☕️ How a Microsoft engineer cheated the company of USD10 million in gift cards

Pointless benefit announced by FT Minister, free roadside parking in KL. USD124.8 bil M&A deals in Southeast Asia in 1st half of 2021. Jeff Bezos's 4th space crew - 82 y.o woman aviator, Wally Funk.



RM11 bil — the total cost to design and build the National 5G Network. Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB), the government-owned special purpose vehicle (SPV) that is undertaking the deployment of the 5G infrastructure and network nationwide has appointed Ericsson (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd to build the 5G infrastructure.

Private-equity firms have had their busiest six months closing 6,298 deals worth USD513 bil in total — the highest value since at least 1980 according to figures from data provider Refinitiv. Investment bankers are having a great time as fees from mergers and acquisitions (M&A) hit USD17.9 bil in the first half of the year.

49.6C — Canada’s highest ever temperature recorded amidst the heatwave which forced residents of Lytton, British Columbia to evacuate. The heatwave’s casualty thus far is believed to be 486 over five days.


  • Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) in most of Klang Valley for two weeks starting July 3, 2021, to July 16, 2021. The list of affected districts and localities can be found here. Stay safe all!

  • 27 new vaccination centres have been approved for the construction, transportation and manufacturing sectors — these PPVs will be in charge of vaccinating 373,327 workers across the three sectors.

  • AstraZeneca dosing interval will be shortened to nine weeks and those who participated in the first round of the AZ vaccination will be notified of their 2nd appointment soon.


  1. Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has clarified that i-Citra initiative is designed for members to withdraw their savings primarily from Account 2. All members below the age of 55 are eligible to apply for i-Citra online starting from July 15, 2021, which would allow them to withdraw up to a maximum of RM5,000.

  2. After the controversial press conference by Tajuddin Abdul Rahman which got him fired, Prasarana Malaysia Bhd has announced the appointment of Jamaludin Ibrahim as its new group chairman, effective July 15, 2021. Mohd Azharuddin Mat Sah will also take on the role of president and CEO after being left vacant since Feb 23, 2021.

  3. The woes worsen for AirAsia Group Bhd as it is only operating at 19% of its pre-pandemic capacity, logging just over 2,000 outbound lights planned for the week of July 19, 2021 compared to 10,800 for the same week in 2019, according to an aviation news portal, Simple Flight.

    AirAsia’s senior manager of network planning Andreu Parés Prat noted recovery of domestic markets is crucial to airlines worldwide. With the uptick of cases in Indonesia and Covid-19 cases in Thailand and Philippines not subsiding, will AirAsia make it through 2021?

  4. The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) made several amendments to Schedules 5, 6 and 7 of the Capital Markets and Services Act 2007 (CMSA) which came into force as of July 1, 2021.

    • Expansion of categories of sophisticated investors to include (1) individuals with investments of RM1 million in capital market products; (2) chief executive officers (CEOs) and directors of licensed or registered persons under the CMSA and (3) corporations that manage funds of their related companies with assets of more than RM10 million.

    • Bursa Malaysia will undertake the registration of ACE Market prospectuses, effective Jan 1, 2022.

    • SC’s approval would not be required for (1) initial exchange offerings of digital assets through a recognised market operator and (2) subscription of an initial public offering (IPO) or cross-listing of the shares in a public company or listed corporation on a stock exchange outside Malaysia.

News in brief:

  1. The United States has downgraded Malaysia to the worst tier, “Tier 3” in the 2021 Trafficking in Persons Report which can be found here. The report cited the country does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so.

  2. Despite the rakyat’s pleas for help by raising the white flag in front of their house, Kedah MB says no assistance will be given to those raising the flags while Kuantan cops deny they’ve threatened several residents and asked them to take the white flag down.

  3. FT Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa has announced on Twitter that roadside parking in Kuala Lumpur will be free from July 2, 2021, until August 31, 2021. The news took DBKL officers by surprise though, probably because it wasn’t in PDF format.


  4. Green Packet Bhd has called off its proposed three-for-five rights issue to raise RM328.37 million and instead, proposed a private placement of not more than 20% of its issued share capital to raise between RM30.45 million and RM48.96 million in a separate filing, at an indicative price of 23.4 sen per share.


  1. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, has revealed his fourth passenger to join his rocket to space this month on Jul 20 - 82-year-old aviator, Wally Funk, an aviator who trained to space in the 1960s but ultimately was denied the opportunity because she was a woman, and also as the programme was cancelled.

    She aced all the extensive series of tests and training and performed better than any other astronaut in the programme, man or woman. Fund paid USD200,000 for a ticket ride on Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic’s suborbital plane in 2010, but the company hasn’t announced its first passenger flight even after 11 years on. Watch Jeff Bezos delivering the news to her below.

  2. Mercado Bitcoin, one of Latin America’s digital asset exchanges, has raised USD200 mil from SoftBank Latin America Fund. 2TM Group, the parent company of Mercado Bitcoin, is valued at USD2.1 bil in this round, placing it amongst the top 10 unicorns in Latin America. Founded in 2013, the Sao Paulo-based company bootstrapped all the way until Jan 2021 when it first raised its Series A round. 

    Some highlights on the company:

    1. Customer base of 2.8 mil, with 700,000 new customers signing up between Jan and May 2021. This represents more than 70% of the entire individual investors.

    2. Trading volume surged to USD5 bil in the first 5 months of the year, more than the total volume it saw in its first 7 years combined. 

    3. The holding co, 2TM, owns other entities such as Meubank, a multi-wallet asset and account service currently awaiting a Brazilian Central Bank license; Bitrust, a qualified digital custodian, and Clearbook, an equity crowdfunding platform, among others.

    4. It has 500 employees, up from around 200 a year before.

  3. Asian M&A activity surged to its second-highest level ever for a first-half as Southeast Asian and private equity deals hit records. Announced deals totalled USD707.7 bil in Jan to Jun, up 75% from the same period earlier, not too far off the record of USD758.6 bil in the first half of 2018.

    Southeast Asian deals jumped to 83% to a record USD124.8 bil, but skewed towards blockbuster transactions including Grab’s USD40 bil SPAC merger, the USD18 bil merger between Gojek and Tokopedia and the USD15 bil merger of Malaysia units of Axiata Group and Norway’s Telenor merger. 

    PE-backed deal more than doubled to a record USD102 bil. Asia-focused PE funds raised USD80.5 bil as of Jun 25, up 59% from a year earlier bringing total capital to be deployed in the region to USD384.9 bil.  

    News in Brief:

  4. One of the largest Series A round, Articulate, a SaaS training and development platform that is used by all Fortune 100 companies, raised a whopping USD1.5 bil round on a USD3.75 bil valuation almost 20 years after its founding in 2002. 

  5. Oil surge above USD75 a barrel on Thursday to a near 3-year-high since 2018, ahead of OPEC+ meeting as its members weigh whether to increase the supply by half a million barrels per day starting August and gradually increasing it to a 2 mil by December. 

  6. How a Microsoft engineer identified a flaw in the company’s gift card system ironically during a test that was designed to detect such flaws and cheated Microsoft of USD10 mil by re-selling these gift cards.


  1. Yet another “dua darjat” on blatant display. Nazri Aziz, MP of Padang Rengas is currently abroad now on holiday to enrol his son in school. His kid is only 5 years old. Looks like he and his family is having a blast based on his wife, Haffin’s Instagram. Meanwhile, Syed Saddiq is busy distributing supplies in Muar to ensure the people in his constituency aren’t starving.

  2. A magnificent view of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 landing back from space after its launch yesterday.

  3. Red Hongyi, a world-renowned artist whose artwork was featured on Time Magazine’s cover recently launched her NFT for sale. Current price? 2 eth or about RM17,456 (1 eth = RM8,728).