☕️ Foreign media not-so-nice headlines of PM9 Ismail Sabri & UMNO

Celebrity preacher Ebit Lew under investigation over sexual harassment allegation. Tesla to develop AI humanoid bot. Taliban humiliating US in a video - its fighters dressed up in US military uniform.

1. MARKET SUMMARY


2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE

The median wage of a chief executive of an FTSE-100 firm — the UK’s blue-chip company index — is 86 times as much as the average worker. The median pay was £2.69 mil in 2020, according to the High Pay Centre.

USD460 mil — the amount Afghanistan is set to receive from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) when its largest-ever allocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) goes into effect Monday, but it’s unlikely the Taliban will be able to touch any of it.

USD 787,483 — the price of an Apple II manual signed by Steve Jobs and Mike Markkula at an auction after garnering 46 bids.


3. COVID-19 SUMMARY

  • UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has approved the drug Ronapreve for Covid-19 treatment as it had shown to prevent infection and reduce the need for hospital treatment. However, it is very expensive — costing between £1,000 to £2,000 for one course of treatment.

  • UPDATED SOP: The number of passengers in a vehicle for those who are fully vaccinated is now according to the seating capacity of the vehicle according to National Security Council (MKN).

  • From today (Aug 23, 2021) onwards, only limited Klang Valley vaccination centres (PPVs) would allow for walk-in vaccinations for Malaysian citizens following the success of the walk-in programme that begun back on Aug 2, 2021.

  • Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim (TMJ) has summoned the State Education Department director and 779 teachers rejecting Covid-19 vaccination to have an audience with him ASAP.

  • Covid-19 immunisation task force’s (CITF) decision to stop vaccination appointments at 741 private GP clinics, several private hospitals and ambulatory care centres in Selangor was against the advice of health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.


4. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾

Politics and Local

  1. Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has been sworn in as Malaysia’s ninth prime minister on Saturday after getting the support of 114 MPs, this means UMNO is back. Congratulations to Ismail Sabri and we wish him all the best in bringing the country out of the Covid-19 pandemic!

    Guess what foreign media have to say about UMNO?

    In his maiden speech yesterday, Ismail Sabri has called on all MPs to join him in saving “Keluarga Malaysia”. He has offered the Opposition to be part of the National Recovery Council (NRC) and the Special Committee on Covid-19. Furthermore, the 9th PM said the government will focus on achieving two things — to revive the country’s economy, including restoring the well-being of the people in line with efforts to increase consumer purchasing power.

  2. After Ismail Sabri’s speech, Muar MP Syed Saddiq took his opportunity yesterday to remind the 9th PM to ensure “Undi18” is implemented to allow Malaysians to vote once they turn 18 by sharing a picture on Twitter that the newly sworn-in PM held up a poster in support of “Undi18”.

  3. Bukit Aman has confirmed the police conducted a search at the residence of celebrity preacher Ebit Irawan Ibrahim Lew or better known as Ebit Lew. Ebit was summoned to Bukit Aman on Aug 19, 2021, to record his statement over the allegation of sexual harassment.

Business

  1. Malayan Flour Mills Bhd (MFM) returned to the black in 2QFY21 ended June 30, 2021, by posting a net profit of RM128.31 mil, compared with a net loss of RM4.48 mil a year ago. The earnings were boosted by one-off gains of RM126.2 mil from its divestment of 49% stake in its subsidiary Dindings Supreme Sdn Bhd for RM420 million cash.

  2. Pharmaniaga Bhd net profit increased by 37.3% in the 2QFY21 ended June 30, 2021 to RM13.7 million from RM9.98 million on the back of the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine sale to the government. However, on a QoQ basis, net profit fell 40.8% due to the increase in expenses, finance costs and cost of sales incurred in 2QFY21The group has declared a dividend of 1.5 sen in the quarter.

  3. The Department of Statistics Malaysia had published Environment Statistics of 2020, broken down by states. People in Selangor have it pretty good — with 99.8% of its population have access to treated pipe water. In Sabah, the figure is only 89% — meaning 1 out of 10 Sabahan doesn’t have access to clean water, a basic necessity.


5. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎

  1. Another thriving business during the pandemic — medical evacuation business. Commercial airlines and private jets can’t fly travellers with Covid-19 home; however, certified air ambulances staffed with medical teams are allowed to do so. By subscribing to such service, in the event an individual or family gets infected by Covid-19 abroad, they don’t have to fork out any money for their repatriation home. Medical evacuations are costly; an evacuation from Singapore to New York can cost upward of USD300,000

    One company offering such a service is Covac Global, launched during the spring of 2020 by crisis response firm HRI. During Q1 of the year, it performed 2-3 medical evacuations a month. The number has climbed to about 12 to 20 a month now. Its memberships have increased by 500% this year, with a 250% increase in the last month alone. Covac’s business is better than it seems - 7)% of its evacuations are from nonmembers paying out-of-pocket to be flown home. 

  2. Robots, robots and robots

    1. Elon Musk announced during Tesla’s AI Day that the company plans to build a humanoid robot using Tesla’s Autopilot software. Musk said ideally businesses would use the bot to perform repetitive and dangerous tasks and the real test is when the robot can navigate the world without being explicitly told to do so (not a good idea).

    2. Disney’s Project Exo under its R&D team is trying to bring the company’s biggest characters to life at its theme park. Think Hulk, Thanos. The R&D team is creating a full-body exoskeleton in the hope that one day these characters could walk around Disney’s theme parks and interacts with guests. Disney x Tesla collaboration would be interesting - but again, not a good idea to add AI to a life-size Hulk.

    3. Dawn Cafe in Tokyo has shown how waiters can WFH. The cafe employs some 50 workers with physical and mental impairments, offers job opportunities for people who find it hard to work outside the home. There are 20 miniature robots that sit on tables and in other parts of the cafes which allows these remote workers to interface with customers

  1. China has said that the Afghanistan Taliban has become more rational than it was 20 years ago and called other nations to be more “objective” in judging the situation in Afghanistan and demanded the insurgent group to be very clear in cutting ties with other terror forces. China shares about 50 miles of border with Afghanistan. 

    The return of the Taliban to Kabul has raised fears in Beijing that the turmoil in Afghanistan could spill across its border with China’s Xinjiang region. It’s speculated that part of China’s plan is to be a major international partner to the Taliban. What’s at stake? USD1-2 tril worth of rare-earth metals, mostly lithium. 

Deals:

  1. Adobe acquired Frame.io, a video review and collaboration platform with over 1 mil customers for USD1.275 bil in cash. The company has raised USD90 mil in its lifetime since its founding in 2014. 

  2. China’s Suzhou Abogen Biosciences has raised USD700 mil led by 7 investors, including Singapore’s Temasek and Hillhouse-backed GL Ventures. The funding will be utilised to support the clinical development of its Covid-19 vaccine and expanding the pipeline of other vaccines and treatment candidates. Its vaccine, jointly developed with a research institution affiliated with the Chinese military and Walvax Biotechnology adopts the mRNA technology and is being tested under phase 3 clinical trial. 

  3. Lifepal, the Jakarta-based insurance marketplace has raised USD9 mil Series A led by ProBatus Capital, a Prudential Financial-backed venture firm. The company allows users to compare policies from more than 50 providers, getting help from licensed agents and file claims. The marketplace currently offers 300 various types of policies and has about 4 mil, monthly visitors.

    News In Brief:

  4. The summit of Greenland, which sits about 2 miles above sea level, rain rather than snow for the first time on record, which could amplify Greenland’s contribution to rising sea levels. 

  5. British supermarkets are hot assets. Whilst Morrison deal has yet to be completed, private equity firms are eyeing another supermarket group - Sainsbury’s with an expected price tag of GBP7 bil (USD9.53 bil) with American buyout giant Apollo circling the British retailer. 

  6. A small town in Missouri, Cool Valley, is exploring to give its 1,500 residents USD1,000 each worth of Bitcoin, which is more than 30 bitcoins and would require its residents to HODL for at least 5 years.


6. FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE 👁👁

  1. NSFW — The Taliban have released a propaganda video in which its fighters appear to be dressed in stolen US military uniforms and carrying US-made assault rifles.

  2. KYE - Know Your Elements

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