Indonesia: Sunda Strait tsunami death toll reaches 429
The death toll from Saturday’s tsunami on Indonesia’s Sunda Strait has climbed to 429, according to the National Disaster Management Agency (BNDP). The number of injured topped 1,485 in the tsunami — likely to have been triggered by a volcanic eruption. At least 154 people are still missing, and 16,082 others are displaced. Pandeglang, Serang, South Lampung, Tanggamus and Pesawaran areas in Banten and Lampung provinces are the five districts hit by the tsunami. As tourist destinations of Indonesia, the areas were filled with tourists at the time of the accident. Authorities warned coastal residents near Indonesia’s Anak Krakatau volcano that another tsunami could strike the region. (Anadolu Agency)

Sunway REIT acquires properties worth RM550mil
Sunway Real Estate Investment Trust (Sunway REIT) has acquired lands and buildings worth RM550 million from Sunway Destiny Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sunway Bhd. The acquisition include three parcels of leasehold land in Bandar Sunway, Selangor and buildings comprising a five-storey academic block, a six-storey academic block, a 13-storey academic block together with a two-storey basement car park and four blocks of five-storey walk-up hostel apartment. It also includes sports facilities comprising a football field, basketball, netball and tennis courts. The acquisition is expected to be completed in the first half of 2019. (Malay Mail Online)

DPM: New Malaysia no place for fake news, messages that stoke religious hatred
The government will not hesitate to take action against those who threaten the peace and harmony in Malaysia, says Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. She said the government is committed towards expanding the spaces of mutual respect, sharing and harmony. “The peace and stability Malaysians are enjoying right now is a collective responsibility. Fake news, inflammatory messages and messages that stoke religious hatred have no place in the New Malaysia,” she said. The unity, camaraderie and friendship among people of different faiths and ethnicities are our nation’s strength, she added. (NST Online)

Talent, digital economy spells trouble for Malaysia next year, say experts
A majority of companies next year will hunt for talent in smart technology to cut cost and grow a digital economy, says an economist, adding that they might have to rely on foreigners to fill these positions. as the economic slowdown continues next year due to external factors, companies have no choice but to lower costs and improve efficiency through e-commerce and artificial intelligence (AI). Economist Yeah Kim Leng urged the government to create a sufficient workforce in data and artificial intelligence in every sector from next year as companies compete with one another through technology, citing e-hailing services as an example. Similarly, Fintech services will take over the roles of banks. Smart technology will be the order for every level of the service sector. (FMT)

PM launches Food Bank Malaysia programme
The government’s introduction of the Food Bank Malaysia programme is aimed at reducing the cost of living for local consumers, especially those in the B40 group. Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that the initiative could also reduce food wastage among Malaysians. The food wastage issue is a global phenomenon and not new to the country, with Malaysians producing 15,000 tonnes of excess food daily, which is then discarded, despite 3,000 tonnes of the goods still being in good condition and safe for consumption. The B40 group should be given priority to enable them to save on their daily expenditure, which would indirectly increase their disposable income to be used for other important matters such as education and health. The government has set up the Food Bank Malaysia Foundation to ensure the systematic and efficient implementation of the programme. (NST Online)