☕️ RM100-150 mil spent on pensions annually for former ministers, deputy ministers, parliament secretaries - Kangar MP
PDRM x Whoscall app to fight online fraud. How much Mid Valley Megamall and The Gardens are worth? Microsoft to fight Google Search with ChatGPT integration to Bing search engine.
1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
Between RM100 mil and RM150 mil of your money is spent ANNUALLY on paying the pensions of former Cabinet members, including ministers, deputy ministers and parliament secretaries, according to former Kangar MP Noor Amin Ahmad. PM Anwar Ibrahim was quick to dismiss the proposal to abolish the pensions of former Cabinet members, saying it is a constitutional issue. However, the PM mentioned that one of the current cost-saving measures was the cancellation of vehicle provisions for former ministers. We hope the government will disclose the actual figures.
Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett’s long-time business partner, turned 99 years old on 1 Jan. One year short of turning a centenarian, he is still actively working (beat that Tun M) - he is the vice-chairman of conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, chairman of Daily Journal Corporation and director of Costco Wholesale Corporation. A fountain of wisdom and knowledge, here is a compilation of 99 of Munger’s quotes. As for Buffett, he is 92 years old.
52 months bonus — the highest bonus distributed by Evergreen Marine, Taiwan’s largest container shipping company. Even the lowest is 10 months of bonus. Most employees were rewarded with year-end bonuses ranging from 10 to 45 months. The shipping container industry had a killer year in 2022 as the reopening of economies and supply chain bottleneck led to a huge surge in demand. For the 9-month period ended 30 Sep 2022, the company reported a net profit of 314.6 bil New Taiwan Dollar (NTD) (RM45.2 bil). If Evergreen rings a bell, one of its ships, Ever Given, had a memorable moment in March 2021 when it was grounded in the Suez Canal, disrupting one of the world’s most important trading routes.
“When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.”
— Jacob Riis, Danish-American Journalist
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Updates from PM Anwar’s press conference post-weekly Cabinet meeting:
The state governments of Sabah and Sarawak will be given the autonomy to decide on all government projects in East Malaysia below RM50 mil and need not go through the Federal Government anymore with immediate effect. PM Anwar said this is the first step to show the government’s serious commitment to the Malaysian Agreement 1963 (MA63). He added many projects in East Malaysia had been delayed due to bureaucracy in achieving a decision from the Federal Government.
The Ministry of Finance (MOF) has taken over the troubled RM738.9 mil offshore patrol vessel (OPV) project from THHE Destini Sdn Bhd after discovering significant problems. On top of that, a RM152.6 mil additional loan (safe to say that cost overran by 20.7%, at the very least) was extended to ensure the completion of the first of three OPVs. This is the second project made known to the public that has failed to deliver on schedule despite an extension after the RM9.13 bil littoral combat ship (LCS) project. THHE Destini secured this project in Jan 2017 with 42 months to complete it.
PM Anwar emphasised the independence of Bank Negara Malaysia and that the central bank reserves the right and authority to make decisions, such as on the overnight policy rate (OPR), without intervention from the government. BNM governor Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus will be part of a joint discussion together with the Economy Minister to discuss Budget 2023.
Former US President Donald Trump was notorious for attacking and exerting pressure on the Federal Reserve publicly to influence its monetary policy. The independence of the central bank from the government is crucial to ensure that it can make politically difficult decisions that are in the interest of the nation in the long-run.
Read more here on why the central bank must remain above political influence.
DNB, explain your numbers
Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil has called out Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB) to explain how it concluded that its 5G network coverage in the country had reached nearly 50% coverage when the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has yet to verify it. He advised DNB not to publish such figures without verification.
Ex-Petronas executive charged for corruption and anti-money laundering
Former Petronas executive in his capacity as then executive (construction) at Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd has claimed trial to 37 corruption charges and six anti-money laundering charges. He was charged for receiving bribes amounting to RM6.1 mil from Dec 2016 to Aug 2019, ranging from RM2,078 to RM825,503.60, as payment for assisting a company in securing a contract from Petronas relating to the provision of civil and structural maintenance services.
PDRM x Whoscall app to fight online fraud
Bukit Aman Commercial CID announced a partnership with app developer My Gogo and Look Sdn Bhd to introduce an app, Whoscall, to curb online fraud cases. Phone numbers listed in the JSJK Semakmule System database will be flagged as scammers through the Whoscall app - users with the app can decide to pick up calls from these numbers (and have some good fun, waste the time of these scammers) or otherwise.
The Whoscall app, developed and owned by Gogolook Co., Ltd., a Taiwanese company, has more than 90 mil users and is available in 31 countries.
Proton Holdings Bhd achieved an impressive 23.3% growth in 2022 in total vehicle sales to 141,432 units, marking its fourth consecutive year of growth. The company ranked second in the nation’s automotive sales table with an estimated market share of 19.6%.
Crest Builder Holdings Bhd is on a winning streak; after announcing a RM478.9 mil contract to build 2 condo blocks in Desa Parkcity last week, it now announced that it has secured through its wholly-owned subsidiary a RM250.52 mil contract by Sime Darby Property for the construction of 3 condo blocks in Putra Heights.
How much Mid Valley Megamall and The Gardens are worth? RM3.7 bil and RM1.32 bil each, respectively. This is according to IGB Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), which owns and operates these malls. IGB REIT announced that its investment properties are worth RM5.02 bil as of 31 Dec 2022, achieving a RM60 mil revaluation4.96 bil on 31 Dec 2021. Read its Bursa announcement here.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
The SBF-FTX Saga continues
The saga of FTX and founder Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) continues with a plea of not guilty to criminal charges. SBF faces eight criminal counts, including wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy, which could lead to 115 years in prison if he is found guilty. His trial date is set for 2 October 2023. He has also been blocked from accessing the assets of both FTX and his hedge fund, Alameda Research, after a news report revealed that some of Alameda’s crypto assets were moved in December.
SBF is out on bail after his plea, with a bond of USD250 million shared between two guarantors. However, these guarantors' names were redacted by request from SBF, citing the need to protect them from public scrutiny and harassment. His parents, who co-signed the bond, have already received physical threats.
Regulators in the Bahamas have also pushed back against FTX’s claims on the total value of their assets at the time of bankruptcy. The Securities Commission of the Bahamas estimated the value of crypto assets seized from FTX to be at USD3.5 billion, saying the initial assessment of USD296 million was due to “incomplete information”.
Alameda was already in trouble in 2018, way before it tumbled in November last year. This article details just how. Hint: it involves the “complete lack of a risk-management framework.
Singapore F&B operator seeks IPO on SGX's enterprise fast-track
YKGI, the group behind Singapore’s bubble tea brand Chicha San Chen and Yew Kee Duck Rice, is looking to secure a Catalist listing on the SGX, a board meant for fast-growing enterprises. The goal is to raise funds for expansion, which includes new outlets in Singapore and overseas while strengthening the group’s franchising and sub-franchising operations.
The company operates 8 F&B brands across 44 outlets and four foodcourts. In the first half of 2022, it generated a revenue of SGD26.8 mil and a net profit of SGD2.4 mil.
ChatGPT: Microsoft’s latest weapon to go up against Google Search, anti-ChatGPT plagiarism detector
The tech giant is preparing to add OpenAI’s ChatGPT bot to its Bing search engine to pull users away from competitor Google. The hope is that the more conversational and contextual replies to user queries by the chatbot will result in users being won over. The feature, if green-lit, will be launched over the next several months, with the initial release limited to a small group of users. Microsoft invested USD1 bil in OpenAi back in 2019 and is said to be in talks to invest more. OpenAI is now valued at almost USD20 bil.
Teachers have feared how effectively ChatGPT can be used to cheat in the classroom. Edward Tian, a computer science student at Princeton, built GPTZero, which will score text on how complicated it is and how randomly it is written, to assess if the text was written by ChatGPT. The former BBC data journalist was motivated to create the app due to the rise in AI plagiarism and is planning to publish a paper with stats on the app’s accuracy in the future.
Fidelity’s investment in Twitter has gone downhill fast - 56% to be exact. The investment giant, which was one of the consortium of firms to back Musk in the Twitter takeover, has written down its position by 56% from USD19.66 mil to USD8.63 mil.
MCU’s Hawkeye run over by own snow plough – actor Jeremy Renner suffered blunt chest trauma and orthopaedic injuries after his encounter with the 6.5-tonne vehicle and is currently in a stable but critical condition. The incident happened while Renner was helping a family member who was stuck in snow near his house.
Church condemns desecration of Jerusalem graves. More than 30 graves at the Protestant Cemetery on Mount Zion in Jerusalem were desecrated, with crosses broken and headstones toppled and smashed. Jewish extremists have been blamed for the vandalism, with Anglican Archbishop Hosam Naoum noting the rise of hate speech and hate crimes in recent times.
Putin dispatches "unique" hypersonic cruise missiles to Atlantic – A missile frigate loaded with hypersonic Zircon cruise missiles is currently underway to the Atlantic and Indian oceans before heading to the Mediterranean Sea. The missiles are reported to fly at nine times the speed of sound with a range of over 1,000km. Hypersonic refers to speed that exceeds 5 times the speed of sound (Mach 5 and above)
5. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
Cristiano Ronaldo received an epic welcome from Al Nassr fans. Even his family was included. He made an embarrassing blunder during the press conference as he mistakenly called Saudi Arabia “South Africa”.
Infographic: The 100 Biggest Public Companies in the World in 2022
Update: Apple shares fell 3% on Tuesday, sending the tech giant’s market cap below USD2 tril for the first time since May. It hit USD3 tril briefly back in Jan 2022.
How far can you throw a ball on different planets