Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Billionaire Syed Mokthar Al-Bukhary-owned Lotus Cars to list EV arm, Lotus Technology, at a GBP5-6 bil valuation
UMNO President ready to 'sumpah laknat' to refute Muhyiddin's claim. Biden and Putin agree to meet on 24 Feb to discuss Ukraine. Meet Sofia Jirau - Victoria's Secret first Down syndrome model.
1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
JPMorgan predicts the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates for nine consecutive meetings as the central bank faces the hottest inflation in 40 years. Nine straight 25 basis point hikes would take the rate to between 2.25% to 2.5%.
USD1.7 million worth of NFTs were stolen from OpenSea users, including tokens from Decentraland and Bored Ape Yacht Club. OpenSea CEO Devin Finzer said the attacks had not originated from OpenSea’s website and denied claims that more than USD200 million worth of NFTs were stolen.
38 people were sentenced to death on Friday in India over a string of bomb blasts in 2008 that killed dozens in the city of Ahmedabad. An Islamist group calling itself the Indian Mujahideen claimed responsibility for the coordinated attacks that saw 56 casualties.
3. COVID-19 SUMMARY
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to lift all remaining Covid restrictions in England as he sets out the government’s long-term plan for living with the virus.
In sapot of small business
4. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah of the High Court has ordered the immediate release of the 3 children of single mother Loh Siew Hong from the care of the Welfare Department after being separated for 3 years.
Loh was divorced from her husband, Nagashwaran Muniandy, in 2019 and was awarded the sole custody of her children by the High Court. The issue started after her husband allegedly took the kids away and unilaterally converted them to Muslims in Perlis. He was earlier arrested for a drug-related offence and is currently jailed in Kelantan.
The Perlis Religious Department claimed that state law allows unilateral conversions. However, the Federal Constitution previously ruled that both parents must consent to such conversions, in line with the Constitution. A group of about 100 people from various Islamic NGOs gathered outside the court complex to voice their concern on the children’s religious status once they are handed back to their Chinese Hindu mother.
In a monumental decision, the nine-bench of the Federal Court unanimously, 9-0 declared that it is unconstitutional for the Selangor legislative assembly to pass a provision to confer judicial review power to the Shariah High Court in the state. Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat said judicial review power was vested only in the civil court as provided by the Federal Constitution.
Based on what we have found in the below tweet, this is what in layman’s terms this means — it means state authorities have no power to simply make their own laws. Would appreciate it if any of The Coffee Break subscribers is able to elaborate this decision further — in layman’s terms.
Just eight weeks into 2022, PDRM has reported the 10th custodial death. Custodial deaths cases were not disclosed to the public unless they are raised by family members or civil society. However, beginning this year, PDRM has set up a new unit called Death in Custody Investigation Unit under the Bukit Aman Integrity and Standards Compliance Department has made it a standard practice to make public of these cases.
The improved transparency has highlighted the frequency and gravity of custodial deaths. Human rights groups have called for independent bodies to investigate this issue instead of the police force investigating its own officers, raising concerns over conflict of interest.
UMNO president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is getting on the ‘sumpah laknat’ bandwagon, saying he was prepared to ‘sumpah laknat’ to refute former PM Muhyiddin’s claim that the UMNO president visited him with ‘pile of files’ to get his help to drop his court cases. Muhyiddin added that there were witnesses as Azmin Ali and PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang were present when Zahid showed up.
Zahid is facing 47 criminal charges involving millions of ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi, a charitable organisation he set up. In addition, he is also facing 40 bribery charges involving more than RM43 mil for the Foreign Visa System. Despite all these charges, he is still the president of UMNO.
Air Asia X Bhd has proposed a 1-for-1 bonus rights issue and a special issue to raise a total of RM166 mil. The budget airline had earlier obtained shareholders’ approval for a larger rights issue up to RM300 mil and a special issue of RM200 mil as part of its restructuring scheme.
At the beginning of 2021, the airline has RM95 mil in cash and its cash burn for the last 14 months averaged at RM3 mil a month. Its operating loss for the quarter ended Dec 31, 2021, has narrowed to RM12 mil as AAX ramped up its cargo business.
Lotus Cars plans to float its Lotus Technology division on the stock market that would value it at between GBP5-6 bil (RM28.5-34.2 bil). Lotus Cars is 49%-owned by billionaire and the potentially the richest Malay (at least officially) Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary-controlled Etika Automotive Sdn Bhd and the remainder by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co Ltd, the owner of Proton and Volvo. It plans to sell 100,000 cars by 2028, of which 90,000 will be electric saloons and SUVs.
Lotus is in the middle of a roadshow to gauge investors’ interest and is giving a sneak preview of its upcoming SUV, code-named Type 132. The company aims to list in the next 12-24 months but is undecided on the location yet. In May 2017, DRB-Hicom Bhd sold Lotus Advance Technologies Sdn Bhd for GBP100 mil to Etika Automotive and Geely.
Plantation company Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd (KLK) now owns 95.32% of IJM Plantations Bhd after the completion of KLK’s mandatory general offer (MGO) for IJM Plantation shares it did not own. KLK last Sept emerged as the controlling shareholder of IJM Plantations after KLK completed the acquisition of a 56.2% stake in the company from IJM Corp Bhd for RM1.53 bil.
5. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Singapore on Friday increased taxes for higher earners as part of its 2022 budget, including duties on real estate and motor vehicles, to ensure that those who make more money pay more. The changes will affect the top 1.2% of taxpayers and generate SGD170 million in additional tax revenue annually. Singapore wants to introduce net wealth taxes but is wary that money would flow away from the country if other jurisdictions do not have similar taxes.
Chinese authorities want the nation’s biggest state-owned firms and banks to start a fresh round of checks on their financial exposure and other links to Ant Group Co. It was unclear what triggered the new scrutiny after the Chinese government stopped Ant’s initial public offering back in late 2020. Tough measures against the group saw its valuation plunging to USD71.5 billion from USD280 billion pre-money valuation before its IPO was halted.
The troubles at Credit Suisse keep piling up as the Swiss Bank saw its data on more than 18,000 bank accounts leaked. The data leak has brought to light the hidden wealth of several clients of the bank. The investigation by nearly 50 media organisations found evidence Credit Suisse accounts had been used by clients involved in serious crimes such as money laundering or drug trafficking. The bank rejected the allegations and said approximately 90% of the reviewed accounts are already closed or in the process of closure.
US President Joe Biden and Russia's Vladimir Putin have agreed in principle to meet on Feb 24 to discuss the crisis over Ukraine on the condition that Russia does not invade Ukraine. The proposed summit was announced by the French presidency after two phone calls between President Emmanuel Macron and Mr Putin.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has already ordered troops into two breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine — Donetsk and Luhansk — further frustrating Western hopes of a diplomatic resolution.
Billionaire Carl Icahn wants McDonald’s to phase out the sourcing of pork from pigs housed in so-called gestational crates in the US. How does he plan to do it? By putting two of his people on McDonald’s board, despite only owning 200 McDonald’s shares. McDonald's pledged to stop ordering pork from suppliers putting pregnant pigs in crates back in 2012, but Icahn claims the fast-food chain did not live up to its promise. Not McDonald’s in Malaysia, don’t worry.
The Chinese Yuan is gaining traction as a preferred currency for global payments with its share of international transactions climbing to its highest level ever to a record 3.2% of market share. China’s regional foreign trade ties and further economic integration with China will raise yuan asset holdings.
Despite its growth, it’s still trailing far behind the US dollar and the Euro with the USD having a market share of 39.9%.
Victoria’s Secret will be launching a new intimate collection, Love Cloud, and has hired its first model with Down syndrome, 24-year-old Sofia Jirau. The Puerto Rican-born model has been modelling for the past 3 years.
The lingerie brand has expanded its brand to feature more diverse models including transgender and plus-size modes as the brand pivots to be more inclusive with sales suffering in recent years as consumers rejected its overly sexualised imagery.
6. FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE 👁👁
McDonald’s Thailand Valentine’s Day 2020 print ad
Dr Strange battling mosquitos in the multiverse.