Thursday 20 Jun 2024
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This article first appeared in Digital Edge, The Edge Malaysia Weekly on December 12, 2022 - December 18, 2022


Digital communications minister to meet social media firms on misinformation issue

Fahmi Fadzil, the new digital communications minister, wants to combat the spread of fake, misleading and extremist content, especially on social media, reported Bernama.

According to the report, he will meet with TikTok Malaysia, followed by other social media companies, to discuss concerns about misinformation and extremist content.

The spread of incendiary content tinged with threats of a repeat of the May 13, 1969, racial riots on TikTok as well as other social media platforms was worrying, said Fahmi.

The video contents started gaining traction following the outcome of the 15th general election, which resulted in a political impasse for a few days before a unity government was established under the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Finexus partners with Leasy App to make bill-splitting easy

Finexus Group Malaysia, which specialises in data processors and financial technology (fintech) services, will work with Leasy App, a bill-splitting application, to accelerate the latter’s solutions to full commercialisation.

As part of the agreement, Finexus will enable Leasy App to access its DuitNow Request and e-wallet services on MyXaaS Innovation Platform, a software foundry specially built for start-ups to quickly build their dream applications via application programming interfaces (APIs).

Finexus is a Payments Network Malaysia Sdn Bhd (PayNet) ecosystem participant and the Leasy App was one of seven fintech start-up finalists that took part in PayNet’s inaugural FinTech ePayments Accelerator Programme in August.

Leasy App received up to RM500,000 in funding from PayNet upon winning the pitching session at the accelerator programme.

Via Finexus’ MyXaas Innovation Platform, Leasy App will be able to issue services including cards and e-wallets (DuitNow, Visa, Mastercard) as well as acquire services such as DuitNow, Visa, Mastercard, Alipay+ and UnionPay. Apart from that, Leasy App will have access to electronic Know Your Customer (eKYC), automated customer background checking, digital signing and attestation, and core banking services.

Apart from utilising the digital services on the MyXaas Innovation Platform, Finexus has allowed the creators of Leasy App to use its designated office area and work space at the Finexus Towers in Cyberjaya.

Previously, the bill-splitter app helped users capture bills and segregate them accordingly. But now, Leasy is looking to incorporate payment services, budgeting and expense tracking to aid users in making wise financial decisions. The re-launch of an upgraded version of the app is expected in January.

FWD and Artem Ventures launch RM45 mil fund to invest in emerging Malaysian insurtech and Islamic fintech start-ups

Pan-Asian life insurance FWD Group Holdings Ltd has launched TIM Ventures, a RM45 million venture capital fund, in collaboration with Artem Ventures, a Malaysia-based venture capital firm, to invest in emerging start-ups in the insurance technology (insurtech) and Islamic fintech spaces in the country.

The fund has already invested in four start-ups, including winners of the FWD Start-Up Studio, a pre-accelerator programme launched in 2021, with the aim of becoming a leading innovation hub in Malaysia.

The companies are Senang, an on-demand subscription-based insurance company; Pewarisan, an online platform providing digital solutions for Islamic inheritance planning; Du-It, a fintech company; and Blueduck, a zero-deposit insurance agency.

PolicyStreet and foodpanda Malaysia digitise delivery partners’ insurance

All of foodpanda Malaysia’s delivery partners classified as gig workers nationwide now have access to simplified insurance processes as part of PolicyStreet’s commitment to closing the insurance protection gap among gig workers.

The process, which affects over 10,000 delivery partners, is an extension of PolicyStreet and foodpanda Malaysia’s efforts to insure and protect delivery partners’ social and financial welfare, which began in 2020.

Through PolicyStreet’s latest digital solution, the Gig Workers’ Claims Portal, delivery partners can check their insurance coverage status and submit and monitor their claims’ progress on the go. The proprietary technology can be rolled out to p-hailing companies nationwide in Malaysia and countries such as Singapore and Australia. P-hailing is defined as services involving the delivery of food, drinks and parcels using motorcycles.

Traditionally, delivery partners who receive insurance cannot monitor their coverage status and must undergo a complicated and time-consuming process to manually submit their insurance claims. This inefficiency results in opportunity cost for delivery partners and impacts their trust in the insurance coverage promised to them.

Razer Merchant Services obtains Mastercard’s direct acquiring licence

Razer Merchant Services (RMS), the business-to-business (B2B) arm of Razer Fintech, has attained the Mastercard Direct Acquiring Licence, Mastercard Digital Enablement Service (MDES), and Click to Pay (C2P) features in Malaysia. This enables RMS’ merchants to seamlessly connect to Mastercard products and solutions.

Mastercard’s payment solutions will be accessible to RMS merchants across various industry verticals, including market traders, hawkers, e-hailing, e-sports, on-demand services, government, and education partners, with the card scheme enabling merchants to offer card payments supported by seamless onboarding and security.

RMS’ holistic card scheme payment ecosystem will also enhance its offerings to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and micro businesses through the RMS Virtual Terminal (VT) mobile application, which turns merchant smartphones into payment terminals. The VT App will seamlessly deploy contactless card payment acceptance through “Tap-on-Phone” technology to ensure its current merchant base of 40,000 QR payment touchpoints can conveniently accept payments.

The MDES certification will act as an added layer of security through the encryption of a cardholder’s 16-digit account number using a token. The token would only be known to the cardholder.

Another Mastercard feature to be rolled out by RMS to its merchant customers is the C2P feature, which delivers streamlined payments across digital checkouts and networks. It provides a standardised user experience for guest checkout by reducing clicks and checkout friction, while mitigating fraudulent transactions by protecting one-time passwords and detecting bots to ensure industry-standard authentication protocols and network tokenisation.

Equinix Inc enters Malaysia with data centre in Johor

Equinix Inc announced its market entry into Malaysia with an initial investment of US$40 million (RM175 million). The company plans to build a new International Business Exchange (IBX) data centre in Johor called JH1.

JH1 is scheduled to begin operations in early 2024. The data centre will provide 500 cabinets and 1,960 sq m of colocation space. The two-storey facility will be located at Nusajaya Tech Park (NTP) in Iskandar Malaysia. Equinix will have the option of acquiring additional land in NTP to build a second facility.

Equinix provides digital, interconnection and data centre services. This expansion marks its second foray into Asean, following recently announced plans to expand into Indonesia. In Asia-Pacific, Equinix currently has 51 data centres.

Malaysia is seen as a strategic market for Equinix to expand into as the country’s digital economy is forecast to reach US$34 billion in gross merchandise value in 2025 and it is one of the top three largest data centre colocation markets in Southeast Asia. With the proliferation of cloud services by major cloud service providers, Malaysia’s data centre market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 9.8% in the coming years.

SuperDNA and DOC2US ink MoU to provide genetic testing and blood screening services

Genetic testing start-up SuperDNA Sdn Bhd and DOC2US, a digital health platform and the largest e-prescriptions issuer, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to provide locals access to the preventive health ecosystem through their bundled packages for genetic testing and blood screening.

The collaboration looks to address the growing occurrence of non-communicable diseases (NCD) among Malaysians, with nearly two-thirds of adult Malaysians suffering from at least one type of NCD. Through holistic health screening solutions, both parties hope to boost personalised preventive healthcare and thereby address the growing concern.



IIX Growth Fund: Addressing the gender funding gap

Women-focused businesses in South and Southeast Asia are faced with a funding gap that limits their ability to implement their innovative business solutions for a sustainable world.

Targeted at women-focused small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in need of working capital, the IIX Growth Fund (IGF) Loan Facility — which was developed during the Covid-19 pandemic — helps scale their impact with loans tailored to their financial needs and repayment capabilities.

The IGF, which is being managed by Singapore-based firm Impact Investment Exchange Pte Ltd, strategically deploys capital to support the growth of these entities, filling the funding gap and accelerating inclusive growth in the region.

Applications are now open to enterprises that meet the eligibility criteria: enterprises advancing women’s empowerment (through female ownership, leadership, or empowering women as employees, customers or suppliers); having a strong positive impact on society or the environment; having an annual revenue of more than US$100,000; being profitable or having a clear path to profitability; being impacted by Covid-19 or other external events; and having operations in South or Southeast Asia.

Founders from the specified region will be prioritised. For more information and to apply for the loan, visit



Raja Teh Maimunah Raja Abdul Aziz joins AEON Consortium as CEO of its digital bank

AEON Consortium has appointed Raja Teh Maimunah Raja Abdul Aziz as its CEO. Prior to joining the consortium, Raja Teh was the managing director of wholesale banking at AmBank Group.

The seasoned banker had held various positions in the past, including CEO and managing director of Hong Leong Islamic Bank and chief operations officer of digital innovation and transaction banking at Hong Leong Group. She also served at Pengurusan Danaharta Nasional Bhd — the national asset management and debt recovery agency — during the 1997/98 Asian financial crisis.

AEON Consortium was one of five consortiums that were awarded a digital bank licence by the Ministry of Finance and Bank Negara Malaysia. The digital bank is expected to be launched by the end of next year.

Ivanti appoints Michelle Hodges and John Beuchert

Ivanti, the provider of the Ivanti Neurons automation platform that discovers, manages, secures and services IT assets from cloud to edge, recently announced the appointment of Michelle W Hodges as senior vice-president of global channels and alliances and John Beuchert as vice-president of global partner programmes and strategy.

Beuchert and Hodges have joined Ivanti to lead channel strategy and accelerate growth by enabling partners to leverage the full breadth of capabilities available in the Ivanti Neurons solutions with its customers.

Hodges has global experience working with companies in international expansion both in operating and go-to-market strategies. Beuchert is a channel executive who has driven double-digit sales growth by building productive relationships around global channel strategy, analytics and incentive-based programmes with software-as-a-service and Fortune 500 background.



Floodland: A climate change, city builder strategy game

This post-apocalyptic city builder uses a realistic catastrophe as the foundation — climate change. The game tasks players with rebuilding society after melting polar ice caps have ravaged civilisation, reducing land masses to war-torn islands. Electricity is a memory of the past and all that remains are bands of nomadic survivors and scant resources.

The game forces players to deal with trade-offs that exist in real-world decision-making. For example, as players forage for resources, they encounter other survivors. They then need to manage the population influx and appease a diverse array of ideologies, some of which may clash with their leadership decisions. That can lead to dissent, uprisings or even death. Players also need to create laws for this new society, which can affect everything from water consumption to recycling.

The game is available for purchase on Steam and costs RM90. Reviews on Steam are mixed, but most reviewers recommend it as an entertaining and educational game.



How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell

In a world where addictive technology is designed to buy and sell our attention and our value is determined by our 24/7 data productivity, it can seem impossible to escape. But in this inspiring field guide to dropping out of the attention economy, artist and critic Jenny Odell shows us how we can still win back our lives.

Odell sees our attention as the most precious — and overdrawn — resource we have. And we must actively and continuously choose how we use it. We might not spend it on things that capitalism has deemed important, but once we can start paying a new kind of attention, she writes, we can undertake bolder forms of political action, reimagine humankind’s role in the environment, and arrive at more meaningful understandings of happiness and progress.

Far from the simple anti-technology screed or the back-to-nature meditation we read so often, How to do Nothing is an action plan for thinking outside of capitalist narratives of efficiency and techno-determinism. Provocative, timely and utterly persuasive, this book will change how you see your place in our world. — Amazon



A game changer for videos and stills

Canon Marketing Malaysia has introduced the EOS R6 Mark II full-frame camera, the RF 135mm f/1.8L IS USM lens and the Speedlite EL-5 as new additions to its line-up.

The EOS R6 Mark II is the first camera to support focus breathing correction. This reduces unwanted changes in angle of view during focus transitions. The EOS R6 Mark II also supports high-quality live streams with USB Video Class (UVC) and USB Audio Class (UAC) compatibility. This enables Full HD 30p video and audio to be delivered to computers in real time.

Through deep learning-based algorithms, the full-frame camera adds horses, trains and aeroplanes to the existing subjects that are able to be detected. Tracking performance has also improved due to deep learning technology, even with changes in posture, orientation and ambient brightness.

Armed with a newly developed 24.2 megapixel full-frame image sensor, the EOS R6 Mark II also supports 5GHz wireless connections for better smartphone connectivity. Designed for power efficiency, it can shoot up to 760 shots on a single battery charge.

Canon’s first professional 135mm prime lens for the RF mount is also equipped with built-in optical image stabilisation with up to 5.5 stops. With a compatible camera, it can achieve up to eight stops of image stabilisation.

Finally, the Speedlite EL-5 achieves faster and more stable communication with the camera, which improves overall performance and reliability. It is able to emit continuous flashes for about 95 times or more at full output with expanded wireless flash functionality.



‘Magic avatars’

An influx of striking and vivid artificial intelligence-created portraits flooded social media platforms last week. Created by Lensa, an editing app built by Prisma AI, the portraits are rendered images of faces.

The app, which has been around since 2018, analyses a user’s selfies to create what it calls “Magic Avatars”. Unlike OpenAI’s DALL-E mini, which creates realistic images from text descriptions but is unable to produce unique images due to a lack of data to produce an accurate representation of a specific person, Lensa is able to churn out vibrant portraits based on 10 to 20 selfies, promising hundreds of artworks created by “#artificialintelligence for you”.

The app, which is available on the App Store and Google Play, can analyse a user’s selfies to create custom Magic Avatars. Though the app is free to download, Magic Avatars require an in-app purchase each time a pack is ordered.

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