Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ iPay88 hacked, customers' card data potentially compromised
List of multi-million payments former DPM on trial received from Ultra Kirana. USDMYR peg - The Impossible Trinity. Domino's exits Italy, homeland of pizza.
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1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
RM50 million — Malaysia government’s allocation for aspiring home food business owners (e.g. Baking with VinTeng, BREAKFIRST By Amy) to grow their business. The scheme offers funding up to RM10,000! If you need some capital expenditure to become the next Khairul Aming, here’s your chance!
12.4% of all pilots in India are women, the highest percentage of female pilots globally compared to the world’s largest aviation market, the US at 5.5% and 4.7% in the UK. This is a huge contrast to its ranking, amongst the lowest at 135 of 146 countries on the World Economic Forum’s gender parity ranking.
Former President Donald Trump pleaded the Fifth more than 440 times during his deposition and only answered a single question — what his name was, practically not answering any questions. Pleading, or taking the Fifth in the US, allows one to protect themselves against self-incrimination. Trump once said in 2018 that only the mob takes the Fifth, and one should not invoke it if they are innocent.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
In our effort to keep talking about the LCS scandal and not let the issue be drowned by other news, in the latest round regarding the LCS saga, Rafizi Ramli points out the ‘elephant in the room’ and asks the question of who is the ‘big shark’ behind this whole fiasco. He stated that there is an alleged plan from the get-go to sweep all irregularities ‘under the rug’, specifically mentioning the involvement of two companies, Contraves Advanced Devices Sdn Bhd (CAD) and Contraves Electrodynamics Sdn Bhd (CED).
The LCS project adopted a multi-layered structure involving Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS), CAD as the first-layer subcontractor and CED as the second-layer subcontractor, which ended up with the former paying the two subcontractors 200% more than needed. CED was set up merely 45 days before obtaining the subcontractor package from CAD.
In light of all these revelations by Rafizi, former chairman of Bousted Heavy Industries Corporation (BNS’s parent company), Lodin Kamaruddin queried how Rafizi got all the leaked documents. Leadership 101: Take accountability for your company’s conduct, for good or bad, and don’t beat around the bush. The LCS fiasco timeline below.
Another day in the court for Ahmad Zahid Hamidi:
In Zahid Hamidi’s foreign visa (VLN) system corruption trial, the prosecution’s final witness, MACC investigating officer V. Mahendran, took the stand and stated that the former deputy prime minister received multi-million-ringgit pay-outs from Ultra Kirana (UKSB):
RM43.84mil – Sum of SGD monthly payments in cash
RM3.2mil – to celebrate UMNO’s 71st anniversary.
RM3mil – for the 2018 general election (which UMNO-led BN coalition lost, bet gone wrong).
RM125k – for a Hari Raya celebration.
RM97k – for Zahid Hamidi’s wife’s birthday celebration
On the other hand, in the former Felda chairman, Shahrir Samad’s money laundering trial, it is revealed that he received RM1mil in 2013, believed to be from unlawful activities, from Najib Razak through a cheque, as per the manager of the bank that issued the cheque.
GE15 - continuing the Razak legacy, Anwar Ibrahim swapping seats:
In the event that Najib Razak could not contest the next general election, his son, Datuk Mohd Nizar (the offspring from Najib Razak’s first marriage, Rosmah Mansor is his second wife), will be the candidate for the Pekan parliamentary seat. If this happens, Nizar will continue the legacy of the Razak dynasty in Pekan, which has been in the hands of the Razak dynasty since the beginning (except for a short period between 1982 – 1986).
On the other hand, Anwar Ibrahim is considering swapping his Port Dickson’s seat for Tambun’s in the upcoming election, where he is expected to be pitted against the incumbent, Bersatu’s Ahmad Faizal Azumu, who is also the youth and sports minister.
Online payment gateway service provider iPay88 confirmed in a statement released by the company that customers’ card data may have been compromised in a cybersecurity breach. The company only discovered the breach on May 31 and subsequent relevant containment processes have been conducted, where no suspicious activity has been detected since July 20. However, they could not identify the source of the breach.
Good news for fellow salarymen and women – shorter working hours for y’all come 1 Sept. Putrajaya has decided to amend the Employment Act where we will observe the weekly working hours reduced from 48 to 45 hours. Provisions regarding flexible work arrangements are also added as part of the new amendments. However, when asked, Putrajaya is not planning to introduce the four-working days a week anytime soon.
Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Zahidi Zainul Abidin said the government and the religious department (JAKIM) are committed to curtailing the spread of LGBT culture in the country — by banning more movies with LGBT elements. The minister also confirmed the banning of “Thor: Love and Thunder” was due to LGBT elements. If a few moments of LGBT scenes can convert one’s sexuality, then why organise retreats (mukhayyam)? Just watch straight movies.
Ministry of Health (MoH) said that US ice-cream maker Haagen-Dazs has voluntarily recalled its products containing vanilla extract from the Malaysian market. The vanilla extract used in its products is sourced from Madagascar and contains the carcinogenic substance ETO, which is often used as a fumigation agent to kill pests such as insects. Maybe it’s time for Malaysia to develop our own organic vanilla industry and start supplying the global markets soon.
Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul stated that Putrajaya has no plans to peg the ringgit to the US dollar in order to control the volatility of the ringgit in the foreign exchange market. If the ringgit is pegged, he said that Malaysia needs to follow the monetary policy decided by Washington, which may not be suitable for us. Tengku Zafrul is talking substance here, citing the Impossible Trinity of Monetary Policy, where a country could not attain independence in deciding its monetary policy if the country adopts a fixed exchange rate.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Who’s to blame for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine? The US, according to China (of course it is). The Chinese ambassador Zhang Hanhui to Moscow called the US the “main instigator” of the war in Ukraine, accusing Washington to backed Russia into a corner with the repeated expansion of the NATO alliance and support for forces seeking to align Ukraine with the EU than Moscow. He added that Sino-Russian relations are at their “best period in history”.
Russia has rejected Switzerland’s offer to intermediate peace talks between Ukraine and Russia as it no longer considers Switzerland a neutral country, which it was historically. However, Switzerland, though not a member of the EU, has been mirroring nearly all the sanctions the EU imposed on Russia, breaking away from its traditional neutrality.
Switzerland has a long diplomatic tradition of acting as a go-between for countries whose relations have broken down and has held such mandates hundreds of times, first playing such a role in the Franco-Russian War in 1870-71.
Disney has now overtaken Netflix in terms of streaming customers since it started streaming its content in 2017. Disney has 221.1 mil customers vs Netflix of 220.7 mil, though Disney counts customers from its streaming services Hulu and ESPN+ alongside Disney+. Inflation isn’t easing in the Mickey Mouse world as Disney is increasing its ad-free subscription by a whopping 38% in December to USD10.99 per month, while its ad-supported version will cost USD7.99 a month. In its latest quarter, Disney brought in revenue of USD21.5 bil and profits of USD1.4 bil.
Netflix’s gaming ambition isn’t growing as fast as only fewer than 1% or 1.7 mil of its 220.7 mil subscribers play its games daily.
Domino’s says arrivederci (goodbye) as it closed the last of its 29 stores in Italy, the homeland of pizza. The US pizza giant debuted in Milan in 2015, and after seven years of trying, it failed to win Italian customers over - its exit was met with cheers on social media. At one point, the pizza giant was ambitious enough with a target to open 850 outlets throughout Italy by 2030.
If you are a market investor, it’s still too early to cheer with US inflation in July easing from its 40-year high. Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari says the Fed is “far, far away from declaring victory” on inflation and policymakers will continue to tighten monetary policy. The rate currently is in the 2.25%-2.5% range. The next Fed Reserve meeting will be in September.
Grab officially opened its new 452,000 sq feet, 9-storey HQ at One-North business park in Singapore as the company celebrated its 10th anniversary. It also announced a USD1 mil programme to give 2,000 scholarships and bursaries annually to students across Southeast Asia.
2 JP Morgan metals traders were found guilty of market manipulation over a period of eight years involving thousands of trades. They engaged in a practice called “spoofing”, which involves quickly placing and withdrawing buy and sell orders on a particular asset to create a false impression of market activity. In 2020, JP Morgan was fined USD920 mil after admitting its employees manipulated both Treasury bond markets and precious metal futures.
A Brazilian woman and her accomplice, a psychic, were arrested after the former swindled her mother out of more than USD140 mil in art, cash and jewellery. The alleged victim, reportedly the widow of one of Brazil’s foremost artist, started getting scammed in 2020 as the psychic told the victim that her daughter was ill due to the paintings in the house that was cursed and had it removed.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
An intense moment was captured of professional paraglider Kevin Philipp, who narrowly cheated death, deploying his emergency parachute one second before impact.
The effect of gravity -- how high you can jump on different planets.
A red sculpture of Russian President Vladimir Putin riding a mini tank by French artist James Colombia appeared in New York’s Central Park to denounce the absurdity of war.