RM150,000 BRIBE? BANK OFFICER, MARRIED COUPLE RELEASED ON BAIL OVER FRAUDULENT LOAN APPLICATION

PUTRAJAYA – A female head of a marketing and financing unit of a bank and a married couple who were remanded for allegedly making a fraudulent loan application were released on Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) bail.

Magistrate Nadhirah Abd Rahim allowed the trio to be released today on MACC bail of RM9,000 each with two sureties.

The 30-year-old female officer and the couple, aged 36 and 37, were detained at 11am on April 3 and were remanded for five days from April 4.

The officer from the Putrajaya branch of the bank here was believed to have received a bribe of about RM150,000 from the couple as an inducement to produce a false employment verification to approve a personal loan application, last year.

— Bernama

.

TOP PLACES THE SUPER-RICH PREFER TO LIVE AROUND THE WORLD

Forbes, in its 32nd annual ranking recently showed there are now a record 2,208 billionaires in the world – up from 2,043 in 2017. On average, each of these billionaires possesses a mind-boggling US$4.1 billion. And if you combine the net worth of these 2,208 billionaires, their fortune was in the region of trillions, not billions. Combined, their net worth was US$9.1 trillion.

In 2017 alone, a new billionaire was made every 2 days. How about millionaires? Within 10 years between 2006 and 2016, the total number of millionaires in the world skyrocketed to 13-million. Yes, according to UK-based Knight Frank, the world had produced 13,000,000 millionaires by 2016. Naturally, being a millionaire isn’t that prestigious anymore.

Worldwide, people don’t consider them rich even when their wealth touches the million dollar mark. Gone were the days when your school teacher told you to write an essay about “What would I do if I have a million dollars”. The bar has been shifted to hundreds of millions, if not billions, in order to qualify a person to the category of super-rich.

Those with more than US$500 million in personal wealth, seems like a good benchmark to measure the super-rich. Using data from Knight Frank, an awesome chart was created by howmuch.net to give a dashboard view of the distribution of the ultra-wealthy around the world. The modified pie-chart shows where the primary residence of the half-billionaires in each country.

As expected, United States tops the chart as the most popular destination with 1,830 individuals worth over US$500 million. That’s more than 4 times as many half-billionaires as the second-place country – China (490). However, those 490 half-billionaires in China did not include 320 half-billionaires in Hong Kong.

But even if mainland China and Hong Kong are combined, the 810 super-rich are still less than half of the U.S. number. Germany is at third place in the rankings with 490 people, followed by Japan in fourth at 390. Switzerland, surprisingly, is home to 250 half-billionaires, more than France (230), Russia (220) and United Kingdom (220).

TOP PLACES THE SUPER-RICH PREFER TO LIVE AROUND THE WORLD

Here’s a list of the top 10 countries with more than US$500 million in personal wealth.

  1. United States (North America): 1,830 people
  2. China (mainland) (Asia): 490 people
  3. Germany (Europe): 430 people
  4. Japan (Asia): 390 people
  5. Hong Kong (China) (Asia): 320 people
  6. Canada (North America): 270 people
  7. Switzerland (Europe): 250 people
  8. France (Europe): 230 people
  9. Russia (Russia): 220 people
  10. United Kingdom (Europe): 220 people

– http://www.financetwitter.com/

.

HIGH SCHOOL DROPOUT NOW WORTH $3.8MIL

WHILE most 16-year-olds are busy partying, high school dropout Daniel Walsh was hatching a plan.

He was earning just $254 a week while doing his apprenticeship at his dad’s auto-electrician business — but he knew he wouldn’t be scraping by for long.

Just three years later, he had saved $34,000, which he used to buy a block of land in Picton, southwest of Sydney.

He had also rounded up a successful group of mentors to help him kick his very lofty property investment goals.

In 2011 at the age of just 19, he built a four-bedroom, two bathroom home on the block.

It cost him $342,000 in total, and he rented it out for $470 a week.

Daniel Walsh's first property, built in Picton, NSW in 2011 for $342,000, is now worth $650,000. Picture: Supplied

Daniel Walsh’s first property, built in Picton, NSW in 2011 for $342,000, is now worth $650,000. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

Ads by Kiosked

A year later he bought an older, three-bedroom home for $303,000 also in Picton, which he renovated and rented out for $430 a week.

But then, the ambitious tradie hit a stumbling block — the banks wouldn’t lend him more money, because he had cross-collateralised, which meant he had used more than one property as security for a loan.

“I had a two-year gap where I stopped investing during that time, because I made a big mistake,” he said.

“But in those two years I sought a full team of brokers and other people to help me invest in more property.

His second property, also purchased in Picton, NSW in 2012, cost $303,000 and is now worth $620,000. Picture: Supplied

His second property, also purchased in Picton, NSW in 2012, cost $303,000 and is now worth $620,000. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

Ads by Kiosked

“My broker had 21 properties and he mentored me from then on and uncrossed my loans so I was able to start purchasing again.”

By 2014, he was back on his feet, and Mr Walsh invested in a three-bedroom house in Brisbane, which cost $259,000, followed by another four-bedroom house in Brisbane which set him back $305,000.

In 2015 he bought his third Brisbane property for $310,000 and a house on Adelaide’s fringe for $182,000.

In 2016 he bought a three-bedroom house in Carrum Downs, Melbourne for $345,000 which he has subdivided into a separate block, and he has just bought another home in Melbourne, which will settle next month.

Daniel Walsh and his wife Sophie are now both devoted to helping others invest in property. Picture: Supplied

Daniel Walsh and his wife Sophie are now both devoted to helping others invest in property. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

Ads by Kiosked

The latest addition brings his portfolio up to nine properties, worth a staggering $3.8 million.

He has tenants in every property, earning $155,000 in rent each year, and his debt is around $2.2 million, bringing his net worth to $1.6 million.

Mr Walsh, now 27, and his wife Sophie, 23, rent a home in southwest Sydney and are planning to move to the city’s northern beaches in the near future.

But the couple aren’t content to rest on their laurels — Mr Walsh’s goal is to own 20 properties and retire before his 40th birthday at the latest.

Mr Walsh's sixth property was purchased in 2015 in Brisbane for $310,000, and is now worth $360,000. Picture: Supplied

Mr Walsh’s sixth property was purchased in 2015 in Brisbane for $310,000, and is now worth $360,000. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

Mr Walsh, who also used to work as a train driver, has also established his own investment buyer’s agency, Your Property Your Wealth, to help other Australians build their property portfolios

He said he loved passing his knowledge on to clients, especially younger people who have given up on the dream of home ownership.

“For me the biggest thing is helping other people so I probably won’t retire fully because I want to continue helping others invest in property,” he said.

“But it’s nice to know I won’t have to go back to driving trains or do something I don’t want to do.”

Daniel Walsh and his fiance bought this house — the couple's seventh — in Carrum Downs, Melbourne in July 2016. Picture: Facebook

Daniel Walsh and his fiance bought this house — the couple’s seventh — in Carrum Downs, Melbourne in July 2016. Picture: FacebookSource:Facebook

Mr Walsh said he had no other investments besides property, but that he had diversified his portfolio to cover a variety of states and regions to minimise risk.

He said one of the main messages he wanted to get out to Millennials was that they should consider “rentvesting” — renting where they want to live, and buying in cheaper, high-growth areas.

“I’ve done it all on an average wage and I’ve built a large portfolio at quite a young age — all the time I hear people saying buying is unaffordable, but there are affordable properties all around Australia,” he said.

“It’s about putting your money to work.”

– News.com.au

.

WHY IS MALAYSIA SO MUCH MORE DEVELOPED THAN THAILAND?

A country’s economic development depends on the its stability, its reliability, & openness to business/investment/entrepreneurship; & small due to natural resources/geography. In this, Malaysia scores better than Thailand in almost all points here.

Thailand was never colonised by a Western power.

While the Thais are proud of being the only Southeast Asian country to have not been colonised, this is a double-edged sword for it. Thailand had to build its pillars of the state such as the Rule of Law, political stability (covered in another point), a sound legal system, good infrastructure, a decent civil service, from scratch. The patronage in Thailand exists till today.

Meanwhile, Malaysia inherited all (or most) of this from the British upon a bloodless independence. Sure, past kings of Thailand such as Mongkut & Chulalongkorn did a great deal in consulting multiple Western powers in different fields to modernise Siam, but never to the point of a decent former British colony like Malaysia. The British also abolished a great deal of patronage when they took over.

Malaysia is also extremely lucky that the British actually made sure we had the right institutions & people to run a newly independent country. They did not pack their bags & leave us in a mess like what happened in India & Pakistan. Heck, they even helped fight a Communist insurgency & military aggression from Soekarno’s Indonesia. Of course, the British helped us because they wanted to fight off the domino effect of Communism in the Cold War & to preserve their investments which were still substantial at that time, but in return we were placed with a system that has more of less been the same since independence.

Thailand is politically less stable than Malaysia.

WHY IS MALAYSIA SO MUCH MORE DEVELOPED THAN THAILAND?

Since the start of its constitutional monarchy in 1932, Thailand’s incredible political divisions & it’s military’s unique role in politics had resulted in 20 coups d’état, the most recent in 2014. Multiple civilian parties & military factions have struggled for political power. Even when the government reverts to civilian rule, it can be very fragile. Violence can also descend quickly- such as the 2010 Thai political protests.

Conversely, Malaysia, with the help of a historically fragmented opposition & rigged elections only had one ruling coalition since its independence 61 years ago- the National Front (Barisan Nasional, BN), headed by the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO). That’s not to say things in Malaysia were easier to run- the BN has withstood multiple events & scandals such as the Communist insurgency, Indonesia’s Konfrontasi, expulsion of Singapore, the May 13th racial riots, the 1988 Constitutional crisis, the Reformasimovement, & most recently the 1MDB scandal; all by iron fisted moves. Even then, protests & scandals don’t usually end up in violence, unlike Thailand.

However, of late, Thailand’s junta has ironically provided the much needed political stability for a sound business environment. Since 2014 (the year the current military junta came to power) economic growth has beaten expectations & tourist arrivals are at a record-breaking high.

Thailand has lesser natural resources than Malaysia.

Malaysia had & currently have many cash-cow commodities. Historically there was tin, rubber, timber, & gold. Nowadays, its mostly palm oil, & oil (petroleum). Commodities have very high profit margins especially when prices are high. However they are also susceptible to price swings. Hence the Malaysian Ringgit is a much more volatile currency.

While Thailand’s primary sector is big on agriculture such as rice & fruits, they do not yield as much profits as commodities. It does, however, make Thailand a self-sufficient country for food.

Also, Malaysia’s secondary sectors (like high-value manufacturing) & tertiary sector (such as banking) is also bigger. However Thailand’s tourism industry is a much bigger.

Geographically, Thailand is in a less advantageous position than Malaysia.

WHY IS MALAYSIA SO MUCH MORE DEVELOPED THAN THAILAND?

Peninsular Malaysia is flanked by the Strait of Malacca, the world’s busiest natural strait. Hence Malaysia (& Singapore) catches most of port traffic in Southeast Asia. Port Klang, near Kuala Lumpur and Port of Tanjung Pelepas in the border of Singapore are busy ports.

Thailand, while occupying a central position in Indochina & the only land bridge connecting the Peninsular Malaysia & Singapore, is certainly impressive. However, 90% of the world’s freight is by sea, making ground freight less relevant. This is so important to the point that the southern provinces of Thailand export their goods via Penang Port & Port Klang in Malaysia instead of Laem Chabang port near Bangkok due to proximity & ease of movement.

Widespread use of English in Malaysia.

While detractors say that English isn’t important by using examples of countries like Japan, Germany, South Korea, China, Taiwan, etc. Malaysia’s widespread use of English certainly makes business done by foreigners easier. Also, STEM resources & materials are mostly found in English, thus making the teaching of STEM subjects much easier.

Malaysia has a larger overseas Chinese & community.

While Thailand has the largest population of overseas Chinese in the world, Malaysia has the highest percentage of overseas Chinese as a minority, at 25%, versus Thailand’s 12%. Their entrepreneurship has spearheaded the economic growth of their respective countries. Malaysia also has a significant overseas Indian minority, who occupy many professional positions such as doctors, lawyer, engineers, accountants, etc.

– https://www.quora.com/

.

KL-SINGAPORE HSR: YTL CORP PULLS OFF SURPRISE WINNING BID FOR PART OF JOB

Contractor’s JV is one of two PDPs for KL-Singapore HSR project

YTL Corp Bhd has again caught the market by surprise with its recent win of a portion of the job in the multi-billion ringgit Kuala Lumpur–Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project.

In the run-up to the 14th General Election, MyHSR Corp announced the appointment of two project delivery partners (PDPs) for the HSR project. They are the joint ventures (JVs) of Malaysian Resources Corp  Bhd with Gamuda Bhd (MRCB-Gamuda JV) and YTL Corp’s Syarikat Pembenaan Yeoh Tiong Lay Sdn Bhd with TH Properties Sdn Bhd (YTL-THP JV), a subsidiary of Lembaga Tabung Haji.

The announcement, which came two days before the parliament is dissolved, took the market by surprise.

Many were not expecting such a major development to take place before a general election, considering that the HSR project is the most prestigious development that will involve two countries over the next seven years.

Nevertheless, the latest win puts YTL as as the top beneficiary of rail construction projects, sharing the limelight with companies such as Gamuda Bhd and George Kent (Malaysia) Bhd. Until now, both Gamuda and George Kent have been the favoured stocks among analysts as a major proxy for new rail contracts in the country.

In the span of four months, YTL, which built the Express Rail Link (ERL) in 1996, has bagged two major rail projects.

In December, it received a rail package worth RM8.6bil for the Gemas-Johor Baru electrified double-track railway project.

As a PDP, YTL-THP will be responsible for designing and delivering the civil works of the KL-SG HSR project at an agreed cost and within the schedule of completion.

Apart from YTL and THP, the other partner in the YTL-THP JV is said to be the SIPP group, which is linked to the Johor Palace.

The SIPP group has bagged a few federal government-sponsored projects in the state following its partnership with the YTL group, including the RM8.6bil Gemas-Johor Baru double-track project.

The Gemas-Johor Baru double-track project involves the construction of 197km of double tracks, stations, electric trains, depots, land viaduct, bridges, and electrification and signalling systems.

Back to the HSR project, the MRCB-Gamuda JV has been selected for the northern portion of the alignment, while YTL-THP has been selected for the southern portion.

The job scope of the PDP to oversee civil works contracts for the HSR project between Bandar Malaysia and the southern tip of Johor, is by far the biggest and most prestigious railway contract so far.

According to CIMB Research, the combined value of the civil works at HSR is estimated at RM30bil-RM40bil and the PDP fee is 6% of total civil works.

The 6% figure is similar to the amount given to PDPs managing the works in the the mass rapid transit (MRT) projects.

CIMB estimates that the MRCB-Gamuda JV will manage contracts worth about RM20bil-RM23bil, assuming its scope of work involves the stretch between Bandar Malaysia to the Malacca-Johor. The portion is about 65% of total works.

The value of civil works to be under the purview of the YTL-THP JV is about RM10bil-RM12bil.

The research house points out that unlike the role of the PDPs in the MRT works, there is a possibility that the PDPs of HSR project would be allowed to participate in the construction works.

“We understand that the tender for HSR’s civil works is only applicable to local contractors,” it said in a report yesterday.

CIIMB targets that the civil work for the HSR project to start in early next year.

Shares of YTL has risen more 5.2% year to date.

It is worth noting that YTL’s share price has seen a 14-month decline since 2016, before surging almost 39% in early January this year to RM1.55, following the announcement of it landing the job to build the Gemas-Johor Baru double-track project.

Yesterday, YTL closed at RM1.43 a share, rising more than 9% after announcing its PDP role in the HSR project.

The JVs of Gamuda-MRCB and YTL-THP beat a formidable consortium involving IJM Corp Bhd

image: https://cdn.thestar.com.my/Themes/img/chart.png

KL-SINGAPORE HSR: YTL CORP PULLS OFF SURPRISE WINNING BID FOR PART OF JOB and Sunway Construction Bhd for the PDP job.

IJM and Sunway partnered Maltimur Resources Sdn Bhd, a company linked to the influential Tan Sri Bustari Yusoff of Sarawak and Jalinan Rejang Sdn Bhd.

Maltimur Resources and Jalinan Rejang were the PDP for the Pan-Borneo Highway.

“YTL-THP started as underdogs when the bidding started.

“The strongest point was YTL’s link to SIPP in the Gemas-Johor Baru project,” said a contractor.

With the PDP for the civil works portion being settled, the other major portion of the HSR project that is yet to be dished out is the mandate for the company to handle the operations and rolling stock called Opco and AssetsCo. The tender has been opened and it would be decided jointly by MyHSR and its counterpart in Singapore.

Speculation is rife that YTL could be bidding for the job to handle the operations or what is known as the tender for OpCo.

Analysts had pointed out that the OpCo tender is relevant to YTL, given its experience in operating the 45%-owned ERL.

The ERL is a dedicated train service from Kl Sentral to KLIA and runs faster than normal trains.

Meanwhile, for the AssetCo, so far George Kent has formed a collaboration with Siemens, Alstom, Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane and the PORR group to tender for the job. Another contender for the AssetCo is MMC Corp Bhd

image: https://cdn.thestar.com.my/Themes/img/chart.png

KL-SINGAPORE HSR: YTL CORP PULLS OFF SURPRISE WINNING BID FOR PART OF JOB that has formed a joint venture with a Japanese consortium.

Analysts estimate the AssetsCo tender, which closes in June, would comprise RM20bil of the overall RM60bil HSR cost.

UOB Kay Hian Malaysia Research estimates that the construction period for the civil work of the HSR project would take about 6½ years.

“Assuming the 2026 timeline is intact, contracts for civil construction works should be awarded the latest by 2019,” it says.

It adds that physical construction (subcontracting) works could benefit companies such as Gabungan AQRS, WCT Holdings, Econpile, Ahmad Zaki, Muhibbah Engineering, Gadang and TSR Capital.

– ANN

.

WEALTHY MALAYSIAN INVESTORS SHIFT MONEY TO ‘SAFE-HAVEN’ ASSETS AHEAD OF GE14

PETALING JAYA – Wealthy Malaysian investors are shifting their money to safe-haven assets such as bonds and gold from property in light of a more cautious market and the upcoming general election.

Knight Frank Malaysia managing director Sarkunan Subramaniam said wealthy investors in Malaysia notably increased their exposure to bonds and gold last year, as they were seen as safe-asset classes in light of 2018 being an election year.

“Post-election, we expect investors to accept more risks as the political landscape brings a new policy and economic cycle.

“Investors may also increasingly look at various real-estate opportunities across residential and commercial properties both at home and overseas,” he said in a statement in conjunction with the launch of Knight Frank’s The Wealth Report Attitudes Survey 2018.

 In terms of investment trends in 2017, Knight Frank observed that the biggest draw for new investments by the wealthy last year were in equities.

“As stock markets around the globe soared, the appetite for shares was greatest in Asia. Beating the global average by 21%, 83% of Asian respondents said their clients increased their exposure to equities in 2017.”

The report added that gold seemed to have lost some of its glitter as an investment for most of Asia.

“Only China and Malaysia saw significant reallocation into the precious metal with 46% and 33% of respondents saying their clients increased allocations last year, above the global average of 25%.”

Meanwhile, Knight Frank Malaysia capital markets director James Buckley shared Sarkunan’s sentiment on the local property market being impacted by the impending election.

“Where there’s an election in any country, people will adopt a wait-and-see approach. We do see investments picking up after the election,” he said.

In its latest wealth report, Knight Frank said 43% of its Malaysian clients planned to invest in properties overseas, going forward.

At 43%, Malaysia topped the survey in terms of those looking to invest abroad, followed by Hong Kong (40%), China (37%) and Singapore (30%).

Knight Frank Asia-Pacific research head Nicholas Holt said the level of investors in Malaysia investing abroad had been relatively stable over the years. He said a similar trend could be expected over the next few years.

“It should be stable, going forward. With the current property glut and wait-and-see approach adopted by investors, it is certainly a driver to continue investing abroad.”

Only three countries – Malaysia, Hong Kong and China – were above the global average of 34% when considering overseas purchases, according to Knight Frank’s report.

It said the top-five overseas destinations for Malaysian investors in 2018 are Australia, Singapore, Britain, the United States and New Zealand.

The current Knight Frank’s wealth report, an annual snapshot of the issues influencing wealthy individuals’ investment and lifestyle decisions, was based on the response of 541 of the world’s leading private bankers and wealth advisers, representing roughly 50,000 clients with a combined wealth of around US$3 trillion (RM12 trillion).

– ANN

.

MALAYSIAN BANKS STRONG ENOUGH TO WEATHER ‘SHARP RECESSION’ SCENARIO: MOODY’S

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysian banks have resilient capital and earnings buffers in severe macroeconomic and financial stress, which is a credit positive, says Moody’s Investors Service.

It said on Thursday Bank Negara Malaysia’s annual Financial Stability and Payment Systems Report for 2017 included the results of its solvency stress test on the country’s banks.

The stress test used three hypothetical domestic gross domestic product (GDP) rates – one baseline scenario and two adverse scenarios – with simultaneous shocks to revenue, funding, credit and market risks applied to banks’ earnings, balance sheets and capital levels, over the four years to 2021.

The first adverse scenario assumed a strong, V-shaped recovery to the baseline growth rate from a sharp recession in 2018.

The second adverse scenario simulated an L-shaped trajectory with the growth rate remaining low after a mild initial decline.

Under the baseline scenario, banks’ systemwide total capital adequacy ratio would decline by about 50 basis points over the four-year period, while the ratio would drop about 150 basis points in the first adverse scenario and about 200 basis points in the second adverse scenario.

“Still, under both adverse scenarios, the systemwide total capital ratio would remain above a regulatory minimum of 10.5% (including a capital conservation buffer of 2.5%) at the end of 2021.

“This shows that banks are resilient to potential shocks and tail risks, and have sufficient earnings and capital buffers to absorb potential losses,” said Moody’s.

According to Bank Negara’s report, more than 90% of capital losses under the stress test scenarios would result from credit losses.

In the adverse scenarios, the systemwide gross impaired loan ratio would jump to 5% in the first scenario and 9% in the second scenario from 1.5% at the end of 2017, and loss-given defaults would rise as high as 80%.

“Losses from household loans would account for 34%-38% of total capital losses, while around 60% of the capital erosion caused by credit losses would derive from corporate loans,” it said.

Moody’s said the latest Bank Negara data also show continued moderation in leverage among households and corporations in Malaysia, driven primarily by a slowdown in debt accumulation.

Household debt growth in Malaysia weakened to 4.9% in 2017 from 5.4% in 2016, a peak of 14.2% in 2010 and the slowest pace since then, because of a decline in higher-risk consumer loans such as personal loans, auto loans and mortgages on non-residential properties.

“Overall household debt as a percentage of GDP declined to 84% at the end of 2017 from 88% a year earlier.

“Banks’ exposures to the highest-risk households, such as low-income households, fell to 17% of total household loans in 2017 from 19% a year earlier.

“Similarly, growth in aggregate non-financial corporate debt slowed to 3% in 2017 from 9% the prior year, with total corporate debt as a percentage of GDP declining to 103% from 110% over the same period.

“The latest data suggest asset quality risks from household and corporate leverage are well contained, a credit positive for banks,” said Moody’s.

ANN

.

 

GLUT ALREADY, YET M’SIAN DEVELOPERS LAUNCH THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF PROPERTIES IN RECENT TIMES, IN 2H17

PETALING JAYA – Malaysian property developers launched the highest number of properties seen in the last few years, in the second half of 2017 (2H 2017), with 15,082 units going into the market compared with 9,089 units launched in the first half of 2017 (1H 2017).

Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association Malaysia (Rehda) president Datuk Seri FD Iskandar said the number of launches is the highest in the last few years.

“In 2H 2017, 34% of respondents had launches compared with 31% in 1H 2017. A total of 15,082 units were launched with a 45% sales performance,” he said at a briefing on Rehda’s Property Industry Survey 2H 2017 today.

The survey, based on responses from 200 Rehda members in Peninsular Malaysia, revealed that residential and commercial properties saw significant increase in the number of launches.

The residential segment saw a hike of 68% in number of units launched while the commercial segment saw a 21% hike.

– Sundaily

.

FORGET CHINA! U.S. PRESIDENT VS WORLD’S RICHEST MAN COULD DAMAGE THE STOCK MARKETS

You don’t want to pick up a fight with Donald Trump if you’re not 100% sure what you’re getting into. In a little more than a year as POTUS, this president has made more enemies than any president in the history of U.S. presidency. On the international stage, he picked up fights with EU, NATO, UN, Mexico, Canada, South Korea, North Korea, Japan, China, Muslims and whatnot.

Domestically, not only both Democrats and Republicans were targeted, Trump also fought the Hollywood, FBI, Intelligence Community, Attorney General, mainstream news media and even White House top guns hired by himself. And now he’s going after fellow American and world’s richest man – Jeff Bezos. And things could get really ugly before the Chinese could even pull its trigger.

The war between Donald Trump and the Amazon’s big boss isn’t new. It’s a public knowledge that both Trump and Bezos don’t see eye to eye. Jeff Bezos initially bought the Washington Post in 2013 for US$250 million as a tool to persuade Washington politicians to keep Amazon’s taxes low and help the company avoid antitrust scrutiny. All hell breaks loose when Trump runs for president.

FORGET CHINA! U.S. PRESIDENT VS WORLD’S RICHEST MAN COULD DAMAGE THE STOCK MARKETS

In case you didn’t know, Donald Trump is a vengeful person. And he’s now looking for blood for what Bezos had done to him during the United States Presidential Election of 2016. When Trump electrified his supporters with a pledge to be tough on Amazon, Mr. Bezos used his media to write nasty – even fake articles – about Trump to stop him from reaching the White House.

Bezos is a globalist and a liberal while Trump is a nationalist and a conservative. That pretty much sums up the lack of love between both billionaires. But even after Trump stunningly won the presidency, the Washington Post hadn’t stopped its attacks on President Trump. On the contrary, Bezos’ media has instead intensified its blitzkrieg on Trump administration.

You don’t need a rocket scientist to calculate the level of anger inside Trump when Bezos skyrocketed to become the world’s richest man, unseating Microsoft Bill Gates, whom has been the richest person in the world for 18 of the past 24 years. The ultimate war started on Saturday when Trump unleashed his bazooka, aiming at Bezos’ crown jewel – the Amazon.com.

FORGET CHINA! U.S. PRESIDENT VS WORLD’S RICHEST MAN COULD DAMAGE THE STOCK MARKETS

Freedom of the press in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Therefore, there’s only so much damage President Trump can do to Jeff Bezos’ media. But against Amazon, it’s an entirely different animal. The POTUS is going after the e-commerce giant, calling it a “scam” that’s bleeding the U.S. Post Office “billions of dollars.”

His Saturday’s tweet basically says that the company founded by Bezos pays “little or no taxes to state and local governments.” This wasn’t the first time Trump has gone after Amazon though. On August 16, 2017, Trump tweeted – “Amazon is doing great damage to tax paying retailers. Towns, cities, and states throughout the U.S. are being hurt – many jobs being lost!”

But Trump’s tweet on Saturday is seen as what many believe to be a real declaration of war against Amazon. And judging by the reaction of stock markets, Trump’s punch has caused more than a bloody nose to billionaire Bezos. On Monday alone, Trump’s attack on Amazon resulted in a sell-off, erasing 75 bucks off the stock and wiping nearly US$45 billion from its market value.

FORGET CHINA! U.S. PRESIDENT VS WORLD’S RICHEST MAN COULD DAMAGE THE STOCK MARKETS

More importantly, the open war between Trump and Bezos drags the entire technology sector. The NASDAQ lost 2.74% or 193.33 points while the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 458.92 points or 1.90%. Add in the risk of trade war between the U.S. and China, and throw in the Facebook scandal, and you’re looking at the recipe of disaster.

Claiming that Amazon has been taking advantage of the U.S. Postal Serviceand not paying enough tax, Trump tweeted – “Only fools, or worse, are saying that our money losing Post Office makes money with Amazon. THEY LOSE A FORTUNE and this will be changed. Also, our fully tax paying retailers are closing stores all over the country…not a level playing field!”

It is understood that Amazon pays the U.S. postal service roughly half what it would to United Parcel Service Inc or FedEx Corp to deliver a package. Trump claims that the U.S. Postal Service is losing US$1.50 on average for each package it delivers on bahalf of Amazon. That losses were based on a Citi Research analysis in April 2017.

FORGET CHINA! U.S. PRESIDENT VS WORLD’S RICHEST MAN COULD DAMAGE THE STOCK MARKETS

Trump wants the U.S. Postal Service, which reported a loss of US$2.7 billion in 2017, to charge more. Obviously, higher postal rates could cut into Amazon’s profits in online sales, which depend heavily on the Post Office for delivery. A source reportedly said the POTUS is obsessed with finding a way to go after Amazon with antitrust or competition law.

As Amazon prospers, the company has created tons of business enemies along the way. And they are complaining to Trump that Amazon is killing shopping malls and brick-and-mortar retailers. The U.S. president has been telling all and sundry that Amazon has gotten a free ride from taxpayers and cushy treatment from the U.S. Postal Service.

Amazon registered a mind-boggling US$177.9 billion in revenue last year and employed more than half a million employees. The company purchased Whole Foods Market for US$13.7 billion last year, in a deal approved by the Federal Trade Commission. It’s growth and diversification could be used by Trump to slap Amazon with antitrust law – ultimately breaking up the company.

Bezos, whose net worth stood at nearly US$130 billion on Monday (March 26), has seen his fortune down to US$114 billion a week later today – thanks to 4 tweets from Donald Trump. The U.S. president has just burnt US$16 billionaway from him, more than what Amazon earned – US$789 million – as a result of Trump’s cut in the corporate tax which benefited the company.

– Finance Twitter

.

CHANGED YOUR NUMBER? WHATSAPP ROLLS OUT NEW FEATURES FOR THOSE CHANGING CONTACT NUMBERS

Changed your number? Now it’s easier to inform everyone on WhatsApp, or even specific people, about the change.

There are three alert options – notify all contacts, notify contacts who you have a chat with, or you can manually choose who to alert.

However, even if users choose not to notify their contacts, all groups they were in would still be notified.

In a post by WAbetainfo, this feature was part of a roll out for WhatsApp beta for Android users and could be accessed by selecting the Change Number option under WhatsApp Settings -> Account.

Users could access this new feature by updating to the 2.18.97 Android beta on Google Play Store, though it was not yet available on WhatsApp for iOS and Window Phones.

Another important use of the Change Number feature is that it allows users to migrate their data – like chat histories – to the new number.

After the migration, all shared messages in the old chat will be transferred to the new number’s chats, plus a new bubble – indicating that the user has a new number – will appear in the chat.

– ANN

.