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 27 till the end of the week. This column updates regularly throughout the week.

Vote Music Welcomes Labor’s Commitment

Sydney, March 27: Vote Music, a campaign backed by over 30 music industry organisations and leaders, last month launched a comprehensive plan for music development and asked for a $100m commitment from all parties and candidates.
The Vote Music plan was supported in full by NSW Labor and backed up with a $103m commitment ahead of the election.
This landmark investment will be almost three times the largest ever pledge to music on a state level, and the largest investment ever in contemporary music in Australia.
The Vote Music coalition looks forward to working closely with Premier-elect Chris Minns, John Graham, and the newly elected NSW Labor Government on making the Vote Music plan a reality.
NSW is the natural home for the Australian contemporary music industry, injecting $3.6 billion in economic, social and cultural value to the state.
“We are grateful for NSW Labor’s recognition that investment in music is good for the economy and people, and look forward to g started on reestablishing our state as Australia’s natural home of contemporary music,” the statement said.

Powerledger Launches First Blockchain 

 From left to right Vinod Tiwari, Powerledger Global Head of BD and Partnerships, Dr Jemma Green, Powerleder Chairman, Sanath Prabhu, Powerledger Regional Manager for South Asia.

Perth, March 27: Australian energy trading technology company, Powerledger has announced it’s partnering with Vietnam Electricity Central Power Corporation (EVNCPC) to launch Vietnam’s first peer-to-peer (P2P) energy trading project.
The initial 6-month trial will see Powerledger’s technology used by so-called “prosumers” with rooftop solar in Da Nang and Quang Nam provinces to sell electricity directly to consumers.
“This project is a major step for Vietnam. It will showcase how, with the right technology, issues of intermittency and grid congestion can be overcome whilst still growing renewables. Everyone on both sides of the partnership is looking forward to the results,” said Powerledger Chairman Dr Jemma Green.
Vietnam has become the world’s tenth-largest producer of solar power, and is the biggest solar power producer in the ASEAN region. Powerledger has more than 30 projects in 12 countries including Europe, Asia Pacific, North and South America, including some of the largest distribution and transmission utilities, businesses, energy retailers and property developers globally. 

Cauldron Raises $10.5M

Cauldron raises $10.5 million to unlock $700 billion global precision fermentation industry.

Orange, March 27: Cauldron today revealed plans to build Asia-Pacific’s largest network of precision fermentation facilities, using a revolutionary hyper-fermentation platform that will unlock the production of new forms of food, feed and fibre, and unlock a $700 billion global industry opportunity. 
To support this plan, Cauldron has raised AU$10.5 million from local and global investors to expand its existing pilot plant, and build a national production network and a world-beating team of precision fermentation experts.
Founded and led by precision fermentation expert Michele Stansfield, Cauldron’s oversubscribed funding round is one of Australia’s largest seed rounds in a female-founded startup, led by Main Sequence, the deep tech venture capital firm founded by CSIRO, and Horizons Ventures. 
The combination of local and global investors, and with a strong team at the helm, Cauldron has the resources and experience needed to scale initial production facilities and prove the feasibility of other hubs around Australia.
“With Cauldron’s revolutionary fermaculture platform, we are supercharging that process and unlocking the next evolution of how we produce food, feed and fibre globally,” Cauldron CEO and founder Michele Stansfield said.

More Accountants Needed in Malaysia

Global Talent Trends Survey Reveals Accountancy Talent Crunch in Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, March 27: The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA’s) new annual Global Talent Trends Survey 2023 provides a unique and vital view of how people feel about working in the profession right now.
Over 8,400 professional accountants from 148 countries, including Malaysia, were asked about the concerns they held around work in the future as well as aspirations for their careers.
The survey also assessed key workplace issues such as employee engagement, wellbeing, and attitudes to technology adoption.
ACCA’s research highlights a talent crunch for employers as they struggle to retain staff with big career mobility ambitions and an eye on their next role. In Malaysia, 36 per cent of finance professionals expect to move to roles in the next 12 months, and a further 29 per cent over the next two years.
The full report can be accessed at here.

Samaiden Gets Bursa Approval

Petaling Jaya, March 27: Samaiden Group Berhad, a renewable energy specialist principally involved in engineering, procurement, construction, and commissioning of solar photovoltaic systems and power plants has announced the approval obtained from Bursa Malaysia Securities Berhad for the transfer of the listing of and quotation for its entire issued share capital and outstanding warrants from the ACE Market to the Main Market of Bursa Securities today.
Bursa Securities had, vide its letter dated March 27, approved the transfer under the “Industrial Products & Services” sector. The transfer of listing will take effect two market days upon the announcement to Bursa Securities on the transfer date to be announced later.
In relation to the transfer of listing, Samaiden had met the profit requirements under the SC’s Equity Guidelines where it had achieved an aggregate after-tax profit of RM32.59 million over the last four financial years and an after-tax profit of RM11.93 million for the most recent financial year.
“The successful transfer of the listing of Samaiden to the Main Market is testimony to the strength of our business and track record of EPCC projects that we have completed,” Group Managing Director of Samaiden, Chow Pui Hee said.
“We will continue to leverage on our RE expertise in PV systems and power plants to seek more projects as businesses and other organisations move towards more sustainable operations. We are also encouraged by government initiatives that serve as the catalyst for the RE industry development in Malaysia and which enable us to participate as an investor.”

SCIB Granted RM16.8 Million Contract

Kuching, March 28: Civil engineering specialist Sarawak Consolidated Industries Berhad has announced that the Company’s wholly owned subsidiary, SCIB Industrialised Building System Sdn Bhd, has been awarded an engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning subcontract valued at RM16.8 million from Majestika Sdn Bhd.
Majestika, the main contractor for the project, awarded the EPCC subcontract to SCIBIBS with a duration of 14 months for the construction of a school, Sekolah Kebangsaan Tambay, in Kota Samarahan, Sarawak.
“We are pleased to announce that this project comes on the heels of having been awarded a project to rebuild a school in Serian, Sarawak that was announced earlier in the month valued at RM20.65 million. Our strengths and focus on small-to-mid-sized rural infrastructure projects have enabled us to build a strong portfolio that we can leverage on when seeking such projects,” Group Managing Director of SCIB, Encik Rosland Othman said.
“SCIB offers EPCC services that are supported by our manufacturing arm, which is the leading precast concrete and IBS manufacturer in East Malaysia. We are actively pursuing projects for dilapidated schools in Sarawak and Sabah, which have been allocated RM920 million.
“This is on top of bidding for projects in both states, which have been allocated RM5.6 billion and RM6.5 billion respectively under the re-tabled Budget 2023.”
The Company’s share price as of 28 March 2023 is 0.125 sen with a market capitalisation of RM72.8 million.
SCIB has an order book of RM388 million as of March.

PT Resources Post 32 PCT Gain

PT Resources Posts 32 per cent Gain in 3Q Revenue to RM115.4 Million.

Kuala Lumpur, March 28:  PT Resources Holdings Berhad, a processor and trader of frozen seafood products, and trader of other food products, today announced that the Company’s revenue increased 32 per cent to RM 115.4 million for the third quarter ended Jan 31 compared with RM87.4 million in the corresponding quarter of the previous financial year.
For the quarter under review, the Company’s gross profit gained 58.1 per cent to RM15.3 million compared with RM9.6 million in 3Q FY2022 while profit before tax decreased by 55.4 per cent to RM2.1 million.
On a segmental basis, the processing and trading of frozen seafood products business contributed revenue of RM108.8 million in 3Q FY2023 while the trading of other products business contributed revenue of RM6.6 million. By geographical market, Malaysia contributed revenue of RM57.7 million while overseas markets comprising China and Saudi Arabia contributed revenue of RM57.7 million.
For the nine months ended Jan 31, the Company’s revenue increased 29.3 percent to RM356.1 million compared with RM275.4 million in 9M FY2022.
GP increased 35.6 percent to RM42.3 million in 9M FY2023 compared with RM31.2 million in the corresponding period of the previous financial year while PBT increased 7.5 per cent to RM18.3 million compared with RM17.0 million.
For the 9M FY2023, there was also an 84 per cent increase in administrative expenses to RM23.9 million due to one-off expenses resulting from listing expenses of RM4.0 million, an unrealised loss of RM4.6 million from foreign exchange volatility in 3Q FY2023 and, increase in staff costs of RM1.3 million.

Half of Australia’s PRs Are Now Citizens

Sydney, March 29: More than half (59 per cent) of Australia’s three million recent permanent migrants are Australian citizens.
This is according to new statistics released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) about the characteristics of permanent migrants who have arrived in Australia between 1 January 2000 and 10 August 2021.
“Today’s data release on recent permanent visa holders tells us that the majority are now Australian citizens, with those on a Skilled visa the mostly likely to have become Australian citizens (64 per cent), followed by those on a Humanitarian visa (61 per cent),” Jenny Dobak, ABS head of migrant statistics said.
Dobak noted today’s release also offers new insights into permanent migrants’ visa history.
“We can see the majority of permanent migrants were granted a permanent visa as their first visa (1.7 million or 58 per cent).
“This was higher for Humanitarian migrants (93 per cent), and those on Family visas (75 per cent),” she added.

Bintai Kinden Puts Pressure On Malacca

Petaling Jaya, March 29: Bintai Kinden Corporation Berhad a mechanical and electrical engineering services specialist, which has been classified as an affected listed issuer pursuant to Para 2.1(f) of Practice Note 17 (“PN17”) of the listing requirements of the Main Market of Bursa Malaysia Securities Berhad, is pressuring the Melaka government for not taking action to address payments owed the Company from the Universiti Melaka project resulting in the default of an RM109.0 million Islamic financing facility.
The PN17 classification came after MBSB Bank Berhad (“MBSB”) issued a notice of termination dated March 29 to Bintai Kinden as the corporate guarantor and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Optimal Property Management Sdn Bhd, as the borrower in respect of RM109.0 million in Islamic banking facilities in which the Company and/or OPM has defaulted on.
KTIMB is the operator of UNIMEL, which had awarded a contract via a concession agreement to OPM in early 2016 valued at RM121.0 million to construct student accommodation for the campus.
The 25-year concession agreement comprised three years of construction and 22 years of maintenance services in which KTIMB is obliged to pay OPM for the upkeep of the campus accommodation.
OPM had taken a 17-year tenure Islamic financing facility of RM109.0 million with MBSB to part-finance the UNIMEL campus accommodation project, which was completed in 2019.

Paycepaid Acquires Australian Debt Recoveries

(L to R) Paycepaid Chairman Derek Kidley, Paycepaid CEO Bill Mali and Julian Bosman from Australian Debt Recoveries.
Left to right: Paycepaid Chairman Derek Kidley, Paycepaid CEO Bill Mali and Julian Bosman from Australian Debt Recoveries.

Sydney, March 30: Emerging debt collection software provider, Paycepaid, has acquired industry stalwart Australian Debt Recoveries (ADR) in a multi-million dollar deal cementing the company’s pathway to a fully integrated end-to-end account receivables solution. 
With cost of living pressures increasing, along with rising inflation and interest rates, companies are looking to Paycepaid’s technology to ensure their debt collection strategies provide compassion and reduce financial stress and anxiety for late paying customers.   
The company’s fully compliant SaaS offering is currently used by many businesses across multiple sectors including: Not for Profit, Health care, Aged care facilities, Accountants & Bookkeepers, Telco’s, Utilities, Education (Universities and Colleges) and Government.
Its customisable and automated communications platform allows businesses to reach customers on their preferred channels, while full integration into existing accounting services Xero, MYOB, Stripe & Monoova gives customers a magnitude of quick and easy payment options. 
Pacyepaid’s acquisition of ADR comes with a portfolio of clients including major players in the telecommunications sector, top tier lenders, financial institutions and the Australian healthcare sector.
The move also allows for the incorporation of experienced in-person debt collection teams into Paycepaid’s debt management platform, giving clients full visibility on debt collection with a dedicated account manager.   

Health Insurance Rate Rises

StatePolicy typePremium increasePercentage increase

Family$428.5716.8 per cent
Couple$246.299.68 per cent

Family$457.7015.5 per cent
Couple$400.5013.6 per cent

Family$444.9514.45 per cent
Couple$278.559.04 per cent

Family$461.3215 per cent
Couple$2979.79 per cent

Melbourne, March 30: Data from financial marketplace and advice company Compare Club has revealed that HBF customers – in particular those on a family policy – stand to make some of the biggest savings if they switch health insurance policies this year, due to the insurer’s higher than average premium rise on April 1.
HBF is the biggest health fund increasing premiums on April 1, and they’re going up by an average of 4.49 per cent, which is 1.5 per cent more than the Federal Government’s annual average health insurance increase of 2.9 per cent. 
Other smaller and restricted funds are also raising premiums on the same date, although big names such as Bupa, Medibank, and HCF have opted to defer their increase.
But an analysis of the HBF’s publicly available pricing data suggests their increases will disproportionately impact families. 
The chart above shows the price comparisons are all based on combined Bronze+ Hospital & Flex 60 Extras for families and couples earning under $180k a year.

Wild Secret’s Sex Dolls Sold Out

Melbourne, March 30: This has never happened in the company’s 30-year history.  
These lifelike dolls typically cost over $3000+ and the recent surge in demand has resulted in hourly sales.  
The reasons behind this sudden spike in sales, all of which are in Melbourne, seems to be as travel partners for people using the Eastern Freeway.
“The awful traffic on the Eastern has resulted in a coup for us! People are buying dolls so they can use the much faster Transit Lane,” Marketing Manager, Adam Lea said.
It is thought that the idea stemmed from an image of one of the dolls ‘Donna’ who is shown in a car. 
Wild Secrets is Australia’s biggest online retailer of sex toys, with the widest range of quality products enabling adults to easily and affordably boost their sex lives.
We inspire all fun-loving adults to enhance and confidently celebrate their sexuality, and the healthy and acceptable role that sex toys play in a fulfilling sex life.

CARSOME Drives Momentum for Women in Tech 

Juliet Zhu, CARSOME Group President & Chief Financial Officer

Kuala Lumpur, March 30: In efforts to collectively grow women’s participation and leadership in tech, CARSOME, Southeast Asia’s largest integrated car e-commerce platform, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Microsoft to adopt its Code Without Barriers initiative for one year.
Under the program, women employees across CARSOME’s operations in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore will be able to access initiatives that include upskilling courses, participation in hackathons or skills challenges, and mentorship programs in the areas of Cloud, Artificial Intelligence and Technology.
“CARSOME is strongly positioned to support and accelerate women’s representation in the tech and automotive sectors leveraging our positioning as Southeast Asia’s largest integrated e-commerce platform,” CARSOME Group President & Chief Financial Officer, Juliet Zhu (pictured above) said.
“Towards this end, I am pleased to announce that CARSOME will digitally upskill 30 per cent of our women employees by 2026 in our offices across Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia, especially in the areas of Artificial Intelligence, Data and Technology, ” she added. 

More Aussies Seeking Help For Autism

Adelaide, March 31: A significant increase in the number of older Australians seeking help for autism is putting pressure on services, enforcing the need for accessible and accurate early intervention measures.  
Coinciding with the start of World Autism Awareness Month on April 2, Flinders University Professor of Psychology Robyn Young pictured above said there is a strong link between age of diagnosis, with earlier professional diagnosis leading to better outcomes. 
Based on Australian Bureau of Statistics data, it is estimated that $40,000-$50,000 spent on informed interventions can stave off lifetime costs upwards of $2 million in healthcare and other support per person.   
Young added that it was unfortunate that services, including the NDIS, remain ‘diagnosis driven’, and as such leads to “money being spent on diagnoses rather than recognising the heterogeneity of the condition and the needs of the individual – irrespective of diagnosis.”  
“Given that symptoms of autism overlap with other disorders, including trauma responses and anxiety, it is important that clinicians spend time assessing the cause of the presenting issues.  
“This will allow the person to access the most appropriate support,” Young, a clinical psychologist specialising in autism in children and adults added.

Shadow Factory Adopts Metaverse Policy

Hong Kong, March 31: Shadow Factory, a pioneering leader in frontier technology has announced its groundbreaking new “Work from Metaverse” (WFM) policy.
As the first company in the world to fully embrace this innovative approach, Shadow Factory is setting the stage for the future of work, enabling employees to collaborate, create, and innovate in an immersive and virtual environment.
The WFM policy is designed to harness the power of this technology to foster increased productivity, collaboration, and creativity among employees while maintaining a solid commitment to providing a safe, inclusive, and supportive work environment for all.
“We are excited to offer our employees the opportunity to work from the Metaverse, which will enable us to stay ahead of frontier technology and provide our customers with the best solutions,” Roger DeLeon, Managing Director at Shadow Factory said.
“By collaborating more effectively with our global team in the Metaverse and encouraging innovation in our business, we believe this initiative will unlock new levels of creativity and productivity.”

Samaiden Transfers to Main Market

Petaling Jaya, March 31: Samaiden Group Berhad, a renewable energy specialist principally involved in engineering, procurement, construction, and commissioning (“EPCC”) of solar photovoltaic (“PV”) systems and power plants is pleased to announce the transfer of its entire issued share capital and outstanding warrants from ACE Market to the Main Market of Bursa Malaysia Securities Berhad this morning.
The listing of and quotation for the entire issued share capital and the outstanding warrants of Samaiden was transferred from ACE Market to the Main Market of Bursa Securities with effect from 9 a.m. on 31 March, marking the completion of the transfer.
Samaiden’s share price was opened at 0.965 sen today.
In relation to the transfer of listing, Samaiden has met the profit requirements under the SC’s Equity Guidelines where it has achieved an audited consolidated profit after tax attributable to owners of the
company of RM32.59 million over the last four financial years and a PAT of RM11.93 million for the most recent financial year.

Sabah to host ADEX Summit

Bangkuai (3rd left) launching the ADEX Sabah Ocean Partnership Summit 2023. With him were ADEX chief executive officer John Thet (left); Sabah Tourism Board chief executive officer Noredah Othman (4th left); and ADEX diving ambassador Clement Lee (centre).

Singapore, March 31: Sabah will play host to this year’s ADEX Ocean Partnership Summit, further solidifying the state’s reputation as a prominent meeting, incentive, convention, and exhibition (MICE) destination for promoting marine conservation initiatives and sustainable diving tourism.
The summit coincides with the Asian Dive Expo (ADEX) that is taking place at Singapore’s Sands Expo and Convention Centre from March 31 to April 2.
Sabah Assistant Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Environment cum Chairman of Sabah Tourism Board Datuk Joniston Bangkuai attended the opening of ADEX Singapore and also launched the ADEX Sabah Ocean Partnership Summit 2023.
Present were ADEX chief executive officer John Thet, Sabah Tourism Board chief executive officer Noredah Othman; Malaysia dive icon and ADEX diving ambassador Clement Lee; and ADEX Sabah team head Theresa Tham.
Organised in partnership with the Sabah Tourism Board, the summit will be held at the Sabah International Convention Centre from August 18-20.

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