☕️ "Clusterf**k" - Ukraine Malaysian embassy evacuation mission as described by a government official source
No honour among thieves-Tim Leissner stole USD80 mil from Jho Low. Read our quick coverage of the Russia-Ukraine conflict so far. Public Bank paying RM2.95 bil in dividends to shareholders for FY2021.
1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
28,000 homes in Queensland, Australia, were without power after a severe storm system pummelled Australia’s northeastern city of Brisbane on Sunday. Meteorologists said the deluge and thunderstorms would continue through today before easing off in Queensland.
USD13.7 mil has been donated to the Ukrainian war effort through anonymous Bitcoin donations, according to researchers at a blockchain analysis company, Elliptic. The median donation is USD95.
More than 115,000 refugees have crossed from Ukraine into Poland since Feb 24, according to the Polish Ministry of Internal Affairs. Anyone from Ukraine is allowed entry, even those who do not hold valid passports. Some refugees took more than 24 hours to cross the border.
3. COVID-19 SUMMARY
Communications and Multimedia Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa said the government is looking to establish ANOTHER team to bring the country into endemic — the Covid-19 ‘endemic ambassador’ team, a group of volunteers comprised of various parties.
MAEPS Serdang has been reactivated as a Covid-19 quarantine and treatment centre (PKRC) to help ease the burden of overcrowded hospitals with cases involving patients with mild symptoms.
4. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Not enough having received USD60 mil in kickbacks, former Goldman Sachs banker Tim Leissner stole USD80 mil more from the USD162 mil Jho Low asked Leissner to hold in a shell company in Mauritius. He used part of the money he stole from Jho Low (which Jho Low stole from us Malaysians) to buy a USD50 mil boat, a stake in Inter Milan football team, and a Manhattan apartment. He even confessed that he was married twice to 2 women at the same time.
A freeze order was made on the UK property and bank account belonging to former Astro Holdings Bhd CEO Rohana Rozhan by MACC following Leissner’s revelation that she blackmailed him for a USD10 mil London property not to reveal the 1MDB scandal.
Multiple Malaysian government sources shared with This Week in Asia that the evacuation plan of the Malaysian embassy staff in Ukraine was bungled, with one describing it as a “clusterf**k”. The sources say top ranks in the government were hesitant to act on Western intelligence, deeming it an inaccurate “Western narrative”.
Nine Malaysians, together with two of their dependents and a Singaporean, have made it safely to Poland as they make a run for it in a convoy of 4 cars after their chartered bus did not arrive. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a lengthy statement yesterday to deny this was the case.The remaining Malaysian diplomats stranded in Kyiv, Ukraine have managed to make their way to neighbouring Poland this morning. Nine Malaysians, two Ukrainian dependants and one Singaporean national will now make their way to Warsaw with officials from the Embassy of Malaysia.
BFM News @NewsBFM1. South China Morning Post reports that the remaining 8 Malaysian diplomats in Ukraine and their foreign dependents are travelling to neighbouring Poland by road. This comes after a chartered bus sent to evacuated them failed to arrive, due to heavy traffic. https://t.co/M2o0jXotiT
The Johor state election nomination day was on Saturday, Feb 26. Some stats setting the stage for the state election this coming Mar 12:
Record number of candidates at 239, including 16 independents contesting for 56 seats.
202 men and 37 women candidates in total.
Two seats will see a 7-cornered fight, while the rest will see between 3 and 6-cornered fights.
The oldest candidate at 71 years old and the youngest are two candidates at 26 years old.
It’s flood season once more in the PAS-controlled states Kelantan and Terengganu and the number of flood victims saw a steep rise going into the second day of the flood as 4,335 people in Terengganu and 3,222 people in Kelantan were evacuated.
The Langkawi International Travel Bubble (LITB) introduced last November saw 5,686 foreign tourists entering Malaysia through this initiative and generated RM28 mil in revenue to Langkawi’s economy. No Covid-19 clusters resulted from LITB travellers with only 1% found to be positive in Categories 1 and 2.
Heads up from Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul — you have four months left to buy cars to enjoy the tax incentives. To recap, Budget 2022 has extended this sales tax exemption until it expires by Jun 30, 2022. 100% sales tax exemption on locally assembled passenger cars (completely knocked down) and 50% exemption on new and used imported completely built-up cars.
Public Bank Bhd wrapped up FY2021 with a net profit of RM5.66 bil, +16.11% improvement over RM4.87 bil in FY2020. Other highlights in FY2021:
Revenue came in at RM19.62 bil, slightly lower than RM20.3 bil than the previous year.
Its loan book grew by 3.6% to RM358 bil.
Total deposits grew by 4% to RM380.4 bil.
Assets under management with its unit trust arm, Public Mutual, increased by 4.3% to RM104.6 bil, accounting for 34.6% of market share.
The total dividend payout is RM2.95 bil, 52.2% of its FY2021 net profit. The founder of Public Bank Teh Hong Piow’s stake of 23.4% in the banking group means he’s taking home RM690.3 mil in dividends in FY2021 alone.
Public Bank’s market cap stands at RM84.8 bil, making it the second most valuable company on Bursa Malaysia, behind Maybank’s RM105.48 bil.
5. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
The Russia-Ukraine Crisis
Death toll thus far — 240 civilian casualties.
The EU, US and their allies have agreed to cut off a number of Russian banks from the main international payment system, SWIFT — to effectively block Russian exports and imports. The assets of Russia’s central bank will also be frozen, limiting Russia’s ability to access its overseas reserves. Will money stop Putin?
Regional governor Oleh Sinegubov confirmed Ukrainian forces are battling Russian troops on the streets of Ukraine’s second-city Kharkiv.
US President Joe Biden’s administration has approved a USD350 mil worth of weapons through the Foreign Assistance Act to be released to Ukraine.
UEFA has moved the Champions League final on May 28, 2022, from St Petersburg to Paris.
Standard & Poor’s, a credit-rating agency, stripped Russia of its investment-grade status, downgrading the country’s foreign-currency debt to junk (BB+).
Ukraine’s vice prime minister, Mykhailo Fedorov, tweeted at Elon Musk asking for his company’s Starlink satellite broadband service to be made available in Ukraine.
Other International News
The Religious Affairs Ministry of Indonesia asked mosques to reduce the volume of their speakers and specify the limit of the noise level — to 100 decibels. The regulation aims to “promote inter-community order and harmony” in the diverse nation — Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim nation. Wonder what would happen if such a regulation is mentioned in passing.
The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, China’s top disciplinary watchdog, criticised financial agencies including regulators, state banks, insurers and bad debt managers for failing to meet the objectives of the Communist Party’s leadership.
Berkshire Hathaway’s operating earnings totalling USD27.45 bil for 2021, up 25.2% from 2020’s USD21.99 bil. Berkshire repurchased approximately USD27 bil of its shares in 2021 as well. Despite the aggressive buyback, Berkshire’s cash balance at the end of 2021 stood at about USD146.72 billion — sufficient to buy companies such as Unilever (USD138.1 bil), PayPal (USD129.2 bil), Sony (USD129 bil). Berkshire Hathaway’s Class A shares closed at USD479,345 per share.
Intel has set its sight on the east German city of Magdeburg to build a multibillion-euro new chip factory in Europe. Last September, the chipmaker said it could invest as much as USD95 billion in Europe over the next decade.
Inflation in the US rose by 6.1% in January compared with a year ago, the latest evidence that Americans are enduring sharp price increases that will likely worsen after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. However, Fed officials say they are sticking with their plans for rate hikes.
Edward Snowden announced on Sunday (Feb 27) that he plans to apply for Russian citizenship because he is afraid of being separated from his newborn, who’ll be a Russian citizen by birthright if their citizenships are not the same. The New York Post (NYT) reported that Snowden has been hiding out in Moscow for seven years to avoid standing trial on espionage charges in the US.
6. FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE 👁👁
A missile hitting into an apartment block in the west of Kyiv, Ukraine.
What I knew of the world map was a lie all this while… Explanation here.
Using nets to ‘catch’ water in the desert.