☕️ PM Sabri denies rumour on cabinet reshuffling
Pahang to stop timber logging due to flood. 2021 Annual Sales: Up for Proton, Down for Perodua. Iran President: Donald Trump must face justice for assassinating top general, or face revenge.
1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
475,000 cars have been recalled by Tesla Inc to fix technical defects that may increase the risk of accidents. All Model 3 vehicles made between 2017 and 2020 are recalled due to the cable harness for the rear-view camera. Meanwhile, Model S cars assembled from 2014 are recalled because of a faulty front-trunk latch.
Analysts predict semiconductor sales to cross USD600 bil for the first time in 2022, a growth of 9% from the USD553 bil in 2021. Chipmakers have struggled to keep up with unprecedented demand as global economic activity bounced back from the Covid crisis.
11 of Eminem’s solo records accumulated over one billion streams on Spotify each, breaking his own record of having the highest stream discography on the streaming platform. The rapper spent 123.45 ETH to acquire a Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT for the first time.
3. COVID-19 SUMMARY
Health Ministry confirmed that Malaysia now has 122 confirmed Omicron cases, with 71 cases coming from those performing Umrah. Based on PCR genotyping Assay done in Dec 2021, 1,220 positive cases showed presumptive signs of the Omicron variant, of which 928 cases involved travellers from Saudi Arabia.
4. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
After almost five months of PM Ismail Sabri in power along with his own ‘Keluarga Malaysia’, rumours have been swirling that he is expected to reshuffle his cabinet and appoint a deputy PM next week. Utusan Malaysia quoted a source that the PM has met with Muhyiddin Yassin to discuss this matter. However, the PM has denied it and that the reshuffling is mere speculation. His priority? To solve the flood disaster and the pandemic.
The Pahang Forestry Department has issued a temporary stop-work order on timber logging activities due to the flood situation. Pahang is experiencing flooding in many locations in the state due to the monsoon season and is particularly worse this year, with many blaming logging activities.
This was especially after a huge amount of wood debris was found in the Telemong area, which some claimed could have resulted from logging activities.
A senior MACC enforcement officer has been charged for misappropriation of RM25 mil cash evidence linked to a major corruption case. Shahram Nizam Baharuddin, 40, pleaded not guilty. This missing cash was seized by the MACC in 2018 during its investigation against former Malaysian spy chief Hasanah Abdul Hamid, who was charged in 2018 with a criminal breach of trust involving RM50.4 mil belonging to the government.
Former “flying car” minister Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof has been appointed independent non-executive chairman of Boustead Holdings Bhd, a government-linked company (GLC). Electoral watchdog Bersih has criticised this appointment of the Alor Gajah MP as it is unethical and is seen as an attempt to solicit support.
Time and time again, unqualified and incompetent politicians are appointed to business positions, which Bersih said should be led by professionals as mixing business and politics will encourage cronyism, corruption, patronage and abuse of power. Redzuan made headlines in 2019 for promoting what he said would be Malaysia’s first “flying car” capable of cutting travel time from KL to Penang to just an hour. Before we fly our cars, let’s get our public transport right first.
SK Group, the USD177 billion, second largest conglomerate in South Korea has committed over USD700 mil investments in Malaysia in 2021 and intends to invest further in the country. In Jan 2021, it announced an investment of USD553 mil (RM2.3 bil) to set up a copper foil manufacturing facility in Sabah, which will form part of its electric vehicle value chain.
SoCar Malaysia, the largest car-sharing company in Malaysia, is also a subsidiary of SK Group that has raised more than USD55 mil. It also made a significant investment of USD100 mil into BigPay, a fintech company related to AirAsia and is forming a consortium with this fintech company fo apply for a digital banking license in Malaysia.
Proton Holdings Bhd total sales in 2021 rose by 4.5% to 114,708 units for the domestic and export markets, its highest closing figure since 2014. This marked the third consecutive year of sales volume growth for the company. The total industry volume for 2021 is 505,000 units with Proton capturing a market share of 22.7%.
Perodua, on the other hand, saw its registration falling 13,6% from 220,154 to 190,291 units due to the impact of the pandemic, semiconductor chip supply disruption and the recent floods. This is below the 200k target the company set for 2021.
Interesting that Proton was still able to achieve growth despite facing the same headwinds as Perodua. Is it due to Geely, its parent company and owner of Volvo’s, transfer of expertise?
5. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
While China Evergrande Group surged as much as 10% yesterday after its shares resumed trading in Hong Kong, investors of financial products issued by the property developer protested outside the cash-strapped company's offices in Guangzhou. Last Friday, Evergrande announced a dial-back of plans to repay investors in its wealth management products, sparking fears among investors.
On another note, the company said its sales for 2021 plunged 39% from the year before to USD69.5 bil. The company also confirmed it had been ordered to demolish 39 buildings on the island of Hainan.
China’s push for its digital yuan is clever, as its e-CNY wallet app is available to download in the country’s iOS and Android app stores. The launch is timely as it is weeks ahead of the Lunar New Year. Only users from selected Chinese cities can register for the application. The digital yuan is meant to replace Chinese banknotes and coins in circulation. However, the transition seems to be hampered by the existing commercial digital payment methods such as AliPay and WeChat Pay, which are already highly popular.
The unidentified person who crossed the demilitarised zone (DMZ) between the two nations last weekend was a North Korean defector who defected back to his home country. According to a military official, the man had "barely scraping a living" working as a janitor in a suburb of Seoul. There was no evidence to suggest the man was spying for North Korea while he was in the South.
Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi threatens to revenge if former United States President Donald Trump is not held accountable for the assassination of top general Qassem Soleimani two years ago in a televised speech. Raisi called for the formation of a “fair court” in which Trump, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other American officials are tried.
Soleimani, one of the most powerful figures in the country at the time, was murdered during a diplomatic mission in Baghdad at the invitation of the Iraqi government.
London’s reputation as a fintech centre could be in taters if the electronic money institutions (EMIs) in the U.K. are not properly regulated. In the U.K. alone, an estimated 1.4 billion pounds (USD1.9 billion) courses through loosely regulated digital payments businesses daily. Moorwand, one of the 200 odd EMIs, has been flagged by a tiny lender in Denmark for having hundreds of suspicious transactions.
Transparency International U.K. reported last month that more than one-third of EMIs licensed by the FCA have red flags related to their activities, owners or directors. The EMIs are filling a gap in the market that is not filled by High Street banks or main acquiring banks, serving the “underbanked” in London.
Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes has been found guilty by the jury of defrauding investors in the blood-testing startup, convicting her on four of 11 counts. The decision came after seven days of deliberations. She faces up to 80 years in prison when sentenced by U.S. District Judge Edward Davila but will likely get a much lower sentence. Holmes is likely to appeal, but her representatives did not respond to requests for comment. We wrote a thread about her downfall sometime last year. Check it out!
Virginia Giuffre made a deal with Jeffrey Epstein not to sue anyone connected to the latter, who could be described as a “potential defendant”, according to damages settlement against the sex offender. The document, disclosed by a New York court, showed Epstein paid USD500,000 to Guiffre to end her claim. Ms Giuffre is suing the Duke of York (a.k.a. Prince Andrew) in a civil case for allegedly sexually assaulting her 20 years ago when she was a teenager. The Duke of York's lawyers are asking for the lawsuit to be dismissed as the deal made earlier in 2009 means Guiffre cannot sue him.
6. FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE 👁👁
An orangutan attacking an excavator that is destroying its habitat.
How a podcaster is shaking up the media industry.
A simple experiment shows how no vegetation on land leads to soil erosion and flash flood. Do you have any idea who is ‘House of Balak’?