☕️ PM playing games - another delaying tactic to reopen Parliament

Replica Mona Lisa sold for USD3.4mil. An UMNO leader facing charges permitted to leave the country to Palestine on humanitarian grounds. Baidu to deploy 1,000 self-driving taxis within 3 years.

Know more, learn more. Be smarter in 3 minutes.

The underlined words are links! Click on them to the news article.



RM14.6 billion — Malaysia’s net inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2020, lowest since 2009. However, the FDI position registered a higher value of RM698.8 billion according to Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM).

USD3.4 million — the price paid for a replica of Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’ — also known as “Hekking Mona Lisa”, 10x its expected selling price.


  • Novavax’s Covid-19 vaccine has an efficacy of 90.4% based on a study consisting of 29,960 participants.

  • BioNTech SE Covid-19 vaccine triggered more antibodies than the Sinovac based on a study by University of Hong Kong.

  • 80,000 individuals have registered to participant in the Malaysia Vaccine Support Volunteers (MyVac) initiative nationwide.

  • Health DG Tan Sri Noor Hisham Abdullah says the government is considering to implement vaccination passport for interstate and foreign travel once more people are fully vaccinated.


  1. Khairy Jamaluddin has mentioned on a webinar last Wednesday that the government is considering mixing vaccines to boost efficacy against Covid-19 variants — offering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for those who have received the AstraZeneca vaccine as their first dose.

    • The practice is known as heterologous prime-boost protocol.

    • Why? There are early studies which have shown to boost the neutralising antibodies and to be more effective against variants and AZ’s risk of blood clots may not seem worth it despite the low risk.

    • The good news is, there are at least 13 clinical trials studying at mixing and matching various Covid-19 vaccines.

    • There are four countries — Bahrain, Canada, South Korea, and United Arab Emirates who are currently doing this.

  2. Two Bangladeshi workers were injured after the metal scaffolding of a highway under construction along the Sungai Buloh - Kota Damansara stretch of the Damansara-Shah Alam Highway (DASH) collapsed around 7:15pm on June 19 2021.

    Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM) and Consulting Engineer Zaidun Leeng Sdn Bhd (ZLSB) will be required to submit detailed report within the week.

  3. Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said a committee comprising government and opposition representatives had been formed to look into reconvening of Parliament — whether it should be a physical or hybrid parliamentary sitting.

    The Emergency was declared on January 11 2021, the government technically had five months to form said committee. Well, lucky for the committee — deputy speaker Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said has listed out seven SOPs for the government to adopt a couple of weeks back. Former PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak had a better suggestion — reconvene at one of the 120,000 companies that have been allowed to operate by MITI.

  1. Baling MP Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim has been given permission to travel abroad from June 10 to July 20 2021 for the Humanitarian Mission 4 Palestine (HM4P) to al-Quds and Gaza.

    How can a person facing legal charges — three counts of bribery involving RM5.2 million and 10 counts of money laundering involving nearly RM140 million — be allowed to leave the country?

  2. Bank Negara Malaysia and Bank of Thailand had launched a cross-border QR payment linkage between the two countries last Friday, allowing consumers and merchants in both countries will be able to make and receive instant cross-border QR code payments. The project consists of three phases, with the final phase expected to go live 4Q of 2022.

News in brief

  1. Prasarana Malaysia Bhd is set to appoint Mohd Azharuddin Mat Sah, who is currently the chief transformation officer of Malaysia Airlines Bhd as CEO as soon as this week according sources from The Edge.

  2. The education ministry is looking to employ 18,702 teachers to address shortage problems in Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor and Johor.


  1. The Taiwan government has authorised Taiwan’s 2 largest companies, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co and Foxconn, both chip manufacturers accounting for 30% of the Taiwan Stock Market exchange by market capitalisation, to buy 10 mil doses of Covid-19 vaccines on behalf of the government from BioNTech. TSMC and Foxconn ‘s Yonglin Foundation proposed to donate 5 mil doses each

    Taiwan has struggled to gain access to vaccines due to geopolitical issues as Taiwan is not a formal member of the WHO. It has accused China of interfering in the government’s attempt to buy BioNTech vaccines. As Taiwan plays a crucial part in the tech supply chain, at least 5 key tech companies including multiple Apple suppliers are considering donating to Taiwan to ensure that operations continue running.

  2. Wise (fka TransferWise), the remittance fintech startup from the UK, has announced that it plans to list publicly through the direct listing method on the London Stock Exchange. In a direct listing (click link to understand IPO vs direct listing), no new funds will be raised for the company and existing shareholders will sell their shares to their public. Other notable tech companies that chose this method of listing include Spotify and Palantir Technologies. Wise didn’t disclose a valuation target but is expected to be between USD6 - 7 bil.

    Some highlights on Wise:

    1. More than 10 mil customers

    2. Process around USD7 bil in cross-border transactions per month

    3. Revenue increased by 39% to USD586 mil from USD422 mil from the year before

    4. Profit before tax of USD57 mil - the company has been profitable since 2017

    5. In Q1 2021, its average fee is 0.68% of money transferred

  3. Baidu, the Chinese search giant (market cap: USD65.9 bil), plans to deploy a fleet of 1,000 budget robotaxis, or self-driving taxis over the next 3 years through its autonomous driving unit, Apollo as it seeks to start monetising from its significant investment in autonomous driving. Apollo announced in 2013, said it has 2,900 patents for intelligent driving and 244 relevant road testing licenses in China, with more than 12 mil km accumulated of test mileage.

    Apollo currently runs free-of-charge pilot robotaxi ride-hailing services in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing. In May, it launched China’s first paid robotaxi service in Beijing’s Shougang Industrial Park 

News in Brief:

  1. NASA warned that the Earth’s “energy imbalance approximately doubled during the 14-year period from 2005 to 2019”. In simpler terms, the amount of heat being trapped by Earth has roughly doubled since 2005. Energy imbalance is how much heat the Earth absorbs from the Sun, compared to how much ‘thermal infrared radiation’ the Earth radiates back into space. The culprit - greenhouse gases from human activities. 

  2. After its hugely successful Augmented Reality (AR) game, “Pokemon Go”, which racked up more than 1 billion downloads globally, the US game developer Nianctic is set to launch another AR game “Transformers: Heavy Metal” later this year. Expect more people literally on the road battling with imaginary robots on their smartphones. 

  3. OnlyFans (its homepage is Safe For Work), a site where celebrities and adult stars charge its followers for exclusive access to photos and videos, is in talks to raise new funding and set to become a unicorn. With more than USD2 bil in subscription paid by followers to creators in 2020, a 20% cut translates to revenue of more than USD400 mil. It has paid out over USD3 bil to more than 1.25 mil creators on its platform and has over 130 mil registered users


  1. Malaysian film Barbarian Invasion, directed by Tan Chui Mui won one of the two highest honours at Golden Goblet Awards in China — Jury Grand Prix prize.

  2. Unicorn startups in Southeast Asia

  3. How do spiders escape from flood? By covering the town in cobwebs.