☕️ McDonald's Malaysia RM1.35 bil Vision 2026 plan to open 205 new outlets, hiring 50,000 new workers (100% locals)
EPF's first net withdrawals in 20 years of RM58.2bil in 2021.Khazanah's 2021 profits of RM670 mil, but paying RM2bil dividends to govt.Germany's USD90bil reparations to Holocaust survivors since 1952.
1. MARKET SUMMARY
The global benchmark for oil prices, Brent crude, breached USD113 a barrel, its highest level since June 2014, no thanks to the ongoing Ukraine crisis.
31 countries of the International Energy Agency agreed to release 60 mil barrels of oil from their emergency reserves of 1.5 bil barrels, making this the fourth reserve drawdown in its history since creation in 1974. Russia is the world’s third-largest oil producer and the largest exporter, exporting about five mil barrels per day, with 60% going to Europe and 20% to China.
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
25.4% of the world’s wheat is supplied by Russia and Ukraine together (data in 2019), according to the Observatory of Economic Complexity. The Ukraine crisis gives trouble to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries, some of the world’s biggest consumers of wheat. Egypt is the world’s biggest wheat importer, importing USD4 bil annually.
70 Japanese men, including 50 former members of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces and two veterans of the French Foreign Legion, had applied to be Ukraine’s volunteers to fight Russia’s invasion.
EUR648 mil (USD720 mil) will be extended by Germany to Holocaust survivors globally to provide home care and supportive services that will benefit roughly 120,000 impoverished Holocaust survivors. Germany has paid out USD90bil since 1952 to individuals that suffered persecution by the Nazis.
3. COVID-19 SUMMARY
Malaysian made ProDetect® COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test has obtained a 100% accuracy score in the well-regarded External Quality Assessment Programme (EQAP) conducted by the European Society for external quality assessment (EsFEQA). Manufactured in Malaysia by Medical Innovation Ventures Sdn Bhd (Mediven), the test kit can screen for all variants of concern, including Delta and Omicron.
Hong Kong confirmed a new record of more than 55,000 coronavirus cases yesterday. Private hospitals have been urged to step in to fight the city’s worsening outbreak.
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4. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
MACC investigation updates by Minister in the PM’s Department (Parliament and Law) Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar:
Muhyiddin Yassin: cleared. No criminal wrongdoing and the audio clip allegedly featuring Muhyiddin’s voice suggesting to entice UMNO defectors with minister posts and positions in GLC.
Tajuddin Abdul Rahman: cleared. No evidence of abuse of power was found against the former Prasarana non-executive chairman over allegations that he was pulling strings in a project that a family-linked company was involved in. He was fired from his Prasaran position over his horrific press conference over the Kelana Jaya LRT collision.
Xavier Jayakumar: ongoing. The Kuala Langat MP was investigated after Perak PKR deputy chief MA Thinagaran, who is closely linked to Xavier, was arrested over a development project in Perak.
Did you notice the similarity in (1) and (2), which (3) didn’t have?
Najib Razak argued in Parliament that not a single sen of public funds was used to repay the principal amount of 1MDB debts as it was paid by various entities such as Goldman Sachs, KPMG, Deloitte etc.
He further adds that it is “not correct to suggest that the people have to pay or bear the 1MDB debts”. With RM38.81 bil of 1MDB debt is still outstanding, it is still likely that public coffers will be tapped eventually to pare down 1MDB’s debt. Who was the one signing off 1MDB’s debt in the first place?Chaos erupted in the Dewan Rakyat today after ex-PM Najib Razak claimed that 1MDB debts have never been paid by administrations that have taken over since the fall of BN in GE14. “Janganlah kita memberikan alasan hutang 1MDB merosakkan kewangan negara,” he said.
BFM News @NewsBFM1. The US DOJ has repatriated an additional US$452 million in misappropriated 1MDB funds to Malaysia, bringing the total sum returned to over US$1.2 billion. The money was laundered through major financial institutions worldwide, including in the US, Singapore, and Switzerland. https://t.co/VBlZ9nEWu5
By now, you would have heard about EPF’s 2021 dividend - 6.1% for conventional savings and 5.65% for shariah savings, higher than pre-pandemic 2019. In terms of absolute amount, the payout hit an all-time high of RM56.72 bil. EPF’s total investment assets end-2021 stood at RM1.008 tril, with 63.4% invested in domestic markets.
A total of RM110 bil was withdrawn as Covid-19 relief measures in 2020 and 2021, resulting in EPF experiencing its first net withdrawals in 20 years with a negative net contribution of RM58.2 bil in 2021.
EPF will allocate RM1bil for pre-IPO companies. Being the largest institutional fund in the country, it holds 15% of Bursa Malaysia’s market value and 25% of Malaysian government bonds.
Khazanah Nasional, the nation’s sovereign wealth fund, recorded a lower profit from operations of RM670 mil in 2021 as compared to RM2.9 bil in the year before. Its net asset value grew to RM86 bil in 2021 from RM79 bil in the previous year and declared a dividend of RM2 bil to the government for 2021. The SWF said it does not have any exposure to Russian bonds or equities.
Top Glove, the world’s largest glove manufacturer, suffered losses of RM3.6 bil during the period a “Withhold Release Order” was imposed on Jul 15, 2020 by the US Customs Border & Protection on the company on allegations of forced labour practices. The WRO restriction was lifted on Sep 10, 2021.
McDonald’s Malaysia is investing RM1.35 bil to open 205 new outlets as part of its 5-year business plan, Vision 2026. In the process, it will create 50,000 new jobs for Malaysians as it committed to hiring 100% locals. This plan will bring its total number of outlets to 500 by 2026. It currently has 318 restaurants with 15,000 workers nationwide.
MBSB Bank is suing tycoon Halim Saad over an unpaid mortgage of more than RM106.8 mil for Kolej Yayasan Saad in Melaka. Halim is the guarantor for the financial facilities provided by MBSB Bank. The college was founded by Halim to pay tribute to his late father and contribute back to society.
5. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Russia must stop bombing Ukrainian cities before meaningful talks on a ceasefire could start. Zelenskiy also wants NATO members to impose a no-fly zone to stop the Russian air force. Glib Mazepas, who lives downtown in Ukraine's second city, Kharkiv, says every noise he now hears he assumes could be a Russian strike, highlighting the terrors of living under Russian aerial bombardment.
Russia’s biggest bank, Sberbank said Wednesday it is withdrawing from Europe, given exceptional outflows of deposits and fears for its staff. Sberbank's London-listed shares plunged 95% to USD0.01, having traded at USD16.12 at the start of 2022.
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi voiced his concerns about the harm to civilians in Ukraine to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in a call. Wang Yi acknowledged the conflict was a “war” rather than a “special military operation” described by Russia. However, China has refrained from publicly calling for a ceasefire or describing the war as an “invasion”. Could China’s intervention be the silver bullet to stopping the crisis?
In his State of the Union address, US President Joe Biden has told Congress that Russian President Vladimir Putin has no idea what is coming (from the US) after the latter decided to invade Ukraine. Biden said Putin's war was premeditated and unprovoked and added Putin rejected repeated efforts at diplomacy. The US also bans Russian aircraft from American airspace, following similar bans by Canadian and European authorities.
Netflix announced that it would be acquiring Next Games, a developer of mobile games in Finland, for a total value of €65 million (USD72 million) as the streaming giant wants to build out its gaming content to complement its video catalogue. Next Games developed some of Netflix’s biggest draws, such as Stranger Things and The Walking Dead. Would Netflix’s bet on video gaming pay off?
China’s Haidilao billionaire founder Zhang Yong has stepped down as CEO and will shift his focus to long-term strategic planning. Yang Lijuan, 43, formerly deputy CEO and chief operating officer, succeeded on Mar 1. Haidilao expanded store numbers aggressively in early 2020, only to close 300 stores later. Last week, the company warned that it expects to report a 2021 net loss of up to 4.5 billion yuan (USD712 mil) due to store closures.
19-year-old Jack Sweeney, who tracked Elon Musk’s private jet, is now doing the same to Russian oligarchs as they come under increasing international pressure over the country’s invasion of Ukraine. The account gained more than 200,000 followers in just a matter of days.
In a historic reorganisation, Ford Motor Co will separate its fast-growing electric vehicle (EV) operations from its legacy combustion engine business. The EV’s operations will be named Ford Model e, while the combustion engine business will be called Ford Blue. The split-up is meant to cultivate a start-up culture and provide unbridled innovation. Ford said it plans to make two million EVs annually by 2026.
6. FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE 👁👁
‘Banjir Balak’ in Tasik Kenyir.
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope captured three galaxies crashing into each other 681 mil light-years away from Earth.
Stephen Curry, the legendary NBA 3-pointer. Scary accuracy (but during practice session)