations and maintenance were privatized.

SMD accused the management of refusing to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement, withholding health benefits and outsourcing job positions which it said were “evidence of union busting.”

SMD had agreed to meet with management on Monday in a conference facilitated by the National Conciliation and Mediation Board.

Ciac had petitioned Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to assume jurisdiction over the case.

“No one will lose their jobs,” Ciac said.

Workers would be absorbed and “prioritised for hiring.” – Philippine Daily Inquirer 

Paypal to hire more than 1,000 workers in Philippines 

Global payments leader PayPal said it will hire over a thousand employees in the next two years for its first global customer operations centre in the Philippines.

The centre, which will open sometime this year, will be the first consolidated operations site for PayPal in the Philippines. It will be located in Alabang.

It will primarily serve PayPal’s English-speaking customers, the company said in a statement, such as those in North America, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

John Nicholls, senior director of PayPal Global Customer Services and country site lead, said the company is looking to provide a higher quality support to its customers across the world. – Philippine Daily Inquirer


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