Review Category : English

BNM aware of CIMBs lost back-up tapes

KUALA LUMPUR: Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) announced that it is aware of CIMB Bank Bhd’s loss of backup tapes in transit and heightened security measures taken by the bank to safeguard customers’ transactions.

“The bank (BNM) was assured by CIMB Bank that necessary precautionary measures and mitigation actions have been taken to manage any possible negative impact arising from the loss of the tapes,” it said in a three-para statement today.

Members of the public are advised to continue to be vigilant in safeguarding their personal information, the central bank added.


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Confronting digital disruption Register for COMMA now

KUALA: It is curtain raiser for Communications Asean: The Content Summit (COMMA), a two-day symposium organised and produced by Astro AWANI.

How do we define digital distruptor? The fear of cannibalisation? What holds business head honchos from plunging full throttle into embracing digital transformation?

Or is it the fear of the unknown, especially every media practitioners are embracing this whole wide world of digital realm.

The media and communication industry was the first to be impacted by the ‘digital disruptor’, said IDC for ASEAN Region Managing Director, Sudev Bangah.

Essentially, it is about thinking out of the box.

According to Bangah, it is about seeking for solutions to stay ahead of tech-savvy disruptor, who have remained frugal as they seek solution out of their paradigms.

“They (the media companies) were not able to solve that and ended being extremely competitive with the digital disruptor.

The only way to move forward and create a win-win situation is to get the media companies and the digital disruptor to co-exist.

“As that occur, users will be at the centre of the focus of the organisations as they present fresher and more relevant content,” he added. 

According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations Malaysia, all major local newspapers have recorded huge drops in circulation. 

Harian Metro recorded a drop of 62.5 per cent – from 379,169 copies in 2012 to 142,262 in 2016.

The country’s oldest newspaper, the New Straits Times is steadily embracing the impact with circulation at 41.6 per cent from 93,321 copies at the end of 2012 to 54,490 copies at the end of last year.

Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian each saw their circulation figures fell by 30 per cent within similar period of time.


This was acknowledge by New Straits Times Press Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Abdul Jalil Abdul Hamid  who said that the digital disruption has affected the circulation and profitability of the company.

In fact he said the company has to stop their print circulation in Sabah and Sarawak as a move to cut costs.



If you’re keen to be part of the digital media camaraderie at COMMA, do register at or walk in to the registration desk at Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur.

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Earthquake hits Iraq near border with Iran several killed in both countries

BAGHDAD/ERBIL: At least four people died in Iraq and several were killed across the border in Iran on Sunday when a strong earthquake hit the region, officials and state media in the two countries said.

The US Geological Survey said the quake measured a magnitude of 7.3, while an Iraqi meteorology official put its magnitude at 6.5 with the epicenter in Penjwin in Sulaimaniyah province in the Kurdistan region close to the main border crossing with Iran.

Kurdish health officials said as well as at least four people being killed there were 50 injured.

Across the border in Iran, state TV said several people were killed and many others injured when at least eight border villages were damaged. Electricity had been cut in the area and rescue teams had been dispatched to the area.

On the Iraqi side, the most extensive damage was in the town of Darbandikhan, 75 kms (47 miles) east of the city of Sulaimaniyah in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region. More than 30 people were injured in the town, according to the Kurdish Health Minister Rekawt Hama Rasheed.

“The situation there is very critical,” Rasheed told Reuters.

The district’s main hospital was severely damaged and had no power, Rasheed said, so the injured were being taken to Sulaimaniyah for treatment. There was extensive structural damage to buildings and homes.

There were reports of injuries in a stretch of cities, towns and rural villages near the Iranian border, including Halabja, Khanaqin and Panjwin.

Residents were keeping away from their homes and sleeping on the streets, several hours after the quake hit.

In Halabja, local officials said that a 12-year-old boy died from an electric shock when an electric cable fell during the earthquake.

Iraq’s interior minister ordered civil defense and fire fighting crews to be on high alert after the quake.

In Iran, the earthquake was felt in the capital Tehran. Media gave contradictory casualty figures. Semi-official Fars news agency and state news agency IRNA said at least six people had been killed and many others injured in the border town of Qasr-e Shirin.

But the governor of Qasr-e Shirin, Faramarz Akbari, said only two people had died in the town and 25 others were injured.

“The quake was felt in several Iranian provinces bordering Iraq … Eight villages were damaged … Electricity has been cut in some villages and rescue teams have been dispatched to those areas,” TV reported.

Semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted an emergency services official as saying there were fears that casualties in villages and small towns could be high.

People were staying out on the streets in towns in the western Kermanshah province because of the threat from aftershocks, a local Red Crescent official told TV.


Many residents in the Iraqi capital Baghdad rushed out of houses and tall buildings in panic.

“I was sitting with my kids having dinner and suddenly the building was just dancing in the air,” said Majida Ameer, who ran out of her building in the capital’s Salihiya district with her three children. “I thought at first that it was a huge bomb. But then I heard everyone around me screaming ‘Earthquake!'”

There were similar scenes in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region, and across other cities in northern Iraq, close to the quake’s epicenter.

Iraq’s meteorology center advised people to stay away from buildings and not to use elevators, in case of aftershocks.

Residents of Turkey’s southeastern city of Diyarbakir also reported feeling a strong tremor, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties in the city.

Turkish Red Crescent Chairman Kerem Kinik told broadcaster NTV that Red Crescent teams in Erbil were preparing to go to the site of the earthquake, and that Turkey’s national disaster management agency AFAD and National Medical Rescue Teams (UMKE) were also preparing to head into Iraq. AFAD’s chairman said the organization was waiting for a reply to its offer for help.

In a tweet, Kinik said the Turkish Red Crescent was gathering 3,000 tents and heaters, 10,000 beds and blankets and moving them towards the Iraqi border.

“We are coordinating with Iranian and Iraqi Red Crescent groups. We are also getting prepared to make deliveries from our northern Iraq Erbil depot,” he said.

Israeli media said the quake was felt in many parts of Israel too.

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2017 Singles Day smashes records

SHANGHAI: Alibaba’s 11.11 Singles’ Day shopping festival has smashed records set by itself last year.

As the clock struck midnight to end 24 continuous hours of online sales, total online sales, measured by the Gross Merchandising Volume (GMV), stood at USD25.4 billion, or USD25,386,927,848 to be exact.

The GMV hit USD5 billion in 15 minutes, USD8.6 billion within the first hour, and broke last year’s record at approximately 1.09pm Saturday.

After a more aggressive marketing approach by Alibaba in Malaysia this year, Malaysians are also paying closer attention to Singles’ Day this year, having access to the festival through local platforms like Lazada.

According to e-commerce service ShopBack Malaysia, Malaysia topped buying activities in Southeast Asia this year, with over 40 orders made per minute.

Malaysians shopped the most right after midnight, with the country’s top spender spending about RM11,000 worth of orders via ShopBack.

Malaysia’s average spending per customer for the Singles’ Day festival is USD24 (around RM101).

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Malaysia is Alibabas gateway to ASEAN says CEO

SHANGHAI: Alibaba Group CEO, Daniel Zhang says the Electronic World Wide Trade Platform (EWTP), a key part of the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) in Sepang, is an important milestone in the company’s globalization strategy.

“We position the EWTP zone as a regional hub for Alibaba’s global expansion, especially to Southeast Asia,” he says on the sidelines of Alibaba’s 11.11 Singles’ Day shopping festival here today.

He says the DFTZ will also be crucial in serving ASEAN for the “11.11” festival in coming years.

“I know a lot of people in Malaysia and in that region are actually big fans of this shopping festival.

“So how can we not only give them good products, but also good service? This is why we need a hub in Malaysia to cover the whole region,” he says.

Daniel also echoed the statements of Alibaba founder Jack Ma, on how the DFTZ is setting out to help Malaysian SMEs.

“What we want to do is to build up the infrastructure, especially logistics infrastructure in the region.

“[This is] to help the SMEs in Malaysia. Not only to sell through our EWTP network, but to the market in that region and other regions,” he says.

Daniel says the Chinese e-commerce giant is also open to the idea of bringing “11.11” to Malaysia.

“Malaysia is a very important market amongst ASEAN countries. A lot of Malaysian Chinese love Taobao.

“So how can we serve and localize the assortment and make people enjoy a better shopping experience? Going forward we’re going to do a lot more in Southeast Asia, but not only to promote Chinese products there, but also help local companies to grow via e-commerce,” he says.

Daniel was speaking to the media about an hour before the end of 2017’s 11.11, a record breaking festival which had surpassed last year’s sales volume in just over half the time.

As of 11.40pm, total sales from the festival was recorded at USD24.79 bil.

In 2016, sales of 11.11 Singles’ Day was more than 18 times than that of Amazon Prime Day and 2.5 times than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

Totals sales from last year’s festival was USD17.8 bil.

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Malaysian journalist in Myanmar jail for using drones

KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirms the reports by several international media agencies that Ms. Mok Choy Lin, a Malaysian journalist who has been detained by the Myanmar authority, was sentenced to two months imprisonment for an offence committed under the Myanmar Aerodrome Act 1934. The Embassy of Malaysia in Yangon has undertaken a consular visit on Ms. Mok Choy Lin, where she was reported to be in good health. The Embassy is closely cooperating with the Myanmar authorities, as well as the Embassies of Singapore and Turkey in Myanmar, to monitor and render the necessary consular assistance to their respective nationals involved.

The Ministry would like to reiterate on the need for Malaysian citizens to understand thoroughly the rules and regulations of the host country prior to visit and every effort should be made to ensure adherence.

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Alibaba Singles Day breaks world record

SHANGHAI: The world’s biggest online shopping festival, Alibaba’s 11.11 Singles’ Day has surpassed last year’s total sales.

As of 2.16pm Friday, its total sales was recorded at USD18.84 bil, with still 10 hours of the festival to go.

Last year’s total sales was recorded at USD17.8 billion.

That figure was 18 times bigger than the sales of Amazon Prime Day and 2.5 times bigger than that of Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

It is also bigger than the gross domestic product (GDP) of 83 countries in 2016, according to World Bank figures.

With this milestone, the Chinese e-commerce giant looks set to smash records, in a festival that is already the envy of its rivals including Amazon and eBay.

Sales include more than 260,000 Malaysian black tiger shrimps that was bough through Alibaba’s fresh groceries wing, Tmall Fresh.

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Comedian Louis C.K. admits sexual misconduct as Hollywood cuts ties

LOS ANGELES: Comedian Louis C.K. admitted on Friday to engaging in sexual misconduct as recounted by several women, three of whom said he had masturbated in front of them, and television and film companies moved quickly to sever ties.

“These stories are true,” C.K. said in a statement.

Five women detailed incidents of sexually inappropriate behavior by the Emmy-winning comedian dating back 15 years in a New York Times report published on Thursday.

C.K. released a statement acknowledging the encounters in question after his upcoming film “I Love You Daddy” was scrapped for release on Friday, and Netflix Inc canceled a planned comedy special with the comedian because of the allegations.

Cable television network FX, a unit of 21st Century Fox, also severed its ties with C.K., and Time Warner’s TBS network said it was suspending production on an upcoming animated comedy “The Cops,” which C.K. co-created and was due to star in.

“He will no longer serve as executive producer or receive compensation on any of the four shows we were producing with him – ‘Better Things,’ ‘Baskets,’ ‘One Mississippi’ and ‘The Cops’,” FX Networks and FX productions said on Friday in a statement.

Universal Pictures, a unit of Comcast, and the production company Illumination issued a joint statement saying they have “terminated their relationship” with C.K. on an upcoming sequel to last year’s animated film “The Secret Life of Pets.”

C.K. was the voice of the lead character, a Jack Russell terrier named Max, in the original film, which according to Hollywood trade paper Variety grossed $875 million. Variety said the sequel was due to open in June 2019.

The comedian’s publicist, Lewis Kay, announced on Twitter that “as of today, I no longer represent Louis C.K.”

C.K., 50, said in his statement that he has “been remorseful of my actions. And I’ve tried to learn from them. And run from them. Now I’m aware of the extent of the impact of my actions. I learned yesterday the extent to which I left these women who admired me feeling badly about themselves ” his statement added.

He is the latest celebrity in the entertainment business to be accused of sexual misconduct by people coming forward in the wake of allegations against movie producer Harvey Weinstein and actor Kevin Spacey.


The comedian born Louis Szekely, who is best known for his TV comedy series “Louie,” added that “I will now step back and take a long time to listen.” He did not make clear how long he would be stepping back for.

Two of the women in the New York Times article, comedians Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov, said C.K. had invited them to his hotel room after a comedy festival in Aspen, Colorado, in 2002 and then masturbated in front of them.

“The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly,” C.K. said, adding that he thought it was ok to show his genitals to women if he asked them first.

“You asked but we never said yes,” Goodman and Wolov tweeted on Friday after his apology.

Netflix said earlier that it would not produce a planned second stand-up special with him.

Film distributor The Orchard said it would not be moving forward with the release next week of “I Love You, Daddy.”

The movie was written and directed by C.K. and he also appears in the film as the father of a 17-year-old girl who has a romance with a 68-year-old filmmaker.

HBO said on Thursday that C.K.’s past projects with the network, including 2006’s “Lucky Louie” series, would be removed from its on-demand services and that the comedian would no longer participate in its Nov. 18 televised “Night of Too Many Stars” show.

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Singles Day A real life example of what DFTZ can do for our SMEs

SHANGHAI: A week ago, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and e-commerce mogul Jack Ma were in Sepang, launching the start of operations for the long-awaited Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ).

In typical Alibaba fashion, the event was loaded with pomp, glamour and gimmicks – ranging from the old-fashioned shovel-in-the-ground groundbreaking to a ‘live’ auction where real-time bids were displayed on a huge screen on stage, to the end of that auction with a strike of a gong.

Such grandeur is perhaps fitting for the hype that the DFTZ has brought since it was first announced in March 2017.

DFTZ said it will increase Malaysian SMEs’ export of goods to USD38 billion and create over 60,000 by 2025.

“Malaysia is set to make it easier for SMEs to do cross-border trade. This is the primary purpose of DFTZ.

“It is simplifying e-commerce by bringing together government agencies, eMarketplaces, logistic and payment providers all on one platform,” said Najib at the launch.

On top of enabling Malaysian SMEs to promote and market their products on Alibaba’s huge platforms, the DFTZ will also improve and streamline logistics, delivery, payment and customs clearance processes for the said products.

Their ultimate goal? To deliver any products from any Malaysian SMEs to a buyer within three days of ordering.

A total of 1,972 local SMEs have been selected as the first batch to participate.

But, nevertheless, a large portion of our SMEs still can’t really see the actual, tangible benefits they will enjoy from the DFTZ since their exposure would have been limited to press releases and media reports.

As with e-commerce and buying things online, most people need to see, hear or perhaps touch it, to truly understand and believe in it.

Maybe our SMEs need to see real-life examples of what the DFTZ can offer them and how it can elevate their businesses to epic proportions.

And for that, there’s one place they can look to.

Alibaba’s “11.11” Singles Day

Originally, Singles’ Day is an festival for single people in China to celebrate their singledom.

Over the past eight years, it has evolved to become the biggest 24-hour online shopping event on the planet.

Undeniably, Alibaba has been at the forefront of this evolution of Singles’ Day.

“Alibaba’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival” started in 2009, achieving sales of USD7.6 million in a day.

Today, “11.11” as it’s come to be called, is more than 18 times the size of Amazon Prime Day and 2.5 times bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

Last year, the festival generated USD17.8 billion in Gross Merchandising Volume (GDV), a 32 per cent increase from 2015.

To put in context, that’s bigger than the GDP of Laos and Brunei, and almost four times the GDP of Fiji.

On the day, Alibaba Cloud processed 175,000 orders every second, and its payment hub Alipay processed more than 120,000 transactions per second. Alibaba’s logistic arm, Cainiao processed more than 657 million delivery orders.

Singles’ Day 2017

After a record-breaking 2016, Alibaba has its sights set on the greatness, yet again.

The e-commerce giant said that this year, over 140,000 brands will participate in Singles’ Day, more than 60,000 of them are international brands.

Over 1 million merchants will take part, and Alibaba said its targeting 100 million Chinese consumers outside of China alone – not including the 1 billion or so in China and citizens of other countries (they’re big in Russia, for example).

The Cainiao Network expects over 3 million logistics personnel to handle all the packages that are going to come through. It has invested over USD200 mil to upgrade its facilities and services in anticipation of this.

A glimpse of our future?

It may take time our own SMEs to reach the scales of Alibaba’s Singles’ Day – the e-commerce giant took a good seven or eight years themselves to achieve such proportions.

But the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step, and as far as future prospects are concerned, we are on the right track.

Back to DFTZ, examples of this “improving, streamlining and digitalising of services” have been seen – from upgraded facilities, to little robots that are handling packages in the KLIA Aeropolis right now as we speak.

So for a majority of our SMEs, especially those who were not part of the 1,972 that have been selected so far, they have good reasons to be optimistic about the future.

In a challenging and unpredictable global economy, Malaysia is indeed taking steps to evolve, and in fact, step ahead of the curve (the DFTZ is the first of its kind in the world). The day when sales of our companies will be bigger than the GDP of some countries may come sooner than you think.

And it’s going to start with our SMEs and small businesses who make up some 90 percent of our economy – and with the DFTZ, it starts now.

Just watch Alibaba’s Singles’ Day Festival this 11.11 (11 Nov) – and I will be there in Shanghai to cover it.

So, stay tu

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Malaysians gear up for Alibabas Singles Day shopping frenzy

SHANGHAI: As the clock ticks to midnight, the regular Ali, Ah Chong and Muthu will be scrambling to click on the button of that famous online shopping boutique for the planet’s biggest online shopping fest, Alibaba’s ‘11.11 Singles’ Day’.

Malaysians will too pay closer attention the festival this year more than ever, with Alibaba’s “Taobao Collection” being made available on Lazada.

“China wants to evolve from an export and investment driven economy to a consumption driven economy,” said Joseph C.Tsai, Executive Vice Chairman of the Alibaba Group.

Indeed, the grand transformation of the world’s second biggest economy has sent ripples of waves across the global economy for the past few years, especially for a developing economy like Malaysia.

Singles' Day
Sales figures of ‘11.11’ this year are perhaps an important sign that China’s economic transformation is alive and well.

It is also bigger than the gross domestic product of 83 countries in that same year, according to World Bank figures.

This year, the world awaits whether it will break records again and reverberate throughout the world’s e-commerce landscape.

The e-commerce giant will show no signs of taking their foot of the pedal this year, courting more than 140,000 brands and 1 million merchants for this year’s festival.

It is a reminder for Malaysians of the recently-launched Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) in Sepang, Selangor, one that is touted to achieve similar success to Alibaba and 11.11, but with Malaysian small-medium enterprises (SMEs).

* The writer is in Shanghai where the next 24-hours of Nov 11 will be ‘madness’ for global e-commerce – but a good kind of madness.

** Follow my reports on Astro AWANI’s Facebook and the @501Awani Twitter  and

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