☕️ MySejahtera is back for the long run
AirAsia to add 52 flights between WM and EM for CNY. Budget 2023 to be tabled on Feb 24, 2023. A tech blog reported that data of 400 million Twitter users are up for sale.
1. MARKET SUMMARY
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2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
AirAsia will be adding 52 flights between peninsular Malaysia and Sabah & Sarawak from Jan 17 to Jan 30 for the upcoming festive season — Chinese New Year. The additional late-night flights will take off between 11 pm and 11:30 pm and provide extra 25,020 seats to the already jam-packed schedule. The best part — the seats to Sarawak and Sabah are priced at RM199 and RM249 one-way, respectively. It’s an initiative started by the Ministry of Transport and supported by AirAsia.
The number of dengue cases in the country is on the rise — it rose by 3.5% in the 51st Epidemiological Week of 2022 (EW51/22) from Dec 18 to 24 to 2,018 cases compared to 1,950 cases in the week before. Year to date, the cumulative number of dengue fever cases reported stands at 64,078 cases compared to 25,796 cases in the same period in 2021 — an increase of a whopping 148.4%! The number of deaths also more than doubled to 50, compared to 19 last year. Please consult a doctor if you have at least TWO of the following symptoms:
Low white blood cell count
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3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Controversial application MySejahtera gets major upgrades
Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa announced that the appointment system in the existing MySejahtera application for all government health facilities would be expanded to reduce congestion at registration counters and waiting areas. The initiative aligns with the ministry’s Digital Strategic Plan (PSP) 2021-2025. The app allows people to plan their visits to primary health facilities, get reminders, and even change their schedules. As for now, Malaysians are more concerned over updates on its controversial ownership and the app’s alleged RM196 mil price tag than upgrades.
Why is the app controversial? Read here.
The political circus
UMNO president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the former PM Mahathir Mohamad is to be blamed for the hatred the party and its members held towards DAP. Zahid admitted the political cooperation with DAP to form the unity government did not bode well with some members of the UMNO Supreme Council.
Veteran DAP leader Lim Kit Siang has sounded the alarm, asking PM Anwar Ibrahim to complete as many reformations as possible as the former believes the PM’s term will be shorter than five years. Lim said Ibrahim should be aware of some political forces conspiring to end his premiership as early as possible. However — Zahid Hamidi begs to differ, as the DPM believes that the pact among political parties will be long-lasting.
Bersatu information chief Wan Saiful Wan Jan said Titiwangsa MP Johari Abdul Ghani should replace the Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli. Wan Saiful blasted Rafizi’s arrogance after certain quarters criticised Rafizi’s price control mechanism. Rafizi, in a tweet, quipped that in a month, the folks from Perikatan Nasional (PN) will sit down quietly after Rafizi comes up with his mechanism. We shall see.
Ahmad Maslan is out and about
Deputy Finance Minister Ahmad Maslan is looking into the proposal of building Rumah Mesra Rakyat for flood victims. The matter is being discussed with Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd (SPNB), which is owned by the Minister of Finance (Incorporated). However, the houses will not be free — they have a special design, priced at RM70,000 to RM80,000.
Maslan has also tasked the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia (LHDN) and the Royal Customers Department (JKDM) to find more creative ways to increase tax collection by looking at the black economy. Maslan quipped that the black economy is estimated to contribute 30% of the country’s GDP.
Mark your calendars — the dates for Dewan Rakyat’s meeting of the 15th Parliament are out
The first session of 2023 will start on February 13. The budget will be debated on Feb 24, and it will take place over 18 days. The last day of the first sitting would be Mar 30.
Dewan Rakyat will convene again on June 12 until June 27.
The third and final meeting will be from Oct 9 until Nov 30.
In total, Dewan Rakyat will convene for 71 days, three days more than the pre-pandemic 2019.
These dates might interest you more - dates of public holidays in Selangor have been announced.
Berjaya Corp Bhd’s (BCorp) wholly-owned subsidiary Berjaya Yokohama Hospitality Asset TMK is acquiring six freehold land parcels, collectively measuring about 20,977.15 square metres in Yokohama, Japan, for ¥12.66 trillion (RM408.82 million) cash. The subsidiary is mulling plans to develop a Four Seasons Yokohama Harbour Edge project on these lands comprising of a luxury hotel, upscale residences, an aquarium and retail outlets. This follows a similar successful investment by the company after it sold the Four Seasons Hotel & Hotel Residences Kyoto for RM1.87 bil in 2020, realising gains of RM600 mil.
The Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) released Malaysia’s total trade in November 2022 — an increase of 15.6% YoY to RM238.2 bil. Both exports and imports increased by 15.6% as well. Penang is the top exporter, with a share of 31.8%, and Selangor is the top importer, with a share of 26.5%.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Chinese tourists may get a tougher time entering countries
US mulls restrictions for Chinese travellers
This may result in new Covid-19 measures on travellers coming into the US from China, with officials concerned over “a lack of transparent data” regarding the coronavirus surges there. The move comes after Japan and Malaysia announced stricter rules for travellers from China in the last 24 hours. Japan requires a negative Covid-19 test upon arrival, while Malaysia is setting up additional tracking and surveillance measures. Italy will begin testing arrivals from China after almost half of the passengers on 2 flights to Milan were found to have the virus.
China recently abolished the need for inbound travellers to be quarantined, effective January 8, while travellers to Hong Kong no longer need to do a PCR Covid-19 test on arrival. With China’s borders set to reopen early next year, Chinese citizens are taking the chance to travel and rushing to book overseas trips, with outbound flight bookings surging by 254% when the news was announced.
China’s consumer confidence is the world’s highest
With a consumer confidence index score of 72.2 in December, China is also the only country to score above 70 on the monthly survey, according to global marketing research group Ipsos. Combined with significant increases in its expectations, investment, and jobs indices, the local consumer market appears to be more optimistic about its future financial situation, the local economy, and the job environment.
Data of 400 million Twitter users now up for sale
The claim came from a threat actor who says they scraped the data via a vulnerability and includes emails and phone numbers of celebrities, politicians, and companies, alongside normal users. A sample of 1,000 accounts was provided as proof of claims, including the accounts of former US president Donald Trump’s eldest son and American cybercrime investigative journalist Brian Krebs. The seller also invited Twitter and Elon Musk to buy the data to avoid General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) lawsuits.
Tesla extends reduced output in Shanghai to January
According to an internal schedule, Tesla’s Shanghai plant will be stopping electric vehicle production from Jan 20 to Jan 31 for an extended break for the Lunar New Year. Tesla also suspended production on Christmas Eve, following an established plan to pause most work at the plant in the last week of December. Tesla’s shares fell 73% from its record high in November 2021, while Apple’s shares saw its lowest point since June 2021 due to the surge of Covid cases in China, where both firms have major production plants.
Russia bans oil sales to countries using Western price cap
The move came as an act of retaliation to the price cap of USD60 per barrel, which came into effect on Dec 5. A presidential decree from Moscow declared the ban would take effect for five months from Feb 1 to Jul 1, with Russian President Vladimir Putin also empowered to give “special permission” to supply to countries that fall under the ban. The G7 group of nations, Australia, and the European Union agreed on the price cap. Russia is starting to feel the pinch from this sanction - Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told journalists that the price cap is squeezing Russian export income and will push Moscow’s budget deficit higher than the expected 2% next year.
President Putin’s growing list of critics that mysteriously died
Indian police are investigating the sudden death of wealthy Russian politician Pavel Antov, who reportedly criticised Russia’s part in the war in Ukraine. He was on holiday in the state of Odisha with three other Russian nationals when he was found dead two days after another member of the travelling party, Vladimir Bidenov, suffered an apparent heart attack. So far, there are no signs of foul play, with Antov apparently having fallen from the hotel terrace by accident.
Read: List of Putin critics who’ve ended up dead
Malaysian sentenced to 36 years jail for Singapore penny stock crash
Businessman John Soh Chee Wen was sentenced for masterminding Singapore’s 2013 penny stock crash, which wiped out about SGD8 billion in market value and convicted of 180 out of 188 charges faced. Co-conspirator Quah Su-Ling was sentenced to 20 years in jail and convicted of 169 of 178 charges. Both will be appealing their sentences. Read a summary of this saga by The Edge here.
UN Security Council urges the Taliban to lift restrictions on women following the government policies banning women from attending university and working for non-governmental organisations, with the council “deeply alarmed” by the increasing restrictions. Women are now also prevented from entering parks and gyms, among other public places.
Tensions rise as Serbia goes to "highest alert" as Serbia believes Kosovo is planning to attack Serbs. This was followed by protesting Serbs in the city of Mitrovica in northern Kosovo erecting new barricades on Tuesday. Kosovo has called on NATO peacekeepers to remove the barricades but said it has the “capacity and readiness to act”.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
Daredevil couple Ivan Beerkus and Angela Nikolau scaled the world’s second-tallest tower, Merdeka 118, on boxing day. However, some Malaysians and authorities alike are unhappy about the couple’s stunt. The police said they would investigate the couple under Penal Code for trespassing.
The Smartphone Awards of 2022 by MKBHD.