Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ RM1,500 minimum wage being finalised - HR Minister.
Google took down JAKIM's app that can help LGBT back to 'purity'. Strong calls for GE15 during UMNO General Assembly. Mr Money's guide to filing your 2021 tax. Biden on Putin: he's a war criminal.
1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
£1.21 billion — the price paid by Korea’s National Pension Service for UBS Group AG’s London headquarters. Li Ka-Shing’s CK Asset Holdings Ltd agreed to sell 5 Broadgate in London, achieving a 45% return on investment since its purchase in 2018.
Malaysia hosts 180,448 refugees who have the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) cards, according to the Home Ministry. The majority are from Myanmar, with ethnic Rohingya making up the largest number at 103,380.
USD504,400 — the closing price of Berkshire Hathaway for a single class A share on Wed, an all-time high. Its first-ever close above the half-million-dollar threshold. Shares of the Omaha-based company have rallied more than 11% this year.
3. COVID-19 SUMMARY
All the mega vaccination centres (PPVs) in the Klang Valley have ceased operations since Tuesday (Mar 15) as two-thirds (66.2%) of the eligible adult population has received a booster dose. If you haven’t gotten your booster or vaccination, you may find out more here.
Less than 2% of babies born to mothers with Covid-19 test positive for the virus, according to the analysis published in the BMJ medical journal. The analysis covered nearly 500 previous studies involving 29,000 mothers.
4. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Google has removed JAKIM’s app, Hijrah, that claimed it could help LGBT people to return to nature or purity. The app was released in 2016, however, it gained attention last week after JAKIM shared the app on Twitter. Google said the app is in violation of its Play store policies where it does not allow apps “that attempt to deceive users or enable dishonest behaviour”.
The current monopoly on Covid-19 screening services held by BP Healthcare at Malaysia’s airports will come to an end as Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd (MAHB) has called for procurement tender from companies to provide RT-PCR screening tests. Deputy Health Minister Noor Azmi Ghazali said BP Healthcare was appointed based on the open tender process. Competition is always good - this will drive down PCR testing prices and make it more affordable to travel now.
Human Resource Minister M.Saravanan said the new RM1,500 minimum wage plan is being finalised and may be implemented in the coming 1-2 months, adding that the Cabinet has discussed this matter for three consecutive meetings. Saravanan reiterated that certain sectors in the economy will be exempted from implementing it and may cover a period of about two years.
PH presidential council has advised the three states under its control, namely Selangor, Penang and Negri Sembilan, not to dissolve their state assemblies until they fulfil their full term next year after taking into account the massive floods, pandemic and sharp rise in the cost of living.
PAS leadership has also said the three states under its belt - Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu — would not call for state elections until its full term is up. The term for the current federal administration lasts until May 2023, and a general election has to be called within 60 days after that.
Riding on the momentum of BN’s victory in the Johor state election, calls for the general election (GE15) to be held soon is getting louder during UMNO general assembly (Mar 16 - 19) with its president Zahid Hamidi, deputy president Mohammad Hassan and Puteri UMNO chief Zahidah Zarik Khan echoing it, taking advantage of the weaknesses amongst UMNO’s political rival. However, PM Sabri said UMNO must not be seen as usurping the power of Yang di-Pertuan Agong as only the King has the authority to dissolve the Parliament to pave the way for GE15.
Kedah Menteri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor said Kedah is bent on getting approval of the Federal Government for the state to export ketum leaves abroad, especially to Thailand. Ketum comes under the Poisons Act 1952 and there is widespread smuggling to Thailand. Sanusi earlier shot down the idea of exporting ketum but with the latest technology, it can be turned into health and medical products. With proper enforcement, it’s a wise move to legalise it to capture tax revenue. Read here on Astro Awani’s coverage on the popularity of ‘ketum’.
Lulu Group International, the Abu Dhabi-based company, plans to invest RM420 mil to open a chain of supermarkets and export centres in Melaka in the coming three years. The investment will include several hypermarkets and supermarkets throughout Melaka and an export centre to sell Melaka-sourced goods to the conglomerate’s worldwide network.
Lulu, which has 227 stores globally, generates revenue of USD8 bil a year and has a workforce of 57,000 people.
Paramount Corp Bhd, the Bursa-listed property developer, has invested RM10 mil in e-commerce startup Commerce DotAsia Ventures Sdn Bhd, a step towards diversifying its revenue stream. Its stake and valuation of the deal were not disclosed.
Commerce.Asia provides services to manage all aspects of customers’ online businesses. The company has 92,000 active sellers with a gross merchandise volume of RM6.7 bil last year. The investment is done through one of its associate companies that owns the p2p lending platform Fundaztic and will enable Fundaztic to provide financing to Commerce.Asia’s network of merchants.
5. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
US President Joe Biden has labelled Russian leader Vladimir Putin a “war criminal” in response to a reporter's question at the White House. The Kremlin, however, said it was “unforgivable rhetoric”. A diplomatic solution to the crisis seems to be getting further.
Russian forces apparently bombed a theatre where civilians were sheltering in the besieged southern city of Mariupol. Between 1,000 and 1,200 people had sought refuge in the building’s basement. Fortunately, no casualties have been reported.
A powerful 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit north-east Japan on late Wednesday, claiming at least two lives and injuring 160, officials said. Two million homes initially lost power and a bullet train was derailed. The Japan Meteorological Agency issued an advisory for tsunami waves but withdrew it Thursday morning.
Bank of England raised its interest rates on Thursday to pre-pandemic levels of 0.75% to manage inflation. The BoE said inflation was set to reach around 8% in April and warned it could peak even higher later in the year.
Starbucks CEO and founder Howard Schultz is returning to lead the company on an interim basis after its current CEO Kevin Johnson said he will retire next month after five years. Schultz will be compensated USD1 and he will rejoin the coffee giant’s board.
Netflix is piloting a programme to let primary account holders pay an additional fee for users outside their households. The pilot will launch in Chile, Costa Rica and Peru. Members with Netflix’s Standard and Premium plans will be able to add subsidiary accounts for up to two people they don’t live with for less than the cost of a separate Netflix plan.
China seems to keep a close eye on its defector, to the extent of sending a spy to thwart the Congressional run of a former student leader of the 1989 pro-democracy Tiananmen Square demonstrations. The spy was willing to plant child pornography, set a honey trap or even use violence. The plot sounds like it could have been from The Bourne Identity.
6. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
Tax season is here. Here’s Part 1 of 2 of Mr Money’s tax filing guide for 2021.
An actual use case of Tesla summon - a feature Tesla built to allow you to summon your car. Also useful when you forget where you park your car in the vicinity.
How does a tank work?