Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ National athletes monthly allowance now at RM800 - how to produce world champions?
PAS 'menunggang agama' to criticise media for scrutinising Azam Baki. New York Times bought sports site The Athletic for USD550mil. Apple's market cap > 6 of the top 10 countries' GDP.
1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
Apple Inc boss Tim Cook earned USD98.7 mil in 2021 — only 1,447 times that of the average employee at the company. In 2021, the median pay for Apple employees was USD68,254.
USD41 bil — the market size of non-fungible tokens (NFT) in 2021, according to an updated report from blockchain data company Chainalysis. By comparison, sales in the conventional art market were about $50 billion in 2020. NFTs are catching up to the traditional art market.
USD145,290 (16.9 mil yen) — the most expensive tuna sold at this year’s first auction at Tokyo’s fish market. The 211-kilogram (465 pounds) tuna caught off Oma in northern Japan was bought by Japanese wholesaler Yamayuki and Michelin-starred sushi chain operator Onodera Group.
3. COVID-19 SUMMARY
Thaipusam celebration in Malaysia on Jan 18 this year will be a relatively quiet one under strict SOPs where only the ‘paal kudam’ ritual or carrying the milk pot is permitted. Other ceremonies such as shaving heads in temple compounds, coconut-breaking, setting up of stalls, and free food distribution (thaneer panthal) are not allowed.
Scientists in Cyprus found a Coronavirus strain that combines elements of the delta and omicron Covid-19 variants, dubbed the “deltacron”. The professor involved in identifying the strain said a high proportion of the variant were found in patients hospitalised for Covid-19.
4. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
The Azam Baki alleged corruption drama continues.
In a move to distance itself from its chairman, 6 of the 7 members of the MACC’s Anti-Corruption Advisory Board (ACAB) has released a statement that Abu Zahar Ujang’s remarks that MACC chief commissioner Azam Baki is cleared of any wrongdoing were his personal views and not the stance of the ACAB.
Members of the ACAB are appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. The ACAB has no investigation power and is established as an advisory board.
Meanwhile, all 3 MACC deputy commissioners issued a statement on behalf of MACC declaring their support for Azam Baki and that this is a political attack to discredit MACC’s image and credibility (or whatever that is left at this point of time). This is rather troubling that they publicly support him even before a thorough investigation has been initiated. Probably, the entire agency should be investigated.
In typical PAS fashion, it once again ‘menunggang agama’ - the party president, Abdul Hadi Awang criticised the media for reporting on the alleged wrongdoing by an individual (but he did not make reference to Azam Baki) before the matter is brought to court as Islam requires everyone to be respected, even those who are guilty, as it was a sin even for someone who is guilty to be disrespected. The party earlier released a statement that they are satisfied with Azam Baki’s explanation.1. PAS sec-gen Takiyuddin Hassan has welcomed MACC chief Azam Baki’s explanation on his acquisition of corporate shares in 2015. He hopes all allegations against Azam will now be put to rest, as it undermines Prime Minister Ismail Sabri's leadership.1. MACC chief Azam Baki has been cleared of any wrongdoing over his purchase of corporate shares in 2015, said the Anti-Corruption Advisory Board. Chairman Abu Zahar Ujang said this is because the shares were purchased by Azam’s younger brother, Nasir. 📸: Bernama https://t.co/qDM94er3wG https://t.co/magvhvgPLeBFM News @NewsBFM
On the other hand, Perlis Mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin has called for the leadership of the MACC to be vetted and reshuffled following Azam Baki’s incident. Unlike the PAS President, he said that it is a requirement for all Malaysians to rise against corruption and fighting graft is an important religious requirement.
144 national athletes have been axed from the National Sports Council’s training programme due to lack of funding. It also included some high-profile athletes losing their full-time contracts without given prior notice. The sports industry was only allocated RM289 mil annual budget, close to 70% reduction from the previous year.
According to national hurdler Rayzam Shah Wan Sofian, who was once ranked No.2 in Asia, has called upon the NSC to reconsider its decision to cut the monthly allowance of athletes from RM2,000 to RM800 and said ‘might as well work at McDonald’s’.
How can these athletes survive on such an allowance? We have plenty of unnecessary ministers and special advisors that are zero value-adding and value-destroying towards Malaysia - remove them instead.
Famous US burger chain Shake Shack will be setting up shop in Malaysia in 2023. It plans to open ten stores from 2023 to 2031 in Malaysia. Shake Shack will be partnering with South Korea SPC Group, a global food company that has 30 brands and over 7,000 stores worldwide. Both companies have opened 28 Shake Shack stores in Korea and Singapore in the past five years.
Malaysia will be the sixth country in Asia to have Shake Shack. Founded in 2004 in New York, the burger chain now has 350 outlets in the US and 120 international locations. If you are keen to be a burger chain owner, you can buy its shares listed in the US with a market cap of USD2.93 bil (Rm12.33 bil).
The government has introduced Keluarga Malaysia’s automotive discount vouchers up to RM1,000 flood victims for repair or replacement of private passenger vehicles. Nearly 20 automotive companies with a network of more than 1,000 registered service centers across the country have joined the initiative. Luxury car brands like Mercedes-Benz and BMW participated in this initiative - how far RM1,000 is going to get these car owners with the repairs?
MSM Malaysia Holdings Bhd (MSM) through its wholly-owned subsidiary, MSM Prai Bhd has secured a 2-year, RM290 mil refined sugar supply contract with The Coca Cola Company for both domestic and international production. MSM has been serving Coca-Cola domestically for more than 10 years. MSM current market cap stands at RM899.81 mil.
UMW Toyota Motor Sdn Bhd announced it sold 72,394 vehicles in 2021, 22% more than the 59,320 recorded in 2020, maintaining its position as the top non-national automotive brand in Malaysia. Vios continues to be the top-selling model accounting for 31% of sales, whilst Hilux remains uncontested as the best selling pickup truck in Malaysia since 2005.
Malaysia’s most valuable tech startup, Carsome Group, which operates a Southeast Asian used-car online marketplace, has raised almost USD300 mil (RM1.263 bil) in a funding round led by funds linked to Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, Temasek, and Qatar Investment Authority, Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund. The valuation was not disclosed. In September, it last raised USD200 mil (RM842 mil) in a Series D2 round valuing it at USD1.3 bil (RM5.47 bil). It plans to list in the US later this year according to people with knowledge of the matter.
5. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
A two-month-old baby separated from his parents in the chaos of the US evacuation of Afghanistan has finally been reunited with his grandfather. A 29-year-old taxi driver named Hamid Safi picked up the baby when he was found alone and crying at the airport. The baby’s family managed to trace the baby to the home of Safi.
Initially, Mr Safi refused to hand the baby over and demanded he and his family also be evacuated to the US. After seven weeks of negotiation, Taliban police arranged a settlement between the two families, and the baby was returned to his grandfather.
Panasonic will allow their employees the option of scaling down to a 4-day week, following global trends. Panasonic President Kusumi Yuki said the decision is to support more diversity in work styles, where some employees might have side jobs or want to pursue studies. The Japanese government has said it wants companies to adopt an optional four-day working week.
Seven & i Holdings Co’s (7Eleven) China-based convenience store business was fined approximately 150,000 yuan (USD23,500) for identifying Taiwan as an independent state on its website. The company’s spokesman said the company is taking the issue seriously and will prevent a recurrence. The companies usually comply, accepting it as part of the cost of doing business in China.
The United States International Trade Commission has ruled that Google infringed on on five audio technology patents held by the speaker manufacturer Sonos. Google is not allowed to import products that violate Sonos’s intellectual property into the US. Sonos had asked the trade commission to block imports of Google Home smart speakers, Pixel phones and computers, and the Chromecast streaming video device.
PayPal Holdings Inc is looking to launch its own stablecoin as part of its cryptocurrency push. The company confirmed the move after evidence was discovered inside its iPhone app. Dubbed a “PayPal Coin,” the hidden code in the iPhone app stemmed from a recent internal hackathon. This means the ultimate logo, name, and features could change in its public product form.
Customers of Coinsuper, a Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange are unable to withdraw money or tokens from the bourse. Dozens of them have been unable to do so since November 2021, according to the firm’s Telegram chatroom. At least seven customers have reported the matter to the police. Remember — not your keys, not your coins.
Newspaper company The New York Times (NYT) has agreed to buy subscription-based sports site The Athletic for USD550 million in cash to bolster its digital expansion in a bid to grab subscribers. The Athletic had 1.2 million subscribers as of December and covers more than 200 clubs and teams in the US and around the world. The NYT has set a goal to reach 10 million subscribers by 2025.
A wall of rock broke from a cliff and fell onto several tourist boats at the canyons of Furnas Lake, Brazil, claiming 10 lives and leaving 32 injured, according to the police. Furnas Lake is a popular tourist attraction in the area roughly 420km (260 miles) north of Sao Paulo. NSFW video below.