☕️ Good news: Thailand and Cambodia VTL starts Mar 15. Bad news: AirAsia reintroduced fuel surchages.
TGV replayed "The Batman" 45 minutes in as 'VIPs' was late.Myanmar military junta stripped citizenship of opposition members.Can someone hold on your IC and driving license? BFM Uncle in Law explains.
1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
40,743 hearing-impaired people registered in Malaysia as of Dec 31, 2021. The figure was disclosed by Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin in conjunction with World Hearing Day 2022 last week. Only 62% of newborn babies had undergone screening for hearing problems, short of the 95% target.
USD350 million aid package for Ukraine from the World Bank is expected to be approved within the next few days, providing emergency cash for Ukraine to defend against Russia’s invasion. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s government has no restrictions on how to spend it. The plan would bring World Bank lending to Ukraine in the past year alone to over USD1.5 billion.
At least 56 people were killed by a bombing inside a mosque in the north-western Pakistan city of Peshawar. The incident happened while Friday prayers were being held. Funny how Western media did not name it a terrorist incident. Thousands of people have been killed, most of them Shias, in Pakistan’s sectarian violence in recent years.
3. COVID-19 SUMMARY
Malaysia will receive its first shipment of Pfizer’s Paxlovid, the Covid-19 oral antiviral treatment, in two weeks. According to Khairy Jamaluddin, Malaysia had purchased 110,000 patient courses to be given to high-risk individuals.
Malaysia fell to the 67th spot in the latest Nikkei Covid-19 Recovery Index in February, from the 10th spot in January. The United Arab Emirates ranks 1st, followed by China in the 2nd and Taiwan in the 3rd.
4. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Glad to know PDRM is doing its job — Bukit Aman shared that the police have completed the investigation into allegations over Tawfiq Ayman, the husband of former BNM governor Zeti Akthar Aziz, receiving funds linked to 1MDB through his Singapore-based bank account. The investigation now has been submitted to the Attorney-General’s Chamber for review, and PDRM is still locating several witnesses who are abroad and specific documents.
For travellers, here’s the good news: Transport Minister Dr Wee Ka Siong announced that new air Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTLs) involving Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia will begin 15 Mar 2022 and fully vaccinated travellers will be allowed to travel the designated routes without the need to quarantine upon arrival.
For Thailand, designated airlines will fly up to 6 flights daily on the Kuala Lumpur-Bangkok route and up to 4 flights daily for the KL-Phuket route. For Cambodia, there will be 2 flights daily on the KL-Phnom Penh route. The government is in ongoing discussions with neighbouring ASEAN countries to reopen the borders.
Here comes the bad news — it’s going to be a bit more expensive to fly: AirAsia Malaysia is reintroducing fuel surcharges as oil prices near USD120 per barrel with the escalating Russia-Ukraine conflict. The surcharge was removed in 2015 when fuel prices were about ⅓ of today’s prices.
Earlier last week, the Terengganu government and state Forestry Department clarified that the abundance of wood debris in Tasik Kenyir was not due to logging but heavy rain, which resulted in a large landslide. However, data shows otherwise — satellite images via Global Forest Watch (GFW) showed deforestation within a kilometre of the lake and tree cover loss in the area within the last year, which activists said points to logging activities. About 7 hectares of tree cover loss or the equivalent to 10 football fields experienced since 2019 according to GFW. We hope Tasik Kenyir would not end up like Tasik Chini before the truth is revealed.
Imagine watching 45 minutes into “The Batman” and having to restart watching again, not due to technical glitch but some “VIPs” arriving late, having to replay it just for their sake. This happened in TGV, Vivacity, Kuching, shared by a customer that had to go through this treatment. TGV has apologised for this and is investigating this matter. We’re curious about this group of VIPs that had TGV staff pandered to them.
PM Sabri announced the Cabinet has approved the Klang Valley MRT Line 3 project and the expansion of Sabah and Sarawak Pan Borneo Highway (LPB). Also known as MRT3 Circle Line, it will cover some 50km running along the perimeter of KL city, and will have 31 stations. Phase 1 of Pan Borneo Sabah is 52% done, with full completion by Oct 2024. Phase 1 of Pan Borneo Sarawak, comprising 786km, is 78% completed. These updates have been much awaited as there has been an absence of large scale projects in the construction industry in recent years.
During its media briefing, property developer Paramount Corp Bhd shared that it plans to launch RM1.3 bil worth of properties in FY Dec 2022 — a 48% increase from the previous year and targets RM1 bil in sales in FY2022.
Its property prices range from RM300k to high-end prices as it aims to target a big portion of M40 and some T20 as well.
32% of its targeted RM1.3 bil launch in FY2022 or RM408 mil would be from its existing projects in Sungai Petani, Kedah. The balance of RM872 mil will be new developments in Shah Alam, Cyberjaya and Petaling Jaya.
The company is the lead applicant of a consortium applying for the digital banking license, which will be announced this month by BNM. It plans to allocate RM100 mil investments in this space.
Its current market cap stands at RM442.7 mil.
5. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
The Russian Grand Prix held in Sochi every year since 2014 has been permanently removed from the F1 calendar. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, virtually all global sports organisations have been forced to announce measures to curtail the involvement of Russian competitors and teams.
Russian President Vladimir Putin likens the sanctions imposed by Western nations over his invasion of Ukraine to a declaration of war but said, “thank God it has not come to that”. What about his “special military operations” that have gone on for more than ten days and caused civilian casualties? Is that not a war? He dismissed allegations that the Russian military campaign was going less well than expected and said everything is going to plan.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba frightened the world last Friday when he announced a fire had broken out at the largest nuclear power plant in Europe — Zaporizhzhia. Kuleba had initially warned that an explosion would be ten times larger than Chernobyl, but the fear was blown out of proportion (pun unintended). Zaporizhzhia has containment structures around the reactor to stop any release of radiation, unlike Chernobyl.
A temporary ceasefire for five hours agreed between Russia and Ukraine to let citizens leave two embattled cities — Mariupol and Volnovakha — were violated by Russia after Ukrainian officials said that shelling has continued. Negotiations are still underway with the Russian Federation to establish a ceasefire and ensure a secure humanitarian corridor.
Myanmar’s ruling military council stripped the citizenship of 11 members of the opposition because they had allegedly fled the country and harmed the national interest. Eight of the members are from the shadow National Unity Government, which views itself as the country’s legitimate ruling authority. The remaining three are prominent activists.
Paris-based Financial Action Task Force has included the United Arab Emirates in its “grey list” after some of its members indicated that the Gulf nation hadn’t made enough progress in tackling illicit financial flows. Pakistan, Turkey, Jordan and Yemen were also included in the list. The watchdog group’s “grey list” is not as severe as its “black list,” which includes North Korea and Iran.
US job growth accelerated in February, pushing the unemployment rate to a two-year low of 3.8%, with nonfarm payrolls jumping by 678,000 jobs. The employment-to-population ratio, viewed as a measure of an economy’s ability to create employment, rose to 59.9% Economists expect all the lost jobs will be recouped by the third quarter of this year. Will improving economic figures save US President Joe Biden’s rating?
President Joe Biden’s administration will begin the review of tariffs on USD300 bil of China imports that started in July 2018. The US and China have been hitting one another with tariffs since March 2018. Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 states that the tariffs expire four years after they were imposed unless the US Trade Representative’s office analyses their effects and consequences. The Biden administration has given no signal of plans to remove the tariffs.
6. FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE 👁👁
Vanizha Vasanthanathan, 29-year-old Malaysian Indian model, wowed the crowd at Milan Fashion Week, one of the “Big 4” fashion weeks. Follow her Instagram here. She was called “Darlie toothpaste black man” back in school.
Can someone hold on to your NRIC? BFM’s Uncle in Law explains. How about your driving license? It gets grey.
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