☕️ RM30 mil to renovate Seri Perdana Complex, PM's official residence

Tioman and Genting tourism bubble put on hold. Former PM Najib proposed to reintroduce GST post-pandemic. Tuition centre business, The Learning Lab seeking buyer for USD500 mil.

1. MARKET SUMMARY


2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE

Almost 4 million Malaysians’ personal information such as names, emails, mobile numbers, and addresses are at risk of being leaked. The database apparently belongs to the National Registration Department (JPN) and is grouped by birth year, from 1979 to 1998. It comes with a price tag of 0.2 BTC.

7.8% — Goldman Sachs’s estimate of growth forecast for China, down from 8.2% previously. Power outages have affected the country’s industrial output. The firm estimates as much as 44% of China's industrial activity has been affected.

62% of Japanese believes elections do not change things, according to the Pew Research Centre. The country’s democracy may be in crisis as voters turnout has been dropping over the decades.


3. COVID-19 SUMMARY

  • Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin disclosed that 120,974 fines had been issued for SOP violations since 2020. The cumulative amount of issued fines is RM74.92 mil up to Sept 26.

  • The Tioman Island and Genting Highlands tourism bubble slated to begin Oct 1 has been put on hold for now.

  • To date, as many as 51,123 individuals, including prison inmates, staff and their families, had contracted Covid-19. In addition, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ismail Mohamed revealed a severe overcrowding issue in prisons nationwide, with a total of 69,507 inmates as of Aug 25.


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4. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾

Politics and Local

  1. The government is spending RM30 million to renovate the Prime Minister’s official residence at the Seri Perdana Complex, Putrajaya. According to PM Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, the renovation is done after considering safety factors and the country’s image.

    The fact that the PM thinks the country’s image is tied to the Seri Perdana Complex speaks volumes about him.

  2. Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali believes the country will have 28,000 medical specialists by 2030. He added the Health Ministry had increased Federal Training Prize (HLP) sponsorship to enable more medical officers to further their studies through the Parallel Pathway Specialist Training Programme.

    Lower hanging fruit — bring back Malaysian medical specialists abroad. 2 benefits here: shorter gestation period and accelerated the timeline and having experienced practitioners to train the medical officers.

  3. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed clarified that the government did not pay RM2 billion to consultants to compile the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP), as claimed by Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

  4. Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz, the stepson of former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak, has to file his statement of defence in response to a USD248 million (RM1.03 billion) suit by Oct 25. The High Court has set Nov 9 for further case management.

Business

  1. Auditor-General's 2019 report Series 2 revealed the customs system project initiated back in 2013 was never completed. The contract was initially worth RM317.78 million for 24 months between October 2013 and October 2015.

    The Finance Ministry had also approved five extensions of time and three supplementary contracts, with the delivery date moved to Dec 31, 2020. The project was never completed, but RM272.99 million was paid to the system developer — to a company identified as '“374044-H” by auditors. A search on SSM using the company number indicates the company is Brilliance Information Sdn Bhd.

    A project management company was also appointed — “150059-H” and was paid RM7.42 mil to manage the project. Google search revealed it is KPMG Management & Risk Consulting Sdn Bhd.

    All these happened during Pekan MP’s time — during former PM Najib Razak’s tenure.

  2. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) will scrutinise 25 punitive issues reported in the Auditor-General’s Report (LKAN) 2019 Series 2. On top of the uCustoms issue above, here are a few more glaring findings:

  3. Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak wants to bring the Goods and Services Tax (GST) back as soon as the country recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic. He added that the GST could also target the “shadow economy” worth RM300 billion a year, which previously escaped paying taxes.

    If Perikatan Nasional implements the GST whilst they’re in power, they risk losing the upcoming election as the consumption tax is unpopular.

  4. According to finance minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz, the Bumiputera Agenda Steering Unit (Teraju) is conducting a study concerning 51% bumiputra equity in local freight forwarding companies.

    He disclosed that bumiputera participation stood at only 17.2% despite more than 30 years under the New Economic Policy, which sought 30% bumiputera participation in the economy.

    It’s the failure of policy. So why are entrepreneurs being punished for it?

    Syed Saddiq has questioned why the government’s plan to increase bumiputera equity ownership is at the expense of non-bumiputera Malaysians.


5. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎

  1. Ford Motor and battery supplier SK Innovation plan to invest more than USD11.4 bil in new US facilities that will create nearly 11,000 jobs to produce electric vehicles. This latest investment is above the USD30 bil Ford previously budgeted for electric vehicles through 2025, of which USD7 bil has already been invested by Feb 2021. 

    Ford will build twin lithium-ion plants in central Kentucky through a joint venture with South Korea-based SK called BlueOvalSK and a massive 3,600-acre campus in Tennessee that will include another battery plant,  a supplier park, recycling centre and a new assembly plant. The three new plants will enable 129-gigawatt hours a year of US production facility for Ford — enough to power one mil EV annually.

  2. Volvo owner, the Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding said its founder, Eric Li, launched a new company to make smartphones. The new company called Hubei Xingji Shidai Technology Co Ltd will develop smart devices, including smartphones, positioning itself in the premium segment of the smartphone market. Public records show Li currently owns 55% of the company. 

    Besides vehicles, Geely owns a Danish bank, a startup developing vehicle control software technology, and Geespace, which will make low-Earth orbit satellites that will connect to fully autonomous vehicles. China’s smartphone market has matured, with shipments in China hitting 330 mil units in 2020, an 11% annual decline, moving the attention of the major smartphone makers to abroad. 

    When will Apple’s car project see the light of the day? 

  3. Tuition centre is a BIG business. US buyout firm Advent International is considering selling the southeast Asian operations of The Learning Lab, a Singapore-based chain of tuition centres, for at least USD500 mil. Discussion is still in an early stage.

    The Learning Lab provides tuition for pre-school, primary, secondary, and junior college students in Singapore. In Singapore, it charges about SGD451 per month for four-weekday lessons for Primary 1 to Primary 4 students. It also has presence in Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia.

    Advent invested in The Learning Lab in 2014 and paid about SGD300 mil (USD221 mil) for a “significant stake”. Founded in 1984, Advent has invested USD56 bil in over 380 PE deals across 42 countries. 

  4. How to curb skyrocketing home and rental prices? Clearly not through a free market that didn’t seem to work in Berlin. About 56% of Berlin voters backed a referendum that would force the city government to buy units owned by corporate landlords. The measure could lead the government to buy up to 240,000 apartments from corporations. The rule will target landlords who own more than 3,000 rental units, affecting property giants like Deutsche Wohnen which owns more than 100,000 units in Berlin alone. 

    Rental prices have surged by 13% in the past 12 months in Berlin. Years of underbuilding has now caused an apartment shortage of 205,000 units. About three-quarters of Berlin residents are renting. Would this be a financially viable solution?

    As much as the government can borrow to fund the acquisition, it’s going to be really costly. That said, the referendum is non-binding - the government has the discretion to act on this referendum.

    News in Brief:

  5. Brent crude oil price advanced for the sixth straight session, jumping above USD80 per barrel for the first time since October 2018, up more than 50% in 2021 as demand rebounds with economies starting to reopen whilst supply remains tight.

  6. R&B singer R. Kelly was found guilty on all counts in a high-profile sex-trafficking case. The verdict is the first criminal consequence for Kelly after decades of accusations of sexual assaults. In 2008, he was acquitted on 14 counts in a child pornography case. However, he now faces up to decades in prison. Kelly infamously married Aaliyah in 1994 when she was just 15 years old by misrepresenting her age as 18 on the couple’s marriage license application.

  7. The former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham writes in her book, “I’ll Take Your Questions Now”, that Donald Trump once called her while he was on Air Force One to asked her to confirm that his penis wasn’t small or shaped like a toadstool as claimed by adult film star Stormy Daniels, with whom Trump had an affair with back in 2006. 


6. FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE 👁👁

  1. European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet shared a jaw-dropping photo of the polar lights from his vantage point about 250 miles (402km) above Earth on Friday. It’s among the best images of the aurora ever captured from the ISS.

  2. Waterfall tragedy killed two kids, swept away by an unforeseen hailstorm of water.