Singapore Update: October 9, 2018

Singapore Update | October 9, 2018
Authors: Lilibeth Almonte-Arbez, Bryan Yeoh, Kim Yaeger
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

October 30-31: Mission to the ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM)

October 29-November 2: Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW)

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 

Energy Regulator gets more power under changes to Gas and Electricity Act

The Energy Market Authority (EMA) now has more authority to act in the event of a disruption in domestic energy supplies under changes to the Gas Act and the Electricity Act. EMA can now direct companies to take measures in the event of an emergency with approval from the Trade and Industry Minister. These measures include reallocating gas from users with alternatives fuels and modifying or terminating existing contractual agreements. Other additions to EMA’s functions and authority include dealing with health dangers from importing gas, imposing fines for meter tempering and dishonest consumption of gas and electricity.

These additional powers come after Singapore experienced one of its worst blackouts in September when power-generating units tripped one after another. During debate of the amendments, lawmakers referenced the blackout last month as a reminder of the need to ensure energy security and highlighted vulnerabilities of a centralized system.

Singapore to fund ASEAN-Singapore Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (ASCCE)

Singapore will fully fund the upcoming ASEAN-Singapore Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (ASCCE) at S$30 million over the next five years. At the ASEAN Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity, Minister-in-charge of Cybersecurity S. Iswaran said the center was scoped to cover policy, strategy and legislation as well as operations to reflect the government’s conviction in the importance of aligning cyber diplomacy efforts with operational issues. ASEAN member states and dialogue partners are welcome to contribute to the budget or to specific ASCCE programs and workshops by either co-funding or sending trainers. The target launch date for the center is the second quarter of 2019. As an extension of the ASEAN Cyber Capacity Program, ASCCE is aimed at helping develop the cybersecurity capabilities of Southeast Asian member states with three principal functions:

  • Cyber think-tank and training center

To conduct research and provide training in areas spanning international law, cyber strategy, cyber conflict, legislation, cyber norms and other cybersecurity policy issues.

  • Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) center

To provide CERT-related training as well as facilitate the exchange of cyber threat and attack-related information and best practices.

  • Cyber range training center

To deliver virtual cyber defense training and exercises for all ASEAN member states.

SingHealth Hack Update

As a response to the cyberattack on SingHealth’s database, the Singaporean government convened a Committee of Inquiry to investigate this incident.

Some of the insights revealed by the inquiry include:

The attackers had gained an “initial presence” in the system a year ago and had multiple failed attempts to access the system.

Absence of organization mechanisms within IHiS to deal with incident reporting, task coverage and regular feedback mechanisms.

The Security Incident Reporting Framework was only known in detail by members of the cybersecurity unit.

An underestimation of the severity of the incident by a key member of IHiS’s cyber security team. As a result, the incident was not escalated to higher-ups. When it was established as a security incident, it was deemed as not serious because an IHiS staff member reported that data had not been stolen. A re-run of tests six days later indicated otherwise.

The escalation mechanism entailed serious consequences and the staff members in-charge were extremely cautious and wanted to gather more information. A witness stated that although he had witnessed the unusual attempt to access the database, it was his first instance encountering it, he was not sure about the security incident SOP and wanted to gather more information before alerting senior management.

SingHealth incident has also led to a spillover effect on other industries. The financial services sector has started efforts to tighten their verification processes. Additionally, the CSA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC) to advance security threat intelligence sharing and to conduct joint exercises to protect the financial services sector.

 
 
 
 
 
 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
National Affairs
Government debunks online falsehoods about ministerial salaries, including reports on PM's pay

ASEAN
Singapore's new single QR code for payment
Startup SG Network online platform helps connect startups and investors
Singapore's new digital trade platform can help build cross-border linkages
Singapore`s Investment in Indonesia Up 38 Percent
Singapore to spend $30 million over next 5 years to fund new regional cyber security centre

Economics
Foreign investment not enough to grow maturing economy: Ong Ye Kung
Growth in Singapore non-oil exports slows to 5% in August; trade risks cloud outlook

Energy
A Green Loan Is Behind This Plush Singapore Tower in a Park
Despite Tuesday’s blackout, Singapore’s power backup procedures are in place: Chan Chun Sing
Singapore consumers can choose electricity provider from November
Ensuring energy security also vital: Tan Wu Meng
Singapore bunker fuel premiums surge on sharp recovery in crude
Sembcorp inks 20-year deal to supply solar power to Facebook's Singapore operations
PEC secures $250m worth of contracts from existing Middle East, Singapore clients
Parliament: Proposal for stronger powers to avert gas supply shortages or disruptions
In climate-stressed Singapore, the future is super low energy buildings

Financial Services
Singapore rolls out unified payment QR code SGQR in latest cashless push
MAS proposes new requirements for financial institutions to better guard against cyberattacks

Food & Agriculture
4Fingers buys 50% stake in Australia's Mad Mex; to bring Mexican fast-food chain to Singapore, South-east Asia
SunMoon takes up 3-month $1m term loan with entity owned by deputy chairman and wife
Singapore fresh chicken distributors fined S$27m
Enterprise Singapore's investment arm seeks co-investors in agrifood start-ups
Neo Group takes 51% stake in How's Catering for up to $4.4m in cash and shares
How supermarkets fight food waste in Singapore
Singapore start-up Alchemy FoodTech raises 7-digit funding to fight diabetes

Health & Life Sciences
Asia's first kiosks for learning hands-only CPR launched in Singapore
Singapore puts health at the heart of green buildings
Parliament: Community hospitals to be added to Employment Act as approved institutions for medical leave
Singapore’s healthcare system tops international leader board
KKH investigating allegation that expired nasal spray was given to baby
SingHealth, NUH to stop using agents by end of Oct
MOH puts a stop to foreign patient referral contracts
Steroids found in 2 juice drinks from Malaysia
Singapore: 'Scientific evidence' to guide cannabis law

ICT
Four new members appointed to GovTech board
Payments infrastructure firm Stripe to build Asia-Pacific engineering hub in Singapore
Exploited server in SingHealth cyber attack did not get security update for 14 months, COI finds
COI for SingHealth cyberattack: IT gaps, staff missteps contributed to incident, says Solicitor-General
SMU launches AI research centre; will look at ethics and impact on Singapore’s workforce
Singapore Warns Against Bitcoin Scammers Using Premier's Name
Singapore to offer bug bounty, set up Asean cybersecurity centre
New regional cyber security centre to boost defence against online threats
Singapore start-ups get help finding partners with new online platform
Grab tracks 500% growth for tourists travelling to medical facilities in Singapore
Police warn of more business email impersonation scams
Singapore businesses need to overhaul identity verification processes
Canadian startup Element AI to support AI Singapore in its Smart Nation initiatives

Indonesia
Keppel, Salim Group to jointly develop data centre

Infrastructure
ST Engineering plans its largest takeover so far in US$630m deal
Singapore's small construction firms likely to face debt woes
Facebook to build $1.4b data centre here
Keppel bags initial design contract for cooling system plant in Jurong Innovation District
SembMarine bags contract to retrofit 13 ships from Maran Tankers
Singapore hopes to reach mutually acceptable outcome on HSR

Malaysia
KL-Singapore High-Speed Rail formally postponed; service targetted to start by 2031

Manufacturing
Singapore manufacturing growth slows again in August; 3.3% rise misses forecast
Singapore PMI up for 24th month in a row

Travel & Tourism
Singapore retains spot as 5th most visited city in the world
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
National Affairs

Government debunks online falsehoods about ministerial salaries, including reports on PM's pay The Straits Times 17th Sep 2018
Government website Factually, which is run by the Public Communications Division of the Ministry of Communications and Information, said in an article on Sunday (Sept 16) that there have been inaccurate reports about ministerial salaries circulating in recent weeks.

ASEAN

Singapore's new single QR code for payment The Business Times 26th Sep 2018
Mr Ong touring 100 AM Mall and paying for purchases using SGQR; the code will be adopted by 27 payment schemes and will be rolled out progressively over the next six months.

Startup SG Network online platform helps connect startups and investors The Business Times 26th Sep 2018
STARTUPS, incubators and accelerators, and investors can now find and connect with one another through an online portal called the Startup SG Network, the latest addition to Singapore's Startup SG initiatives, Enterprise Singapore announced on Monday.

Singapore's new digital trade platform can help build cross-border linkages The Business Times 26th Sep 2018
A NEW digital national trade platform, officially launched on Wednesday, can enable cross-border trade linkages through technology.

Singapore`s Investment in Indonesia Up 38 Percent Tempo 24th Sep 2018
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Singapore`s new investment in Indonesia reached US$5.04 billion or rose 38 percent in the first half of the year compared with the same period last year.

Singapore to spend $30 million over next 5 years to fund new regional cyber security centre The Straits Times 19th Sep 2018
Singapore plans on establishing a regional cyber security training centre with an initial investment of $30 million over a five year period, it has been disclosed.

Economics

Foreign investment not enough to grow maturing economy: Ong Ye Kung Channel NewsAsia 17th Sep 2018
It is no longer enough to bank on foreign direct investment (FDI) to develop Singapore's economy, even though the strategy of wooing multinational companies to set up bases here has been a major part of the country's growth model, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Friday (Sep 14).

Growth in Singapore non-oil exports slows to 5% in August; trade risks cloud outlook The Straits Times 17th Sep 2018
After a jump in July, Singapore's export growth slowed last month, with continued though smaller weakness in electronic shipments and with support still mainly coming from pharmaceuticals.

Energy

A Green Loan Is Behind This Plush Singapore Tower in a Park Bloomberg 23rd Sep 2018
Asian property developers are delving deeper into green loans, as shown by a recent deal tied to a premium office tower in a Singapore park. Singapore-based Frasers Property Ltd. raised a S$1.2 billion ($881 million) green loan, the first of its kind by a Southeast Asian borrower under principles set by Asia Pacific Loan Market Association in March that aim to standardize disclosure. The facility refinances existing loans tied to Frasers Tower, an energy efficient office with its own park and podium roof gardens.

Despite Tuesday’s blackout, Singapore’s power backup procedures are in place: Chan Chun Sing Channel NewsAsia 21st Sep 2018
Preliminary investigations following this week's power outages across multiple estates in Singapore suggest that the country's backup procedures are in place and working fine, said Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing on Friday (Sep 21). This is illustrated by how it took just 15 minutes for the system to be restarted when two power-generating units – one at Sembcorp Cogen and the other owned by Senoko Energy – tripped early on Tuesday, causing multiple parts of Singapore to be hit by blackouts.

Singapore consumers can choose electricity provider from November Channel NewsAsia 21st Sep 2018
From November, all 1.4 million electricity consumers in Singapore will have the option of choosing their preferred electricity price plans from as many as 12 providers. With the nationwide roll-out of the Open Electricity Market, consumers will no longer have to buy electricity from SP Group at a regulated tariff that is reviewed quarterly. This option, however, remains available to consumers if they do not wish to switch, said the Energy Market Authority (EMA) on Friday (Sep 21) while announcing the roll-out. 

Ensuring energy security also vital: Tan Wu Meng The Straits Times 21st Sep 2018
Singaporeans may know how crucial water security is to the Republic's survival, but they also need to keep an eye on its energy security. After all, the country's water facilities such as Newater and desalination plants require large amounts of energy to operate, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Trade and Industry and Foreign Affairs Tan Wu Meng said yesterday.

Singapore bunker fuel premiums surge on sharp recovery in crude S&P Global 19th Sep 2018
Bunker fuel premiums in Singapore surged at the close of Asian trade Tuesday following a sharp uptick in ICE Brent crude oil futures during the Platts Market on Close assessment process, with prompt supply still seen as marginally tight.

Sembcorp inks 20-year deal to supply solar power to Facebook's Singapore operations The Straits Times 18th Sep 2018
Sembcorp Industries on Tuesday (Sept 18) announced a 20-year solar energy deal with Facebook to provide locally-sourced renewable power to support Facebook's recently announced 170,000 square metre Singapore data centre, as well as its other Singapore operations, for an undisclosed sum. With this deal, Sembcorp has become Facebook's first renewable energy partner in Asia. The contract involves the sale of 100 per cent renewable energy from the surplus power generated by offsite solar panels totalling 50 MWp in capacity. These panels will be installed on close to 900 rooftops in the land-scarce island state, between the end of this year and 2020.

PEC secures $250m worth of contracts from existing Middle East, Singapore clients The Straits Times 11th Sep 2018
Mainboard-listed PEC Limited said on Tuesday morning (Sept 11) the group has secured $250 million worth of new contracts from existing clients in the Middle East and Singapore.

Parliament: Proposal for stronger powers to avert gas supply shortages or disruptions The Straits Times 10th Sep 2018
The Energy Market Authority (EMA) may soon be able to ensure that companies in the energy sector take measures that safeguard the country's gas supply if the risk of shortages or disruptions looms. The proposal is one of several mooted changes to the Gas Act that were introduced in Parliament for its first reading on Monday (Sept 10).

In climate-stressed Singapore, the future is super low energy buildings Eco-Business 7th Sep 2018
As part of a national plan to lower carbon emissions and fight climate change, Singapore has introduced a new standard to produce “super low energy” buildings. The tropical city-state wants office buildings to lower their energy use to 60 per cent of 2005 levels, with smart airconditioning, cool paint and natural ventilation some of the ways the construction industry has been tasked to meet the new standard, known as the Green Mark for Super Low Energy (SLE).

Financial Services

Singapore rolls out unified payment QR code SGQR in latest cashless push Channel NewsAsia 18th Sep 2018
A single QR code that is compatible with as many as 27 e-payment solutions was rolled out on Monday (Sep 17), marking the latest step in Singapore's push towards cashless payments. .

MAS proposes new requirements for financial institutions to better guard against cyberattacks Channel NewsAsia 6th Sep 2018
Financial institutions in Singapore could have to implement six security measures as part of new proposed requirements by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to strengthen their cyber resilience and better guard againstcyberattacks. In a press release on Thursday (Sep 6), the central bank said breaches are often the result of insecure system configurations or compromised system accounts.

Food & Agriculture

4Fingers buys 50% stake in Australia's Mad Mex; to bring Mexican fast-food chain to Singapore, South-east Asia The Straits Times 19th Sep 2018
Singapore fried chicken chain 4Fingers announced it has acquired a 50 per cent stake in Mad Mex Fresh Mexican Grill (Mad Mex), an Australian brand of Mexican eateries, for an undisclosed sum. The move marks 4Fingers' first step towards its "aggregation of high quality complementary portfolio of food and beverage concepts with global scalability", according to its statement. As part of the partnership, 4Fingers will initially establish Mad Mex's presence in South-east Asia and expects to open a number of outlets in Singapore and Malaysia in the next 12 months. Together, 4Fingers and Mad Mex operate over 100 outlets across Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Thailand. The group projects total system-wide revenues of over S$120 million for fiscal 2019.

SunMoon takes up 3-month $1m term loan with entity owned by deputy chairman and wife The Straits Times 13th Sep 2018
SunMoon Food Company said late on Wednesday (Sept 12) that it had on Tuesday entered into a three-month $1 million term loan with an interest of 8.5 per cent per annum with Singapore-based start-up DiMuto for the purchase of fresh fruits and other derived produce and packaged products.

Singapore fresh chicken distributors fined S$27m foodnavigator-asia.com 13th Sep 2018
The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) issued an infringement decision against chicken distributors for engaging in anti-competitive agreements to coordinate the amount and timing of price increases, and agreeing not to compete for each other’s customers.

Enterprise Singapore's investment arm seeks co-investors in agrifood start-ups The Straits Times 11th Sep 2018
Enterprise Singapore (ESG) investment arm Seeds Capital is seeking co-investment partners for agrifood start-ups, under a call for partnership which was launched on Tuesday (Sept 11) and closes on Oct 5, 2018. These partners should be able to identify and co-invest in Singapore-based, deep tech, early-stage start-ups in agrifood technology, which refers to innovations that improve the efficiency and sustainability of the food supply chain. They should also be able to provide hands-on assistance in helping early-stage startups commercialise quickly, as well as mentor and connect them to potential clients.

Neo Group takes 51% stake in How's Catering for up to $4.4m in cash and shares The Straits Times 10th Sep 2018
Catalist-listed food solutions provider Neo Group is acquiring a 51-per cent stake in privately held How's Catering for up to $4.4 million in cash and shares, it announced on Monday (Sept 10). Neo Group said the earnings accretive acquisition will allow it to expand its customer base and promote cross-selling opportunities, tapping How's Catering's established corporate clientele. It added that by tapping on Neo Group's procurement and logistics network, the merger will reap cost benefits and yield additional operational efficiencies.

How supermarkets fight food waste in Singapore The Straits Times 10th Sep 2018
According to the National Environmental Agency, the amount of food waste generated in Singapore has increased by about 40 per cent over the past 10 years. This number is expected to increase with Singapore's growing population and economic activity. Various supermarkets in Singapore have adopted different ways of coping with this issue.

Singapore start-up Alchemy FoodTech raises 7-digit funding to fight diabetes The Straits Times 26th Sep 2018
Singapore-based food tech start-up, Alchemy FoodTech, has secured a seven-digit investment in a pre-series A round led by Heritas Capital Management, and co-led by Seeds Capital, the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore. The full amount was not disclosed. Alchemy, which specialises in the development of lower glycaemic index (GI) carbohydrates to tackle diabetes, said the funding will fuel its next stage of technology and product development, talent acquisition and manufacturing capabilities. The investment will also be used to further develop the firm's proprietary technology platform, complete clinical studies, and accelerate co-development projects with food manufacturers to incorporate Alchemy's technology into everyday staples.

Health & Life Sciences

Asia's first kiosks for learning hands-only CPR launched in Singapore The Straits Times 29th Sep 2018
Members of the public can learn more about cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) at eight CPR kiosks unveiled on Saturday (Sept 29), the first such booths in Asia. The Singapore Heart Foundation, in collaboration with the Singapore Resuscitation and First Aid Council (SRFAC), launched the self-learning kiosks to raise awareness of the life-saving skill.

Singapore puts health at the heart of green buildings Eco-Business 27th Sep 2018
On the final day of this year’s International Green Building Conference, Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority unveils new strategies that put occupants at the center of green building design and operations.

Parliament: Community hospitals to be added to Employment Act as approved institutions for medical leave The Straits Times 10th Sep 2018
The authorities will update the Employment Act to include community hospitals on the list of approved medical institutions for hospitalisation leave, said Manpower Minister Josephine Teo on Monday (Sept 10).

Singapore’s healthcare system tops international leader board BioSpectrum Asia 4th Sep 2018
Royal Philips released the first chapter of its 2018 Future Health Index (FHI), a research-based platform designed to help determine the readiness of countries in addressing global health challenges and in building efficient and effective health systems. Singapore’s healthcare system takes the lead for a number of key metrics. However, the report also highlights important areas of improvement for Singapore to retain its position on the world stage.  

KKH investigating allegation that expired nasal spray was given to baby Straits Times 2nd Oct 2018
The KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) said on Tuesday (Oct 2) that it is investigating an allegation that an expired nasal spray was given to a baby at the hospital.

SingHealth, NUH to stop using agents by end of Oct The Straits Times 30th Sep 2018
NUH has reviewed its use of service providers and has decided to discontinue the practice by the end of next month.

MOH puts a stop to foreign patient referral contracts The Straits Times 30th Sep 2018
The Health Ministry (MOH) has told public hospitals to terminate all contracts with foreign agents who refer patients from overseas, after The Sunday Times highlighted the existence of such a practice.

Steroids found in 2 juice drinks from Malaysia The Straits Times 28th Sep 2018
The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has warned the public to avoid buying and consuming two juice drink products from Malaysia after they were found to have caused serious steroid-induced side effects in at least five people, including a child.

Singapore: 'Scientific evidence' to guide cannabis law Bangkok Post 28th Sep 2018
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) reiterated that any review of Singapore’s position on cannabis will have to be “based on scientific evidence."

ICT

Four new members appointed to GovTech board The Straits Times 1st Oct 2018
Four new board members have been appointed to the board of the Government Technology Agency (GovTech).The four newly appointed board members are OCBC Bank senior vice-president Bojan Blecic; World Bank Group chief technology officer Lesly Goh; Ms Melissa Khoo, group director of the Ministry of Health's ageing planning office; and Integrated Health Information Systems chief executive officer Bruce Liang.

Payments infrastructure firm Stripe to build Asia-Pacific engineering hub in Singapore The Business Times 27th Sep 2018
Payments infrastructure firm Stripe said on Thursday it has selected Singapore as the site for its Asia-Pacific engineering hub.

Exploited server in SingHealth cyber attack did not get security update for 14 months, COI finds The Straits Times 27th Sep 2018
A server exploited by hackers to ultimately reach SingHealth's critical system, leading to Singapore's worst data breach in June, had not received the necessary security software updates for more than a year.

COI for SingHealth cyberattack: IT gaps, staff missteps contributed to incident, says Solicitor-General Channel NewsAsia 27th Sep 2018
A series of gaps in SingHealth’s mission-critical IT systems and staff missteps contributed to Singapore’s most serious breach of personal data that happened in June this year, according to Solicitor-General Kwek Mean Luck on Friday (Sep 21).

SMU launches AI research centre; will look at ethics and impact on Singapore’s workforce Channel NewsAsia 24th Sep 2018
The Singapore Management University (SMU) on Monday (Sep 24) launched its new Centre for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data Governance, which will look at how the technology will have an impact on Singapore’s workforce and issues involving driverless vehicles, among other things.

Singapore Warns Against Bitcoin Scammers Using Premier's Name Bloomberg 22nd Sep 2018
Bitcoin fraudsters are misusing the names of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his deputy Tharman Shanmugaratnam to tout investments, prompting a warning from the premier. “Scammers have used DPM Tharman’s and my name to solicit Bitcoin investments,” Lee said in a tweet on Saturday evening. “Don’t believe everything you see on the Internet!”

Singapore to offer bug bounty, set up Asean cybersecurity centre ZDNet 21st Sep 2018
The Singapore government has announced plans to launch a bug bounty programme by year-end as well as a cybersecurity hub to coordinate training and collaborative efforts amongst Asean country members. The bug bounty initiative aimed to identify "cyber blindspots" and benchmark the government's defences against cyberattacks, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, at the annual Singapore International Cyber Week conference this week.

New regional cyber security centre to boost defence against online threats The Straits Times 18th Sep 2018
With cyber attacks mounting, Singapore is expanding its programme to deepen Asean's cyber capabilities and enhance the region's ability to respond to emerging global cyberthreats. Singapore will set up an Asean-Singapore Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence to strengthen Asean members' cyber strategy development, legislation and research capabilities.

Singapore start-ups get help finding partners with new online platform The Straits Times 17th Sep 2018
Start-ups, incubators and accelerators, and investors can now find and connect with one another through an online portal called the Startup SG Network, the latest addition to Singapore's Startup SG initiatives, Enterprise Singapore announced on Monday (Sept 17).

Grab tracks 500% growth for tourists travelling to medical facilities in Singapore The Straits Times 11th Sep 2018
Trips to and from hospitals and medical centres in Singapore by tourist passengers on ride-hailing company Grab's app have increased 500 per cent from 2015 to 2017.

Police warn of more business email impersonation scams Channel NewsAsia 11th Sep 2018
Scams involving spoofed email addresses are on the rise, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) warned on Tuesday (Sep 11).  In a news release, the police said they had received more than 200 reports about business email impersonation scams between January and July this year, an increase of 9.7 per cent from the same period last year. ​​​​​​​ The scammers got away with at least S$30 million, police said, compared to more than S$13 million for January to June 2017.

Singapore businesses need to overhaul identity verification processes Tech Wire Asia 5th Sep 2018
Singapore Personal Data Privacy Commission (PDPC) recently ordered organizations to stop collecting people’s National Registration Identity Card (NRIC) numbers. The new regulation that will come into effect September next year, is part of the government’s efforts to reduce incidents of identity theft and fraud. However, this poses a challenge for many security and building management providers, who would need time and money to upgrade their existing verification systems to stop capturing full NRIC numbers.

Canadian startup Element AI to support AI Singapore in its Smart Nation initiatives Yahoo News Singapore 4th Sep 2018
Canadian software company, Element AI, has announced a partnership with AI Singapore (AISG), a government initiative designed to anchor deep capabilities in Artificial Intelligence to support the its Smart Nation efforts. Element AI will help local enterprises discover and define the highest impact applications of AI in the areas of supply chain and financial services.

Indonesia

Keppel, Salim Group to jointly develop data centre The Straits Times 11th Sep 2018
Keppel Corporation has entered into signed conditional agreements to jointly develop and operate a high-availability data centre in Bogor, near Jakarta, with the Salim Group. The construction of the data centre's core and shell as well as first-phase fit-out are expected to be completed by the first half of 2020, the companies said. Moreover, through the agreement, IKDC1 and its underlying 3ha land plot will be held by a 60-40 joint venture between the Salim Group and the Alpha DC Fund respectively.

Infrastructure

ST Engineering plans its largest takeover so far in US$630m deal The Straits Times 13th Sep 2018
Singapore Technologies (ST) Engineering is planning its biggest acquisition so far. ST's American subsidiary, Vision Technologies Aerospace, has entered into a US$630 million (S$868 million) deal to purchase a firm that makes aircraft engine parts. MRA Systems (MRAS), based in Baltimore, Maryland, United States, has about 800 employees.

Singapore's small construction firms likely to face debt woes The Straits Times 12th Sep 2018
Singapore's small construction firms are likely to face more difficulties repaying debt as a clampdown on property speculation worsens their already tight liquidity.The island's economy grew at a slower pace in the second quarter than initially projected as construction plunged. Singapore increased stamp duties for developers in July, and also tightened borrowing limits for individuals taking up their first housing loan, after property prices jumped this year.

Facebook to build $1.4b data centre here The Straits Times 7th Sep 2018
Hundreds of jobs will be generated from the opening of social media giant Facebook's $1.4 billion data centre in Singapore - its first in Asia and its 15th in the world. Fortis Construction has been appointed general contractor for the project, a result of a "joint experience building efficient data centres", said Facebook. Mr Thomas Furlong, Facebook's vice-president of infrastructure data centres, said Singapore was chosen for its robust infrastructure, access to fibre, a talented local workforce, and support from government agencies, including JTC and the Economic Development Board.

Keppel bags initial design contract for cooling system plant in Jurong Innovation District The Straits Times 6th Sep 2018
Keppel Corp's infrastructure arm has clinched a $275,000 contract for the initial design phase for a new district cooling system plant in the Jurong Innovation District. The contract, awarded by JTC Corp to Keppel DHCS, could lead to a contract for the final phase of the project for a 30-year term to build, own and operate the plant if JTC approves of it, Keppel said in a filing on Thursday (Sept 6) during the market's midday break.

SembMarine bags contract to retrofit 13 ships from Maran Tankers The Straits Times 6th Sep 2018
Sembcorp Marine (SembMarine) has bagged a contract from Greek shipping firm Maran Tankers for the installation of marine scrubbers and ballast water management systems on 13 of its vessels. The contract involves the outfitting of four of Maran's Suezmax tankers with marine scrubbers and ballast water management systems - to be installed between the third quarter of 2018 and the fourth quarter of 2019 - and nine Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCC) with marine scrubbers between May 2019 and February 2020.

Singapore hopes to reach mutually acceptable outcome on HSR The New Straits Times 3rd Sep 2018
Singapore hopes to reach a mutually acceptable outcome soon on the High Speed Rail (HSR) project linking Kuala Lumpur with the republic, according to Singapore’s Ministry of Transport. The ministry’s spokesperson noted that both sides were currently in discussions on Malaysia’s request to defer the project.

Malaysia

KL-Singapore High-Speed Rail formally postponed; service targetted to start by 2031 Channel News Asia 5th Sep 2018
Singapore and Malaysia have formally agreed to postpone the construction of the KL-Singapore High-Speed Rail until end-May 2020, with Malaysia having to pay Singapore S$15 million for costs incurred in suspending the project. At a news conference after the signing, Mr Azmin said Malaysia will have to pay Singapore S$15 million in abortive costs before the end of January 2019 for suspending the project.

Manufacturing

Singapore manufacturing growth slows again in August; 3.3% rise misses forecast The Straits Times 26th Sep 2018
Singapore's factory sector in August saw its lowest rate of growth this year, coming in below market expectations, with general manufacturing output turning negative.

Singapore PMI up for 24th month in a row The Straits Times 4th Sep 2018
Manufacturing activity in Singapore continued to grow last month, marking the sector's expansion for the 24th month in a row. This is reflected in the Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), which rose 0.3 point to 52.6. A reading above 50 indicates manufacturing is generally expanding.

Travel & Tourism

Singapore retains spot as 5th most visited city in the world The Straits Times 27th Sep 2018
Almost 14 million tourists came here last year, confirming Singapore as one of the world's most popular destinations.The bumper number, 6.1 per cent up on 2016, allowed the country to retain its spot as the fifth most visited place out of 162 cities and second most visited in Asia-Pacific behind Bangkok.