☕️ Revealed: The prominent Malaysian names in the Pandora Papers
Covid-19 outbreak in a famous hotel in Langkawi. Prosecutors: sufficient evidence Zahid Hamidi corruptly received RM21.25 mil. Indonesia's Ajaib - the fastest startup to reach unicorn status in SEA.
1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
42% of women who work in the US feel more burned out than they were a year ago, up 10% from the previous year, according to McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.org’s seventh annual report. Men didn’t fare too well, with 35% of them reporting feeling burned out as well.
The construction sector in Malaysia suffered an estimated loss of RM42 billion since the Covid-19 pandemic started in March 2020 due to the Movement Control Order (MCO), according to Senior Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof.
151,737 cars sold across 26 European markets in August 2021 were EVs — electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid cars.
3. COVID-19 SUMMARY
A famous hotel in Langkawi has been temporarily closed after more than 50 of its staff tested positive for Covid-19. We’ve been told by a local in Langkawi that it’s Ritz Carlton. You can try booking Ritz Carlton on its website and Marriott will redirect you to the group’s other hotels in Langkawi. The travel bubble so far has recorded 149 positive cases since it began in mid-Sept.
Pharmaniaga Bhd assured parents that the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine for children and adolescents is safe, with more than 63 million doses having been administered to the population aged 12 to 17 years in China.
4. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Politics and Local
After the formation of Perikatan Nasional 2.0, Bersatu MP had feuds with UMNO MPs. Now UMNO MPs are fighting amongst one another as four assemblymen retract their support for Malacca’s Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali (UMNO). Two of the four, which are from UMNO have got their UMNO membership stripped following the declaration.
11 assemblymen from Pakatan Harapan (PH) and the four assemblymen will meet with Yang di-Pertua to form the next Malacca government. Will Parameswara be disappointed?
Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi allegedly received as much as RM21.25 mil from several entities when he was the home affairs minister, the High Court heard on Monday.
When Zahid’s defence lawyers claimed the RM6 million received from Chew Ben Ben, and Abu Hanifah Noordin was a political donation to Barisan Nasional (BN), the prosecution questioned why wasn’t this directly sent to BN but instead sent to Lewis & Co, a legal firm which has nothing to do with BN?
Our favourite graphic artist Fahmi Reza was arrested yesterday over a poster he made on ‘Keluarga Malaysia’. The police went as far as asking for his DNA but he refused. He has since been released on bail when he cheekily tweeted he didn’t need to spend the night in police lockup.
The outspoken Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said has been appointed as Special Advisor (Law and Human Rights) to the Prime Minister.
Pandora Papers Coverage
Further scrutiny on the Pandora Papers by Malaysiakini implicates prominent Malaysians from ministers to listed company owners:
Daim Zainuddin & family. His youngest sons became owners of a British Virgin Islands (BVI) firm by the ages of nine and 12. What were we doing when we were that age?
Ahmad Zahid Hamidi — acted as agents of a firm called Breedon Limited in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) but this was in 1996. The company is dormant and has been struck off.
Yamani Hafez Musa — the son of Musa Aman. Yamami was a director of Great Ocean Consultants in the British Virgin Islands from 2013 to 2015, alongside his siblings.
William Leong, former PKR treasurer — his offshore company was meant to manage his income as an expat, as advised by a financial and tax expert firm.
Mahmud Abu Bekir Abdul Taib, son of Sarawak governor Abdul Taib Mahmud — has directorship in an offshore company that owns commercial properties in Seattle.
G Gnanalingam, Westports Holdings executive chairperson and director — the offshore company was set up based on Standard Chartered Singapore’s recommendations.
Larry Low Hock Ping and Goh Gaik Ewe, Jho Low's parents. Two companies — one was for the purpose of property investment and another was to hold shares in Frencken Group.
Lim Kok Thay, Genting Group chairperson — but limited information available on the offshore company, other than its name, Azure Supreme Limited.
Glovemaker Rubberex Corp (M) Bhd is diversifying into property investment by undertaking a joint collaboration with Alliance Premier Sdn Bhd, EXSIM Holdings Sdn Bhd and JT Momentum Sdn Bhd (EXDJ shareholders) for the development and operation of Empire City Mall in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Malaysia’s trade for the first eight months of 2021 increased by 22.9% YoY to RM1.4 trillion. Both exports and imports expanded to RM778.49 bil and RM628.29 bil respectively, with a trade surplus at RM150.2 bil.
Malaysia Pavilion at the Expo 2020 Dubai has opened its doors to visitors since Oct 1, 2021 — the 1,234.56 square metres rainforest canopy pavilion, themed “Energising Sustainability” is net-zero carbon. The expo will run for 26 weeks.
The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has invited tenders from insurers to ensure EPF contributors’ financials are protected against the impact of Covid-19 pandemic-driven movement restrictions. The tender process opened on Sept 15, 2021, and is scheduled to be closed on Oct 12, 2021.
HSBC Malaysia has launched Visa Instalments, a buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) service for eCommerce platforms. The BNPL service has instalment plans that are offered with 0% interest rate and range from three months (minimum purchase of RM300) and up to 36 months (for purchases of RM2,000 and above).
Spend wisely. Suraya from Ringgit Oh Ringgit has an article on why she thinks BNPL is evil reincarnated.
5. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Evergrande Group on Monday requested to halt the trading of its share in Hong Kong pending a material announcement. The embattled company will sell 51% of Evergrande Property Services Group, a spin-off listed last year to Hopson Development for more than HKD40 bil (USD5.1 bil).
Evergrande’s property service business manages a total contract floor area of 810 mil sq metres and is profitable in H1 2021. Unlike other property developers in China, Hopson is in a relatively healthier position. However, Hopson with a market cap of USD7.8 bil is acquiring this stake that is 65% of its own market cap.
Deals, deals, deals in Indonesia:
Grab will be boosting its ownership in Indonesia’s largest mobile wallet, Ovo, to 90% from about 39% by acquiring stakes from Tokopedia and Lippo Group. Ovo holds a 38% market share in the country. The combined GoTo, a merger between Tokopedia and Gojek, held a stake in Ovo alongside Grab, as the companies vied for leadership in Southeast Asia. Ovo and Gojek's GoPay had also competed fiercely in the past. By buying out Tokopedia and Lippo, Grab can resolve those conflicts and focus on boosting its financial services in the region.
Ajaib, the Robinhood of Indonesia, has become the country’s latest unicorn after raising USD153 mil in its Series B funding led by DST Global and also including Li Ka-Shing’s Horizon Ventures, SoftBank Venture Asia, Iconiq Capital amongst others. It claims to be “the fastest startup to reach unicorn status in Southeast Asia”. Although the startup does not offer commission-free trading like Robinhood, it does offer lower fees compared to its competitors. It reported more than 32 mil transactions so far in 2021, a 10x increase from a year earlier.
Indonesia’s stock market is heavily driven by retail investors, accounting for 59% of trading value in the 8 months to August. As at end of August, there were 2.6 mil retail stock investors - Ajaib said it accounts for 1 mil of those or 38.5% market share with the majority of its users being millennials and Gen Z. Retail investors penetration rate in Indonesia stands at a low 1%.
Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder, participated in Ula’s USD87 mil Series B funding, making it his first-ever investment in Southeast Asia’s eCommerce space. Ula offers technology solutions to small retailers, serving more than 70,000 traditional stores on its platform and offering more than 6,000 products.
The unprecedented leak by The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists known as the Pandora Papers has revealed offshore financial assets of dozens of current and former world leaders and hundreds of politicians from Asia and the Middle East to Latin America. Here are some of the biggest revelations including the king of Jordan, Queen Elizabeth, the prime minister of Czech and the role of US states, South Dakota and Nevada serving as offshore havens.
Fumio Kishida has been appointed as Japan’s 100th prime minister and will call for a general election on Oct 31. His predecessor, Yoshihide Suga, and cabinet has lost support due to its poor response to the “fifth wave” of Covid-19.
90-year old William Shatner, the Hollywood star best known for playing Captain Kirk in “Star Trek”, will be travelling to outer space on Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin next rocket launch on Oct 12, making him the oldest person to travel to space.
6. FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE 👁👁
The Facebook whistleblower that leaked tens of thousands of pages of internal company research revealed her identity on “60 Minutes”. Her leak revealed how Facebook amplifies divisive content, how Instagram harms teenage girls, and how Facebook could potentially be violating SEC regulations.
Home price-to-income in China’s big cities vs New York, London and Paris