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  • ☕️ Malaysia's federal agencies are in shambles based on AG's reports

☕️ Malaysia's federal agencies are in shambles based on AG's reports

Human rights violation in MY Immigration detention centres. Biden vs Trump rematch in 2024 as Nikki Haley drops out. OpenAI exposes Musk, Musk replies asking it to change name to ClosedAI.


Information as of 0720 UTC+8 on Mar 7, 2024.


2024 marks the 200th anniversary of the first formal naming of a dinosaur. William Buckland, a geologist from Oxford University named a set of fossils discovered in Oxfordshire Megalosaurus on 20 Feb 1824. Megalosaurus, meaning “great lizard”, was one of the largest carnivores of the middle Jurrasic Era, living about 168 mil years ago. When this fossil was first discovered, nobody knew what a dinosaur was. In fact, Megalosaurus was named before the word ‘dinosaur’ had even been created. Dinosaurs lived between 245 and 66 mil years ago, in a time known as the Mesozoic Era and this era is divided into 3 periods: Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous.

Cloud-based security company introduced its ‘3-3-3’ perk, where its employees are paid to hang out with each other. Launched last April, the lets 3 or more employees expense food and drinks up to USD30 per person if they go out together after 3 p.m and requires no pre-approval. The only condition: the employees must post photos in the “3-3-3” Slack channel when they are done. The objective of this programme is to get employees to “talk about something that’s relevant or work-related” which will benefit the company ultimately, according to its CEO Filip Kaliszan. Founded in 2016 and currently worth USD3.5 bil, all of its 1,800 employees have participated in this programme at least once. Verkada’s CEO recently went viral on TikTok explaining discussing this programme on a podcast - watch it here.

How many Malaysians feel wealthy? 12%, according to a wealth perception survey by Hong Leong Bank with more than 1,000 respondents aged between 18-77 years old. Despite this, 79% of the respondents said they do not have an official/documented financial plan due to the assumption that they do not have sufficient funds to start a formal wealth management plan. About 33% of the respondents indicated that the invest, Surprisingly, 54% of them engaged in gold investments — must be the boomers. 
Read: Can the typical person become a millionaire? (long read). TLDR: Atypical results require atypical actions.

How much of liquid assets do you think you need to feel wealthy?

Liquid assets are assets that you can easily convert to cash such as stocks, FD etc.

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Before you read this part, we’d humbly suggest you monitor your heart rate.

Losses, losses, and MORE losses: Auditor-General (AG) reports

  1. The Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT) recorded a negative balance in its reserves since 2020. Its reserves stood at RM379 mil in 2020, RM258 mil in 2021 and RM338 mil in 2022. The AG report also revealed that action has yet to be taken on 41 old share portfolios with an unrealised loss of RM662 mil. Investment impairments of more than RM800 mil in Bousted Holdings Bhd and Pharmaniaga Bhd were also not accounted for.

  2. The Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) faced a net loss of RM1.005bil in 2022, with outstanding loans from external institutions for Felda, which amassed RM8.659bil. The report also revealed that Felda received grants amounting to RM214 mil in 2022 and RM342 mil in 2021. The government had to step in as a corporate guarantee for an Islamic Financing Facility agreement signed by Felda's subsidiary company, FIC Properties (FICP). Based on the existing cash and cash equivalent balance, Felda is unable to meet commitments amounting to RM753 mil.

  3. Four federal agencies out of a total of 130 agencies audited have liabilities exceeding their assets (i.e. negative networth and insolvent). These four federal agencies are — Highway Authority of Malaysia (LLM), Perbadanan Hal Ehwal Bekas Angkatan Tentera (Perhebat), PR1MA Corporation Malaysia, and Perbadanan Perwira Harta Malaysia (PPHM). PR1MA recorded losses of RM257mil in 2022.

The report urges these agencies to find a way to operate without highly depending on the federal government’s assistance and financial support (i.e. government coffers, which your taxes paid have helped to build). Is that even possible? The report on Federal Agencies 2022 can be accessed here.

If you aren’t fuming after reading the above, please teach us how to be zen.

Isa Samad acquitted of all nine counts of graft by the Appellate Court
The Court of Appeal has allowed former Felda chairman Mohd Isa Abdul Samad's appeal against his conviction and sentence on nine counts of graft related to the acquisition of a hotel in Kuching, Sarawak, a decade ago. The court found that the High Court judge had misdirected himself, and there were doubts regarding the evidence. The prosecution failed to prove that Isa directed his aide to solicit bribes after the approval of the hotel purchase. The court noted contradictions in witness testimony and criticised the prosecution for changing its narrative. As a result, the conviction was deemed unsafe, and Isa was discharged and acquitted.

Isa was found guilty by the High Court on Feb 3, 2021, on nine counts of graft amounting to RM3.09mil. He is now a free man, considering a return to politics.

Madani bebas rasuah or Madani bebas rasuah?

Human rights violation in Immigration detention centres
Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported claims of human rights violations and abuse in Malaysian Immigration detention centres where refugees are housed. The report, titled "We Can’t See the Sun: Malaysia’s Arbitrary Detention of Migrants and Refugees," details despicable living conditions, lack of medical care, and allegations of torture and physical abuse. Interviews with 43 individuals revealed instances of detainees being subjected to forced exercises, beatings, and other forms of mistreatment. Strict rules were enforced, and punishment was administered for requesting basic necessities. One former detainee recounted incidents where individuals were beaten for asking for more food, blankets, or water. It seems that empathy is remiss. Malaysia needs to do better.


  1. Prolintas is raising RM445.3mil
    Permodalan Nasional Bhd’s (PNB) wholly-owned unit Projek Lintasan Kota Holdings Sdn Bhd (Prolintas) is listing its four highway concessions via a business trust — Prolintas Infra Business Trust (Prolintas Infra BT) — to raise RM445.3 mil. The market capitalisation of the trust would potentially reach RM1.05 bil upon listing. Prolintas Infra, which is set to be listed on March 25, intends to distribute yearly distributions of at least 90% of the business trust’s distributable amount. For FY2024, it targets to distribute RM70 mil. Read the prospectus here.

  2. Hisham Hamdan named as Khazanah’s new CIO

    The Chief Investment Officer (CIO) vacancy has been vacant for over a year after Tengku Datuk Seri Azmil Zahruddin's departure. Hisham is also the current chairman of Khazanah’s 69.6%-owned UEM Sunrise Bhd and the board of trustees of the Khazanah Research Institute (KRI). Check out his LinkedIn here. Khazanah, AI soon?

  3. Fire in Tawau destroyed 45 houses, leaving 180 homeless

    9,000 square metres was affected by the fire, destroying 180 out of 300 homes in the village. No casualties were reported. Our heart goes out to the affected families.

  4. Small win for PH - Bersatu ADUN supports MB Selangor
    Bersatu and Selat Kelang assemblyman has expressed his support for Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari meanwhile reiterating his commitment as a Bersatu member. He arrived at this decision following Perikatan Nasional’s silence on accusations thrown against Malay rulers, which is against Malay-Muslim principles and for the well-being of his constituents.


A rematch of Biden vs Trump in 2024
The last Republican challenger, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, has announced her plans to suspend her campaign to run for the US presidency after Donald Trump dominated The Republican Party (GOP) contests across 14 out of 15 states. Haley only won Vermont. Former President Trump is poised to secure the GOP nomination next week, while Joe Biden is on track to win the Democratic nomination again. This simply means it will be another round of Biden vs Trump. In modern times, America has never had to choose between two presidential candidates who are both strongly disliked and essentially running as incumbents with established White House track records. Not again.

Neither Biden nor Trump are promising candidates for US-China relations. Between both, a growing view is that China would prefer Trump to retake the White House. Biden is seen as a leader who could rally US allies in the region against China, whereas Trump would create uncertainty for Western stability. Let the enemy blow themselves up from within.

US to ByteDance: Divest TikTok or face ban
A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers has introduced legislation to give China’s ByteDance six months to divest TikTok or face a US ban, citing national security concerns over its Chinese ownership. This bill marks the first significant legislative action in nearly a year aimed at addressing these concerns after previous efforts stalled in Congress due to heavy lobbying by TikTok.

The legislation, introduced by Republican Mike Gallagher and Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi, among others, is set for an initial vote on Thursday. If passed, it would require ByteDance to divest TikTok within 165 days or risk app stores like Apple and Google being prohibited from offering TikTok or hosting apps controlled by ByteDance. However, individual users of the affected app would not be targeted for enforcement.

A spokesperson for TikTok said the legislation will trample the First Amendment rights of 170 mil Americans and deprive 5 mil small businesses of a platform they rely on to grow and create jobs.

OpenAI calls out Musk
According to email exchanges shared by OpenAI, in response to Elon Musk’s lawsuit, Musk was well aware and agreed to the eventual shift away from complete transparency as the organisation made significant progress in its artificial general intelligence (AGI). In fact, Musk wanted OpenAI to merge with Tesla and to rely on the latter as their “cash cow” when the team previously discussed a for-profit structure in order to further the development of AGI.

The expose further embarrasses Musk, revealing that initially, Musk committed to providing as much as USD1 bil in funding. However, OpenAI raised less than USD45 mil from Musk. OpenAI intends to dismiss all claims made by Musk and states the billionaire entrepreneur didn’t really have much impact on its development and success. Oof. The authenticity of the emails could not be verified. Read OpenAI’s response to Musk here. In typical Elon Musk trolling response, he replied to OpenAI’s tweet, telling them to change its name to ClosedAI and he would drop the lawsuit.


  1. K-pop star apologises for being in a relationship

    K-pop star Karina’s fans reportedly drove a truck to her agency after discovering that she was dating actor Lee Jae-wook. An electronic billboard on the vehicle demanded, “Is the love given to you by your fans not enough?” In response, the aespa frontwoman shared a letter on Instagram, promising to “heal the wounds” she had caused. Last year, aespa’s record-breaking album My World sold 2.1 mil copies in South Korea — check it out here on Spotify.

  2. Microsoft co-piloting Singapore’s AI ambitions
    Microsoft has recently announced six collaborations to increase the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) among local businesses and workers in Singapore. Microsoft signed two memorandums of understanding with SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and NTUC LearningHub. The agreement with SSG aims to help 2,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) adopt AI over three years, enabling them to become more productive in workflows such as human resources, finance, sales, and marketing.

  3. Gaza six-week ceasefire talks hit a deadlock
    Hamas delegates have pledged to continue to take part in the Cairo talks but said the ceasefire must be in place before hostages are released. Additionally, Hamas also want Israel to withdraw from Gaza and all Gazans must be able to return to the homes they were forced to flee. Hamas refused to back down from its terms after the United States said truce talks were in the hands of the Hamas.


  1. This is more of a for your ears — the man of the hour, Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of Nvidia, spoke about his past and shared insights on how he got to where he is. No lifehacks, just good life advice.

  1. How much cargo goes through the Panama Canal (view on map here)? According to Bloomberg, USD270 bil worth of cargo gets shipped annually on average, about 5% of global maritime trade. The canal is a crucial shortcut between the Atlantic and Pacific in the Americas. The canal is drying up and is experiencing the second-driest year in the canal’s 110-year history due to the El Nino weather phenomenon and could threaten cargo flows.