☕️ All about road tax

After retail & F&B, 99Speedmart wants to go into banking. How shopping helps with early detection of the often late-diagnosed ovarian cancer. Nurul Izzah steps down but to a new role.



1.2 billion smartphones were shipped in 2022, the lowest since 2013. Despite the lacklustre line-up of iPhone from Apple last year, the most valuable company in the world dominated the global smartphone market — clocking the highest-ever shipment share of 18%, achieving an all-time high revenue share of 48% and capturing its highest-ever operating profit share of 85%. Apple was able to weather a year already marred by economic and geopolitical turmoil better than other major smartphone players

USD630 mil worth of cryptocurrency assets was stolen by North Korea in 2022, according to the currently confidential United Nations report seen by the Reuters news agency. The figure is the highest ever. A US-based blockchain analytics firm last week reached the same conclusion.

RM172.3 mil — the cost of infrastructure damage after several waves of floods that hit Kelantan since 2021, according to Menteri Besar Ahmad Yakob. The assessed damage based on recorded data included roads, bridges, irrigation and drainage systems, jetties and slopes. The silver bullet to mitigate floods in Kelantan seems to be the Sungai Golok Integrated River Basin Development Project (PLSB), which the MB hopes the federal government could expedite the construction.


No more stick-on-windshield road tax for private vehiclesTransport Minister Anthony Loke announced that private vehicles owned by Malaysians no longer have to display their motor vehicle licences on the car effective 10 Feb. This is part of the transport ministry’s efforts to digitise the road transport department’s (JPJ) services, particularly for motor vehicle licences and driving licences. Loke expects the initiative to reduce the long lines at JPJ.

The public can access their JPJ accounts at https://public.jpj.gov.my/ or the MyJPJ phone application (yes, another application) to access their digital motor vehicle licences and driving licences. New Straits Times wrote a comprehensive FAQ here or you can read the transport minister’s FAQ here.

Yay to carrying one less card in the wallet and the excruciating annual exercise of removing road tax. Nay to potential data breaches. Netizens have raised concerns on the portal and applications, stating that no verification is required for one to register their vehicle.

We think My E.G. Services Bhd (MYEG) shareholders would have preferred sticking to the annoying road tax. MYEG, the e-government services provider, saw its market capitalisation drop by RM2.31 bil in the span of a week after the double whammy announcements (immigration and transportation).

Water disruption in Selangor and KL over the weekend1,337 areas in Selangor and KL faced water disruption due to an odour pollution incident detected at the Rantau Panjang water treatment plant. Four plants were shut down due to pollution.

Can we find out who the culprits are? And have any measures been taken to safeguard our water treatment plants?

Malaysia’s economy in 2022 grew by 8.7% compared to 2021The economy, measured by gross domestic product (GDP), grew by 7.0% YoY in the 4th quarter of 2022. The full-year GDP grew by 8.7%. The growth in the 4th quarter is above the long-term average of 5.1%, mainly supported by private-sector activity. Overall export growth moderated in line with weaker external demand.

BNM governor Tan Sri Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus said for this year, the growth of the Malaysian economy is expected to moderate as the risk to growth remains tilted to the downside due to weaker-than-expected global expansion and further escalation of geopolitical tensions.

Nurul Izzah got cancelled. She’ll now be serving as a secretariat to the special advisors.PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar stepped down as the senior economics and finance adviser to her father, PM Anwar Ibrahim. So she gets another role instead. She, alongside Petronas senior manager Khairil Anuar Ramli, will be co-heading a secretariat of the advisory committee to the PM.


  1. The Rahmah programme will be extended to other initiatives following the success of the RM5 Menu Rahmah. The Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Minister Salahuddin Ayub said a new Rahmah initiative involving clothes will be ironed out soon with the industry players, in time for Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Can’t wait to see Jakel’s Baju Rahmah.

  2. Azmin Ali is quiet quitting, indefinitely. He must have forgotten he is still the representative for the Bukit Antarabangsa state seat, for which he gets a salary of at least RM10,700. For all he has done, he should just quit for good.

  1. DAP sec-gen Anthony Loke hinted that Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy will be dealt with through the party’s internal channel after the latter made a remark urging the PM to “break the Malays’ monopoly” in the civil service. Loke is subtly saying “thanks, but no thanks” to the unity government’s coalition parties’ suggestion to take stern action against Ramasamy. PM Anwar was quick to shoot down Ramasamy’s reform suggestion.

Money talks

  1. Lee Thiam Wah, the founder of 99 Speedmart, may want to dabble in the banking industry. Lee emerged as the substantial shareholder of Alliance Bank Malaysia Bhd, with a 5.076% stake after his acquisition of 1.38 mil shares last Thursday. Lee is the bank's third-largest shareholder, with a stake worth about RM273 mil. Lee is also the owner of the fast-food chain Burger King Malaysia and Singapore after acquiring it from Ekuinas for RM74.6 mil in 2015. Retail, F&B, banking — what’s next on his shopping list? 

  2. The US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Sense Shipping and Trading Sdn Bhd over its alleged production, sale and shipment of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Iranian petrochemicals and petroleum. Two Singaporean firms were also hit with the same sanctions.

  3. Tropicana Corp Bhd revised its plans for the 308-acre integrated hub, Tropicana Paradise, in Genting Highlands due to surrounding environmental factors as well as prevailing market demand.


Turkey-Syria earthquake updates

  • One week in, the death toll has now crossed 29,000 - 24,617 deaths in Turkey, more than 4,500 in Syria as of Sunday. 

  • Turkey authorities have detained 113 suspects responsible for the collapse of buildings due to the earthquake. Prosecutors are collecting samples of buildings for evidence on materials used in construction. Turkey Environment Minister Murat Kurum said of the more than 170,000 buildings it has assessed, 24,921 structures across the region had collapsed or were heavily damaged. 

  • 2 German aid organisations and the Austrian army has suspended rescue operations due to security issues. There were reports of clashes between groups of people and gunfire. The groups will resume the rescue operations after the Turkish civil protection agency classifies the situation as safe. 

Shopping loyalty card data helps with the early detection of ovarian cancerOvarian cancer is often diagnosed late as there is no reliable screening test and symptoms such as bloating can be confused with other harmless, standard conditions. Other symptoms include indigestion, pelvic/abdominal pain, appetite loss, and needing to urinate often.

A study by Imperial College London, funded by Cancer Research UK, looked into shopping data collected from loyalty card programmes and found a noticeable increase in purchases of pain and indigestion medications among women with ovarian cancer up to 8 months before diagnosis. This suggests that symptoms were long present and the patients did not consider it alarming and self-treated at home. 

The researchers worked with two retailers and 283 female customers who agreed to share their shopping data going back over six years — more than half had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The team is planning to test if similar shopping data can help spot other cancers too. 

Read: Basic information about ovarian cancer.

K-pop stars - from pop to luxury iconsK-pop stars are growing beyond pop icons, turning into luxury icons. The world’s largest luxury conglomerate LVMH has been making aggressive moves to appoint various K-pop superstars to be their ambassadors, with the most recent being Jimin of BTS, appointed as Dior’s global ambassador.  Tiffany & Co and Bulgari (both owned by LVMH) have also signed up Rose and Lisa of BLACKPINK as their ambassadors, respectively. 

Two possible reasons for this move: 1) South Koreans are the largest luxury spenders in the world on a per capita basis; and 2) South Korea’s cultural clout in setting fashion trends and gateway to Asia.


  1. Afghanistan Analysts Network, a non-profit policy organisation, published its findings of the new lives led by Afghan Taliban soldiers.  Afghan Taliban soldiers are finding it hard to adjust to desk jobs and city life, having fought and fired guns their whole lives. Many are now in government positions after the Taliban seized power in 2021. They even find it difficult to speak to women. Read report: New lives in the city: How Taleban have experienced life in Kabul. 

  2. Adidas AG's new CEO Bjorn Gulden has warned that the company could be facing a EUR700 mil loss — a first annual loss in more than 30 years due to its Yeezy shoe line after separating from Ye (fka Kanye West). The company said it has EUR1.2 bil of unsold Yeezy merchandise and is still figuring out if Adidas can sell or repurpose the designs without the Yeezy brand name. Gulden is known as a turnaround artist — he previously took the helm at Pandora and Puma. 

  3. Deforestation in Brazil’s section of Amazon rainforest dropped by 61% in January, the first month in office for Brazil’s new president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who has promised to relaunch environmental efforts. His predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, had little concern for the environment as he stripped enforcement measures, cut spending for science and environmental agencies, fired environmental experts and largely supported the agribusiness industry.


  1. A series of interesting infographics and stats on cancer by Al Jazeera here.

  2. TikTokers livestreaming on the streets. Finally got an explanation for this practice after seeing similar videos previously. The thread below explains why.

  3. Bukit Tinggi in Pahang saw heavy downpours yesterday, causing some 300 residents to evacuate in fear of a potential landslide. Village head Young Meow Foong said rocks and boulders have blocked the road leading to Janda Baik at the stretch of the road.