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  • ☕️ Daim not ‘godfather’ or biggest funder of MUDA - MUDA Acting President

☕️ Daim not ‘godfather’ or biggest funder of MUDA - MUDA Acting President

Hacker group hacks PADU, but the wrong one. How Russia's economy can boom during wartime? Meet the 26 employees-turned-billionaires.


Information as of 0730 UTC+8 on Feb 20, 2024. The US markets were closed in observation of Presidents’ Day.

Good news for Bursa: The KLCI index closed at its highest in nearly 20 months. Portfolio looking good!

Bad news for MYR: MYR continues to weaken, about 2% away from reaching 4.885 per US dollar, the record-low last seen in the Asian Financial Crisis 1997/98. The MYR has dropped nearly 4% against the USD so far in 2024 and 2% against our neighbour down south. Bank account is getting weaker!


RM704.9 mil worth of drugs were seized nationwide in 2023 and 273 syndicates and 22 drug labs busted around the country. The drug industry is a big sector - 179,865 individuals last year were detained for various drug-related offences, including trafficking and abuse. The industry even had participation from the government, with 621 civil servants detained for various drug offences. The industry has also created a lot of wealth for these entrepreneurs — RM104.01 mil worth of assets belonging to drug syndicates were seized last year.

25-year-old Jimmy Donaldson, aka MrBeast, told TIME in a recent profile that his business brings in between USD600-700 mil per year as every video earns a combination of “a couple of million” from ads and brand deals, leveraging on his YouTube followers of 239 mil. Running the business isn’t cheap as MrBeast said, sometimes 12,000 hours of footage can go into making a video of just 15 minutes long. In 2022, MrBeast said he was spending USD8 mil a month on videos - this figure most likely has escalated as his videos got more ambitious and grander in scale.
Read: In the Belly of MrBeast (TIME)

Most billionaires are either self-made or got there through inheritance. If you are employed, do not give up hope of becoming a billionaire - there’s still always hope. Forbes identified 26 individuals out of 760 US billionaires who made it to the three comma club by climbing the corporate ladder - that’s a probability of 3.4%. These employees include the likes of Apple CEO Tim Cook, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, and former Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer. The richest of these billionaire employees is Steve Balmer, with an estimated fortune of USD143 bil thanks to his nearly 4% stake in Microsoft.
Read: Hired-Hands Billionaires: These Executives Amassed 10-Figure Fortunes While Working For Others (Forbes) 


Sarawak's bold mission: Eradicating cervical cancer by 2030 🌟
Sarawak's Deputy Premier, Datuk Amar Dr Sim Kui Hian, sets out to make the state the first in Malaysia to eliminate cervical cancer, aligning with WHO's goal. The strategy involves administering HPV vaccinations to young girls and implementing regular screenings for women aged 30 to 65, aiming for at least two screenings per woman. It also involves the transition from pap smear to PCR testing for higher accuracy. Collaboration with the federal Women, Family and Community Development Ministry is underway to bolster screening efforts, targeting 70% coverage of the 1.02 mil women aged 30 to 65 by 2030. The initiative underscores the significance of vaccination, screening, and treatment in combating cervical cancer, which currently accounts for approximately 15% of new cancer cases in Sarawak annually.

Daim not ‘godfather’ or biggest funder of MUDA - MUDA Acting President
Amira Aisya Abd Aziz, acting president of Muda, refuted claims suggesting former finance minister Daim Zainuddin as the 'godfather' or the primary funder of the party. She stated that it was unfair to question Muda’s funding source because there is no political financing act in Malaysia. She also encouraged all other parties to push for the implementation of this act. She asserted that Muda adheres to strict internal funding protocols, limiting individual contributions to a maximum of RM200,000.

She confirmed Daim's wife, Naimah Khalid, as a Muda member but clarified that Daim himself is not affiliated with the party. Amira was seen accompanying Naimah at the KL sessions court on Jan 23, and Amira said she was there to support Naimah as she is a Muda member. She isn’t new to politics and should realise by now optics matter.

Hacker group R00TK1T hacks PADU, but the wrong one
International hacker group R00TK1T continues hacking Malaysia and this time, it claimed to have hacked the “PADU organisation” and gained access to 27TB of information that belonged to the National Population and Family Development Board (LPPKN). The hacker group announced its latest hack in its Telegram group and posted screenshots, though the folders shown possibly are dated according to years. But fret not, as this isn’t the main PADU (Pangakalan Data Utama), which the government has been pushing for Malaysians to register for the purpose of targeted subsidies. But, how not to worry if our government keeps getting hacked? 


  • No more extensions for delayed LSS4 projects
    Deputy PM Fadillah Yusof, who is also the Minister of Energy Transition and Water Transformation (aka Petra), said the government does not intend to grant a second extension to the large-scale solar projects awarded in 2021. More than two-thirds of these projects have missed the end-2023 commercial operation date and might face fines of RM5,000 per megawatt per day for up to 6 months. This fine will range from RM50k to RM250k per day, based on the awarded capacity of between 10mw to 50mw per project. The LSS4 programme saw 30 winning bidders in total for 823mw capacity.
    View table: Listed companies with LSS4 projects.

  • Berjaya Group proposes barrier-free toll system amid concessionaire concerns 🚧 
    A major public company, likely Berjaya Group, is reportedly vying for support from highway concessionaires for a competing bid to implement a barrier-free toll system and collect toll revenue on behalf of highway concessionaires. The initiative aims to reduce implementation costs by 30% as compared to an earlier proposal and it targets major toll plazas in high-traffic areas like the Klang Valley, Penang, and Johor.

    This comes amidst opposition to a government-backed proposal, particularly against a previous agreement (the earlier proposal) with a YTL Corporations Bhd-linked company, citing concerns over revenue management and potential integrity issues. PM Anwar Ibrahim has assured the concessionaires that no final decision has been made regarding the matter, indicating ongoing deliberations.

    It was reported last year that the government has signed an agreement with the YTL-linked company to collect tolls amounting to about RM6 bil a year, of which the company stands to collect RM650 mil to RM850 mil annually over a 20-year period. Talk about concessionaires getting rent-seek.

  • TCM practitioners granted service tax exemption

    The Ministry of Finance (MOF) announced that practitioners registered under the Traditional and Complementary Medicine (TCM) Act 2016 will be exempted from the 8% service tax, effective March 1, 2024. This exemption applies to a range of alternative medicine services, including Malay, Chinese, and Indian traditional medicine, homoeopathy, chiropractic, osteopathy, and Islamic medical practices. The decision was made after consulting stakeholders and condemned for worsening financial strain on patients who turn to TCM for affordable healthcare.


  • WhatsApp introduces dual account feature for Malaysian Android users📱

    WhatsApp now allows Malaysian Android users to use two accounts on a single device. Users can easily add a new account via settings, inputting the second phone number and linking it via a one-time passcode. This convenient feature eliminates the hassle of logging out to switch between work and personal accounts, enhancing user flexibility. Availability on iOS and desktop is uncertain, but this update empowers users with greater control over their messaging experience.

  • Redefining FOMO: Finding positivity in digital connectivity 🐾

    Never expected one to give FOMO a positive spin. Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil views 'Fear of Missing Out' (FOMO) positively, citing its role in driving quick information-seeking during events like Covid-19. While acknowledging its potential for mental health issues, he advocates for self-awareness in digital consumption and urges action on global issues. Celebrity guest Fazura echoes the sentiment, encouraging safety and positivity online. Their insights highlight the evolving dynamics of digital connectivity and personal responsibility.


Russia’s booming wartime economy
It’s coming to the third year since Russia initiated its unprovoked war against Ukraine and it comes as counterintuitive, but economic growth is not all unusual during times of conflict. Though Russia’s wartime economic stats are sus, there’s still some truth in its economy still holding up despite the war and the sanctions imposed. After all, it has started sanction-proofing itself since 2014 (i.e. buying gold). 

  • Russia is waging war outside its borders, avoiding destruction in its homeland. Ukraine’s GDP plunged 29.2% in 2022 following the war on its turf.

  • The war generated demand for wartime goods and services such as weapons and medication. Its demand further boosted local industries since imports into Russia are restricted due to sanctions.

  • Blessed by god - with natural resources. Russia is a major producer of oil and gas, wheat and metals, further reducing dependency on trade.

  • Good old-fashioned subsidies, spending and policies to prop up the Russian economy. 

  • Russia entered the war with low external debt and despite sanctions, its exports are boosted by a rise in commodity prices.

While Russia managed to avoid an economic catastrophe, Russian President Vladimir Putin is said to be facing an economic “trilemma”: funding the war against Ukraine, maintaining his populace’s living standards, and safeguarding macroeconomic stability. All three can’t be achieved concurrently without one being compromised. 

On another note, the West is furious over the death of Putin’s strongest critic, Alexei Navalny, but it seems they have run out of options to punish Russia in whatever ways. Nuking them is not an option.

Largest Covid-10 vaccine study finds links to adverse health conditions
The Global Vaccine Data Network published its research last week that analysed links between the vaccine and health conditions. The research looked for 13 medical conditions that the group considered “adverse events of special interest” among 99 mil vaccinated individuals in 8 countries, aiming to identify higher-than-expected cases after a Covid shot.

Some of the conditions identified, though considered rare (cases observed in double-digit and low-hundreds):

  • Higher risk of heart-related inflammation from mRNA shots made by Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna.

  • Increased risk of a type of blood clot in the brain from vaccines made by Oxford University and AstraZeneca.

  • Increased risk of Guillain-Barre syndrome, a neurological disorder in which the nervous system mistakenly attacks the peripheral nervous system. 

Read the report here.

JD.com considers taking over UK electronics retailer Currys
The Telegraph reported that Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com plans to acquire the 130-year-old Currys and has held exploratory, informal talks, citing its sources. Currys, over the weekend, rejected a preliminary offer from Elliot Advisors that is 32% higher than its Friday’s closing price and would have valued the retailer at about GBP700 mil. Currys operates about 300 stores in the UK and employs more than 15,000 people. Currys has around a quarter of the market share of the UK’s GBP20 bil electrical markets, generating revenue of about GBP5.5 bil and GBP4.4 bil from other markets. 

JD.com is seeking new avenues and looking to grow internationally as competition is rising in its domestic market. Competition is so fierce in China that the company announced it will double the salary of key workers in the new year at the end of last year


  1. Meet the company that catches greenwashers
    Greenwashing is the process of conveying a misleading impression about how a company’s product or processes are environmentally sound. Companies have made such claims that sustainability claims can be made without proper verification and assurance. Enters Singapore-listed LMS Compliance (also operating in Malaysia) that offers independent, third-party verification and validation for businesses that intend to publicly disclose ESG (environmental, social and governance) information. It provides a full range of testing from food safety to assurance of ESG standards. If you are into ESG, check out their services here.

  2. Who is Prabowo Subianto, Indonesia’s next president?
    From a feared general who was alleged to have committed multiple cases of human rights violations, Prabowo’s election team has reinvented him into a ‘cute grandfather’ persona with a cartoon character to appeal to Indonesia’s young voters. Many of the young voters are too young to remember Soeharto’s era when Prabowo was general. He was also banned from entering the US over such allegations but was lifted in 2020 when outgoing President Joko Widodo appointed him as defence minister.


Today, we explore art in various forms - architecture, history and psychology.

  1. Ocean Plaza, the USD1 bil abandoned tower in Los Angeles by troubled Hong Kong developer China Oceanwide Holdings, has turned into an artwork - becoming a canvas for graffiti artists. It will take another USD2 bil to complete the development of this abandoned project.

  1. Now check out another art - Devil in the history of art

  1. Why often are there mirrors outside elevators? To shorten the waiting time by distracting people with the greatest art of them all — their own reflection in the mirror.