Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ 10-year Prime Ministership tenure limit bill to be tabled in next Parliament sitting
No electricity bill hike for 3 years for 9 mil domestics users. MACC investigating former education minister and MP Maszlee Malik. Ukraine President criticised US for stoking Russia invasion panic.
1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
USD1 mil — the price of Bitcoin by 2030, according to Cathie Wood’s Ark Invest. Ark’s research on blockchain networks shows at least 13.5 million bitcoins haven't been moved in more than 155 days, suggesting a long-term holding behaviour pattern.
The Sri Lankan government will pay USD200 mil to farmers in Sri Lanka whose harvests were affected by the chemical fertiliser ban. The Sri Lankan government will compensate more than a million rice farmers. Their crops failed under a botched scheme to establish the world’s first 100% organic farming nation.
USD9.8 bil — the increase in value of Berkshire Hathaway’s holdings in Apple on Friday after the tech company announced its earnings. Apple rose nearly 7% after posting USD123.9 bil in sales for its 1QFY22.
47 steel company officials in China will be jailed for faking air pollution data. The sentences underscore Beijing’s push to clean up a major source of air pollution.
3. COVID-19 SUMMARY
The omicron subvariant dubbed BA.2 is 1.5x more contagious than the original omicron strain, according to Statens Serum Institut in Denmark. Nearly half of US states have confirmed the presence of BA.2, with at least 127 known cases nationwide as of Friday.
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4. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Two interesting developments with regards to the law announced by Minister in the PM’s Department, Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar:
A Bill to limit the tenure of PM to 10 years is expected to be tabled in the next Parliament meeting. Anti-hopping laws were expected to be tabled next month.
The Cabinet will study a proposal to replace the mandatory death penalty with alternative sentences before the end of February. There are currently 11 offences that carry the mandatory death penalty as well as 22 others related to the discretion of the court. Crimes related to kidnapping and firearms are also punishable by the death penalty. Interesting read and the type of death penalty offences here in Malaysia.
Speaking at the 150th Session of the WHO’s Executive Board Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the ministry plans to ban smoking products “making it illegal for the sale of tobacco and other smoking products to anyone born after 2005”, an update on his “Generation End-Game” for smoking in the long-run. This takes a page from New Zealand’s new law to ban cigarettes sales for future generations.Announcing Malaysia’s legislative plans for a tobacco generation endgame to not sell smoking products to anyone born after 2005 at the .
One has the right to choose to smoke but should not adversely affect others, especially non-smokers in the surrounding. Sadly, most smokers are oblivious/inconsiderate of their actions and the negative externalities they created. Therefore, this is a good, long-term move to protect the health and economy of the nation.
Less than 48 hours after Energy and Natural Resources Minister Takiyuddin Hassan announced the new electricity tariff for 2022-2024, PM Sabri announced that the cabinet has decided not to increase it for more than 9 mil domestic users effective from Feb 1, 2022, to Dec 31, 2024. This will cost the government RM700 mil in additional subsidy.
Another flip-flop — initially announcing a screenshot that went viral on social media was fake news regarding Feb 3, 2022, a holiday in the Federal Territories. The Human Resources Ministry now announced that it would indeed be a public holiday for private-sector employees.
Jho Low filed a statement of defence to the USD3.78 bil suit brought against him by 1MDB and 4 of its subsidiaries, asserting that the “global, comprehensive resolution” between him and the US Department of Justice that was reached in 2019 absolved him of any claims of wrongdoings in the 1MDB saga.
In 2019, the US DOJ announced it had reached a settlement to recover more than USD700 mil worth of assets acquired by Jho Low and his family using funds allegedly from 1MDB but also stressed that the agreement did not release any entity or individual from filed or potential criminal charges.
MACC is investigating pretty much everyone but Azam Baki. The anti-graft agency will be investigating former education minister and Simpang Renggam MP Maszlee Malik after receiving two complaints against the MP.
Maszlee claimed that MACC officials had intimidated several of his officers at his service centre in Simpang Renggam, alleging that they were trying to dig for possible mistakes and wrongdoing and as a retaliation to his supports for calls to investigate MACC chief commissioner Azam Baki.
Syed Saddiq, the president of MUDA, confirmed that the party will contest in the upcoming Johor state election and has launched a crowdfunding campaign to finance their campaign.
How did Malaysian IPOs perform since their listing? Not too great. Five out the 11 IPOs on the Main and ACE Market between Jul 2021 and Jan 2022 have fallen below their issue prices.
Lim Kok Thay, the former chairman of Genting Hong Kong Ltd, which slid into provisional liquidation last week, accused the German government of walking back on its promise to provide capital of USD620 mil credit line to the company’s shipbuilding unit. This came after the new German government took office in December and made an alternative arrangement that Lim described as “unreasonable” was proposed and a personal guarantee was sought.
The Malaysian public is unhappy and furious that local banks were exposed to Genting HK’s failure to the tune of USD600 mil without any collateral and calling out the major shareholders of these banks (e.g. EPF, Khazanah, PNB) for approving the loan.
Here’s our take, drawing on our experience as commercial bankers in the past. Firstly, corporate owners/shareholders do not participate in the management and day-to-day operations of a company. Secondly, without knowing the details of the deal or if there is any element of funny business, it is common for large, listed public companies with established owners to obtain loans without collateral. This comes from our experience in our past life as commercial bankers. Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul pointed out that foreign banks too had provided unsecured loans to the cruise company and all banks have their internal lending guidelines to adhere to before underwriting a loan. We think the issue is overblown - default is a normal course of doing business in the lending industry and large companies going bust is a non-zero probability event.
We posted a Twitter thread to summarise this Genting HK saga below. Follow us on Twitter if you haven’t already!
5. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Ash Barty has become the first local player to claim the Australian Open women's singles championship in 44 years, beating American Danielle Collins 6-3, 7-6 (7-2) in the final on Rod Laver Arena. Rafael Nadal became the first man to have won 21 Grand Slams after fighting back from two sets to love down to defeat Daniil Medvedev. Nadal prevailed in five sets 2-6, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-4, 7-5.
Despite the political drama surrounding the Beijing Winter Olympics, China managed to one-up Japan by providing better beds for the athletes and journalists. The Sleep Rest Cabins have a ‘zero-gravity’ mode, compared to Tokyo’s flat cardboard beds. The Games start Friday.
North Korea appeared to have fired one of its biggest ballistic missiles in almost five years — it reached an altitude of 2,000km before coming down in the Sea of Japan. The UN prohibits North Korea from ballistic and nuclear weapons tests and has imposed strict sanctions. However, lecturer in international relations Dr Daniel Pinkston believes North Korea carried out the tests to signal to its regional neighbours.
Bankers in Malaysia can rejoice should banks in the country follow their western counterparts. Bank of America has announced it would reward its eligible employee between 65 to 600 restricted stock units, valued at USD1 bil in total. Likewise, Credit Suisse is boosting cash payouts for senior bankers, with a caveat — they can only keep it if they stay with the firm for three years.
Increasingly strong US warnings about Russia’s plans have prompted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to criticise the US for hurting the country’s economy by stoking panic over war. Ukrainian officials also have objected to the US advising families of embassy employees in Ukraine to leave the country, calling it an overreaction.
Boeing Co. is preparing to launch the 777X freighter, its first new jet model in nearly five years. The announcement is set to coincide with a meeting between Qatar’s ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and US President Joe Biden in Washington, DC, on Jan. 31. Qatar Airways is reportedly committing to a 50-plane deal with Boeing after falling out with Airbus SE.
Joni Mitchell is the latest musician to join Neil Young to pull music from Spotify over the platform’s refusal to remove vaccine misinformation found on Joe Rogan’s podcast. Leaked internal messages showed Spotify's communications chief reportedly told employees that episodes of Joe Rogan's podcast “didn't meet the threshold for removal.”
To tackle the problem, CEO Daniel Ek unveiled the plans to add advisory warnings to any podcast on its platform that discusses Covid-19. Creators on the platform will need to adhere to “Platform Rules” on what Spotify considers as “dangerous” and “deceptive” content.
6. FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE 👁👁
To those of you celebrating Chinese New Year, Gong Xi Fa Chai.
(Amacam? Ok or not? - to catch the reference, see next item)
Come on, this is just too basic. You don’t even need to be taught to know such basic Mandarin.
Tesla’s air HEPA filter (in Model Y, S and X) removes > 99.97% of airborne particles — way better than most of our air filters at home. Watch it below.
The state of Malaysian wildlife
Tornado-like freak storm in Taman Tasek Damai and Kampung Tawas, Ipoh, yesterday evening
The Coffee Break will be off from Feb 1 to Feb 3, 2022 (Tuesday to Thursday). We will be back in action on Feb 4, 2022 (Friday). Have a good break and enjoy the holiday season!