☕️ UMNO President: UMNO is not linked to 'backdoor government', not responsible for the backdoor move
An alternative to min wage - BNM's 'living wage' concept. Ukraine invasion setbacks leading to Putin purging its most powerful officials. Who owns Cristiano Ronaldo's image rights? Not Ronaldo.
1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
161,700 — the number of expatriate white-collar workers in Singapore as of Dec 2021, the lowest in more than a decade. The government has been tightening the criteria for businesses to hire expats to soothe the concerns of some locals that think foreigners are taking the best jobs.
Russia holds about USD140 bil worth of gold, the fifth-largest stockpile globally — 2,300 tons. The enormous reserves of the precious metal were built up over the past decade and a half, but the sanctions make it difficult for Russia to realise the value of its holdings.
Despite all the hype surrounding renewable energy, 84% of the world’s energy sources still came from fossil fuels in 2020.
3. COVID-19 SUMMARY
Parents take note — you should be receiving appointment notifications for your kids’ second vaccination in stages. If your child took Pfizer, the interval is eight weeks, whereas the interval for Sinovac is four weeks.
4. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Updates from DAP’s annual national congress on Sunday:
Lim Kit Siang, 81-year old party veteran and MP of Iskandar Puteri, dropped a bombshell that he will be retiring from active politics and he will not be competing for a central executive committee (CEC) position and won’t be defending his parliamentary seat. He has been with DAP for 56 years.
Anthony Loke, Seremban MP, has been selected by the 30-member CEC to lead DAP as its new secretary-general, replacing Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng who has helmed this position since 2004. Lim Guan Eng will be the party’s chairman.
Lim Guan Eng said they won’t work with PN after being stabbed in the back once.
UMNO President Ahmad Zahid Hamidi does not want UMNO to be linked with a “backdoor government” because UMNO was not responsible for the backdoor move. They may not be the mastermind behind it, but the fact doesn’t change that they were party to it. Zahid Hamidi said he is not jealous of Ismail Sabri being the PM as he was the one that proposed him for the post and said he will throw his support behind PM Sabri and hopes a new cluster — kasih sayang — will emerge in UMNO. Do not listen to what they say, look at what they do.
PM Sabri announced that the new minimum wage of RM1,500 will be effective May 1, and will be initially applied to big companies and government-linked companies and postponement will be sought for smaller companies. The last time it was revised was on Feb 1, 2020 when it was increased by RM100 from RM1,100. Critics worry that this will be detrimental to the economy and business, but evidence shows otherwise.
However, a minimum wage isn’t sufficient for the country to move forward. In 2018, BNM introduced the ‘living wage’ concept - a benchmark on income that is needed to attain a minimum acceptable living standard. For a single adult, a living wage would be RM2,700.
A magistrate, from passing judgement onto others, now found himself on the wrong side of the law and was found guilty of corruption and will be sentenced to a total of 58 years’ jail and an RM1.05 mil fine. Mohamad Amin Shahul Hamid, 41, was charged for soliciting bribes amounting to RM100k and receiving RM110k to not fine and jail an individual charged for possession of smuggled cigarettes. The Magistrate Court is the lowest court in Malaysia. Harapkan pagar, pagar makan padi.
Abdul Jalil Abdul Rasheed will step down from his CEO position in Berjaya Corp Bhd to ‘pursue his personal interest’. He is the first non-family member to run Vincent Tan’s business empire. When he took over, he revealed a 3-year strategic plan to reorganise Berjaya Corp — he is stepping down barely a year into the job. Following this, he trimmed his stake, selling 15 mil shares to 3.318% or 171.57 mil shares. Berjaya Corp’s share price stands at 24 sen, valuing Jalil’s stake at RM41.2 mil.
5. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Russia President Vladimir Putin has reportedly purged some of Russia’s most powerful officials because of the setbacks faced in the invasion of Ukraine. One analyst believes the top officials are likely to have given Putin overly optimistic assessments.
Russia’s central bank gave in to the government and gave Sherbank a licence to issue and exchange digital financial assets. The move is a way to blunt the effect of Western sanctions. Sberbank said it would use blockchain technology that guarantees the safety of digital transactions and would allow companies to issue their own digital assets.
At least six people have been killed after a car drove into a crowd of carnival-goers in Belgium. The car drove at high-speed into dozens of people who were preparing to take part in a traditional parade on Sunday morning. The police said a terror attack had been ruled out and said it was a tragic accident.
Both of the planet’s poles experience extreme heat, with weather stations in Antarctica (South Pole) shattered records on Friday — Concordia station was at -12.2 degrees Celsius, which is 40 degrees Celsius warmer than average. Scientists think the occurrence was an outlier and not a sign of climate change unless it happens again.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg made a virtual appearance at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas and announced that Instagram is working on bringing NFTs (non-fungible tokens) to its platform in the next “several months”. Zuckerberg did not delve into the specifics but mentioned users would be able to mint things within Instagram eventually.
On the other side of the world, Australia has launched legal action against Meta, claiming the tech giant engaged in “false, misleading or deceptive conduct” by knowingly hosting the ads for bogus cryptocurrencies. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chairman Rod Sims revealed a consumer lost AUD650,000 after falling for one ad falsely advertised as an investment opportunity.
Spotify, too, wants a piece of the action. Spotify is drawing up plans to add blockchain technology and non-fungible tokens to its streaming service — the streaming service is recruiting people to work on projects related to “Web3”. Enthusiasts in the crypto and music industry believe NFTs are able to boost artists’ earnings.
The State Bank of India has given a USD1 billion lifeline to the Sri Lankan government as the latter’s USD2 billion foreign currency reserves are quickly depleting. The credit line includes aid for essentials like food and medicines and will ease a foreign exchange shortage for the nation.
Saudi Aramco’s net profit rose to USD110 billion for the year that ended Dec 31, from USD49 billion a year earlier as the oil giant benefitted from a more than 50% rise in crude prices last year. Aramco said it aims to boost its capex to USD40 billion-USD50 billion in 2022
6. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
Ketua Puteri UMNO: “Our balls is bigger than yours.”
A very, very, very smart dog
Cristiano Ronaldo does not own his image rights - a Singaporean billionaire owns it instead.