Yes to Belt and Road – Everyone will benefit from BRI


Centre of attraction: China’s President Xi Jinping greeting Dr Mahathir as he leaves with Russian President Vladimir Putin after the opening ceremony of the Second Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China.

Dr M endorses the BRI – ‘Many countries are going to benefit from initiative’

With help from Chinese firms, Malaysia will have an AI park soon. That’s not all the good news that came from the Prime Minister’s trip to China. Businessmen are pleased that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has given the thumbs up to the Belt and Road Initiative. He says countries in its route will be the beneficiaries. And that means Malaysia too. WITH all of China as his stage, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad gave a massive endorsement to the country’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), saying all will benefit from the ease of travel and communication the development strategy will bring.

The Prime Minister said that with trade driving the world, it was only natural that land and sea passages be better developed.

“The Silk Road, the land passage between East and West, has not received much attention. Yet it must be obvious that with modern technologies the passage can be improved.

“Without a doubt, the utilisation of these passages will enrich all the littoral states along the way, as much as the great nations of the East and West. I am fully in support of the Belt and Road Initiative. I am sure my country, Malaysia, will benefit from the project,” he said in his speech at the High-Level Meeting of the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held at the China National Convention Centre here yesterday.

The forum attracted over 5,000 participants from 150 countries including leaders from around the world, such as Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Rodrigo Duterte (Philippine), President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi (Egypt) and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

The BRI, also known as the One Belt One Road (OBOR) or the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road, is a strategy adopted by the Chinese government involving infrastructure development and investments in 152 countries and international organisations in Europe, Asia, Middle East, Latin America and Africa.

Dr Mahathir said just as massive trade by ships helped spawn the development of huge bulk carriers, the land passage should also “respond” to the increased trade between East and West. He also suggested that bigger trains be built for the purpose.

“If ships can be built bigger, why can’t trains be equally big to carry more goods and raw material and people? Have we reached the limit in terms of the size and length of trains? I think not,” he pointed out.

Dr Mahathir, who is on his second visit to China since becoming the 7th Prime Minister last May, said the world has the technology and funds to bring about such improvements.

He said freedom of passage along these routes was important and warned against bureaucratic hassles slowing down the speed of travel.

“It is essential therefore for these passages to be free and open to all,” he said, adding that the passages must be made safe as terrorism and wars would render the modern marvels and also delivering the benefits promised.

“Yes, the Belt and Road idea is a great. It can bring the landlocked countries of Central Asia closer to the sea. They can grow in wealth and their poverty reduced.

“As the sea routes and land routes improve, trade and travel will grow, and with this, the wealth of the world will increase for the betterment of everyone.

Dr M in Beijing: Everyone will benefit from Belt and Road initiative

PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has endorsed the Belt and Road initiative by China, saying everyone would benefit from the ease of travel and communication that it would bring about.

He said this in his speech at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing on Friday (April 26).

“Today, trade drives the world. It is only natural that the land and sea passages have to be better developed.

“The Silk Road, the land passage between East and West, has not received much attention. Yet it must be obvious that with modern technologies, the passage can be improved.

“Without doubt, the utilisation of these passages will enrich all the littoral states along the way, as much as the great nations of the East and West,” said Dr Mahathir..

According to the Prime Minister, just as the massive trade by ships helped spawn the development of huge bulk carriers, the land passage should also respond to the need from the increased trade between East and West.

He suggested that bigger trains be built towards this end.

“Although trains can now connect China with Eastern Europe, current trains are not designed for the increases in goods and people needing to travel along this passageway.

If ships can be built bigger, why can’t trains be equally big to carry more goods and raw materials and people?

“Have we reached the limit in terms of the size and length of trains? I think not,” he added.

The Prime Minister said the world had the technology and money to bring about such improvements.

He said freedom of passage along these routes, which pass through many countries via both sea and land, was important and warned against bureaucratic hassles slowing down the speed of travel.

“It is essential therefore for these passages to be free and open to all,” said Dr Mahathir.

He added that the passages must be made safe as terrorism and wars would render the modern marvels that enabled the Belt and Road incapable of delivering the benefits they promised.

“Yes, the Belt and Road idea is great.

“It can bring the landlocked countries of Central Asia closer to the sea. They can grow in wealth and their poverty reduced.

“As the sea routes and land routes improve, trade and travel will grow, and with this, the wealth of the world will increase for the betterment of everyone.

“Everyone will benefit from the ease of travel and communication that the development of the Belt and Road project will bring.

“I am fully in support of the Belt and Road initiative. I am sure my country, Malaysia, will benefit from the project,” said Dr Mahathir.

PM’s BRI backing allays fears over KL-Beijing ties

KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s full endorsement of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will allay concerns over Malaysia-China relations and lead to greater cooperation between both countries, according to China watchers here.

RHB Research Institute Sdn Bhd vice-president and head of Economic Research Peck Boon Soon said Malaysia was trying to mend its relations with China.

“It is safe to conclude that relations between our two countries are back to normal,” he said, referring to the suspension and cancellation of several China-linked projects last year.

Peck said the revival of East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) and Bandar Malaysia projects and the Prime Minister’s presence at the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing yesterday would help restore confidence among businessmen from China.

He said it made perfect sense to have warm ties with China as the country was the largest export market for Malaysia.

ACCIM SERC Sdn Bhd executive director Lee Heng Guie said Malaysia’s expressed support of the BRI opened up mutual consultation, increased cooperation and connectivity benefits between both sides.

“With this strong endorsement, we expect the relationship to further deepen bilateral ties and enhanced economic relations based on the principles of mutual benefit,” he said.

Lee said Malaysia and its private sector could gain from the enlarged trade and investment opportunities along the passage and gateway of BRI, if the countries could adopt the freedom of passage along these routes through the easing of bureaucratic hassles.

National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia president Tan Sri Ter Leong Yap, who attended the Belt and Road CEO conference which was the first such conference at the forum, said the conference provided huge business opportunities for many companies in the region.

“This is a timely boost for the global economy,” he said, adding that there were nearly 1,000 participants from 90 of the world’s Top 500 companies, 78 of China’s Top 500 companies, more than 100 state-owned enterprises and 200 private companies at the conference.

Businessman Datuk Liu Thim Soon, who is vice-chairman to the United Nations Maritime-Continental Silk Road Cities Alliance, said the BRI was a visionary, long range direction by Chinese President Xi Jinping. “It is an enabler and platform for many developing smaller countries to be linked to investments, trade and tourism.

“With about 140 million China tourists travelling yearly, smaller developing countries can benefit and derive great economic potential if they can tap into this market,” he said. – By Yimie Yong

Who should you believe about BRI?

https://youtu.be/uK3-dhLp2yU

Deal inked to develop M’sia’s first AI park

MALAYSIA is to develop its first artificial intelligence (AI) park.

The park will serve as a platform for the development of AI solutions such as speech recognition, robotics and smart city technology.

It is also planned to be a regional epicentre for data management, research and development and commercial ecosystem.

An agreement was signed yesterday between Malaysian company G3 Global Bhd (G3) and its Chinese partners SenseTime Group Ltd and China Harbour Engineering Co Ltd (CHEC) on the setting up of the AI park, with the total investment at US$500mil (RM2.07bil).

The location of the park has yet to be identified.

The agreement was signed between G3 executive chairman Wan Khalik Wan Muhammad, SenseTime president for Asia-Pacific Business Group Jeff Shi, and CHEC chairman Lin Yi Chong.

The ceremony was held after Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s visit to SenseTime’s office here.

The Prime Minister also tried his hands on the self-driving car system at the company, which specialises in AI technology.

G3 Global banks on AI 



Driven by technology: SenseTime Group Ltd founder Prof Tang Xiaoou with Dr Mahathir during the premier’s visit to SenseTime’s Beijing office.
Driven by technology: SenseTime Group Ltd founder Prof Tang Xiaoou with Dr Mahathir during the premier’s visit to SenseTime’s Beijing office.

From jeanswear maker to one of Malaysia’s rising artificial intelligence (AI) companies. That is the interesting story ofG3 Global Bhd that is unravelling today.

While many companies can attempt to boast the AI buzzword as a business focus, it is not an easy area to venture into.

First you need super computers. Then you need the AI software or algorithms.

And then you need to use that software on vast amounts of data in order to build the AI applications for real use.

While G3 Global may have made some inroads into building its own Internet of Things (IoT) platform, it has yet to achieve anything big by itself in the AI space. That was until it signed a deal with China-based SenseTime Group Ltd, touted as the world’s most valuable AI startup.

On April 11, G3 Global told Bursa Malaysia that it will partner with SenseTime to set up Malaysia’s first AI park, in collaboration with China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC).

The AI park is expected to see more than US$1bil (RM4.13bil) in investments over the next five years.

According to G3 Global executive chairman Wan Khalik Wan Muhammad, the AI park is vital in order to build AI research-related public service infrastructure as the base to promote AI technology in Malaysia.

“In addition, this becomes a place for talent to be trained on AI and machine learning,” he said.

On Friday, the culmination of the relationship between G3 Global and SenseTime took place, following Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s ongoing official visit to China.

Dr Mahathir, accompanied by several Malaysian ministers, visited SenseTime’s Beijing office where they got a first-hand experience of the latest AI technologies and its application in smart city solutions, autonomous driving technology and remote sensing, among others.

During this visit, G3 Global had inked memorandums of understanding (MoU) with SenseTime and CHEC in relation to the AI park project.

G3 Global said in a statement that as the local partner, it will coordinate efforts with the Malaysian authorities and regulators, form local partnerships as well as promote and develop the AI park project.

Meanwhile, SenseTime will serve as the AI technology provider for the partnership while CHEC will provide infrastructure engineering and construction services as well as management and maintenance of the park.

Valued at over US$4.5bil (RM18.67bil), SenseTime is the fifth national AI platform in China and is also the country’s largest AI algorithm provider.

Although it is only less than five years old, the company now serves over 700 customers and partners globally, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Qualcomm, NVIDIA, Honda, Alibaba, vivo and Xiaomi, among others.

Based on SenseTime’s website, the startup leads the AI market in “almost all vertical industries” such as smart city, smartphone, mobile Internet, online entertainment, automobile, finance and retail.

“SenseTime has independently developed a deep learning platform, supercomputing centers, and a range of AI technologies such as face recognition, image recognition, object recognition, text recognition, medical image analysis, video analysis, autonomous driving and remote sensing,” it says.

According to a recent Bloomberg report, SenseTime has been profitable for two years and the company has recorded triple digit revenue growth for the past four years.

The collaboration between G3 Global and SenseTime aptly serves what both companies need. By setting up an AI park in Malaysia, SenseTime will be able to expand its global presence further while G3 Global gets to go big into the booming AI scene.

Overall, the AI hub in Malaysia is a nice sounding plan. But how real will it be and how extensive will it be?

Speaking with StarBizWeek over the telephone, Wan Khalik says that the move into AI has been a natural progression of the company.

“With IoT as our core business, the only logical next move was to get into the field of AI. We had been in search for a good partner to fast-track out entry into AI, which has a high entry barrier.

“That’s how we got to do a deal with Sensetime, which took much effort on our part, considering how successful Sensetime already is,” he says.

Perfect partner

Wan Khalik: With IoT as our core business, the only logical next move was to get into the field of AI

Wan Khalik adds that SenseTime is the perfect partner, considering that they are one of the biggest AI companies in the world and have their own AI algorithm as well as products and services.

“Their products are already deployed in the commercial world,” he points out.

While acknowledging that AI is still nascent in its growth in Malaysia and still suffers from a lack of understanding and appreciation, Wan Khalik points out two important aspects that the deal with Sensetime will bring about.

“First is that the lab will become an education tool to showcase what AI is all about and the benefits it brings. Second is the fact that we intend to address the issue of developing talent in Malaysia in the AI space.”

In the press release announcing the strategic partnership between G3 and SenseTime, it was revealed that SenseTime will be assisting in the development and deployment of training syllabus for universities in Malaysia.

Wan Khalik says that SenseTime has designed and developed part of the AI syllabus that is currently being taught in schools across China.

“The good news is that the Malaysian government has expressed strong interest in AI and it wants industry to get involved in AI. But we need to invest in buidling up the talent in this field,” he adds.

The little-known G3 Global’s journey is an impressive one.

Its diversification into the information technology scene began less than four years ago after G3 Global (formerly known as Yen Global Bhd) acquired IoT solution provider Atilze Digital Sdn Bhd in December 2015.

Green Packet Bhd , image: https://cdn.thestar.com.my/Themes/img/chart.png , a mobile broadband and networking solutions provider, emerged as a major shareholder in G3 Global after it acquired a 22% stake in August 2016.

A year later, Green Packet boosted its equity interest in G3 Global to 32%.

The G3 Global stock’s trend has been rather flattish since mid-2017. However, since the start of April this year, shares of G3 Global surged by 106% to its record-breaking high of RM1.62.

On April 25, the company hit limit-up and was issued with an unusual market activity query from Bursa Malaysia, in relation to the rapid advances in its share price.

While the reasons behind the sharp increase in G3 Global’s share price were unclear, it seems to have some correlation with G3 Global’s partnership with SenseTime.

G3 Global also saw the entry of Wan Khalik as shareholder, after he assumed control of private vehicle Global Man Capital Sdn Bhd, which currently has the largest stake in G3. Global Man Capital increased its holdings of G3 Global to a 32.04% stake following an acquisition of 32.15 million shares in April, edging out Green Packet’s 32% stake.

On April 5, G3 Global appointed Wan Khalik as its new executive chairman.

Wan Khalik, who is also a substantial shareholder in DWL Resources Bhd, has some notable Sarawak connections, having been the principal private secretary to the Sarawak State government between 2013 until July 2018.

Wan Khalik’s background also includes experiences in corporate planning, public administration, IT strategic planning, and business development.

When asked on why did he pick DWL and G3 Global as companies to invest into, he says, “For DWL we see opportunities in project management of jobs of major infrastructure projects that the country is embarking on. That is why we have teamed up with the likes of Gadang to prepare to jointly bid for such jobs. As for G3 Global, it is even more interesting because of the future of AI. As you probably already know, AI is the world’s next great technological revolution. It is changing the way information is gathered, stored and used. We will not be able to do without it, whether as individuals, organisations, companies and governments. We believe our deal with Sensetime puts G3 Global on solid footing to bring AI to Malaysia and the Asian market.”

G3 Global recorded a net loss of RM17.15mil in the financial year of 2018 ended Dec 31, against a turnover of RM29.4mil. Both of its apparel and ICT business segments were in the red for the 12-month period.

“The ICT business continues to show growth potential despite incurring losses due to business development costs and we hope to see better contribution to sales from this division in the new financial year.

“The setting up of various new subsidiaries will drive the growth in the ICT business including the provision of IoT solutions and services like connected commercial vehicles and sensor hubs, and AI smart cameras. The group will be well positioned to take advantage of improving prospects of the ICT industry for the current financial year,” G3 Global said in a filing.

Moving forward, with the AI venture with SenseTime, the company is clearly on a new trajectory, especially considering the way AI is going to flood all our lives.

According to a recent study by Microsoft and IDC Asia Pacific, only 26% of organisations in Malaysia have embarked on their AI journeys, although about 70% of the business leaders polled agreed that AI is instrumental for their organisations’ competitiveness.

The immense untapped potential in the domestic AI market offers promising opportunities for local AI companies, including G3 Global.

With a strong backing from SenseTime, G3 Global could rise to become a leading AI solutions provider in the region.

By ganeshwaran kana The Star

Related post:

Deal inked to develop M’sia’s first AI park

MALAYSIA is to develop its first artificial intelligence (AI) park.

The park will serve as a platform for the development of AI solutions such as speech recognition, robotics and smart city technology.

It is also planned to be a regional epicentre for data management, research and development and commercial ecosystem.

An agreement was signed yesterday between Malaysian company G3 Global Bhd (G3) and its Chinese partners SenseTime Group Ltd and China Harbour Engineering Co Ltd (CHEC) on the setting up of the AI park, with the total investment at US$500mil (RM2.07bil).

The location of the park has yet to be identified.

The agreement was signed between G3 executive chairman Wan Khalik Wan Muhammad, SenseTime president for Asia-Pacific Business Group Jeff Shi, and CHEC chairman Lin Yi Chong.

The ceremony was held after Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s visit to SenseTime’s office here.

The Prime Minister also tried his hands on the self-driving car system at the company, which specialises in AI technology.

G3 Global banks on AI

Driven by technology: SenseTime Group Ltd founder Prof Tang Xiaoou with Dr Mahathir during the premier’s visit to SenseTime’s Beijing office.
Driven by technology: SenseTime Group Ltd founder Prof Tang Xiaoou with Dr Mahathir during the premier’s visit to SenseTime’s Beijing office.
From jeanswear maker to one of Malaysia’s rising artificial intelligence (AI) companies. That is the interesting story ofG3 Global Bhd that is unravelling today.

While many companies can attempt to boast the AI buzzword as a business focus, it is not an easy area to venture into.

First you need super computers. Then you need the AI software or algorithms.

And then you need to use that software on vast amounts of data in order to build the AI applications for real use.

While G3 Global may have made some inroads into building its own Internet of Things (IoT) platform, it has yet to achieve anything big by itself in the AI space. That was until it signed a deal with China-based SenseTime Group Ltd, touted as the world’s most valuable AI startup.

On April 11, G3 Global told Bursa Malaysia that it will partner with SenseTime to set up Malaysia’s first AI park, in collaboration with China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC).

The AI park is expected to see more than US$1bil (RM4.13bil) in investments over the next five years.

According to G3 Global executive chairman Wan Khalik Wan Muhammad, the AI park is vital in order to build AI research-related public service infrastructure as the base to promote AI technology in Malaysia.

“In addition, this becomes a place for talent to be trained on AI and machine learning,” he said.

On Friday, the culmination of the relationship between G3 Global and SenseTime took place, following Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s ongoing official visit to China.

Dr Mahathir, accompanied by several Malaysian ministers, visited SenseTime’s Beijing office where they got a first-hand experience of the latest AI technologies and its application in smart city solutions, autonomous driving technology and remote sensing, among others.

During this visit, G3 Global had inked memorandums of understanding (MoU) with SenseTime and CHEC in relation to the AI park project.

G3 Global said in a statement that as the local partner, it will coordinate efforts with the Malaysian authorities and regulators, form local partnerships as well as promote and develop the AI park project.

Meanwhile, SenseTime will serve as the AI technology provider for the partnership while CHEC will provide infrastructure engineering and construction services as well as management and maintenance of the park.

Valued at over US$4.5bil (RM18.67bil), SenseTime is the fifth national AI platform in China and is also the country’s largest AI algorithm provider.

Although it is only less than five years old, the company now serves over 700 customers and partners globally, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Qualcomm, NVIDIA, Honda, Alibaba, vivo and Xiaomi, among others.

Based on SenseTime’s website, the startup leads the AI market in “almost all vertical industries” such as smart city, smartphone, mobile Internet, online entertainment, automobile, finance and retail.

“SenseTime has independently developed a deep learning platform, supercomputing centers, and a range of AI technologies such as face recognition, image recognition, object recognition, text recognition, medical image analysis, video analysis, autonomous driving and remote sensing,” it says.

According to a recent Bloomberg report, SenseTime has been profitable for two years and the company has recorded triple digit revenue growth for the past four years.

The collaboration between G3 Global and SenseTime aptly serves what both companies need. By setting up an AI park in Malaysia, SenseTime will be able to expand its global presence further while G3 Global gets to go big into the booming AI scene.

Overall, the AI hub in Malaysia is a nice sounding plan. But how real will it be and how extensive will it be?

Speaking with StarBizWeek over the telephone, Wan Khalik says that the move into AI has been a natural progression of the company.

“With IoT as our core business, the only logical next move was to get into the field of AI. We had been in search for a good partner to fast-track out entry into AI, which has a high entry barrier.

“That’s how we got to do a deal with Sensetime, which took much effort on our part, considering how successful Sensetime already is,” he says.

Perfect partner

Wan Khalik: With IoT as our core business, the only logical next move was to get into the field of AI
Wan Khalik adds that SenseTime is the perfect partner, considering that they are one of the biggest AI companies in the world and have their own AI algorithm as well as products and services.

“Their products are already deployed in the commercial world,” he points out.

While acknowledging that AI is still nascent in its growth in Malaysia and still suffers from a lack of understanding and appreciation, Wan Khalik points out two important aspects that the deal with Sensetime will bring about.

“First is that the lab will become an education tool to showcase what AI is all about and the benefits it brings. Second is the fact that we intend to address the issue of developing talent in Malaysia in the AI space.”

In the press release announcing the strategic partnership between G3 and SenseTime, it was revealed that SenseTime will be assisting in the development and deployment of training syllabus for universities in Malaysia.

Wan Khalik says that SenseTime has designed and developed part of the AI syllabus that is currently being taught in schools across China.

“The good news is that the Malaysian government has expressed strong interest in AI and it wants industry to get involved in AI. But we need to invest in buidling up the talent in this field,” he adds.

The little-known G3 Global’s journey is an impressive one.

Its diversification into the information technology scene began less than four years ago after G3 Global (formerly known as Yen Global Bhd) acquired IoT solution provider Atilze Digital Sdn Bhd in December 2015.

Green Packet Bhd , image: https://cdn.thestar.com.my/Themes/img/chart.png , a mobile broadband and networking solutions provider, emerged as a major shareholder in G3 Global after it acquired a 22% stake in August 2016.

A year later, Green Packet boosted its equity interest in G3 Global to 32%.

The G3 Global stock’s trend has been rather flattish since mid-2017. However, since the start of April this year, shares of G3 Global surged by 106% to its record-breaking high of RM1.62.

On April 25, the company hit limit-up and was issued with an unusual market activity query from Bursa Malaysia, in relation to the rapid advances in its share price.

While the reasons behind the sharp increase in G3 Global’s share price were unclear, it seems to have some correlation with G3 Global’s partnership with SenseTime.

G3 Global also saw the entry of Wan Khalik as shareholder, after he assumed control of private vehicle Global Man Capital Sdn Bhd, which currently has the largest stake in G3. Global Man Capital increased its holdings of G3 Global to a 32.04% stake following an acquisition of 32.15 million shares in April, edging out Green Packet’s 32% stake.

On April 5, G3 Global appointed Wan Khalik as its new executive chairman.

Wan Khalik, who is also a substantial shareholder in DWL Resources Bhd, has some notable Sarawak connections, having been the principal private secretary to the Sarawak State government between 2013 until July 2018.

Wan Khalik’s background also includes experiences in corporate planning, public administration, IT strategic planning, and business development.

When asked on why did he pick DWL and G3 Global as companies to invest into, he says, “For DWL we see opportunities in project management of jobs of major infrastructure projects that the country is embarking on. That is why we have teamed up with the likes of Gadang to prepare to jointly bid for such jobs. As for G3 Global, it is even more interesting because of the future of AI. As you probably already know, AI is the world’s next great technological revolution. It is changing the way information is gathered, stored and used. We will not be able to do without it, whether as individuals, organisations, companies and governments. We believe our deal with Sensetime puts G3 Global on solid footing to bring AI to Malaysia and the Asian market.”

G3 Global recorded a net loss of RM17.15mil in the financial year of 2018 ended Dec 31, against a turnover of RM29.4mil. Both of its apparel and ICT business segments were in the red for the 12-month period.

“The ICT business continues to show growth potential despite incurring losses due to business development costs and we hope to see better contribution to sales from this division in the new financial year.

“The setting up of various new subsidiaries will drive the growth in the ICT business including the provision of IoT solutions and services like connected commercial vehicles and sensor hubs, and AI smart cameras. The group will be well positioned to take advantage of improving prospects of the ICT industry for the current financial year,” G3 Global said in a filing.

Moving forward, with the AI venture with SenseTime, the company is clearly on a new trajectory, especially considering the way AI is going to flood all our lives.

According to a recent study by Microsoft and IDC Asia Pacific, only 26% of organisations in Malaysia have embarked on their AI journeys, although about 70% of the business leaders polled agreed that AI is instrumental for their organisations’ competitiveness.

The immense untapped potential in the domestic AI market offers promising opportunities for local AI companies, including G3 Global.

With a strong backing from SenseTime, G3 Global could rise to become a leading AI solutions provider in the region.

By ganeshwaran kana The Star

Related post:

Highlights of Xi’s keynote speech at second Belt and Road Forum
https://youtu.be/qB80PG8C-I0 https://youtu.be/VWid1poNGuk https://youtu.be/L67WJiO_CQk https://youtu.be/eWOMhvTrrOg C

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Highlights of Xi’s keynote speech at second Belt and Road Forum


Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) in Beijing on Friday. Here are the highlights:
On Belt and Road Initiative
Xi said that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) aims to build a trade and infrastructure network, adding that joint building of the Belt and Road has opened up new space for the world’s economic growth.
Based on the principles of equality and mutual benefit, the BRI focuses on connectivity and practical cooperation to achieve win-win outcomes and common development.
The principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits should be upheld, Xi said, and open, green and clean approaches should be adhered to.
The goals of high-standard, livelihood-improving and sustainable development should be achieved, according to Xi.
China will work with other parties to promote a coalition of sustainable cities and an international coalition for green development under the Belt and Road Initiative, Xi said.
High-quality infrastructure under BRI
Xi highlighted building infrastructure of high quality, sustainability, risk resilience, reasonable pricing, inclusiveness and accessibility under the BRI.
Calling infrastructure the cornerstone of connectivity and a bottleneck of  evelopment confronting many countries, Xi said building infrastructure with such standards could help countries give full play to their advantages in resources and better integrate into the global supply, industry and value chains for interconnected development.
On people-to-people connectivity
China will support 5,000 people from the innovation sector in Belt and Road countries in conducting exchanges, training programs and joint research over the next five years.
China will work with other participants of the Belt and Road Initiative to promote scientific and cultural exchanges, set up joint science labs, build science and technology parks, and promote the transfer of technologies, Xi said.
A total of 10,000 representatives of political parties, think tanks and non-governmental organizations from countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative will be invited to China for exchanges in the next five years.
On trade and opening-up
Xi said that China will increase imports of goods and services on a larger scale, slash its negative list on imports and will negotiate and sign high-standard free trade agreements with more countries.
China will further lower its tariff rates and the country would continuously open up its market and welcome quality products from around the world.
China is also willing to import more competitive farm produces, finished products and services and will allow foreign investors to operate businesses in more sectors with
controlling or full stake.

China prohibits forced technology transfer

China will step up protecting the legitimate rights and interests of foreign owners of intellectual property rights, and prohibit the forced transfer of technology, Xi said.
It will create a business environment in which the value of knowledge is respected, Xi said.
(With input from Xinhua)

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Yes to Belt and Road – Everyone will benefit from BRI

 

Mega trends EAC must address


THE government is to be congratulated for establishing the new Economic Action Council that will give a better sense of direction and priorities for the nation to overcome the short-term economic challenges, such as rising cost of living, cost of doing business, restoring investor confidence and promoting sustainable economic recovery.

The Council should move with a sense of urgency. Its composition is balanced with a cross-section of representation, including from the orang asli community and consumer associations, which is praiseworthy as it does not just represent business interests. The presence of distinguished economists is also reassuring.

But I propose that the EAC also develops a longer term National Economic Strategy. To move forward, we need to identify the key mega trends that will impact on the nation in the next five to 10 years and then develop a comprehensive and holistic national strategy to address them.

I have identified here 10 strategic shifts or mega trends that need to be addressed.

1. On the international scene, we see a shift from geo-politics to geo-economics, requiring nations to adopt a geo-strategic response. This can be seen from Brexit and the US-China trade war. Geo-economics, including the control over economic assets such as oil and gas, will have a greater impact on international diplomacy. Increasingly, we will see economic and trade diplomacy becoming more important than political diplomacy to maintain global peace, stability and prosperity. We need to be able to step up to this level to analyse and strategise our response to geo-economic and geo-strategic challenges.

2. We also see a shift in the global centre of gravity from West to East with the rise of China and re-emergence of Japan as well as the growth of India and Korea. We need to identify a strategy to succeed in enlarging our presence in these markets and create new opportunities for our entrepreneurs and SMEs in China and Japan.

3. The world is also witnessing a rapid technological shift towards digital disruption and the Fourth Industrial Revolution with growing interest and applications in artificial intelligence, robotics and the Internet of Things. Big Data can be a strategic competitive advantage. The impact of drones and driverless vehicles will make a big impact on society. What is our national strategy to deal with these new technological advances? Hopefully, the EAC will also develop a strategic game plan to deal with these challenges and opportunities.

4. We also see an eco-sustainability shift with growing concern over climate change. This will drive demand for green technology and clean energy. We have a dynamic Energy, Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment Minister. More must respond to support this ministry and its institutions. We need to embrace clean energy faster and more comprehensively.

5. Demographic shift will lead to an ageing society and a hollowing out of the demographic middle where we will have more aged elderly and younger cohorts below 30 but fewer of the middle-aged. It has been estimated that 20% of our population will be above 60 by 2040. Hence, we need new strategies and action plans to deal with the changing demographics.

6. Consumer shift will see the rise of e-commerce as we move from bricks to clicks. The rise of online business and e-commerce will not only impact on retail business but also on traditional banking, education and healthcare with the risk of fintech (financial technology), online learning and distance education, and telemedicine (pic). We need to embrace and adapt to these trends.

7. Globally, we also see a political shift from liberalism to the emergence of the right. The rightward shift led to the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States and is also partly the cause of Brexit. Is this era the end of liberalism? What can we do to bring people back to the centre? This trend has also led to a consolidation of the Malay right-wing with the strengthening ties between Umno and PAS. While the immediate focus of the EAC is economic, it also needs a strategy to deal with this phenomenon as it will impact on race relations and religious harmony, which are so essential for peace and stability to facilitate business and economic growth.

8. A shift in wealth and income has caused growing inequalities. The income gap between the highest earning population and the bottom 20% has grown. The income gap and inequalities can destabilise peace and stability. New thinking and new strategies need to be adopted to overcome the growing inequalities in our society.

9. Urbanisation shift arising from continued rural-urban migration will also cause urban poverty to rise. Urban poverty is a challenge that must be urgently tackled. The urban poor is a microcosm of Malaysian society as it comprises all ethnic groups. The rising cost of living affecting the urban poor needs to be prioritised.

10. A freedom shift is very evident after the 14th General Election with Malaysians feeling more free. This is good as it will lead to stronger support and protection of human rights such as freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of association.

I believe the above 10 strategic shifts and key challenges are important priorities the government and the people must work on together.

We should have new policies to address these challenges. In formulating new policies, it is important to focus on the 4Cs – consistency, clarity, certainty and coherence.

The new Malaysia also needs the 3Is – integrity, inclusiveness and innovation. Old problems need new innovative solutions and new problems also need new ideas to resolve.

We should work together to address the above key challenges. We need to come together as a nation seeking national reconciliation and unity.

With a common purpose, we can move forward with renewed determination to build a new Malaysia that is sustainable and not a flash in the pan.

As the government has already established the EAC, I propose that it should also consider establishing a National Strategy Commission to plan future scenarios for the nation as well as effective strategies to overcome them.

A National Strategy Initiative should also be established to carry out in-depth Futures Studies for the country.

 


Kingsley Strategic Institute | Where Leaders Meet

 

TAN SRI MICHAEL YEOH OON KHENG

President

Kingsley Strategic Institute

 

 


 
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Better to buy a car or a house first?


Given a choice, would you prefer to get a loan to buy an item that depreciates over a short period which is deemed as “bad debt” or commit on a “good debt”, which is to purchase a house or asset that will appreciate in the long term?

A car used to be a symbol of freedom and ease of mobility. I could understand the dilemma of having to choose between a house and a car a decade ago.

Even then, we should still have chosen a car within our means to manage our financial position.

Today, with public transportation and the availability of ride-sharing services such as Grab Car, we can now really have the option of buying a house first. This gives us both shelter and value appreciation.

This choice has just been made easier with Budget 2019 and the recent announcement by the Finance Ministry.

The government has rolled out several measures to assist homebuyers, including stamp duty exemptions.

Homebuyers will get a stamp duty waiver for memorandum of transfer (MoT) for the purchase of houses priced up to RM1mil, during the six-month Home Ownership Campaign (HOC) from January to June 2019. In addition, the stamp duty on loan documentation is fully waived up to RM2.5mil.

Besides that, the Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (Rehda) has also agreed to cut the prices of its completed and incoming units by at least 10%.

When I talk to potential homebuyers, they always ask about the right time to own property.

There is no perfect time to buy a house on foresight. If the price is within your means, and you plan to buy it for own stay or as a long-term investment, then anytime is a good time.

However, with the property market at the bottom half of the cycle now, this could be a good time to commit to a house with the attractive tax incentives rolled out by the government.

Homebuyers can grab the “duty-free” opportunity now to explore the property market. Those living in the Klang Valley will be able to find their dream home during the Homeownership Campaign Expo at the KLCC Convention Centre from March 1-3.

The campaign is jointly organised by Rehda and the Housing and Local Government Ministry. Besides having all developers under one roof, the ministry will also be featuring homes under RM300,000 by PR1MA, SPNB, PNB and others.

The Homeownership Campaign was first held in 1998 to lessen the burden of homebuyers and to encourage homeownership. It is re-introduced after two decades now with the same objective.

For homebuyers who don’t like the risk of buying a house under construction, there are plenty of completed units for sale in the campaign.

Buying a house can be emotional and uncertain for many homebuyers. However, in the long run, we can rest assured that we are buying an asset that will appreciate.

For homebuyers, always buy within your means as you can upgrade your house in the later stage of your life.

In this auspicious Chinese New Year, I hope you decide to prioritise a new house over a new car. Gong Xi Fa Cai!

By Alan Tong . . . Food for Thought

Datuk Alan Tong has over 50 years of experience in property development. He was the World President of FIABCI International for 2005/2006 and awarded the Property Man of the Year 2010 at FIABCI Malaysia Property Award. He is also the group chairman of Bukit Kiara Properties. For feedback, please email bkp@bukitkiara.com
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What can we learn from WEF 2019 世界经济论坛2019年会闭幕式


https://youtu.be/9lJUrzHq8SA

Davos Special: The Belt and Road Initiative 

The Belt and Road Initiative has been generating a lot of excitement at Davos. It will direct investment in infrastructure across Asia over the coming decade, but the ambitious project faces challenges in tackling debt, supporting sustainable  development and uniting a fractured international community. How can the government and private sectors harness the risks to guarantee the 1.5-trillion-U.S.-dollar investment will succeed in kick-starting development and growth? Our diverse panel reflects the global outlook of the project. We have Xu Niansha, chairman of the China Poly Group; Heng Swee Keat, Singapore’s minister of finance; Ilham Aliyev, president of Azerbaijan, and Wang Yongqing, vice chairman of the All-China  Federation of Industry and Commerce. #Davos2019 #BeltandRoad

 

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Salary hike prospects ‘bleak’


THE Malaysian Employers Fund (MEF) announced its findings of four latest publications for 2018. The publications focus on the forecast of salary increases and bonuses for 2019. The outlook was “bleak”, according to the survey due to the global recession, increasing social costs and political uncertainties following GE14 which were among factors influencing the employers’ cautious attitude.

A few incentives were placed into the labour structure of the companies surveyed including productivity linked wage system (PLWS) and the Discrimination Reporting Procedure.

About 90% of companies and more indicated that the main reasons that they implemented PLWS was to reward good employees followed by aiming to improve productivity (which more than 80% responded) and to motivate average employees (more than 70%).

The findings also focused on the types of leaves provided where all participating companies provided annual leave and sick leave for top/senior managers, managers, execu- tives and non-executives.

The average total hours of total working hours per week for top/senior managers and managers were considered where they worked 41 hours compared to the executives where the average total working hours per week was 42 hours. In the case of non-executives the average total working hours was 43 hours.

About 42.5% of respondent companies implemented flexible working hours at the workplace. With implementation of flexible work arrangements 82.4% of the respondent companies indicated that there was increased employees’ engagement, commitment and satisfaction, quality of work and quantity of output (62.7%) and the company’s ability to retain talent (62.7%).

The survey for executives and non-executives were participated by 242 companies from manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors.

The executive report covered 160 benchmark positions of 14330 executives while the non-executives report covered 324654 non executives with 109 benchmark positions. – The Star

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Behind crazy rich Singapore’s mask, a growing class divide


Inequality bites: In Singapore, households with accumulated wealth and connections over past generations, like the hit movie’s protagonist Nick Young’s family and friends, can pass on advantages to their offspring. — AP
Inequality bites: In Singapore, households with accumulated wealth and connections over past generations, like the
hit movie’s protagonist Nick Young’s family and friends, can pass on advantages to their offspring. —AP
Two Singapores: Poverty has always existed in the cosmopolitan city state, but the setting of the hit movie ‘Crazy
Rich Asians’ has seen a widening income gap in the past few years. —Reuters

 There is another side to the Lion City’s fabled wealth: a widening gap between rich and poor that is forcing its citizens to question whether their home is really the land of opportunity they once thought.

IN the background, a luxury goods shop, a stooped elderly cleaner sweeping its storefront; on one side of the bridge sits expensive condominiums, bars and restaurants, on the other, rental flats housing Singapore’s poorest.

These scenes unfolded in a documentary titled Regardless of Class by Channel News Asia released on Oct 1, with a security guard revealing he felt as though he was not treated like a person. A cleaner said: “I know I’m invisible. I have to get used to this, and learn to stop caring.”

Poverty and inequality in the city state – the setting of the hit movie Crazy Rich Asians and where the per capita income is among the highest in the world, hitting US$55,000 (RM228,494) last year – has always existed.

But in the last year, Singaporeans have been confronted with discomfiting evidence of growing social stratification, shaking to the core a belief that meritocracy can smooth out unequal beginnings and lead to more equal outcomes.

Sociologist Tan Ern Ser from the National University of Singapore said class origin or background now had a greater influence on opportunity and social mobility, as the country faced slowing growth, job losses and obsolescence and an ageing population.

Singapore’s Gini coefficient, a measurement of income inequality from zero to one – with zero being most equal – has fluctuated above 0.40 since 1980 before adjusting for taxes and transfers. It was 0.417 last year. In the United Kingdom, it was 0.52 in 2015, the United States was at 0.506, and Hong Kong reached a record high of 0.539 in 2016.

Experts say inequality in itself is not worrying – sociologist Tan said it could even “be good for motivating people to want to do better”.

But in Singapore’s case, it has allowed households with accumulated wealth and connections over past generations to pass on advantages to their offspring, helping them to shine, while those without the same social capital and safety nets are forced to toil harder to do the same.

As Singapore University of Social Sciences economist and nominated Member of Parliament Walter Theseira put it: “If you can buy advantages for your child, such as tuition and enrichment, they are going to end up doing better in terms of meritocratic assessments.”

Donald Low, associate partner at Centennial Asia Advisors and the former associate dean at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, said Singapore’s meritocratic and universal education system for the past 50 years led to a great deal of social mobility initially, but society would “settle” after a few decades.

“This is amplified by marriage sorting. That is the well-educated marrying one another and passing on their advantages to their children,” Low said.

A paper published last December by local think-tank Institute of Policy Studies, which demonstrated the sharpest social divisions were based on class, not race or religion, started the latest debate on the impact of inequality.

The report, co-authored by sociologist Tan, showed low interaction between students who attended elite and regular schools, and between Singaporeans living in private and public housing.

This was followed by a bestselling book by Nanyang Technological University sociologist Teo You Yenn titled This is What Inequality Looks Like, which told of the experiences of the low income group, and the systemic issues keeping them poor.

In early October, a six-minute clip on Facebook of the Regardless of Class documentary sparked feelings of discomfort, guilt and self-reflection among Singaporeans – possibly from realising “there may well be two Singapores in our midst”, said former nominated Member of Parliament Eugene Tan, a law don at Singapore Management University.

In it, six students from different education streams talked about their dreams and school experiences.

Some were aiming for an overseas degree and a minimum of A’s; others just wanted to pass their examinations.

When presenter Janil Puthucheary, a Cabinet member, mooted putting students of mixed abilities together in one classroom, a girl from the higher education stream said it was not viable, as “it might even increase the gap if these students feel like they can’t cope so they just give up completely”.

Puthucheary asked if the conversation was awkward.

One boy from the lower education stream said: “The way they speak and the way I speak (are) different, I feel like.

Another student completed the sentence: “Like they are high class and we are not.”

Seetoh Huixia, a social worker for 13 years who is assistant director of AWWA Family Services, said she had seen this sort of low self esteem in the people she works with. “The sense of us versus them, the inferiority complex, that they’re not good enough,” she said.

The Straits Times opinion editor Chua Mui Hoong wrote: “It got me thinking; how did we become a society that looks down on people for the work they do or the grades they get? Are we all complicit in this? Can anything be done to turn our society inside out so that we are all less disdainful, more respectful, of one other?”

Academics felt the documentary was a good conversation starter, but urged Singaporeans to look at the underlying causes of this class divide.

Low said the documentary was problematic because “the root causes of economic inequality, an elitist education system and the government’s anti-welfarism are not interrogated, and that a complex issue (of structural inequality) is reduced to people not having enough empathy or being snobbish”.

“All this class consciousness and implicit bias is a function of our systems and policies,” he added.

Teo urged Singaporeans to look beyond attitudes and focus on the inequality that had led to the divide.

“We must not focus on perceptions – whether of ourselves or others – at the expense of real differences in daily struggles and well-being. The perceptions exist in response to those differences. Just as thinking about gravity differently would not stop a ball rolling downhill, pretending differences don’t exist isn’t going to magically make the differences disappear,” she said.

Sociologist Tan said structural changes through policies would be critical. “It can’t be just about telling people to be nice and respectful toward one another.”

Experts have in the last decade proposed ways in which Singapore can mitigate gnawing income inequality, ranging from policy changes in the areas of wages, taxes on wealth, social spending, housing and education.

The government has responded by increasing its social spending — supplementing the income of low-wage workers, introducing a universal health insurance scheme, increased personal income tax rates for high earners. It has also expanded its network of social service touchpoints and just in September tweaked the education system to reduce the emphasis on examinations.

But its social spending is still lower than Nordic countries and personal income taxes remain competitive to attract talent, leading developmental charity Oxfam and non-profit research group Development Finance International to this month call out the government for “harmful tax practices”, low public social spending, no equal pay or non-discrimination laws for women and lack of a minimum wage.

They ranked Singapore in the bottom 10 of 157 governments (at 149th place), ranked on how they were tackling the growing gap between rich and poor.

The government staunchly disagreed with the report, with Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee saying Singapore’s outcomes in health care, education and housing were better than most countries despite spending less. The World Bank’s Human Capital Index, leaders noted, placed Singapore top for helping people realise their full potential.

One area experts agree on is that more tweaks are needed to the education system.

Singapore Management University’s Tan said apart from higher wealth taxes, “the education system needs to ensure not just equal opportunities but endeavour to provide for equal access to opportunities. There is a world of difference between the two. We may have focused on the former but not enough on the latter”.

Low said the education system needed to be “truly egalitarian”.

He suggested the state funds a national early childhood education system for children aged four onwards to remove segmentation from the get-go, to remove the national exam sat by 12-year-olds in Singapore and have schools run for the entire day so parents do not fill their children’s afternoons with tuition.

Theseira had a more novel solution: affirmative action that accords favours to the disadvantaged.

“It basically says that somebody from a disadvantaged background who achieves the same thing as somebody from a privileged background should be given much more credit because that is actually a much bigger achievement given the starting point,” he said.

“Are we willing to contemplate that? I don’t think we are at the moment but it’s a very obvious policy that addresses this problem with the definition of meritocracy.”

There must be a sense that a class divide is harmful for everyone, especially among those who have thrived under the current system, Eugene Tan said.

“A class divide could threaten Singapore’s existence because it would pit Singaporeans against Singaporeans. The divide would render Singapore to be rife with populism and to be consumed by sub-national identities. The class divide is also likely to reinforce existing cleavages based on race, religion and language.” — South China Morning Post by kok xing hui

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