Welcome to our ‘News In Brief’ column in which we digest all the news releases for you in no more than five paragraphs. Below are snippets of all the media releases we received from Feb 6 till the end of the week. This column updates regularly throughout the week.
Sabah Receives Recognition
Sabah, Feb 6: Three rural tourism operators in Sabah have been awarded the prestigious 2023- 2025 ASEAN Tourism Standard Award in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, further elevating the reputation of Sabah’s rural tourism products on the international stage.
The recipients are Padas Farmstay (ASEAN Community Based Tourism); Mari-Mari Cultural Village (ASEAN Community Based Tourism); and Homestay Taun Gusi (ASEAN Homestay Standard).
Padas Farmstay managing director Tham Yau Kong, Mari-Mari Cultural Village base manager Jeremiah Jamson, and Homestay Taun Gusi coordinator Ismail Muile @ Muele received the awards on February 5, in conjunction with the ASEAN Tourism Forum.
Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Assistant Minister cum Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai was also present to witness the award ceremony.
He was in Yogyakarta to lead the Sabah Tourism Board delegation at the ASEAN Tourism Forum event that was held from February 3-5.
“I’m delighted to be here to see Sabah’s incredible success story in rural tourism unfold. I congratulate our award recipients on their perseverance in maintaining the highest levels of product and service quality despite the challenges of the pandemic.
“The accreditation of three Sabah rural tourism products with the ASEAN Tourism Standard Award is a major boost to the international profile of Sabah’s rural tourism offerings.
Freshworks and Meta in Partnership
Sydney, Feb 7: Freshworks Inc. (NASDAQ: FRSH), today announced that companies around the world have increased customer retention by using Freshworks’ conversational AI bots to automate communication with buyers through WhatsApp, Instagram Messaging, and Facebook Messenger. International companies like MTN Cameroon in Africa, Body & Fit in Europe and The Giving Movement in Dubai have elevated their customer support efficiency on Meta’s messaging platforms using Freshworks’ Freshchat™, Freshdesk™ and Freshsales™ products.
With over two billion daily active WhatsApp users, nearly two billion daily active Facebook users, and more than two billion monthly active Instagram users, Meta provides the world’s most popular messaging platforms.
The Meta Business Messaging integrations with Freshworks’ CX and CRM products make customer and prospect engagement easy for support, sales, and marketing teams.
With Freshworks AI-powered bots, businesses can tailor and automate messaging journeys for each channel, configure workflows across multiple channels or languages, and efficiently train bots with NLP learning capabilities.
“Messaging is how people and businesses want to communicate and get business done. Businesses of all sizes are embracing this shift and finding new opportunities to better engage with customers, offer support, and drive sales,” Kyle Jenke, Business Messaging, Director of Partnerships at Meta said.
The Freshworks Neo™ platform and its native integrations with popular communication channels allow businesses to configure these channels and more as they expand and grow without needing expensive custom development, complex deployments, or IT support.
This helps reduce the friction of scaling communication across messaging apps and can make it easier to adapt to evolving customer needs.
Bupa Freezes 2023 Premium
Sydney, Feb 7: Bupa will delay this year’s premium rise for three months until 1 July 2023 saving its members $75 million.
Bupa’s decision to delay rate increases from April 1 until 1 July 2023, follows the Federal Health Minister’s approval of an average premium increase of 3.39 per cent for Bupa policies.
This brings the total announced customer support since the pandemic started to $875 million through cash back’s, premium deferrals, and financial assistance for impacted customers and other support programs.
Bupa Health Insurance Managing Director Chris Carroll said Bupa has honored its commitment not to profit from COVID-19 and would continue to look at ways for members to get value from their health insurance.
“With many of our customers feeling the impacts of the rising cost of living, delaying premiums for three months offers our members an immediate reprieve and this is just one of the many ways we’re giving back to our members,” Carroll said.
Stripe and Xero Expand Partnership
Sydney, Feb 7: Global financial infrastructure platform Stripe and global small business platform Xero today announced the expansion of their partnership to help small businesses worldwide get paid faster.
Stripe and Xero are working together to build a far deeper integration of Stripe Connect into Xero’s small business platform that will enable greater convenience for customers and automate accounting for transactions.
The expanded partnership will see Xero continuing to leverage Stripe’s expertise in payments infrastructure to support millions of small businesses on its platform across Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the United States.
Xero started working with Stripe in 2013 to help its customers get paid faster and to streamline recurring payments.
Xero partnered with Stripe so its users could accept credit and debit card payments, and today, Xero customers can set up Stripe in just a few minutes, saving hours that they normally would spend chasing payments.
SCIB and Bintai Kinden in Strategic Alliance
Kuala Lumpur, Feb 7: Civil engineering specialist Sarawak Consolidated Industries Berhad today announced that the Company had on Feb 6 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MoU”) with Bintai Kinden Corporation Berhad (“Bintai Kinden”) to establish a strategic alliance for exploring of business opportunities, securing of new projects and sharing of profits.
The MoU is a preliminary step the parties are taking as they explore a working relationship and cooperation to combine skills, expertise, capabilities, experience and collectively bid for projects in Malaysia and to set out the principal terms of the arrangement between the parties.
The JV vehicle to be used is SCIB’s wholly-owned subsidiary, SCIB Infraworks Sdn. Bhd in which SCIB will retain a 51 per cent stake in the JV while Bintai Kinden will subscribe to the remaining 49 per cent.
Bintai Kinden is a mechanical and electrical (“M&E”) engineering services specialist listed on the Main Market of Bursa Malaysia, with a unique combination of extensive regional experience and local knowledge.
Silverlake Funds Development of Tech Talent In Malaysia
Penang, Feb 8: Singapore Exchange Mainboard-listed Silverlake Axis Ltd — a leading enterprise technology, software and services company — today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Forward School, a new technology and future skills school based in Penang, Malaysia.
This MOU reiterates SAL’s commitment to fostering the next generation of technical talent, and moreover, building a sustainable and fresh talent pipeline translating into job opportunities within the SAL Group.
The MOU was signed during a ceremony at Town Hall, which involved speeches by Andrew Tan, Group Managing Director of Silverlake Axis and Howie Chang, Founder & CEO of Forward School.
The new partnership with Forward School will involve the establishment of the SAL Sponsorship Program, which is strategically planned to hire deserving students, creating a funnel of talent and a succession plan designed to offer the best value to both students and the group.
Sponsored students will have an opportunity to pursue internship opportunities with SAL before potentially securing permanent employment offers upon completion of a minimum of two years of study at Forward School.
Permanent employment offers will be subject to academic performance.
Eligibility criteria require Malaysian candidates, between 18-30 years of age, on track to achieve a CGPA of 3.30 in their academic results.
Mambu and EY Identify Underserved SME segment
Sydney, Feb 9: Ernst & Young LLP and cloud banking platform Mambu have identified five crucial success elements that financial institutions need to consider to ensure their small and medium enterprise (SME) lending offerings are accessible to SMEs.
The availability of finance is key to the success of all SMEs, and this new report explores the advantages for banks that address the specific challenges SMEs face.
Banks have a unique opportunity to meet the needs of their SME customers by developing tailored, customer-centric offerings similar to those of fintech challengers.
The ‘Unlocking big growth in small businesses: How to drive SME lending transformation through product innovation’ report identifies five core building blocks for banks to capture lucrative growth offered by the underserved SME segment.
To download the full report, go here.
Devices and Apps Help Cardiac Rehabilitation
Adelaide, Feb 9: Using activity-monitoring devices and mobile applications helps improve the physical activity and health outcomes of patients undertaking cardiac rehabilitation programs, according to new research from Flinders University’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences.
The use of devices and applications was associated with an increase in activity, healthy behaviours and reductions in clinical indicators that show an effective improvement of cardiac patients’ outcomes.
Cardiovascular disease – responsible for 17.7 million of 55 million deaths in the world during 2017 – has lasting issues for many patients, with recurrence being common after a first acute event.
Disease progression results in an 18 per cent absolute risk of a recurrent cardiovascular event or death within 12 months, underlining the importance of secondary prevention.
To read more about the research go here.
MR D.I.Y. Makes Doctor’s Dream Come True
Kuala Lumpur, Feb 9: It was a lucky start to the new year for an anesthesiologist and his family when he was named the grand prize winner of the ‘MR D.I.Y. & MR. DOLLAR x P&G ‘Beli & Menang’ contest.
Dr. Samsul Faizal Bin Samsuddin, 39, who works at Hospital Sungai Buloh, Selangor, took home a brand new Perodua Alza 1.5L X.
“Thank you to the contest organisers for making our family road trips more comfortable – we can’t wait to hit the road!,” Dr Samsul said.
The prize-giving ceremony for the contest’s Grand and Second Prize winners was recently held at MyTOWN Shopping Centre, Kuala Lumpur.
Applications For Masters Scholarship Programs Opens
Jakarta, Feb 9: Prasetiya Mulya University is holding a Teacher and Children Teacher Scholarship program from all over Indonesia.
This program is a form of support and appreciation from the campus which is known as the pioneer of MBA programs and business schools in Indonesia, for educators to increase capacity and help expand their role in society.
“The master program will provide opportunities for teachers to learn about various new things, apply their knowledge in career advancement and expand potential in various fields, such as lecturers, researchers or entrepreneurs,’ Sagita Utama, Marketing & Customer Director Relations, Prasetiya Mulya University said.
Prospective scholarship recipients can submit applications here until Feb 26 for the first batch and March 26 for the second batch.
Meanwhile, for teachers’ children, the first batch is open from today to March 6 and the second batch is open from March 21 – May 8.
Volunteers Needed To Unravel Sleep Problems
Adelaide, Feb 9: A Flinders University sleep researcher is calling on volunteers suffering from both insomnia and sleep apnoea, to help solve the complex problems resulting from these twin disorders.
An estimated one million Australian adults have COMISA – co-morbid insomnia and sleep apnoea – but Dr Alex Sweetman of Flinders University’s Health and Medical Research Institute (Sleep Health) says the ties that bind these two debilitating sleep disorders are widely misunderstood.
To help increase access to CBT-I, Dr Sweetman and colleagues have developed a five-session online CBT-I program that combines the most effective insomnia treatment strategies into a self-guided online program.
Dr Sweetman is now recruiting patients with COMISA for a clinical trial to test the five-session online CBT-I program, then complete a brief online questionnaire after treatment to say whether their insomnia symptoms have improved.
People with insomnia symptoms either with or without a diagnosis of sleep apnoea are encouraged to contact Dr Sweetman at email@example.com about conducting a brief online questionnaire to determine their eligibility for the trial.
HWMU Inks MoU with Nicol David
Kuala Lumpur, Feb 9: Heriot-Watt University Malaysia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Nicol David Organisation (“NDO”) at the University’s Putrajaya campus on 8 February 2023.
The MoU formalises a collaboration between HWUM and NDO to empower children aged 8 to 12 from B40 and M40 families through the latter’s flagship programme, ‘Little Legends’, which is set to kick-start in March 2023.
Under this programme, these children will take part in squash training, English tutoring, and life skills workshops.
HWUM will also be supporting NDO through its research efforts and empowering the University’s students to take part in the noble cause as volunteers or interns.
The MoU signatories were HWUM Provost and Chief Executive Officer Professor Mushtak Al-Atabi and NDO Founder & Head Coach Yang Berbahagia Datuk Dr Nicol Ann David.
Also present as witness signatories were HWUM Chief Operating Officer and Registrar Janice Yew and former Colombian squash player Mariana de Reyes, who is also the NDO Founder & Chief Executive Officer.
AltX appoints new Head of Investor Relations
Sydney, Feb 10: Australia’s leading alternative investment platform, AltX, announces the appointment of Martin Lewis as Head of Investor Relations.
Martin Lewis brings over 20 years’ experience to the role, with more than a decade at Westpac Private Bank. Drawn to AltX’s reputation, its innovative platform and the growth potential for this sector, Mr. Lewis is looking forward to expanding the investment platform’s growing investor base.
“I’m excited to join a company with an established brand and a strong track record. With private real estate debt positioned for strong growth over the next five to 10 years, this is just the start of the journey,” Lewis said.
Drawing on his experience in Australia and Europe, Mr. Lewis looks forward to expanding AltX’s current offering and extending the reach of its platform to more wholesale investors around Australia.
“As we expand our offering, investors will gain access to a greater range of opportunities including those local to them – the market they know best. We will continue to enhance our platform to deliver the experience that our investors want.”
Join the AFC Champions LeagueFan Quiz
Kuala Lumpur, Feb 10: Building on the success of the East edition of the AFC Champions League Fan Quiz, passionate fans in the West now have the chance to win two tickets to watch the first leg of the AFC Champions League 2022 Final on April 29, set to be held in the West.
The prize is inclusive of two return flights, accommodation, and two tickets to the AFC Champions League™ 2022 Final.
The campaign builds on the success of the East edition’s quiz, which took place in August 2022 and attracted thousands of enthusiastic fans from across the Continent, with the highest scoring fan winning prized tickets to the second leg of the AFC Champions League™ Final, which will be held on May 6.
From Feb 9 to March 5, ardent supporters of Asian football can register on the official AFC website and take the quiz, which is available in multiple languages including English, Arabic, and Farsi.
Fans can access the quiz at the-AFC.com/win.
Bintai Kinden Wins RM14.2 million project from TNB
Petaling Jaya, Feb 10: Bintai Kinden Corporation Berhad, a mechanical and electrical engineering services specialist, is pleased to announce that the Company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Kejuruteraan Bintai Kindenko Sdn Bhd, has been awarded a project worth RM14.2 million by Tenaga Nasional Berhad for the installation of two 132kV transformer bays air insulated switchgear complete with the relevant primary, secondary, cables and all associated civil works located in Pasir Besar, Negeri Sembilan.
The project’s scope of work also includes a 33kV building, two 300kVA 33/0.415kV local transformers, 33kV GIS single busbar (eight outgoing, two incomer, two local transformers and two bus-times), 33kV CRP, 33kV RTU, 33kV SIP and 33kV MPE, neutral earthing system, earthing system extension, lightning protection system, associated secondary works (protection & telecontrol) and, associated underground cable works for power transformer, local transformer and bus-tie.
KBK, a specialist in M&E engineering services, was also awarded a project worth RM39.0 million by TNB for the installation of a 132kV underground cable double circuit in late Nov 2022.
Past TNB projects in which Bintai Kinden has been involved in include the 132kV Kuchai Lama switching station, 132kV MRT Bukit Serdang switching station, 132kV single-circuit underground cable from PMU Galloway to PMU KLCC2 and, 132kV bulk supply connection to KTMB Sentul feeder station. Total unbilled order book under M&E segment of Bintai Kinden is RM143.41 million.
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