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These are the top stories making the front pages of major newspapers from across Southeast Asia today.

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295 people under probe over job, rental, love scams involving more than $5.5m

Nearly 300 people linked to more than 746 scam cases, including job, loan, rental and Internet love scams, are assisting the police with investigations.

Of the 295 suspected scammers and money mules, there are 199 men and 96 women, aged between 16 and 80, the police said on Friday (May 27).

In total, the victims lost more than $5.5 million, the police added. The suspects are being investigated for cheating, money laundering or providing payment services without a licence. These are linked to business e-mail and government official impersonation, e-commerce, investment and other scams.

The suspects were caught during a two-week operation between May 14 and 26 conducted by officers from the Commercial Affairs Department and seven police land divisions.

The police said: “To avoid being an accomplice to crimes, members of the public should always reject requests by others to use their bank accounts or mobile lines as they will be held accountable if these are linked to crimes.” The offence of cheating carries a jail term of up to 10 years and a fine. Money laundering carries a jail term of up to 10 years, a fine of up to $500,000, or both. 

The offence of carrying on a business of providing any type of payment service in Singapore without a licence carries a fine of up to $125,000, a jail term of up to three years, or both. – Straits Times 

HR Ministry encourages GLCs, private firms to introduce menstrual leave policy

Government-linked companies (GLCs) and private firms in Malaysia are encouraged to implement menstrual leave policy on their own without waiting for the government to legislate it, said the Human Resources Ministry.

The ministry said establishments with collective agreements could also initiate negotiations with their trade unions to incorporate such policy into their collective agreements.

However, as a whole, the ministry noted that it will need to do an in-depth study to ascertain the pros and cons of legislating this matter, taking into account the appropriate mechanisms need to be put in place to smoothly implement this policy at company level to avoid any misuse or pitfalls.

“On this, the ministry needs to engage with the employers and workers associations before making any decisions. Discussion with other relevant ministries would also need to be done,” the Human Resources Ministry said in a written reply to the New Straits Times. The ministry was responding to questions on whether Malaysia could follow in the footsteps of Spain and other countries like Indonesia, Japan and South Korea in introducing a national menstrual leave policy.

The ministry further noted that though enacting a law to regulate entitlement of menstrual leave in the private sector could be seen as a progressive move by the government to enhance women’s rights at the workplace, authorities have to be wary if this could instead have any adverse effect on the employment opportunities for women. – New Straits Times

Creating the ideal city

Newly elected Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt is asserting his readiness to work with every stakeholder to fulfil his campaign promises and make the capital more hospitable for everyone.

Mr Chadchart stresses that under his leadership, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) officials must be proactive in their duties to swiftly address problems and execute his urban development plans. 

The 55-year-old associate professor who ran as an independent achieved a landslide victory in the 11th Bangkok gubernatorial election on May 22, winning a record 1.38 million votes, or about 51% of the total. His academic and professional record in engineering and infrastructure stems from his PhD in engineering from the University of Illinois and experience in teaching at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Engineering. He made his national debut in 2012 when he joined the Yingluck Shinawatra government as transport minister.

Despite his distinguished CV, he told the Bangkok Post that governing Bangkok will not be an easy task as he will have to deal with many challenges to transform Bangkok into the ideal city for all.

To do so, he presents his flagship “Bangkok’s Nine Good” policy, which focuses on improving the city in nine different sectors: environment, public safety, public health, infrastructure, city governance, economy, education and creativity, with the first three receiving the most attention. – Bangkok Post

PH territory, sovereignty more secure as ever under Duterte admin

For the past six years, the Duterte administration has secured the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, as well as its vast maritime borders, through the acquisition of new equipment and patrols, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Monday.

In his presentation at the Duterte Legacy Summit, Lorenzana said 6,958 naval surface and 6,432 maritime air patrols were held to assert the country’s sovereignty.

“We are actively securing our territorial integrity and sovereignty through our detection, identification, and interdiction efforts. We also have conducted naval surface patrols and maritime air patrols,” Lorenzana said at the two-day summit at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.

The summit promotes the landmark programs and achievements of the Duterte administration.

Some Cabinet officials will present to the public their accomplishments, policies, and projects that improved the lives of Filipinos over the past six years.

It will also feature key campaign promises of the Duterte administration that were realized such as the Universal Health Care Law and Malasakit Center, Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education, Bangsamoro Organic Law, anti-illegal drugs campaign, and migrant workers’ protection.

In his report, Lorenzana said to secure the country’s vast maritime borders, the Philippines signed in 2016 a Trilateral Cooperative Arrangement with Malaysia and Indonesia which resulted in joint naval and air patrols that helped cut down incidents of terrorism and seaborne criminal activities in the Sulu-Celebes Seas. – Philippine News Agency

Viet Nam’s five-month FDI disbursement up

Disbursement of foreign direct investment (FDI) experienced a positive yearly increase of 7.8 per cent to US$7.71 billion in the first five months of this year, as the national economy appears to be back to normal, according to the Foreign Investment Agency (FIA) under the Ministry of Planning and Investment. 

The Government and relevant agencies’ continual and effective assistance, along with efforts by enterprises to weather the pandemic and adapt to the new context, have helped firms gradually recover, maintain, and expand operations. That’s why the disbursed capital has been rising over the past months, the agency explained. 

Though the registered capital in the five-month period, $11.71 billion, was equivalent to just 83.7 per cent of the figure in the same period last year, only investment in new projects declined by 53.4 per cent to $4.12 billion while the capital poured into existing projects surged 45.1 per cent to hit $5.61 billion.

Capital contributions and share purchases by foreign investors also witnessed a significant year-on-year rise of 51.6 per cent to $1.98 billion.

The FIA said in its latest report that despite the COVID-19 pandemic’s adverse impacts, foreign investors still put their trust in the economy and investment climate of Viet Nam in the new normal context, and decided to expand their projects in the country.

Among typical capital-added projects include the Thai Nguyen Province-based Samsung Electro-mechanics Vietnam project, which increased its capital by $920 million, and three plants for manufacturing electronics, network equipment and multimedia audio products in three localities of Bac Ninh, Nghe An and Hai Phong which hike their investment by nearly $306 million, $260 million and $127 million respectively. 

From January to May, the processing and manufacturing industry lured the lion’s share of FDI with over $6.8 billion, accounting for 58.2 per cent of the total registered investment capital. The real estate sector came next with nearly $3 billion or 25.6 per cent, followed by the information and communication industry and science and technology sector with $398 million and $374.8 million respectively. – Vietnam News

Big C buys Cambodia’s Kiwi Mart

Big C Supercenter Plc, a leading retail operator in Thailand, has acquired Kiwi Mart – a convenience store chain in Cambodia – via its Cambodian subsidiary to strengthen its retail business in the neighbouring country. According to Gary Hardy, an adviser of Big C Supercenter, Big C Supercenter (Cambodia) reached an agreement to acquire Kiwi Mart in Cambodia last week.

The acquisition was effective as of May 17, but the value of the deal has not been disclosed. “The acquisition of Kiwi Mart is an important opportunity for both Big C and its parent firm, Berli Jucker Plc, to expand business in the ASEAN region, including Cambodia,” he said. The deal allows Big C to own 18 Kiwi Mart stores in Cambodia, 17 of which are in Phnom Penh, with the other branch located in Kampot province.

Big C has had a presence in Cambodia since 2019, with the first Big C hypermarket opening in Poipet, with a total space of 8,000 square metres.

Currently, Big C operates two branches in Cambodia – one branch of Big C Mini and one branch of Big C hypermarket.

Kiwi Mart was established in 2017 as a 24-hour convenience store, selling a variety of products, including French, Thai and local brands, targeting domestic and foreign customers. 

The company expects its business expansion in Cambodia to be able to create job opportunities for up to 1,200 local people over the next few years. – Khmer Times

Myanmar military captures, kills local employees of Chinese copper mining company 

Two of five locals abducted by junta forces in southern Sagaing Region’s Yinmabin and Salingyi townships were found murdered on Wednesday evening. The deceased men were identified as employees at a Chinese company leading a major copper mining project in the area. 

The residents had been displaced by military assaults on villages in the area and were taking shelter near the community of Done Taw when they were captured on Wednesday afternoon. Three of the men were released soon after, but the bodies of Kyaw Nyein, 38, and Chit Thein Zaw, 34, were discovered later that evening. 

Both men had worked for the Myanmar branch of Yangtse Copper Co. Ltd. Kyaw Nyein was a staff member in the processing department and Chit Thein Zaw was a drill operator, according to locals. 

Yangtse is a subsidiary of Wanbao Mining, which jointly operates the controversial Letpadaung mining site in the area with the Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd. (UMEHL), a military conglomerate. Yangtse jointly operates two other nearby copper mines at Sabetaung and Kyisintaung with UMEHL, known as the S&K mines.

Kyaw Nyein and Chit Thein Zaw were found with multiple injuries, suggesting they had suffered severe abuse while they were held by the troops. 

“The injuries suggest that they were tortured. They had their hands tied behind their backs,” a local man told Myanmar Now on the condition of anonymity. – Myanmar NOW

Miss Indonesia 2022 expresses commitment to promote tourism

Miss Indonesia 2022 Laksmi Shari De Neefe Suardana voiced her commitment to prioritizing improvement of tourism and the local economy.

Suardana was crowned as Miss Indonesia 2022 after defeating 43 finalists from 34 provinces in the grand final event that was hosted at the Plenary Hall, Jakarta Convention Center, on Friday, May 27.

Suardana said that she would utilize the opportunity granted by the Puteri Indonesia Foundation to introduce tourism in Indonesia, especially Bali, which is her home.

“I will (promote) tourism, especially Bali, and its sustainable aspects,” she delivered the statement after being crowned as Miss Indonesia 2022 on Friday, May 27.

The tourism sector comprises a broad range of aspects, right from destinations to hotels and culinary arts as well as some other supporting items, such as handicrafts in the form of souvenirs, and even various types of artistry.

Suardana acknowledges the importance of supporting such endeavours in order to encourage development of both tourism and economy.

“I will use social media to promote everything,” she stated.

Suardana, 26, earned cum laude in 2020 from Polimoda with a Bachelor of Fashion Business degree and worked as a marketing manager for the Casa Luna Bali Group.

She was the third of four children. She was named after a goddess, Laksmi, who is believed have the power to turn dreams into reality.

Moreover, she actively participated in various activities, such as hosting the IG Live Book Club for the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival since 2020, the 2021 Narrative Book Club Bookshelf Tour, moderating the book launch at the 2021 Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, and also in 2022 Puteri Indonesia Bali.

She also volunteered to teach English for Hope for Bali, the Begawan Foundation, and visited the IIB Special Child Development Institute in Karangasem, Bali. The entire first-hand experience taught her that the rate of literacy, interest to read among children, needed to be improved, both in Bali or on a national scope.

She would represent Indonesia at the Miss Universe 2022 event. – AntaraNews.Com

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