Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Selangor Sultan bought a painting of Malaysian parliament depicting MPs as primates and frogs
Anwar Ibrahim retains PKR president post uncontested. Indonesia passes landmark bill to tackle sexual violence. DALL·E 2 - an AI system that can generate hyper-realistic images from word description.
1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
March’s consumer price index (CPI) in the US rose by 8.5% from a year ago, one-tenth of a percentage point above the estimate. Food, energy and shelter costs accounted for the gain — the highest in 40 years.
1 million — the number of Muslims from inside and outside of Saudi Arabia will be permitted to participate in this year’s hajj.
The shirt worn by the late Diego Maradona during the “hand of God” goal is expected to fetch at least £4mil (USD5.2 mil) when it gets auctioned. Online bidding for the shirt will be open from April 20 until May 4. Watch the 1986 controversial goal:
3. COVID-19 SUMMARY
Singapore doctor Jipson Quah allegedly charged at least three people SGD1,000 (RM3,102) to SGD1,500 for fake Covid-19 jabs. As a result, Quah is barred from practising medicine for 18 months.
4. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Latest from the 1MDB saga:
Former 1MDB chairman Mohd Bakke Salleh told the High Court that he was “suspicious” that former PM Najib Razak was “involved in the scheme of things” in regards to the JV between 1MDB and PetroSaudi involving USD1.53 bil and that the board shared the same feeling. The suspicions arose as the deal was asked to be rushed despite red flags surrounding the deal.
In hindsight, Mohd Bakke said he “should not have even accepted to be on the board of 1MDB”.
Mohd Bakke agreed to suggestions that 1MDB management was taking “instructions from above the board” related to the PetroSaudi JV that led to USD700 mil being siphoned to a company linked to fugitive businessman Jho Low. The board laid four conditions before the PetroSaudi deal could go ahead; however, the management, which Mohd Bakke said has shown “arrogance”, did not adhere to the conditions and had been answering to a “higher power”.
Police said investigations into Tawfiq Ayman, the husband of former BNM governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz, whose company has received funds linked to 1MDB, have been referred to the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) for further action. This comes after Bukit Aman headed to Singapore to meet the Singapore Commercial Affairs Department to obtain documents and statements.
Malaysia wants to turn the Automotive High-Tech Valley (AHTV) in Tanjung Malim to be a manufacturing hub for electric vehicle manufacturers and component suppliers for the ASEAN and the wider market and wants to turn it into the Detroit of Malaysia, according to PM Ismail Sabri during the launch event.
Proposed 10 years ago, the AHTV will generate 370,000 jobs during construction and 160,000 jobs when operational. With 600,000 vehicles sold annually in the country, Malaysia has the 23rd largest automotive industry globally, contributing RM30 bil to GDP with direct employment of more than 710,000 people.
Good to have big ambitions, but let’s start with the basics first and not jump the gun — get more EVs on the road and build the infrastructure. We can hardly spot any EVs in Malaysia (Tesla is a rare sight, unlike our neighbours in the south) and yet the leaders want to be a leader in EV manufacturing.
One of Malaysia’s most wanted men, Nicky Liow surrendered himself to the police on Monday after being on the run for over a year. He is believed to be the ring leader of an organised crime syndicate that is involved in Macau scam. Yesterday, he was charged in court with 26 money laundering and commercial crime charges involving RM36 mil - he pleaded not guilty.
It is believed he paid “top money” for information regarding any enforcement agency (e.g. police, BNM, LHDN) that knew of his money-laundering and tax-evasion activities. A former deputy public prosecutor is said to be his “fixer”, helping him to acquire the information from various agencies.
News in Brief:
The Selangor Sultan has bought a painting of the Malaysian Parliament depicting MPs as monkeys, apes and frogs and hung it in his private study room. The identity of the artist and the amount paid for the painting are unknown. The painting is said to be inspired by Banksy’s ‘Devolved Parliament’ painting showing the House of Commons overrun with chimpanzees that was sold for USD12 mil.
Anwar Ibrahim remains the president of PKR from 2022 to 2024 as he was the sole candidate for the position with the post unopposed.
The 53-year old Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC) is now officially a full-fledged university and will be known as Tunku Abdul Rahman University of Management and Technology (TAR UMT). Its student population currently stands at 28,000 in 6 campuses across the country.
MACC said it found no element of corruption in the controversial, seemingly overpriced RM50,000 wooden jetty built in Sarawak by JKR. See JKR’s statement on this issue below. Warning: Very The Powderful England.
5. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Russia’s former finance minister Alexei Kudrin believes Russia’s economy will contract by more than 10% in 2022. Russia is facing soaring inflation and capital flight while grappling with a possible debt default. An anonymous source told Reuters that the economy ministry projects a GDP contraction of between 10% and 15% this year.
Vladimir Putin said war with Ukraine had become “inevitable” to protect the Russian speaking Donbas region. Ukrainian Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Malyar said the government was checking unverified information that Russia may have used chemical weapons while besieging Mariupol. There are also reports of allegations of rape of women in Ukraine by the Russian troops.
China’s Premier Li Keqiang has sounded the alarm for the third time in a week about economic growth risks. Li said authorities should “add a sense of urgency” when implementing existing policies. Omicron is catching up to China, disrupting production and spending in the country.
Indonesia passed the landmark bill that was first proposed in 2012 to tackle sexual violence, aimed at providing a legal framework for victims to seek justice. The final draft of the law includes prison terms of up to:
12 years for crimes of physical sexual abuse.
15 years for sexual exploitation.
Nine for forced marriage.
Four for circulating non-consensual sexual content.
Talk about being progressive. Kudos to President Joko Widodo’s government.
Sri Lanka’s central bank unilaterally suspends external debt payments — i.e. temporarily defaults on its foreign debts — until the country comes to an agreement with creditors and with the support of a loan programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
At least 13 people are believed to have been shot at the 36th Street station in Sunset Park in New York. The suspected gunman is described as a man in an orange construction vest and possibly wearing a gas mask. At the point of writing, the suspect remains on the loose.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak will be fined by police for breaking lockdown laws following an investigation into illegal parties in Downing Street during Covid lockdowns.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants to make it easier for people to spend and make money on the virtual reality platform Horizon Worlds — spoiler alert, it won’t be using the social media platform’s defunct Diem. Horizon Worlds is a free virtual reality, an online video game that allows people to build and explore virtual worlds. Watch Zuckerberg explains it in the meta.
6. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
7-time Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton was spotted in a Petronas station in Ampang to shoot a series of commercials for Petronas. Some champion tried selling the chair he sat in the petrol station on Shopee.
DALL·E 2 is a new AI system that can create hyper-realistic images and art from a description in natural language. Describe what you want to see and the AI will generate it.
3. Know your spices, herbs and mushrooms (scroll for more).