☕️ Cuti-cuti Langkawi - first tourist destination in the country to reopen

18 Malaysian unis ranked in Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022. BNM joining forces with other central banks on CBDC. Whatsapp fined USD266 mil in EU for mismanagement of user data.

1. MARKET SUMMARY


2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE

26 minutes of nap time can bring alertness improvements of up to 54% and job-performance improvements by 34%, according to NASA’s research on its pilots. Power naps between 10 to 20 minutes are the most ideal as you’ll get the most benefit from a sleep cycle without any of the grogginess associated with longer sleeping periods.

USD2.3 trillion — the potential economic damage to the world economy through 2025 if rich nations do not do their part to vaccinate the world according to The Economist. The poorer people will suffer the most. The United States has wasted at least 15 mil doses of the Covid-19 vaccine since March 2021, according to CDC.

€97 million is spent annually by hundreds of companies, groups and business associations lobbying EU institutions according to a report from Corporate Europe Observatory and LobbyControl.


3. COVID-19 SUMMARY

  • National Recovery Plan Updates: Beginning Sept 4, 2021, Malacca will move to Phase 2 and Negeri Sembilan will move to Phase 3. Langkawi will be the first tourist destination in the country to reopen as part of a travel bubble pilot project from Sept 16, 2021.

  • Less than a week in office, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin is making strides as he announced the government has set a ceiling price of RM16 (wholesale) and RM19.90 (retail) for Covid-19 self-test kits. The prices will take effect on Sept 5, 2021.

  • Penang will receive more than one million Covid-19 vaccine doses this month — 760k of Pfizer, 200k of Sinovac, 40k of AZ, and 15k of Cansino.


4. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾

Politics and Local

  1. 18 Malaysian universities have been ranked in the latest edition of the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2022, with Universiti Malaya being the highest-ranked Malaysian university as it was in the top 301 to 350 universities globally for the fourth straight year.

  2. Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari will hold off the controversial de-gazettement process involving the Kuala Langat (North) Forest Reserve after meeting with PKR leaders, according to the party’s communications director Fahmi Fadzil.

    One fun fact — when the de-gazettement plan was first published, Titian Jutaria Sdn Bhd and Menteri Besar Incorporated (MBI) - were later revealed to be the proposed developers. Titian Jutaria SB had Selangor Crown Prince Tengku Amir Shah Sultan Idris Shah as a director. The company has since been dissolved.

  3. Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun clarified he did not reject nor was he involved in the decision-making process on any motion to remove him as Dewan Rakyat Speaker as it would be a conflict of interest. He said his office did receive the motions for him to vacate his position and these motions have been handed over to Deputy Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon.

  4. The Court of Appeal supports the High Court’s decision to dismiss the government’s forfeiture of RM192.9 million against Umno, Wanita MCA and seven others. The prosecution failed to convince the judges that the monies the parties received from Datuk Seri Najib Razak are from sovereign investment company 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

    In a USD8 bil civil suit by 1MDB and its subsidiaries against Datuk Seri Najib Razak and seven others, the modus operandi has been revealed in a 246-page statement of claim:

    • Allegedly, former PM Najib Razak would use his position to identify projects involving the larger national interests of 1MDB — 1Malaysia branding.

    • These projects require substantial funding.

    • Tight timelines are imposed, pressuring the 1MDB’s board to approve and proceed.

    • Once funds have been raised, a substantial portion, if not all, are expeditiously siphoned off and fraudulently misappropriated for improper purposes.

  5. The Kuala Lumpur Air Traffic Control Centre (KLATCC) has started operating from its new base in Sepang since Sept 1, 2021. The new airspace structure has new airways, new departures and arrival standards, alongside a new back-end system — all these upgrades would increase the landing capacity at KLIA from 78 to 108 aircraft per hour.

Business

  1. Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) will join Project Dunbar, joining forces Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and South African Reserve Bank (SARB) with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Innovation Hub, to test the use of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) for international settlements.

    We wonder if they have heard of this wonderful creation called Bitcoin.

  2. Pete Chareonwongsak, CEO of Teleport, expects its latest acquisition of Penang-founded delivery platform Delivereat will contribute an additional 20% in revenue to Teleport’s current 6-9% week-on-week growth by the end of 2021.

  3. The annual RISE Conference will remain in Hong Kong until 2026 after the tech conference’s organisers have dropped plans to move to Malaysia in 2022 as it is no longer feasible.

    Well, Malaysia’s coronavirus outbreak is still far from over. As the RISE conference brings together CEOs, startups and investors, Malaysia lost a major opportunity to attract tech talent.


5. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎

  1. Facebook-owned WhatsApp was ordered to pay EUR225 mil (USD266 mil) penalty for failing to be transparent about how it manages personal information under European Union data protection law. Europe’s main privacy watchdog, the Irish Data Protection Commission, said it found violations in the way Whatsapp explained how it processed users’ and non-users’ data, as well as how the data is shared between Whatsapp and other Facebook companies. 

    This fine came weeks after Amazon was hit with a record EUR746 mil (USD887 mil) penalty in Luxembourg, for processing personal data in violation of’s General Data Protection Regulation. 

  2. Singapore will become the first major financial hub in Asia to allow for the listing of SPACs or blank-check companies. The Singapore Exchange released on Thursday new rules for SPACs to be listed on its main board. Following market consultation, SGX’s regulatory arm halved the minimum capitalisation requirement for SPAC listing to SGD150 mil from its proposal issued in March, bringing it in line with that in the US. 

    A spokesperson from the Monetary Authority of Singapore said these new SPAC rules gives Singapore “a regional first-mover in serving Asia’s fast-growing new tech and new economy companies’ financing needs”. Elsewhere in the region, South Korea and Malaysia allow SPAC listings, however, neither market has hosted a deal in years. 

  3. Thailand’s largest conglomerate Charoen Pokphand (CP) Group will reorganise and merge operating companies of its Lotus’s and Siam Makro retail chains in a deal worth about THB218 bil (USD7 bil). Siam Makro is Thailand’s biggest operator of cash-and-carry stores. According to a statement by Siam Makro, the merger will strengthen the group’s hypermarket business and support long-term strategies to become a leader in the retail and wholesale business.

    An interesting story about CP and Tesco. In Mar 2020, CP Group agreed to buy back the Thai and Malaysian operations of British grocer Tesco for USD10.57 bil. Lotus’s was originally formed in 1994 but CP had to sell its assets after the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997 to Tesco, a decision CP’s founder Dhanin Chearavanont called “a momentous decision” to protect CP Group. 

    News in Brief:

  4. The combined market cap of Tencent and Alibaba, the top 2 most valuable Chinese companies, has plunged USD330 bil since the end of last year under regulatory pressure by Beijing. 

  5. Vast Bank, established more than 35 years ago, became the first federally chartered bank in the US to offer the ability to buy, sell and custody Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies directly from customers’ checking accounts. 

  6. CZ Chao, the CEO of Binance said its US arm is planning for an IPO  in the coming 3 years and that it is about to close a large private fundraising round in the next 2 months. He said that Binance generated profits as high as USD1 bil in the last year, 3x the net income posted by Coinbase. 

  7. Lithium, potentially the “new oil”, is one of the key compounds used by battery manufacturers. It reached USD14,386 a metric ton in August, up +134% from USD6,124 in December with EV manufacturers fueling demand for lithium-ion batteries. 


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