☕️ MySejahtera Saga: PAC to initiate probe, Health Minister and Finance Minister to be called to testify
BNM: Malaysia's household debt amongst the highest in the region. 'Party hopping' to be defined by 3 main criteria. Axie Infinity USD620 mil hack - one of crypto's largest hacks.
1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
Why does China stick to its zero-Covid policy? One of the main reasons is because there are as many as 110,000 neighbourhood committees that keep tabs on residents, help enforce lockdowns and organise testing.
Nominees in the best actor and actress, supporting actor and actress, and director categories get a USD138,000 freebies package called the swag bag. The package includes a USD50,000 private vacation at Turin Castle and a USD15,000 spa retreat for two.
About 20,600 people in the US are worth more than USD100 mil, according to the Boston Consulting Group. Joe Biden’s 20% tax on income for America’s 0.01% most affluent would include gains from stocks, even if they were not sold by the investor being taxed. Under the new taxation system, Elon Musk is expected to pay USD50 bil in taxes over ten years.
3. COVID-19 SUMMARY
The US Food and Drug Administration has authorised the 4th vaccine shot of the two most commonly used Covid-19 vaccines for people age 50 and older — Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.
Come Apr 1, 2022, two groups of people will lose their fully vaccinated status in Malaysia:
60 and above that have yet to receive a booster dose.
Sinovac and Sinopharm recipients who refused to take a booster dose.
4. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Minister in the PM’s department Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar clarified the three main criteria to define party hopping by a MP contained in the administrative draft:
When a MP announces leaving the political party he or she contested for in an election to be an independent member or join another political party.
When a MP is expelled from the political party.
When a MP who contested as an independent candidate decides to join a political party after winning.
The enforcement of the anti-hopping law will require a re-election should party-hopping occurs to ensure the mandate is returned to the people.
Before the law kicks in, Sri Aman MP Masir Kujat announced his withdrawal from Parti Sarawak Bersatu (he was also a presidential council member) with immediate effect. He will remain an independent MP but will throw his support to PM Ismail Sabri.
Lawyer New Sin Yew shared that the planned anti-hopping law is undemocratic:
MPs will find it hard to go against their party for fear of losing their seats, leading to MPs representing the political party instead of his or her constituents.
Voters have no recourse if the party they voted decided to shift allegiances, such as Bersatu did.
His solution — lobby for recall elections where voters hold power to decide if there’s a need for a by-election if a MP is sacked or leaves the party.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) will initiate a probe into the procurement of the MySejahtera app and personal data protection. Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Tengku Aziz are among those that will be called to testify before the bipartisan parliamentary committee.
Gaja Move, a software development house, in a media statement, said that it can develop a new and improved version of MySejahtera app from scratch at a one-off cost in the region of RM6 mil and handing over the IP and data to the government as the sole custodian. To add credibility, its CTO S. Santhira said they have ‘considerable exposure to working with GLCs to know what is expected’. KJ mentioned that the amount the government is negotiating with MySJ Sdn Bhd is ‘far lower’ than RM300 mil — now, we have a benchmark for how much an app of identical features should cost.
Bank Negara Malaysia released its 2021 annual report today. Some highlights:
Malaysia’s currency in circulation (aka cold, hard cash) grew by 15.1% YoY to RM150.1 bil as of end-2021 from RM130.4 bil. Notes:coins ratio - 95.7% to 4.3%.
Household debt-to-GDP fell from a record high of 93.2% in 2020 to 89% in 2021 on the back of stronger nominal GDP growth. However, it is still higher than regional peers (see image below).
Vulnerabilities are expected in commercial real estate (CRE) given post-pandemic structural change, with CRE comprising 7.8% of total banking assets.
The widespread adoption of digital assets could undermine the effectiveness of the central bank’s policies.
No immediate plan to issue central bank digital currency (CBDC).
The five winners of the digital banking license were supposed to be announced alongside the release of BNM’s annual report. BNM governor Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus said it will be announced in the near future upon completion of legal process.
A video went viral of a contract lecturer in UiTM who was caught allegedly insulting B40 students, saying that she could not sit with the B40 group as they tend to prioritise other matters and not studies. The teacher criticised a student who did not have a computer despite being in the fifth semester and went as far as telling the student to get her elder sister to sell her gold bracelet to buy him a laptop.
The video is said to be taken last year and the student in reference has graduated. Smart move — knowing how institutions generally treat victims, he would have been suspended from his course and not allowed to graduate had he released the video earlier on. Well played!
5. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Russian President Vladimir Putin wants Ukraine troops to surrender Mariupol to stop the shelling of the besieged city. Residential areas in the city have been reduced to rubble. France, along with Turkey, Greece and several humanitarian groups, has presented Mr Putin with a plan to evacuate the city, but Putin said he’d “think about it”.
Russia’s pledge to reduce military activity in Chernihiv and the surrounding area to assist in peace talks was short-lived. Ukrainian officials believe the promise is just a distraction as part of an effort to refocus on eastern regions. Russia is continuing to reposition forces away from Kyiv.
Germany has activated the “early warning” phase” of an emergency gas law, preparing for supply issues after it joined other nations in rolling out far-reaching sanctions in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last month. Russia said “unfriendly” countries are required to pay for gas in roubles, but Germany isn’t heeding to the request. Moscow is expected to unveil new rules for gas payments on Thursday.
Meta Platforms Inc ought to prepare its legal team as a US judge ruled that a lawsuit accusing Facebook of deceiving advertisers about its “potential reach” tool can proceed as a class action. Millions of individuals and businesses that paid for ads on Facebook and its photo-sharing app Instagram since Aug 15, 2014, can proceed to sue as a group.
Sky Mavis, the maker of the Axie Infinity blockchain game, suffered possibly the largest cryptocurrency hack to date — USD620 mil — eclipsing the USD611 mil stolen on the Poly Network. The premise of putting the game on the blockchain — in this case, a Layer 2 network dubbed the Ronin Network — is to enable better security. Oops. The company said the stolen cryptocurrency hasn’t been transferred from the account that made the attack.
Grab Holding Ltd’s Head of Technology, Wui Ngiap Foo, is leaving the company to lead a new cryptocurrency gaming venture — Ethlas. Foo is set to join crypto gaming startup Ethlas as chief executive officer and co-founder next week. The startup was founded in 2021. Ethlas is a platform where players can choose between a variety of casual games, including Candy Crush, Tetris and 2048, to earn virtual money. The players on the platform have earned more than USD1.2 mil at the time of writing.
Alibaba led a USD60 million investment round into augmented reality glasses maker Nreal as it forays into the metaverse. Nreal’s two glasses products, the Light and the Air allow its users to access AR applications such as games or movies. Nreal said the money will be used to increase investment in research and development and accelerate expansion into new markets.
6. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
Jim Carrey said he would sue Will Smith for USD200 mil had the Oscar incident happened to him. What he did during the 1997 MTV Movie Awards to Alicia Silverstone was just as bad or worse:says the guy who sexually assaulted alicia silverstone on stage"I have nothing against Will Smith. He's done great things, but that was not a good moment. It cast a shadow over everyone’s shining moment…It was a selfish moment," Carrey says of Smith's Oscar slap. https://t.co/4EWHp8gFMsVariety @Variety
Pavilion KL was on fire, but thankfully no one was hurt. The mall remains operating.