News In Brief

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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 March 6 till the end of the week. This column updates regularly throughout the week.

Study finds Australians’ Quality of Life Impacted

New research reveals Australians’ attitudes towards their health and wellbeing

Sydney, March 6: One in ten Australians rate their quality of life as poor with mental health and developing chronic illnesses key concerns, new research by health insurer Bupa reveals.
The Bupa Pulse Check launched today, which looks at Australians’ attitudes towards their health and wellbeing, found two in three Australians were worried about developing a chronic illness with back pain, arthritis, cancer and mental health conditions listed as the overall top concerns.
The research, which surveyed 2000 Australians, was conducted by Quantum Market Research, and also examined the ongoing impacts of the pandemic. 
It found half of Australians aged under 50 admitted delaying health appointments due to COVID-19, while 50 per cent also revealed their concerns about future pandemics.
To read Bupa Pulse Check and see other key findings, click here.

Studyfin Completes Merger 

Melbourne, March 6: Leading Melbourne-based fintech and international education services aggregation firm, Studyfin Group, has announced the successful completion of a scrip-merger with Singapore-based TaisEdu Pte Ltd, the international education arm of Tais TIC group.
The deal has resulted in a post-merger valuation of AU$20 million.
Global legal firm, Baker McKenzie, acted as legal advisor for the deal.
Studyfin, launched in 2021 by John Du, is an online education and financial services aggregator that aims to operate at the forefront of the international education sector.
The platform seeks to empower international students studying in Asia-Pacific countries to enjoy a better experience through the connection of digital wallets with various financial institutions, including banks, insurers, funds, and asset managers. 
Tais TIC Group is an educational technology company founded in 2016, with TaisEdu based in Singapore as the group’s international education provider arm. 

PropertyGuru Releases Study

PropertyGuru Study: Only 1 in 10 Respondents Have Budgets Of Over RM600,000 To Purchase Property

Kuala Lumpur, March 6: PropertyGuru Malaysia released its biannual Consumer Sentiment Study (CSS) for H1 2023, which revealed that nearly half of the Malaysian respondents surveyed have a budget of less than RM350,000 for buying properties, while only one in 10 have a budget of over RM600,000.
As the disparity between income and house prices continue to widen in Malaysia, affordability issues among consumers is likely to be an ongoing trend.
This is apparent in the CSS H1 2023, as more Malaysians await government initiatives that can help attain their homeownership goals.
The study found that half of the Malaysian consumers consider themselves unable to buy a house without government assistance, with nearly three in four respondents calling for more government support to address the rising inflation.
On the other hand, the study also found that over half (58 per cent) of Malaysian consumers with the intention to purchase a property have achieved the halfway point of their savings target, driven mostly by millennials between the ages of 22 to 41 and mid-income earners.

MR D.I.Y.’s Latest Accolade 

MR D.I.Y. is UM’s Excellent Corporate Partner 2022 

Kuala Lumpur, March 6 –  Malaysia’s premier university honoured MR D.I.Y. Group Berhad [MR D.I.Y] with its Excellent Corporate Partner Award 2022, in recognition of the retailer’s continued support of and contribution to the university and its communities.
Universiti Malaya [UM]’s Excellence Award programme, launched in 2009, is an annual award programme designed to recognise outstanding employees of the university and corporate organisations that have contributed to the university’s pursuit of excellence. In the 2022 edition, the award programme recognised 56 UM academicians, employees, and faculties, as well as public figures and corporate organisations in 45 categories. MR D.I.Y. was the sole recipient in the Excellent Corporate Partner award category. 
The awards were presented by Universiti Malaya’s Chancellor, the Sultan of Perak, His Royal Highness, Sultan Dr. Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Azlan Muhibbuddin Shah Al-Maghfullah, and the university’s Pro Chancellors, Toh Puan Dato’ Seri Hajjah Dr. Aishah Ong and YBhg. Tan Sri Dato’ Seri DiRaja Ramli bin Ngah Talib. 

Transform Your Home with Hisense 

The Hisense PureShine Series Refrigerators add a touch of sophistication to kitchens while keeping food fresh this Ramadan and Raya Season.

Petaling Jaya, March 6: Hisense, a leading electronics and home appliance brand in the region, is thrilled to announce its latest campaign, “Riang Ceria Harley Raya” just in time for the upcoming Raya celebrations.
Available from March 13 – April 30, the Hisense Raya Campaign brings together the latest technology with innovative design and top-quality performance for customers to enjoy the ultimate home entertainment experience.
All Hisense appliances featured under the promotion will be available at affordable prices, where customers who purchase each single Hisense product worth RM1,999 and above can register to redeem free gifts and are automatically eligible and entitled for one Riang Ceria Lucky Draw entry.
This is the chance for customers to enjoy free gifts and get the chance to win the lucky draw grand prize of Honda Dash 125 motorcycle!
Visit their website at or authorised dealers to learn more about Hisense’s products and the incredible deals offered in their Ramadan and Raya campaign.

EMERGE Group Secures US$2.2M Funding

Core Management Team of EMERGE Group

From bottom left to right: Koh Jia Jun, COO, Kek Wei Jie, CEO, Marjorie Poon, Deputy CEO
From top left to right: Gideon Fung, Assistant Manager, Customer Success, Yah Ting Zhi, Vice

President of Operations, Jason Yah, Head of EMPLIFIVE
Not in Photo: Pang Xue Jie, CGO, Felix Wang, Tech Lead
Core Management Team of EMERGE Group From bottom left to right: Koh Jia Jun, COO, Kek Wei Jie, CEO, Marjorie Poon, Deputy CEO From top left to right: Gideon Fung, Assistant Manager, Customer Success, Yah Ting Zhi, Vice President of Operations, Jason Yah, Head of EMPLIFIVE Not in Photo: Pang Xue Jie, CGO, Felix Wang, Tech Lead

Singapore, March 7: EMERGE Group, announced US$2.2 million in its seed funding round jointly led by Farquhar Venture Capital and Arcane Group.
Other investors in this round comprise Blockcrafter Capital and Angel Investors: Victor Lai and Yuen Wong, Founder of a LABS Group, GEMS Esports and Managing Partner of Bitmart.
As part of the announcement, EMERGE Group is a rebrand from EMERGE Esports to better differentiate the Group’s plans from its various business units.
EMERGE Esports remains as an advertising and marketing consultancy arm for brands and content creators in the esports industry.
EMERGE Group is currently collaborating with Mastercard, with a recent announcement on the Group’s participation in the latest class of the Mastercard Start Path Emerging Fintech program, an award-winning global startup engagement program.
The Block 71 alumni is also supported by Startup Junkie, an entrepreneurial support organisation funded in part by the Walton Family Foundation and the US Small Business Administration, EMERGE Group is one of the latest organisations in their portfolio.
As the Group moves in to expand further in Southeast Asia, the seed funds will be used in two primary business units, EMPLIFIVE and EMPOWER. The two business units will develop new commercialisation options to resolve different root problems faced by content creators, brands and other stakeholders in the industry of marketing and advertising.
“EMERGE Group has proven to be a strong player in the game despite being in the industry for only three years. We are very proud to be working with an organisation that has built the foundation for further growth and capturing larger market opportunities,” Jason Su, Chief Investment Officer of Farquhar Venture Capital said.
Since its launch in 2020, EMERGE Group has made several notable achievements and have become known to continuously make its impact on the esports industry. The Group has garnered a total audience of over 580 Millions through their network of thousands of content creators and players from renowned esports teams, including Bren Esports, Talon Esports, Boom Esports and more. 

STB Rebrands To ‘Feel Sabah, North Borneo’ 

 Sabah Tourism Board Rebrands

Berlin, March 7: There could not be a better travel marketplace platform than the ITB Berlin 2023 (Internationale Tourismus-Borse Berlin) for Sabah Tourism Board (STB) to launch Sabah’s new destination rebranding – ‘Feel Sabah, North Borneo’.   
STB is under the purview of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment.  
‘Feel Sabah’ promotion was developed by STB while the idea of incorporating ‘North Borneo’ was mooted by Minister Datuk Christina Liew who led a 10-member delegation to this global event.   
Launching this rebranding exercise at the world’s largest tourism trade fair at the Messe Berlin in Germany on Tuesday, Minister Datuk Christina Liew said it was most apt to adopt this promotional theme for sentimental and historical reasons.
She stressed that we want the international community to know that Sabah is located in the northern part of Borneo Island in the hope of fascinating and wooing more European tourists, among others. 

Epicor Drives Significant Cloud Adoption Across Asia

Kuala Lumpur, March 8: Epicor, a global leader of industry-specific enterprise software to promote business growth, today discussed significant momentum in customer cloud adoption in Asia for 2022 at the company’s 2023 Asia ReConnect Customer Day held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Cloud adoption by Epicor customers across the region increased by more than 190 percent year-over-year in 2022, with businesses migrating or choosing to implement Epicor Kinetic in the cloud – a purpose-built, flexible, and scalable platform that helps manufacturers better compete and grow their businesses.  
“Epicor customers in Asia prioritised cloud last year to take advantage of the security, flexibility and scalability that cloud delivers,” said Vincent Tang, Epicor Regional Vice President, Asia.
“We’re also expanding in the region and making investments across markets including China, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam to help our customers modernise and future-proof their solutions, whilst benefiting from deep industry expertise and a company that understands its customers’ challenges.”
The customer day was also an opportunity to celebrate and award standout customers who have leveraged Epicor solutions to transform their businesses and bring about positive, innovative, and impactful outcomes. 

Combating Loneliness Through Lunch Buddies

Adelaide, March 7: Older South Australians should sit down for community lunches regularly to combat social isolation that may become a serious health risk as they age, according to new research.
While estimates vary, it’s understood loneliness rates among older people have reached 46 per cent in Australia.
The study brought together 12 individuals in Adelaide aged over 65, who were considered to be at risk of loneliness.
They took part in a 12-week shared lunch program designed by Professor Coveney and fellow Flinders University researchers, to foster community inclusion and improve health outcomes.
Project Everyone at the Table (EAT) provided an opportunity for older adults living at home to socialise regularly over a meal, thereby developing their interpersonal skills. It also encouraged them to sign up to new groups and try new hobbies.
The report for Project Everyone at the Table (EAT) is available here.

ChatGPT Set To Change Cancer Patient Information   

Adelaide, March 7: Public access to sophisticated next-generation AI programs, led by ChatGPT, is opening the way to a new era for patients, carers and even healthcare workers to gain health information – but what are the risks?  
South Australian cancer and digital health experts, led by Flinders University researcher Dr Ash Hopkins, are flagging the need for regulators and healthcare providers to be involved in developing standards for minimum quality of chatbot responses and to raise patient awareness of the limitations of emerging AI assistants.    
Since its launch late last year, there has been a rapid uptake of the powerful artificial intelligence (openAI) platform ChatGPT to formulate interpretable responses to basic fact-based questions as well as answers to more complex clinical questions.  
Its use across an endless number of topics is set to expand with AI currently being tested by Microsoft in its ‘new Bing’ search engine,” Dr Hopkins, from the Flinders Medical and Health Research Institute said.  
The article, AI chatbots will revolutionize how cancer patients access information: ChatGPT represents a paradigm-shift (2023) by Ashley M Hopkins, Jessica M Logan, Ganessan Kichenadasse and Michael J Sorich has been published in JNCI Cancer Spectrum (Oxford University Press) DOI: 10.1093/jncics/pkad010 evaluates the ability of ChatGPT to provide responses to questions commonly asked by patients with cancer on prevalence, prognosis and treatment. The responses were compared against the Google responses.  

Chinese and Malaysian Divers Meet for First Dive

Chinese and Malaysian Divers meet for first dive in Sabah since pandemic

Kota Kinabalu, March 8: Three years after the pandemic, both Chinese and Malaysian divers will convene at Mabul island off the southeastern coast of Borneo in Malaysia.
About 60 China divers and 20 Malaysian divers will be on a six-day dive trip at Mabul island. The China divers were the passengers on board flight AirAsia, Guangzhou to Kota Kinabalu which was recently reinstated on March 2.
Apart from diving, the group will be giving out donations to a school in Mabul.
“With the reinstatement of flights from China this signifies the rebuilding of the China market for tourism in Sabah of Borneo in Malaysia,” Liew said in a statement on Sunday.
“This dive group is a testimony of that.”
The event is co-organised by the following organisation & divers club, namely Enthusiast Scuba Diving Association Guangzhou China, One Diving Services Guangzhou China, Guizhou Dive Diving Club China, Malaysia China Folklore Culture Tourism Association – MCCTA, Guangzhou Asian World Travel China, Master Wei Xuan Student Trip and Majestic Dive Malaysia with the support Sabah Tourism Board as well as Tourism Malaysia.

PwC’s Women in Work Index 

London, March 7: Today, PwC released the results of new analysis and research, the Women in Work Index and the Global Empowerment Index, which provide detailed looks at gender-focused matters affecting the global workplace.
The research, published to mark International Women’s Day, shows that despite a return to some normalcy post the COVID-19 pandemic, the workplace continues to be an unequal place for women globally.
PwC’s Women in Work Index (WiW) shows female workforce participation across the 33 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries slightly increasing in 2021.
However, progress towards gender equality remains too slow.
PwC’s analysis shows that there are trillion-dollar gains to be made from closing the gender pay gap.  Increasing women’s average wages to match those of their male counterparts across the OECD would boost female earnings by more than US$2 trillion per annum. But, based on OECD countries’ gender pay gap of 14 per cent in 2021, and historical rates of progress towards gender pay equality, it will take more than 50 years to close the gap across the OECD nations.

UK Travel Agents Visit Sabah

Sabah Wildlife and Culture Adventure for MH Mega FAM group, UK

Kota Kinabalu, March 11: State Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Christina Liew said a collaboration between Malaysia Airlines London and Sabah Tourism Board has brought 14 UK travel agents to Sabah for a wildlife and cultural adventure.
Welcoming the group which arrived in Sandakan on March 6 from Kuala Lumpur, she said the UK is one of our key target markets to promote our nature and wildlife.
“Sandakan is a nature-based destination known for its wildlife attractions and historical heritage, which makes it one of the destinations that we promote to the UK market. In addition, Malaysia Airlines has direct flights to Sandakan from Kuala Lumpur,” she said.
The group visited main attractions such as the Agnes Keith House, St. Michael and All Angels Church, Sepilok OrangUtan Rehabilitation Centre, Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, Rainforest Discovery Centre, including a wildlife adventure in Kinabatangan.
The six-day familiarisation trip also included hotel inspections in Kota Kinabalu, a cycling tour in Tuaran, cultural experience at the Bajau Sama Cultural Centre, traditional food cooking class at Bijan Cafe and Guesthouse and a fun yacht ride at Tunku Abdul Rahman Park.
Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Shangri-La Rasa Ria, Nexus Resort Karambunai and Hyatt Centric Kota Kinabalu co-sponsored the group.

Cyber Threats Hit 146 Billion in 2022

Kuala Lumpur, March 8: Trend Micro Incorporated, a global cybersecurity leader, today announced it blocked 146 billion cyber threats in 2022.
It also revealed a massive 55 per cent increase in overall threat detections and a 242 per cent surge in blocked malicious files, as threat actors indiscriminately targeted consumers and organisations across all sectors.
Goh Chee Hoh, Managing Director for Trend Micro Malaysia and Nascent Countries said: “The unrivalled breadth of Trend Micro threat intelligence* reveals 2022 as a year when threat actors went ‘all-in’ to boost profits.
“A surge in backdoor detections is particularly concerning in showing us their success in making landfall inside networks.
“To manage risk effectively across a rapidly expanding attack surface, stretched security teams need a more streamlined, platform-based approach.”

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