Malaysian talent lost due to racial bigotry


Leng Siew Yeap

Leng Siew Yeap, a Malaysian, a graduate of UMS applied for a scholarship to do a doctorate degree but was refused outright by the local govt.

She was however offered scholarships by University of Edinburgh, London University and Cambridge University. She chose Cambridge University’s Dorothy Hodgkin postgraduate award to study stem cell.

On graduation she accepted the offer from Harvard to study human immunology. She is now working in research for a Shanghai university hospital.

She has successfully helped to create an method/procedure 4 the body to secrete
an antibody to fight HIV. She is now married to a Shanghai citizen, living and working in Shanghai. She and her achievements are never mentioned in any Malaysia newspaper.

View Full Profile – Shanghai Institute of Immunology

 

 

Shanghai Institute of Immunology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University
School of Medicine, China.
Research Interests

Our body is constantly attacked by pathogens. To fight against various pathogens, B cells produce a large antibody repertoire through different processes that involve genomic DNA alterations. During B cell development, a DNA cut and paste mechanism called V(D)J recombination generates a primary antibody repertoire by producing V(D)J exons that
are made up of combinations of different V, D and J segments. Upon activation by pathogens, mature B cells undergo secondary antibody diversification, whereby Somatic Hypermutation (SHM) generates antibodies with higher affinity, while Class Switch Recombination (CSR) generates antibodies with different effector functions. In theory, our body has the capability to generate all necessary antibodies to fight against different pathogens through antibody diversification mechanisms. However, this is not the case. For example, in certain infectious diseases such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection/ acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), only a small percentage of the infected patients were able to produce effective antibodies. Our research aims
to elucidate molecular mechanisms that facilitate approaches in generating highly effective antibodies to fight pathogens and infectious diseases. We employ various approaches including mouse models, cell line systems, CRISPR-mediated genome editing and next-generation sequencing technologies (Yeap et al., Cell, 2015, Figure below) to address our aims.

 

 

Top Malaysian researcher working to wipe out infectious diseases

Dr Yeap heads the antibody diversification team at Shanghai Institute of Immunology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, China.

LIKE many of her peers, Dr Yeap Leng Siew, 39, was raised believing that noble careers only include doctors and lawyers.

So when the Selangorian failed to enter medical school because she didn’t get straight As in the Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM), her childhood ambition of becoming a doctor came crashing down.

She was upset for awhile but remembered that as a secondary school girl, she had done well in Biology.

It encouraged her to take up Biotechnology at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS).

“I passed with flying colors and was the best student at university. If I hadn’t been rejected to do medicine, I wouldn’t have the career that I now enjoy. It was a blessing in disguise.”

Now married to a Chinese national and living in Shanghai, the mother-of-two graduated with first class honours from UMS in 2003, and received the Royal Educational Award and Tunku Abdul Rahman Medal. These awards recognise the country’s best student from each public university. After graduation, she was still unsure about her career path until a research stint at the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) sparked her interest in cell biology.

She went on to do her doctorate in stem cell biology at the University of Cambridge, before continuing as a Harvard Medical School postdoctoral fellow at the Boston Children’s Hospital.

“Initially I wanted to do a Ph.D in Singapore but my GRE score (a US-based graduate entrance exam) was not great.”

Though she did not receive any offers during the first round of application, she was determined to pursue a Ph.D degree.

“People are bitter about rejections because they do not have backup plans. Prof Bing Lim, my supervisor at GIS, once told me to be open-minded because a narrow mind narrows potential. His words were etched in my heart ever since.”

She was later granted the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Dorothy Hodgkin Postgraduate Award – a full scholarship for outstanding students from developing countries to pursue a Ph.D degree at the University of Cambridge.

She continued to make her mark when she was awarded the St Catharine’s College Graduate Prize for Distinction in Research during her stint in Cambridge. She then went on to receive the prestigious Cancer Research Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship in the United States.

Disappointment, she said, is part of life.

“It is how we overcome disappointments and take up challenges that distinguishes us from the rest.”

The former research assistant at GIS now heads the antibody diversification team at Shanghai Institute of Immunology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, China.

“Prof Huck Hui Ng from GIS once told me, ‘work hard, and the sky is the limit’. I now tell my students those very same words.”

In 2017, Yeap was selected by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) to receive the Excellent Young Scientist Fund, which is aimed at nurturing young talents with innovative potential.

She speaks to StarEdu about her work and advises young science students to expand their horizon. The world doesn’t end just because you didn’t get into medical school. There are many opportunities for those interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

> What is your area of research?I am interested in understanding why some people develop effective antibodies to fight diseases while others do not. For example, only a small percentage of HIV-1 infected patients develop potent antibodies against the virus, which is why this remains a major health problem globally. Another example is how despite being vaccinated for the flu or hepatitis B (HBV), some do not develop protective antibodies and are still susceptible to these illnesses. My research group is studying how the antibodies acquire high levels of mutations and other special characteristics. Understanding how these rare antibodies develop will shed light on developing HIV or new vaccines for the flu or HBV.

> How long have you been away from home? Sixteen years. During the final semester of my undergraduate studies, I did a 10-week research attachment at the National Cancer Centre of Singapore. It was a time when biological research was just starting to bloom there. I was very fortunate not to be sent home because of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak, and even luckier, because I landed my first job as a research assistant at the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS).

Seeing that I graduated from a university that didn’t even exist when he left his hometown, Kota Kinabalu, my supervisor at GIS, Dr Bing Lim, decided to hire me. He has been a great mentor ever since. In his laboratory, we were trying to culture human stem cells and I was fascinated by the idea that these cells may be turned into any type of cells for therapeutic purposes.

I realised then that I would have to pursue a Ph.D degree if I want to move further along in my research career. Two years later, I moved to the United Kingdom to begin my postgraduate studies in the lab of Prof Azim Surani at the University of Cambridge. When I completed my doctorate, my parents were expecting me to come home. So when I told them that I had planned on continuing my postdoctoral training in the United States, they were shocked. It took a while to convince them that a Ph.D degree is just the beginning of a career in research and that to have a chance of running my own laboratory one day, I would have to undergo a postdoctoral training as well.

In 2010, I started my postdoctoral training in the laboratory of a top immunologist, Dr Fred Alt at Harvard Medical School. During the five years of postdoctoral training, I met my husband and gave birth to my first child.

In 2015, we decided to move closer to home to start our career as independent researchers.

> What is it about home you miss the most?The food definitely – nasi lemak, durian, and my mum’s cooking.

> You helped find a way for the body to fight HIV. Tell us about that breakthrough.During my postdoctoral training, I developed mouse models to study how different antibody genes undergo mutation. We found that certain DNA sequences are more prone to mutations and that the same DNA sequences are also prone to deletions, another common characteristic of anti-HIV broadly neutralising antibodies.

These results suggest that DNA sequence direct the evolution of antibodies and these results were published in Cell in 2015, a top journal in the biological field. In 2017, we published in Proceedings of National Academy of Science on a related work where we analysed a mouse model carrying a human antibody gene and found that many mutations in anti-HIV antibodies are not easily achieved. Understanding how our bodies are able to elicit these rare antibodies will help in vaccine design strategies.

> What are you currently working on?We are continuously trying to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying highly effective antibody generation and developing approaches to guide our bodies to produce such antibodies during infection. We use animal models, cutting-edge gene editing techniques and next generation DNA sequencing in our research. We hope to one day wipe out infectious diseases like HIV.

> Are there any plans to work with other Malaysian researchers moving forward?We are constantly reaching out to researchers from all over the world, and Malaysia is definitely a priority. On Aug 9, I was in Malaysia with a delegation headed by Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine chancellor Prof Guoqiang Chen, and Shanghai Institute of Immunology director Prof Bing Su, to promote collaborations with Universiti Malaya’s Faculty of Medicine. We also visited the International Medical University (IMU).

With the Chinese government’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative, there are plenty of funding opportunities for academic exchanges and scholarships for graduate studies. Hopefully, more people will come to know about research and academic opportunities in our school.

I have been exposed to different research environments in top laboratories and research institutes around the world, and the current biomedical research environment in Shanghai and other major cities in China, is definitely on par with the places that I have been to.

>What is the most challenging aspect of working in a lab?As an independent researcher, my job is to design and supervise experiments, analyse the results with my students and postdocs, and write manuscripts for publications. I also have to make sure that the lab has enough funding to do research.

Some of the challenging aspects include dealing with failed experiments, manuscripts and grants being rejected, and harsh criticisms by peers. But the satisfaction in being the first in the world to discover something new and potentially textbook-changing, makes all the hard work worthwhile.

> What qualities would a young, aspiring researcher need?Passion, persistence and determination. In the labs I’ve been to, I’ve seen college or even high school students doing research internships during school holidays. These kinds of opportunities allow students to experience the laboratory culture and life as a researcher. Being exposed to different career options at an early stage allows students to make better career choices and develop greater potential. I hope young Malaysians can be more pro-active and seek out such opportunities to enrich themselves in their spare time. I didn’t know there was such a possibility when I was in school.-Source link

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Huawei developed own operating system Hongmeng OS; 5G商用 中国准备好了! China roll-out affordable 5G


https://youtu.be/uHlrc7kWh-w

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这是特朗普面对中国犯的最大错误

5G商用 中国准备好了! 20190605 | CCTV中文国际

 

Chinese consumers expected to use affordable 5G phones next year

 

After 5G commercial licenses have been officially issued, how long will Chinese people have to wait before they can use 5G smartphones?

The official issuance of the licenses shows that China — the world’s largest mobile phone market — has entered the 5G era. Industry analysts predict that Chinese consumers will be able to use 5G smartphones at prices ranging from 2,000 yuan ($290) to 3,000 yuan next year.

“Some 5G smartphone products will be released this year, but will be quite expensive, over 10,000 yuan,” Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Bei-jing-based Information Consumption Alliance, told the Global Times on Thursday. Consumers can buy 5G phones at affordable prices in a year, he noted.

Major regions such as Beijing, Shanghai and South China’s Guangdong will be the first places covered by 5G networks. Based on previous in-formation unveiled by the three carriers, smartphone users will have access to 5G high-speed internet and voice services without having to change SIM cards.

China’s telecoms industry regulator officially re-leased the first four 5G business licenses to Chi-na Mobile, China Union, China Telecom and Chi-na Broadcast Network on Thursday, helping the country get into the fast lane in commercializing the next generation of wireless technologies.

China released licenses a year earlier than scheduled to boost the economy while strengthening the overall telecoms sector in light of the US-led crackdown on Chinese telecoms vendors, Xiang noted.

“It will also help boost the sluggish smartphone market,” he said.

Chinese smartphone makers such as OPPO and vivo have shown confidence by releasing the first batch of 5G phones as soon as possible, and will adjust shipments in line with demand, media re-ported on Thursday.

– Global Times

 

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Penang State to study Airbnb woes before legalising operations; Using Airbnb to settle mortgages?


Airbnb, Why the New Logo?

HOW other cities worldwide tackle their Airbnb problems are being studied to see if the home-sharing business could be legalised or regulated in Penang.

The office of the Penang State Exco for Tourism Development, Arts, Culture and Heritage (Petach) is studying their policies to tackle the issue of residential home owners who rent out their units as if they were running a hotel or serviced apartment.

Its exco member Yeoh Soon Hin (pic) said the global home-sharing business was quite established in Penang now that when people buy a house or condominium unit, someone might approach them and offer to guide them to sign up with Airbnb and make money from their new property.

He told the assembly that Penang Global Tourism had met with Airbnb’s management team to discuss how to regulate the business.

“Airbnb told us that they are ready to cooperate and register Airbnb units in Penang with the local authority, but we have no laws or policies for this yet,” he said.

Yeoh said in San Francisco, Airbnb operators are limited to renting their homes to a maximum of 90 days a year.

“In Catalonia, Spain, Airbnb operators can be fined up to 30,000 Euros (RM140,000) and the unit owners fined up to 90,000 Euros (RM420,000) if there are complaints.

“In Singapore, the Urban Redevelopment Authority is proposing to limit Airbnb units to only allow up to six people each time to rent them and for only up to 90 days a year.

“For strata units, Singapore plans to allow it only if at least 80% of all unit owners in the building give consent.

“Japan enacted a law to allow home-sharing of units for only up to 180 days a year,” he said when replying a question from Daniel Gooi Zi Sen (PH-Pengkalan Kota).

Gooi said he was concerned because despite strong enforcement from Penang Island City Council since 2017 to stop residential property owners from using their units commercially, the Airbnb portal lists thousands of units in Penang.

“We cannot deny property owners from benefitting from their assets, but we also cannot let them continue to operate without paying their dues such as commercial assessment rates or the hotel fee,” he said.

Yeoh said Petach was studying how Airbnb operators are regulated while waiting for the federal government to draft laws on home-sharing.

“We raised the issue and were told that the Housing and Local Government Ministry and the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry are studying possible laws on this.”

Yeoh said the business was unfair to neighbours, the hotel industry and local authorities.

“They are paying assessments and utility rates for residential units but are using those units commercially while legal hotels that comply with all laws such as safety and traffic provisions pay much more.

“The peace and privacy of their neighbours are being intruded upon,” Yeoh said.

He said his team in Petach was also considering the possibility of recommending that Airbnb operators be charged double or triple the current residential assessment rates that they are paying now after they are legalised.

By arnold loh and r. sekaran at the penang state assembly

 

Should Airbnb be regulated?

MUCH has been said about Airbnb in the news of late. The Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) Penang branch has claimed that the emergence of Airbnb and illegal accommodation are among the main causes for Penang hotel occupancy rate to decline.

Another news report indicated that Airbnb operators are required to register with Kuala Lumpur City Hall. At this point in time, it is vital to see the concept of Airbnb. The platform was started to connect people who were looking to rent their homes to those who wanted hotel-free stay accommodation for short periods. The reason for the registration must be for the purpose of regulation by the authorities.

The claim by MAH that the emergence of Airbnb has caused hotel occupancy rates to drop must also be examined.

In terms of cleanliness and hospitality, although hotels do fit the bill, not all hotels are in that category. All hotels must be refurbished and kept clean at all times. It may be a bit too much to ask for luxury bedding or first class service, but cleanliness and pleasant service is not too difficult.

Airbnb hosts are conscious about their guests and the reviews that are given on the website. They go the extra mile, and it is not always accurate to say that Airbnb is cheaper and therefore people choose them over hotels. It is the space, the home away from home concept, and being looked after, the occasional bottle of wine left for guests, the fruit basket, the bottles of fruit juice and mineral water in the fridge — all of these go a long way in wooing guests.

In terms of protection for the hosts and the guests, Airbnb has enough protection in place. It is up to the renter to choose who they want to rent out to. Those who want to rent and those who are renting out their properties have their profiles. Reviews as to the safety of the place and its convenience — all can be seen from the website. It is a very transparent website and no one can complain that they were not aware that there was a danger or that they did not get their money’s worth. There are times that unfortunate Airbnb hosts unwittingly allow roguish guests and their premises are wrecked. The Airbnb hosts too, have a risk to take.

From the reports, it is unclear of the need for Airbnb to be registered or regulated. Hotel operators are required to register as it is a business. Airbnb is a service platform and not a business. For hosts, it is an additional income — especially for the elder population whose children have left, or even for those with university fees to pay, this additional income will be a good supplement. Unlike hotels and motels, Airbnb operators are there on a temporary basis. Sometimes, the owner may get a long-term tenant, and may not want to continue with the Airbnb concept.

Maybe we can take a leaf from countries where Airbnb has been regulated. In Los Angeles, United States, a regulation was passed for short-term rentals (vacation) with an initial cap on rentals for up to 120 days with flexibility to increase that number of days.

In New York, it is illegal to rent out an entire residence for less than 30 days. Short-term rentals are permitted if the homeowner is also staying there throughout the rental period and there are no more than two renters. This would be ideal for an elderly couple who would enjoy the company of young tourists who would in turn enjoy being in a home environment.

In Japan, anyone wanting to list their property on Airbnb will need to register with the local government, who will conduct fire and safety checks on the premises. The new regulations also limit rentals to 180 days per year.

Singapore has prohibited public housing rentals that are under six months, or three months in the case of private housing without the approval of the Urban Redevelopment Authority. In London and Paris, new laws have limited short-term rentals up to 90 days per year, and Liverpool City Council has pushed for national regulations to ensure that landlords register short-term rental properties.

Regulation is of critical importance in shaping the welfare of economies and society. Any form of regulation must work effectively and serve the public interest. Government agencies, in this case, the local councils are responsible for implementing regulatory policies and must be aimed towards protecting the consumer. When imposing such regulations on individuals, such as Airbnb hosts, there must be a goal that will help the government to achieve its purpose. The objective of a government or regulatory body is to ensure better and cheaper services and goods, and to provide a fair competition to any particular industry without encouraging a monopoly. Airbnb may be regulated and the town and city councils may want to draw up guidelines following from the examples cited above.

By GRACE XAVIER

Grace Xavier is research fellow at the Faculty of Law, Universiti Malaya and she can be reached at gracem@um.edu.my

Using Airbnb to settle mortgages

Survey: Hosting helps to repay loans, provide extra income

Video:
https://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2019/07/03/md-the-cost-and-security-issue-of-airbnb/?jwsource=cl

PETALING JAYA: More Malaysians are relying on Airbnb to settle their mortgages given the property overhang that is engulfing the sector.

According to an Airbnb survey of more than 2,000 Malaysian hosts and guests, half of the Airbnb hosts said it had helped them pay for their homes while 40% said Airbnb provided a supplementary income for them to make ends meet.Malaysia is Airbnb’s fastest growing country in South-East Asia for the second consecutive year.

It saw more than 3.25 million guests in Malaysia over the past 12 months ended July 1, which translated to a 73% increase from the previous period.There are more than 53,000 Airbnb listings in the country.

Axis REIT Managers Bhd investment head and former Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents president Siva Shanker said many of the Airbnb hosts were investors and speculators who purchased the properties during the upturn, with the intention of selling them at a higher price.

“However, when the property market started to make a turn for the worse, many of these speculators found it difficult to sell or rent out their units but at the same time they needed income to service their loans,” he told StarBiz.

Siva said many of the buyers and investors had bought the units on the advice of some people with questionable skills and credentials.

“Many of the people, who claimed to be experts, gave false assurances that the properties could be sold at a premium of up to 40% within a couple of years, or that they would be able to get high rental yields.

“This is essentially a get rich quick scheme and many people believed in them. But then the market crashed and many of the buyers are saddled with a property that they can’t sell or rent out.”

Siva said many of the so-called “advisers” had rebranded themselves as Airbnb consultants when the property market slumped.

Airbnb is an online booking platform that allows people to rent out their properties or spare rooms to guests.

PPC International managing director Datuk Siders Sittampalam said the concept of Airbnb needs to be regulated.

“It’s never been regulated in the past, especially in terms of taxes. How do you determine things such as cost and security?”

Siva concurred that proper regulation need to be put in place to for Airbnb operators.

“You don’t know who’s going into your apartment. Every other day, your occupants are changing.

“They could be illegal immigrants, running criminal activities, being a nuisance and disturbing the neighbours.

“How is the unit considered ‘gated and guarded’ when the owner is the one that opens the door to these strangers?”

With no proper regulation in place, Siva said the value of the apartment will deteriorate.

“The owner is running it like a hotel, except he doesn’t have the upkeep skills of a hotelier. Within a year, the apartment will look run down. By then, new properties will be up in the market and new owners will be looking to rent them out.

“The owner of the run down apartment is going to have difficulties finding tenants, but he still needs to fulfil his monthly mortgage. Eventually, it becomes a vicious cycle. To stop this, we need to educate the public and get rid of the self-proclaimed property gurus.”

Another concern is the Airbnb having a huge impact on the local hotel industry.

According to Impiana Hotels Bhd executive director Azrin Kamaluddin, hotels that havemore than four stars will face limited to no impact from the rising popularity of Airbnb.

“The hotels offer distinct product differentiation as they provide experience and service to guests.

“What Airbnb does is offer accommodation as a commodity.

“I believe that owners of four and five star serviced residences that do not lease back their units to operators as well as hotels that are three stars and below would be disrupted by Airbnb.

“It is imperative for hotels that have three stars and below to reinvent themselves to stand out from the competition posed by Airbnb,” he said.

On the potential launch of Airbnb Luxe, Azrin said it would not have an impact on four to five-star hotels, given the relatively small volume and higher price tag of US$1,000 per night.

Siders concurred that Airbnb would only have an adverse impact on budget hotels.

“The four-star and five-star hotels offer different types of services and amenities.”

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Five challenges young Malaysians face with home ownership


For many young Malaysians, the road to owning a home is riddled with speed bumps. — Pexels

 

PETALING JAYA, Feb 26 — Most would agree that you truly reach adulthood the moment you own your own property.

Just like any other major milestone in life, getting there comes with its own set of challenges that many young Malaysians have to overcome before they can successfully purchase a home.

Here are five hurdles Malaysian millennials might encounter on the path towards home ownership:

1. Worrying about making the wrong choice, when is the ‘right’ time to buy?

 Purchasing a home can be a major decision that many Malaysian youths feel overwhelmed by. — Pexels pic

Purchasing a home can be a major decision that many Malaysian youths feel overwhelmed by. — Pexels pic

Making the decision to buy a piece of property is a huge step that young locals aren’t quite brave enough to take yet.

Social news website SAYS’ 2019 Malaysian Home Survey among 8,568 Malaysians reports that one in five respondents had “(worries) about making the wrong decision”, especially since home ownership requires a hefty financial investment.

2. Unsure about loan application and loan rejections.

Do you have enough saved up for a home in the future? — Pexels pic

Do you have enough saved up for a home in the future? — Pexels pic

A difficult loan approval process is a huge factor that dampens many Malaysians’ prospects of owning a home.

PropertyGuru’s Consumer Sentiment Survey in 2017 states that 33 per cent of Malaysians reported a tough approval process for bank loan applications which presents a major roadblock on the path to home ownership.

3. Starter salaries, not enough money saved for a downpayment.

The average Malaysian needs to plan carefully if they want to own a house with their current salary. — Reuters pic

The average Malaysian needs to plan carefully if they want to own a house with their current salary. — Reuters pic

The thought of dealing with a mortgage on the salary of a fresh graduate is making many millenials think twice about owning a house.

The Employee’s Provident Fund statement in 2016 had said that 89 per cent of the working population in Malaysia earn less than RM5,000 monthly, making home ownership especially challenging.

Most millenials wouldn’t believe that they could own a house with that salary.

4. Renting or owning?

It’s not easy maintaining a modern lifestyle when you’ve got a mortgage weighing on your shoulders. — Unsplash pic

It’s not easy maintaining a modern lifestyle when you’ve got a mortgage weighing on your shoulders. — Unsplash pic

The hefty financial commitment to owning a home means young Malaysians will have to make some lifestyle changes if they want to stay afloat while having a house to their name.

This might mean foregoing luxuries such as weekend brunches and holidays overseas which have become staples for the modern generation.

Hence, a monthly instalment replacing these pleasures is the reason 33% of Malaysians in SAYS’ survey are saying ‘no’ to home ownership.

 

5. Lack of awareness on housing deals and promotions.

Housing deals and offers don’t seem to be showing up on the radars of young Malaysians. — Unsplash pic


Housing deals and offers don’t seem to be showing up on the radars of young Malaysians. — Unsplash pic

While initiatives are in place to help young potential homeowners, many do not even know about the resources available to them that can ease the burden of property ownership.

A shocking 65 per cent of Malaysians in SAYS’ survey said that they had no clue about current housing offers and promotions.

This means that many young adults are currently unequipped with knowledge about navigating the property market.

In light of this, property developers EcoWorld have launched HOPE (Home Ownership Programme with EcoWorld), a comprehensive solution that promises to aid young Malaysians in their journey towards owning their dream home.

HOPE aims to make the dream of home ownership a full-fledged reality for millennials with the STAY2OWN (S2O) and HELP2OWN (H2O) programmes.

S2O will allow those wanting to stay in an EcoWorld project to rent their ideal home first with the confidence that they can become homeowners in the future.

A low monthly payment similar to the market rental rate also makes it particularly attractive for first-time homebuyers.

The option to rent first before buying also gives customers ample time to get their finances in order before committing to a new mortgage.

To top it all off, the rental savings will be used to offset part of the purchase price of the home, making it even more affordable for young Malaysians.

The H2O had successfully helped approximately 1,800 young homeowners and upgraders own their choice EcoWorld home last year and you can be one of them too! For more information on owning your dream home, visit EcoWorld’s website  https://ecoworld.my/hope/) or Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/EcoWorldGroup/).

By Tan Mei Zi The MalayMail

* This article is brought to you by EcoWorld. https://ecoworld.my/hope/

A NEW HOPE FOR YOUR DREAM HOME


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Bytedance, World’s Most Valuable Startup Is Home to a Complex Fortune


US$13bil man: Zhang is the youngest self-made billionaire in Asia on the Bloomberg index, which tracks the world’s 500 richest people. He is worth US$13bil. — Bloomberg

  • Ownership structure used by Zhang Yiming is popular in tech
  • Chinese authorities will soon allow so-called VIEs to list

The 35-year-old founder of Bytedance Ltd. is worth about $13 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, making him China’s 9th-richest person and one of the fastest in modern times to amass a mega-fortune.

The business, founded in 2012, has more than 1 billion active monthly users across eight mobile apps, including a news aggregator powered by artificial intelligence and a video-sharing platform.

Zhang is the youngest self-made billionaire in Asia on the Bloomberg index, which tracks the world’s 500 richest people. His rapid wealth accumulation is a sign that China hasn’t lost its knack for creating mega-rich company founders despite a slowing economy.

His rapid wealth accumulation — he’s now the world’s 98th-richest person — is a sign that China hasn’t lost its knack for creating mega-rich company founders despite a slowing economy. It also helps explain why authorities seem to be taking a more tolerant stance toward a corporate structure favored by the country’s technology tycoons, most of whom have chosen to list their businesses overseas.

Zhang’s fortune is harder to calculate than the founders of Baidu Inc. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. in part because his company isn’t yet public. It’s also difficult because Bytedance is structured in the same way as the two tech behemoths — a complicated ownership system known as a variable interest entity (VIE).

Of the 44 Chinese tycoons on Bloomberg’s wealth index, eight are tech moguls with VIEs listed outside China. The billionaires’ combined net worth exceeded $150 billion as of March 21, and their stakes weren’t publicly known until the companies filed with regulators ahead of going public in New York or Hong Kong.

VIEs have never been formally endorsed by the Chinese government. But in an acknowledgment of their importance, officials will soon permit VIEs to go public in the country, allowing them to list on a new technology-focused exchange set to launch in coming months.

Complex Structure

Bytedance is, for now, a closely held VIE with a complex structure that involves layers of holding companies.

Its main business, Jinri Toutiao, is ultimately owned by Zhang and Bytedance Senior Vice President Zhang Lidong through a Beijing-registered holding firm, according to China’s National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System.

Zhang pledged his 98.8 percent stake to another Beijing company, which in turn is owned by a Hong Kong-registered firm. That entity, where Zhang is a director, is owned by a company registered in the Cayman Islands. The principals won’t be disclosed unless there’s an IPO prospectus.

The Bloomberg Billionaires Index calculated Zhang’s net worth by pegging his stake at 65 percent and using the company’s valuation of $20 billion, a figure provided in 2017 by people with knowledge of the matter. The analysis assumes his stake has been diluted through funding rounds.

Bytedance is said to have secured a $75 billion valuation in late 2018, making it the world’s most valuable startup — though the figure isn’t used in the net worth calculation because the details haven’t been confirmed.

Yin Ai, a Bytedance spokeswoman, declined to comment on Zhang’s wealth or the ownership structure.

Zhang uses a VIE because Chinese regulations limit foreign investment across more than 30 sectors including the internet, telecommunications and education. The VIE structure — which allows offshore companies to control domestic Chinese businesses through contractual agreements — circumvents the rules and allows, for example, Baidu’s holding company to be based offshore (and list in the U.S.) while still being a dominant force in China.

Internet giant Sina Corp. pioneered the VIE model so that it could transfer income from onshore operating businesses to an offshore holding company, an arrangement that meant the Cayman Islands entity could list on the Nasdaq Stock Market in 2000.

There are risks to the structure for foreign investors, said Donald Clarke, a specialist in Chinese law at George Washington University.

“A contract entered into for an unlawful purpose is invalid under Chinese law,” he said. “Any time the government wants to pull the plug, it can.”

Still, that hasn’t stopped more than 100 companies using VIEs in offshore IPOs, according to research by Zhou Fang, a Beijing-based partner at law firm JunHe LLP, who predicts that more companies will follow.

That growth helps explain why authorities are slowly embracing VIEs. Earlier this month, China enacted a foreign-investment law that allayed investor concerns about the future of such companies, while unicorn VIEs will be able to list on the new exchange in Shanghai, known as the Tech Board.

“To some extent, it shows the government easing concerns over VIEs — but they still care about who’s the ultimate controller of the company,” said Zhang Biwang, a partner at Allbright Law Offices. As long as the controller of the company remains a Chinese citizen, “the government won’t shut their eyes and ignore reality to make the companies give up VIEs.”

ByBloomberg

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China’s private companies reaching for the stars


Lift-off: A security cordon is placed around the launch site of an OS-X suborbital rocket, which was developed by OneSpace Technology Group Co Ltd, in northwestern China last May. —China Daily
SATELLITES have become the latest gold mine or private companies in China as they rush to reach for the stars in the space sector.

The country’s satellite industry, which used to be dominated by state-owned enterprises, is gradually changing and opening to private players.

More than 90 Chinese start-ups, mostly focused on satellites or rockets, have taken their first steps in the space industry in the past four years, a senior industry expert from a Beijing-based satellite startup, who wished to remain anonymous, told China Daily based on the start-up’s internal research.

“It means that on average, nearly two startups were founded every month in the past four years in China. It is significant if China is to grab a slice of the cake from the global competition in the budding space industry,” he said.

According to The Space Report 2018 issued by The Space Foundation, the total market of the global space economy was US$384bil in 2017, a year-on-year increase of 7.4%. Of that, commercial activities accounted for more than 80%.

Industry experts pointed out that China only accounts for 3%-5% of the space economy globally, but the country is gaining ground fast in terms of both scale and technology.

Since 2014, Chinese authorities have launched policies and called for private players to actively participate in the country’s space industry.

Earlier, the National Development and Reform Commission, along with the Ministry of Finance and the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence, also unveiled a 10-year blueprint to promote the commercial space sector.

LinkSure Network, a Chinese free internet access provider, announced a plan in November last year to launch China’s first Wi-Fi satellite in 2019.

It aims to send 272 satellites into space to provide free Wi-Fi globally by 2026. The first batch of investment will hit 3 billion yuan (US$447mil).

Similar to Elon Musk’s Starlink plan, the satellites will be used to expand internet coverage and boost internet speeds, the Shanghai-based internet firm said.

“The starting point of such a plan is to offer free internet connections to people around the world, especially those in underdeveloped areas or rough terrain,” said Wang Xiaoshu, rotating president of LinkSure Network.

The company, founded in 2013, became a unicorn – a startup valued at more than US$1bil – in 2015 by raising US$52mil in its A-round of financing.

“Satellite connection will be a great supplement to the ground network. The ground network, which relies on stations, has limitations due to, for example, weather and land form,” said An Yang, chief scientist of LinkSure’s satellite project.

“On a global scale, the number of satellites is far from meeting the huge demand for communication. The future of the communication sector must be a combination of space and ground,” he said.

Under the plan, revenue will come from services to high-end users as well as those provided to areas that the ground network is unable to reach, An said.

The space era: In this undated photo, An Yang, chief scientist of the satellite project at LinkSure Network, introduces the company’s satellite system at a news conference in Beijing. — China Daily

LinkSure is not the first. A string of startups have sent satellites into space for different purposes.

For instance, Guoxing Yuhang Co Ltd, or ADA Space, a private firm based in Chengdu, Sichuan province, launched two artificial intelligence satellites at the end of last year.

Though the country’s internet giants have not directly announced plans to develop, produce or launch satellites, they are showing a desire to do so.

Tech conglomerate Alibaba Group launched a communication satellite to support its online shopping gala last year while Baidu chief executive officer Robin Li said earlier that he hoped more support could be given to private companies in the civilian space segment.

Another tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd has also jumped on the bandwagon by investing in US startup Moon Express, which was founded in 2013 by a group of space entrepreneurs.

The US startup is looking to profit from the commercial space sector through leveraging core technologies including using drones to mine asteroids.

Compared with state-owned companies, private firms are better at commercialisation including attracting and using money and resources, which will greatly improve efficiency, said Yang Feng, chief executive officer of Spacety, a commercial aerospace company specialising in developing commercial micro and nano satellites.

“It is also a promising area that state-owned and private space companies can supplement and co-operate with each other,” he added.

Notably, some private players have also entered the overseas market. China Communication Technology Co Ltd in Shenzhen, a satellite-based communication services provider, has been beefing up its overseas presence to exploit foreign opportunities.

“We aim to extend our business to Africa this year and will tap into one or two Belt and Road economies each year,” said Wu Guangsheng, president of CCT.

CCT is currently offering services and products in the US, Europe, the Middle East and nine other countries and regions that are participating in the Belt and Road Initiative.

In 2017, its overseas revenue was about 9 billion yuan, which made up more than 60% of the total.

It also plans to further explore South-East Asian markets including Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, and promote its products in Central Asian economies such as Kazakhstan.

Last year, the company entered the Philippines by acquiring G Telecoms Inc, the third-biggest telecom operator in the local market.

“In the past, we could only co-operate with local (telecom) carriers in foreign countries by selling our equipment to them. But with this big step, we can operate independently, be it launching our own satellites or providing data-related services,” Wu said.

The business could have huge potential as some 75% of the Philippines’ 100 million population are aged 25 or under and they have a voracious demand for communication services.

So far, CCT has received orders from civil aviation and public security departments in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia.

In 2018, at least 15 private space companies disclosed their financing with the total amount estimated to reach more than 2 billion yuan, according to a report from 36Kr, a science and technology media group.

A report from China Money Network pointed out that seven private space companies had raised more than 1.66 billion yuan by August 2018.

MatrixPartners China, IDG Capital, China Growth Capital and Shunwei Capital were among the major investors.

Despite intensive capital support, industry insiders pointed out that there is still a long way to go for Chinese private firms to gain a lead.

For startups, money is still the bottleneck, said Jiang Yunwei, president of CITIC Juxin (Beijing) Co Ltd Capital Management, in a report.

“A company cannot earn money by launching a single satellite and the commercialisation of satellites needs a network of dozens of satellites, which costs a lot,” he said.

A satellite network requires at least 1.8 billion yuan to 2 billion yuan, according to Xie Tao, founder and chief executive officer of Beijing-based space startup Commsat Technology Development Co.

Facing such pressure, satellite startups are expected to address another challenge – to reduce the cost of developing and launching up satellites.

“Companies should change their approach of using costly accessories made only for space,” said Xie. “Private companies can leverage commercial components to replace expensive ones.

Zhang Jiacheng, an investor in space startup OneSpace, agreed.

“China is still at the starting point in the commercial space sector. A well-rounded system needs to be established to offer space startups affordable and sustainable services.” — China Daily/Asia News Network

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Risky business of overseas ‘jobs’ , Don’t get conned, Malaysians warned !


The promise of lucrative salaries are luring many Malaysians abroad but most are scams leaving these job seekers cheated and in need of rescuing.

The promise of lucrative salaries are luring many Malaysians abroad but most are scams leaving these job seekers cheated and in need of rescuing.

IT is ironic that at the same time there is an ongoing crackdown on illegal immigrants in the country, Malaysians are being detained in countries like Cambodia, South Korea and even Liberia.

These detentions have increased in frequency to the extent that Wisma Putra has issued a warning to “remind all Malaysians to be cautious of opportunities offered in foreign countries, and always verify the prospective employers”.

It used to be that foreigners (read: South Asians and South-East Asians) were drawn to Malaysia’s booming property and service sectors for better paying jobs.

They still are. On Monday, as part of operations codenamed Ops Mega 3.0, some 73 illegal immigrants, from Bangladesh, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, were held by the police under the Immigration Act. These foreigners were working at the Selangor wholesale market without proper work documents.

But how times have changed. The roles appear to be reversed, the Malaysians that have been detained overseas were for exactly similar offences – no proper work documents.

This time last year, The Star’s Bahasa Malaysia news portal mStar Online revealed that there was an estimated 5,000 Malaysians working and staying illegally in South Korea. The less fortunate ones were forced to live like refugees, always on the run from the authorities.

These Malaysians were lured by job advertisements that claimed they could earn a lucrative living in the land of K-pop. They paid recruitment agents thousands of ringgit in fees and entered South Korea with tourist visas.

Some of these Malaysians interviewed by mStar spoke about the hardships they faced including poor living conditions, tough working environment and employers holding back their salaries.

The Korean police and its justice ministry have begun cracking down on these illegals, starting from last month. Those without proper documentation will be immediately deported.

But Malaysians never learn. Two recent cases highlight the need for employees to be more vigilant and for the authorities to crack down on fly-by-night recruitment agents.

First, the case of the 47 Sarawa­kians who were detained in Cambo­dia since Dec 11 last year on charges of cheating and initiating and carrying out illegal online gambling activities.

It was reported that the Malay­sians were promised jobs with lucrative salaries up to US$1,500 (RM6,100), and only found out that it was a scam when they arrived in Cambodia.

Their plight was highlighted in local media, and Wisma Putra, other leaders and representatives from Sarawak flew to Cambodia to secure their release. They were finally released on Feb 15.

The second recent case also involved Sarawakians. Eight of them were left stranded in Monro­via, Liberia, since Feb 4 after being offered logging jobs with wages up to RM9,000.

They were left stranded in the African nation without any money, and managed to survive because they were given rice by Malaysians working with Sime Darby in Liberia.

“If not for the rice, we would definitely be dead,” said Aji Surau, 39, after arriving at KL International Airport on March 4, one month after their ordeal.

He said they were abandoned in a house with no water and electricity and even resorted to eating papaya leaves to survive.

All these cases have one thing in common – dodgy job syndicates.

These unscrupulous agents rake in thousands of ringgit by promising the world to gullible locals.

“I want to advise Malaysians to be cautious when getting job offers overseas because this is not the first such incident.

“Check with the authorities concerned, especially the Malaysian representatives, whether the company offering the job is legitimate or not,” Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah told reporters after the Liberian detainees were released.

The Cambodia and Liberia incidences appear to be genuine cases of people who were promised legitimate work contracts. But for every genuine case, there are five others who play the “victim” card.

In some countries where Malay­sians are caught working illegally, they claimed that they were lured there with guarantees of proper employment with legal documentation. But the reality is that these people went overseas on tourist visas with the sole intention of getting a job, by whatever means.

Did you know that Malaysians are the worst visa abusers when it comes to overstaying in Australia?

According to a 2018 report from the Australian Department of Home Affairs, there were 62,000 people overstaying their visas and living illegally in Australia, with Malay­sians making up the largest number. Between 2016 and 2017 alone, 10,000 Malaysians had overstayed!

As a result of this blatant abuse of tourist visas, the Australian authorities have made it harder for Malaysians to enter the country.

Australian-based news site news.com.au quoted a source from the Malaysian mission in Australia as saying that more Malaysians are being turned away at the airports, despite having the necessary visas approved before departure.

These visa scams are not only giving us a bad name, but also making it more difficult for genuine Malay­sian tourists to visit Australia.

The latest “tourist” scam is via social media where syndicates are luring people to become drug mules by offering them cash and opportunities to go for tours abroad. But beware, if you’re caught deportation is the least of your problems. A stiff jail sentence or even the death penalty awaits.

Brian Martin

Brian Martin

Brian Martin, executive editor of The Star, would like to come
clean. He has vested interest in the proposed assessment rate hike since
he’s a resident of Kuala Lumpur.

Don’t get conned, Malaysians warned

 Labour Dept: Only use services of licensed private recruitment companies

From “interviews” in coffeeshops to being persuaded to work in war-torn countries with lucrative salaries, Malaysians are being increasingly conned into travelling to work overseas, only to run into trouble.

This has prompted the Labour Department to advise those wishing to work overseas to only use the services of licensed private recruitment companies.

Seeking the services of licensed private job agencies under the Labour Department as provided in the Private Employment Agencies Act (1981) would help one avoid being conned or exploited by unscrupulous agents or employers overseas, it said.

“There’s a possibility that high salaries offered has become a pull factor in enticing Malaysians to work overseas.

“The Labour Department is always carrying out enforcement activities under the Private Employment Agencies Act (1981) to monitor the activities of illegitimate agencies and agents,” it said in response to questions by The Star.

The Labour Department, which is under the Human Resources Minis­try, was responding to queries about the increasing media reports highlighting Malaysians being conned in overseas jobs.

While the Labour Department said it did not have any records on the numbers of overseas job scam cases affecting Malaysians, it encou­rages those with information on such cases to come forward.

“We have not received reports on job scams. However, victims can file a report with the Labour Department, including in Sabah and Sarawak for any job scams issues so that we can act accordingly,” it said.

MCA Public Services and Com­plaints Department head Datuk Seri Michael Chong said many of the job scam victims he encountered were enticed to work in Afri­can or Middle Eastern countries.

“Many of these countries are war-torn and so these ‘employment agents’ would tell the victims there is a lot of construction work to rebuild the country.

“These victims are mostly semi-skilled or unskilled workers who are attracted to the salaries which are supposedly from RM6,000 to RM10,000 a month,” he said.

However, he said, these victims were then cheated out of their salaries and left with little to no protection in a foreign country.

To stop these scams from occurring, he urged those interested to find work to carry out background checks on the company.

“You must make sure that there is an incorporated company so if anything happened to you, there is a company we could look for,” he said.

He also advised people to be wary if the salary offered is too good to be true, or if the job interview doesn’t take place in the company’s office.

“There are some ‘interviews’ which are even being conducted in coffeeshops,” said Chong.

He said he noticed more of such cases in recent years, especially as many Malaysians want to go overseas to eke out a livelihood.

Last December, 47 Malaysians were detained in Cambodia for being involved in illegal online gambling activities.

It was reported that they were offered jobs with lucrative salaries but had only found out that it was a scam when they arrived in Cam­bo­dia.

In February, eight Sarawakians were stranded in Liberia after allegedly being cheated by an employment syndicate.

The Malaysian Em­­ployers Fede­ration called for a dedicated government agency to help protect the welfare of Malaysians who go overseas to work.

Its executive director Datuk Sham­suddin Bardan said this was to prevent them from being exploited and falling prey to illegal job syndicates.

“We have more than one million Malaysians working overseas but we have no proper body to monitor their affairs,” he said yesterday.

He noted that the Filippine government would ensure that their citizens who are sent overseas to work are properly trained and that they are employed by a legitimate company.

“The Filipino government would ensure that there is a proper document signed between the employer and agent, and if anything happens to the worker, the agent will be held responsible.

“We should emulate the Philip­pines to help our workers who aspire to work overseas,” he said.

However, he said the grim reality was that many Malaysian workers were enticed to work overseas because of the attractive pay, even if the details surrounding the employment were unclear.

“Employees are attracted to the higher wages offered in those countries, where the income promised triple or even quadruple what they are earning in Malaysia – and most of these jobs do not require high level of skills such as picking fruit.

“A difficult economic situation in Malaysia with the rising costs of living also contribute to the problem.

“We must re-look at our employment practices, how we remunerate our employees and develop our talent,” he said.

Malaysian Trades Union Congress secretary-general J. Solomon agreed that better policies and enforcement were needed to monitor the outflow of Malaysian workers to other countries.

“The authorities and their relevant agencies need to know where Malaysian workers are going when they travel overseas,” he said.

He said tighter enforcement was especially needed as more false job advertisements were disseminated easily on various social media platforms.

“It is high time the Cabinet review and encourage companies to comply with minimum wage level,” he said.

The low wages in Malaysia and the stigma of 3D (dirty, dangerous and difficult) jobs cause Malaysians to desperately seek employment outside the country, he added.

“These factors are causing Malay­sians to go elsewhere to find alternative sources of income,” he said.

By Fatimah zainal and Clarissa Chung The Star

 

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