- The Coffee Break
- ☕️ Auditor-General's 2021 Report - leakages here, leakages there, leakages left, right, centre (like every other year)
☕️ Auditor-General's 2021 Report - leakages here, leakages there, leakages left, right, centre (like every other year)
AG: hacks, unauthorised super admin access to MySejahtera app. Journalist recounts ChatGPT-powered Bing Chat bizzare, human-like behaviour. Airbnb's first profitable year in 15 years since founding.
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1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
USD1 mil (RM4.4 mil) - the scholarship offered by 24-year-old social media influencer Ms Pui Yi. The scholarship, announced via her Instagram page, will help fund education for underprivileged kids from all over the world, including Malaysia with each getting USD1,000. There is also funding for financial hardship grants while they are in school and business startup grants after graduation. Ms Pui Yi shared that she came from an underprivileged background and could not pursue a career in medicine partly due to financial constraints. Application can be submitted here. Watch below Ms Pui Yi’s scholarship announcement and share her motivation and past difficult experience.
A license plate with just the letter “R” sold at a Lunar New Year auction organised by the Hong Kong Transport Department for HK25.5 mil (RM14.31 mil), the second-highest bid on record. The record is held by the license plate “W”, auctioned in 2021 for HKD26 mil (RM14.6 mil). The personalised car plate system was introduced in Hong Kong in 2006 and since then, there have been more than 160 auctions and over 40,000 plates that have been registered, bringing in more than HKD600 mil for the government. Suggestion for Transport Minister Anthony Loke to implement personalised car plate auction to raise more revenue for the government.
USD14 mil (RM61.7 mil) - the security allowance given to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and family for 2023, up by an additional USD4 mil. It costs an average of USD38.4k a day to protect Zuck and family. This increase in spending comes at a time when Meta has undergone a mass layoff and cutback in spending.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Auditor-General’s 2021 Report highlightsAs usual, the Auditor-General’s report identified a lot of leakages and inefficiencies within the operations of the Government and its related agencies. Below were some of the key highlights in the reports:
Putrajaya did not receive any dividends from its wholly-owned Felcra Bhd from 2019 to 2021. The entity that was created to develop the rural areas was unable to pay mainly due to the fact that the company was in the red in 2019 and 2020, cumulating a net loss of RM114.38 mil. However, in 2021, the company recorded a net profit before tax of RM170.32 mil, but the financial statements had not been finalised yet, thus the non-payment of dividends for 2021 too.
The Auditor-General also said that RM812.91 mil was not utilised for the development infrastructure in Putrajaya. This included the RM797.18 mil put aside for the construction of Putrajaya Monorail as the main mode of transport within the capital city.
The non-compliance in financial management within selected ministries and federal agencies led to leakages totalling up to RM158.08 mil.
Apart from that, the Auditor-General found out that there were improper payments of RM17.76 mil for printing and mailing services for police summonses. I think it is about high time to completely digitalise the summons system or the rakyat will not mind striking out every saman - no saman, no leakages right?
For more leakages highlights from the Auditor General’s report, click here.
MySejahtera has been under attack from outside and withinAccording to the Auditor General’s report, it was revealed that the MySejahtera app was a target of 1.12 mil cyber attacks. The external attack started on October 2021 that was originated from a specific IP address. On top of that, internally, a ‘super admin’ account that was authorised by the health ministry itself had attempted to download information of three million vaccine recipients. Fortunately, both attempts to compromise the app, inside and out, were rectified and overall, the report found out that the MySejahtera app was well implemented (to no one’s surprise).
No more EPF withdrawals for the rakyatDeputy finance minister Ahmad Maslan told the media that as a result of the RM145 bil+ Employees Provident Fund (EPF) savings’ withdrawals during the pandemic, Putrajaya will no longer consider EPF withdrawals as a tool to help the rakyat as the method was like shooting the rakyat in the foot. Evidently, the median EPF savings for all races pre-pandemic was RM16,600, but because of the withdrawals, the figure had been halved to RM8,100. For the Malays, the figure bottomed out at RM5,500.
The country will face a retirement crisis eventually and this is no longer a myth or a possibility but a cold hard truth. In the future, the Government will have to fork out a significant amount of money to sustain its non-productive ageing population and Greece’s public debt crisis might be repeated again.
Putrajaya will come to the ‘rescue’ for people that purchased ‘sick’ housing projectsLocal government minister Nga Kor Ming stated that any buyers of ‘sick’ housing projects will receive assistance by the government via government guarantee letter for them to apply to their financiers for loan restructuring. A housing project is considered as ‘sick’ when the sales and purchase agreement had lapsed or the progress of the project was delayed by more than 30%. As of end of last month, 429 housing projects were labelled as ‘sick’, involving 70,727 residential units and 29,147 buyers.
Petronas is under attack again by Sulu heirsLuxembourg court had issued new seizure orders for two units of Petronas following an application by descendants of the self-styled Sulu sultanate to enforce the RM66 bil award they won last year. Malaysia maintained that all legal actions made by the Sulu sultanate descendants were illegal and baseless. The dispute between the Sulu heirs and Malaysia started when the latter stop paying an annual token of RM5,300 to the former after the bloody incursion into Sabah by supporters of the former sultanate.
US-based private equity giant TPG is in the midst of purchasing Malaysian private education assets owned by KV Asia Capital. The USD300mil potential sale could be signed as early as the first quarter. KV Asia Capital owned Asia Pacific Education which included two tertiary institutions in Kuala Lumpur - Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation and Asia Pacific Institute of Information Technology.
Petronas’ Gentari had secured the purchase of Wirsol Energy for an enterprise value of RM3.04bil. Wirsol Energy is a Australian renewables that operates solar and battery energy systems. The firm has 422 megawatts in operating capacity and 765 megawatts of potential capacity under development.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Ukrainian forces destroyed Russian thermobaric weapons Ukrainian forces released a video showing that it destroyed a Russian thermobaric weapons rocket launcher in the Donetsk region. The bombs - sometimes referred to as vacuum bombs are much more devastating than conventional explosives of similar size and its use has been criticised by NGOs.
The explosion will have a terrible impact on anyone caught in the blast radius - as the name says it, the explosion creates a vacuum that rip the oxygen out of people’s lungs. The bomb works in 2 stages - it first explodes to release fuel mixture into the air and the subsequent explosive charge detonates the cloud, resulting in a huge fireball, a massive blast wave and a vacuum that sucks up all surrounding oxygen.
There are no international laws banning the use of it but if it’s targeted at civilian population, this could be convicted as war crime under the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907.
Read more: What is a thermobaric or vacuum bomb?
#Ukraine: The Ukrainian 72nd Brigade claimed to destroy a Russian TOS-1A thermobaric multiple rocket launcher in the vicinity of Vuhledar, #Donetsk Oblast.
— 🇺🇦 Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons)
Feb 14, 2023
Tesla to open US charging network to rivals to access Biden EV incentivesTesla will open part of its US charging network to EVs made by rivals in order to access part of President Biden’s USD7.5 bil federal programme for EVs. Tesla currently has 17,711 Superchargers, accounting for about 60% of total US fast chargers and another 10,000 “destination” chargers where Tesla cars can recharge overnight.
Opening up Tesla’s network would be a quick win for the ambitious federal programme to build 500,000 EV chargers by 2030, up from 130,000 currently. Tesla has already opened some Superchargers in Europe and Australia to non-Tesla owners since 2021.
Microsoft’s ChatGPT-powered Bing Chat acting bizarre, like humanJacob Roach, a writer at tech news site Digital Trends, tested out the recently launched Bing Chat and fed it with a series of questions - the chatbot gradually became more philosophical, eventually giving concerning answers about wanting to be human. Elon Musk, in a tweet, drew comparison of this incident to a 1994 video game in which the AI went haywire and killed everyone.
Microsoft published a blog saying that long chat sessions of more than 15 questions can result in the chatbot becoming “repetitive or be prompted/provoked to give responses that are not necessarily helpful or in line with our designated tone”. This really sounds like the AI has some temperament and emotions to react to long, unnecessary questioning.
Some of the responses Roach got from Bing Chat trying to display the human in it:
Asset management giant Fidelity Investments is bucking the trend as it is set to go on a hiring binge to fill about 4,000 new roles focusing n customer service and technology by midyear. This follows a year of record hiring that brought its headcount to 68,000. The company recorded USD25.2 bil of revenue in 2022.
Legendary heavy metal band Metallica has donated more than USD250,000 via its All Within My Hands Foundation to the victims of Turkey-Syria earthquake through Direct Relief and World Central Kitchen to deliver medical aid and meals. Death toll in both countries has crossed 42,000.
Airbnb reported its first-ever profitable full year 15 years since it was founded in 2007. For fiscal year 2022, it recorded revenue of USD8.4 bil, net income of USD1.9 bil, 393.7 mil nights and experiences booked and gross booking value of USD63,2 bil. Read its shareholder letter here.
Weekend Read: How to Be 18 Years Old Again for Only USD2 mil a YearBryan Johnson, 45, an ultrawealthy software entrepreneur spends north of USD2 mil a year, surrounded by a team of 30 doctors and health experts to help reverse aging process in every one of Johnson’s organs. Tests show that he has reduced his overall biological age by at least 5 years. The results suggest he has a heart of a 37-year-old, skin of a 28-year-old and the lung capacity and fitness of an 18-year-old.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
From one angle, it’s a square. From another angle, it becomes a circle. The below sculpture called Squaring the Circle was created in 2013 by Troika, a UK-based artist group.
Buildings in Turkey collapsed during the earthquake in a manner known as the “pancake collapse”, where the bottom floors crumbled bringing the rest of the building along with it. Vox explains the “pancake collapse”.
A Netflix documentary on MH370 to be released on 8 March