☕️ Google's 'magic window' - 3D, lifelike video call as though the person is next to you
10%-30%-World Bank's estimates amount siphoned from public spending due to corruption. Softbank Vision Fund to potentially SPAC its listing at USD300 bil valuation.Sea Ltd to double down on fintech.
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1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
United Nations said at least 58,000 Palestinians have been displaced and made homeless in Gaza after a week of Israeli airstrikes.
World Bank Group estimates 10-30% of cost in capital investment projects goes to someone else’s pockets instead of contributing to the project — i.e. corruption.
57,912 — number of vehicles sold in April 2021, a drop of 9.34% m-o-m.
3. COVID-19 SUMMARY
Sabah state government is enforcing a mandatory 14 day quarantine for individuals who enter the state effective today.
Selangor state government has received expression of interest from more than 3,500 companies in the state who wants to have their employees vaccinated. Selangor Menteri Besar More will share more details on the programme next week.
Khairy Jamaluddin has clarified that the Penang government was conned on the 2 million vaccine donation. The ball is now in Penang state government’s court to prove the donation is legitimate.
4. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Forecasting lottery operator Magnum Bhd showed a lacklustre 1QFY21 with net profit 86.48% lower y-o-y to RM7.52 million mainly due to high number of cancelled draws arising from MCO2.0 which also coincided with its peak period — the Chinese New Year. No dividend was declared for the quarter too.
The 1MDB-Tanore trial resumed on Monday with defence lawyer questioning former CEO, Mohd Hazem Abdul Rahman (pictured below). In yesterday’s hearing, the judge stopped former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s lawyer from asking a witness to verify purported forged signatures in bank documents. Defence lawyer, Wan Aizuddin asked the former CEO to compare the size of the signatories that sanctioned the transfer of funds various entities. Didn’t know CEOs have the capability to verify signatories these days.
To recap, in the trial, Datuk Seri Najib Razak is charged with four counts of power abuse to enrich himself with RM2.3 billion from 1MDB and 21 counts of laundering the same amount.
Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) up its ranking to the 9th best airport in the world in terms of service of quality for the first quarter of 2021 for the category of over 40 million passengers per annum according to the global Airport Service Quality Survey by Airports Council International. KLIA achieved a score of 4.99 out of 5.00 in the survey, up from 4.98 in 2020 where the airport ranked 10th in the same survey.
Back in December 2020, officials raised workers’ dormitories of Brightway Holdings Sdn Bhd and found appalling conditions being likened to modern day slavery.
A social-auditing firm carried out an audit on the living conditions of workers’ dormitories nineteen months earlier. The firm gave 3 reports and highlighted 61 violations of global ethical standards and checked boxes for 50 violations of Malaysian labour laws. However, the audit firm concluded, “There is no forced, bonded or involuntary prison labour hired in this facility.” Are audit firms really effective?
Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) has received 1,758 complaints involving dubious payments and wage issues as of May 18 2021. 1,231 were found to be baseless, 340 cases are likely false and wrongful claims and the remaining 187 cases are still pending investigation. SOCSO has been asked by former human resources minister M Kulasegaran to investigate claims that some firms were faking their employment data to obtain funds meant to incentivise hiring under the Penjana programme.
International NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) has slammed the Malaysian government for using criminal investigations to harass journalists, protest leaders and various other critics of the government. Free speech is increasingly under threat as many are facing potential prosecution and have been subject to police questioning about their work or speech — i.e. satirical artist Fahmi Reza.
5. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Post-presidency life isn’t looking good for Donald Trump. The New York State Attorney General Letitia James’ office, which already was conducting a civil investigation of former President Trump’s company, is also now probing the Trump Organization ‘in a criminal capacity’ as well. This is in conjunction with the ongoing criminal investigation by the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. This investigation revolves around allegations that the Trump Organization has manipulated the stated value of real estate assets to lower their tax liability by USD21.1 mil. Vance’s probe, apart from this tax matter, also focused on other issues, such as hush-money payments, and lies by the organisation to secure credit lines and tax breaks.
For Q1 2021, Sea Ltd, the owner of Shopee and Garena, announced it has recorded revenue of USD1.8 bil, up 147% y-o-y. Net loss widened from USD281 mil to USD422 mil, as the company doubled its sales and marketing expenses.
Shopee: USD922 mil, +250% y-o-y
Garena: USD781 mil, +111% y-o-y
Forrest Li, the founder of Sea, said the firm will scale up its fintech offerings in Southeast Asia. He claimed that the company has processed USD3.4 bil in payments for its mobile wallet in Q1. Earlier, Sea has won a digital banking license in Singapore and acquired an Indonesian lender Bank BKE to turn it into a digital bank. A less-known fact about Shopee is its presence in Latin America. It is seeing growth in Brazil, launching in Mexico and is eyeing a possible wider expansion in Latin America.
After a string of stellar IPO from its portfolio, Softbank Vision Fund, the world’s largest tech-focused venture capital firm, itself is seeking for a listing through a SPAC merger. Bloomberg reported that the Vision Fund is seeking to list on the Amsterdam stock exchange later this year and could potentially value it as much as USD300 bil.
Launched in 2017 with a fund size of USD100 bil, the Vision Fund has supported tech giants like Uber, DoorDash, Slack, Klarna and not to mention WeWork. Should it go listing, buying the shares of this SPAC becomes a proxy ownership to the private companies that the Vision Fund backs.
News in Brief:
In its ‘toughest year in its history’, Singapore Airlines Ltd (SIA) reported a full-year loss as at Mar 31 of SGD4.3bil (USD3.2 bil), widened from SGD212 mil from the previous year. Revenue plunged 76% to SGD3.8 bil.
According to blockchain-analytics firm Elliptic, DarkSide, the hacker group that mounted a cyberattack on Colonial Pipeline has accumulated over USD90 mil in ransom payments through bitcoin from 47 victims since its establishment in Oct 2020. Against the advice of the FBI, Colonial Pipeline paid the ransom of 75 bitcoin (USD4.4 mil) - its CEO explains why.
Bill Gates transferred another USD850 mil in shares of Deere, the equipment manufacturer, to Melinda French Gates following their divorce, bringing the total to nearly USD4 bil.
6. FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE 👁👁 (Beta Mode)
Google unveils ‘magic window’ that lets people chat virtually in lifelike 3D as though they are in-person.
The self-proclaimed former First Lady of Malaysia, Rosmah Mansor is usually seen carrying a Hermes Birkin bag. Here’s why these bags cost 6 figures.