Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Malaysia Commonwealth Games Medal Tally: 7 gold, 8 silver, 8 bronze
PM Sabri: cabinet to declassify LCS project investigation. Rempit-ing to receive adult treatment - heavier fine + jail. Whatsapp to introduce 3 new privacy features.
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1. MARKET SUMMARY
InformUS inflation eased from a 40-year high of 9.1% in June to an annualised rate of 8.5% in July as energy costs dropped, sending the market soaring as this could signal the Federal Reserve to slow the pace of quantitative tightening (e.g. increasing interest rate, printing less money).
“Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.”
- Jim Rohn, American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
23 — the number of medals won by Malaysian athletes at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England. Great news to celebrate Merdeka Month. Congratulations #TeamMalaysia! Interestingly, Australia, with a population of 25.8 mil (78% of Malaysia), topped the table with 9.5x more gold medals than Malaysia.
The Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) achieved a historic milestone by becoming the first container terminal in Malaysia to hit the 1 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in a month in July. PTP is the country’s largest container terminal and one of the top 15 global ports.
Daniel Ricciardo wants USD21 mil from McLaren for the early termination of his Formula 1 contract with the racing team. Oscar Piastri is set to replace Daniel in the 2023 season despite the latter still having another year on his contract. Being paid USD21 mil to not drive — that’s a pretty good deal.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced the report on Littoral Combat Ships prepared by the Committee on Procurement, Governance, and Finance chaired by former auditor-general Ambrin Buang will be declassified as he vows those responsible for the LCS scandal will not be spared. Public Accounts Committee chairman Wong Kah Woh lauded the decision but insisted on no redactions. Reading between the lines, the move and announcement by the PM indicate something had indeed gone wrong with the LCS project.
Rempit-ing will no longer be a cheap activity should the proposed amendments to Section 42 of the Road Transport Act 1987 get approved. The racers could face a minimum fine of RM5,000 and jail time from next year. The current minimum fine is a paltry RM300. Under the amendments, spectators and parents of underaged racers are not spared as well, but no further details were divulged.
Another busy day for the team covering legal news
Former prime minister Najib Razak’s newly appointed defence team might throw in the towel should the Federal Court decides not to grant a postponement of his final appeal against his SRC International conviction. The Federal Court, on July 28, wrote to Najib’s new legal team to stress that “no postponements will be allowed” for the SRC appeal. The only thing that stands in the way of the beginning of the trial right now is Najib’s application to add purported new evidence to the SRC case in his bid to seek a retrial ultimately. The application will be heard on Aug 15.
During Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s foreign visa system (VLN) contract corruption trial, MACC senior enforcer V. Mahendran told the Shah Alam High Court that he was only tasked to investigate the defendant. He did not investigate cash payments made to other
infamousindividuals named in a ledger belonging to Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd. Too hot to handle.
Mahendran also told the court Zahid Hamidi received a total of SGD13.56 mil (RM42 mil) cash in 40 months since Oct 2014 from the company as a “political contribution to UMNO”.
Let’s get to the business.
Reports of tycoon Quek Leng Chan mulling a stake sale (he owns 62%) in Hong Leong Bank Bhd (HLB) have spurred speculation of a new round of banking mergers and acquisitions (M&As) in the Malaysian market. However, only a few players have the financial means to enter into a potential M&A with HLB (market cap of RM44.78 bil as of yesterday’s closing). Two names have been mentioned in the report — Maybank and Grab.
Aviation giants Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) and Capital A Bhd (formerly known as AirAsia Group Berhad) decided to call a truce — all legal proceedings between the two parties have ceased. Did you ask what legal proceedings?
Malaysia Competition Commission (MyCC) wants to impose a hefty fine of RM46.36 mil on FFM Bhd, 80% subsidiary of PPB Group Bhd, following the findings on the alleged infringement of Section 4 of the Competition Act 2010 (Act 712). The move comes after MyCC proposed a RM157.47 mil fine on Leong Hup International Bhd’s unit Leong Hup Feedmill Malaysia Sdn Bhd (LFM) for the same alleged infringement. Shareholders really makan telur if the companies are found guilty.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
US President Joe Biden signed into law a bill dubbed the CHIPS and Science Act that will provide USD52.7 bil in subsidies for US semiconductor manufacturers and research to boost US competitiveness against China and reduce dependence on Taiwan and South Korea for critical technologies. The semiconductor industry is deemed vital to national security and Biden calls the law “a once-in-a-generation investment in America itself”. China has opposed the law through lobbying, calling it reminiscent of a “Cold War mentality”.
China is adamant that Taiwan has belonged to it since ancient times and has a sound basis rooted in history. Beijing published a white paper titled “The Taiwan Question and China’s Reunification in the New Era” yesterday to reiterate the fact that Taiwan is part of China, demonstrating the Chinese Communist Party’s and Chinese people’s resolve to national unification and the position and policies of the CCP in the new era.
Japanese PM Fumio Kishida reshuffled his cabinet as public anger grew towards the ruling party’s ties to the controversial Unification Church, which critics call a cult. Kishida’s popularity has taken a hit falling from 59% to 46% in just three weeks.
Former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe’s assassination on July 8 was due to the suspected killer’s hate for the church whose mother, a member of the church, was bankrupted by the church and blamed the politician for supporting it. Since then, a dozen or so politicians have disclosed their links to the church, with seven ministers with disclosed links being moved out of the cabinet.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the Russian war will have to end with the liberation of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014. The global community sees the annexion as illegitimate. His remarks came after a string of explosions hit a Russian airbase there. Russia’s defence ministry said the blasts were due to an explosion of ammunition in a store and Ukraine denied it was behind the blast. Any attacks on Crimea would be considered deeply serious by Moscow, with its ex-President Dmitry Medvedev threatening last month that “Judgement Day will instantly await” if Ukraine attacks Crimea.
Deposed Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa has requested entry into Thailand for a temporary stay as his Singapore visa runs out on Thursday. His entry into Thailand is not for political asylum, according to a Thai foreign ministry spokesman.
Whatsapp is introducing three new privacy features which will be rolled out this month: leave group chats without notifying users (only admins will be notified), users are able to select who can and can’t see when they are online and screenshot blocking for View Once messages.
Elon Musk loaded up his war chest by selling USD6.9 bil worth of Tesla shares on Aug 5, 2022, saying that he wants to avoid a sudden sale in the event he is forced to buy Twitter. He has sold USD32 bil worth of Tesla shares since November and remains the largest shareholder with a 14.8% stake.
23-time tennis Grand Slam champion Serena Williams announced her upcoming retirement from the sport. The 40-year-old described her exit as more of an evolution than a retirement, adding that she quietly started a venture capital firm and family a few years ago.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI) Azmin Ali doesn’t like political questions because the victims of politicking are the rakyat. We absolutely agree.
A Yale University study asked a group of teachers to watch video clips of children in classrooms and identify misbehaviours. What they didn’t know was the equipment was tracking their eye gaze and they spent longer looking at black boys — a finding that shows how deeply rooted racial biases are.
Mesmerising time-lapse of a plane landing at night.