☕️ Selangorians the least happy Malayians according to Malaysia Happiness Index 2021.
Tasik Chini at risk of losing UNESCO status. How Khazanah 54x its RM20mil investment in Farm Fresh to RM1bil+. Monkeypox declared public health emergency, alongside Rona.
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1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) international reserves amounted to USD107 billion (approx. RM476.74 billion), a slight drop from the USD109 bil (approx. RM485.65 bil) reported at the end of June. Rest assured, it is enough to finance 5.7 months’ imports of goods and services. No need to line up at the petrol stations!
3.4% — Malaysia’s headline Y-o-Y inflation for June 2022, according to the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM). The most significant contributor — food — rose by 6.1%. The average price of processed chicken increased to RM10.02 compared to RM8.55 a year ago — a 17.19% increase, and this was before the increase of the ceiling price to RM9.40 per kg. However, PM Ismail Sabri is very proud to say Malaysia has the lowest inflation rate in South-East Asia because of his government’s efforts to provide subsidies. Where is the money from the subsidies coming from, though?
Probably from our golden goose — Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas). The state energy firm expects to contribute as much as RM59 bil of revenue to the government, according to Minister of Economy Mustapa Mohamed.
Prices might not rise, but volume/size might decrease - that’s shrinkflation.
Chicken eaters in Putrajaya can rejoice as from Aug 1 onwards, the poultry’s prices will be the lowest in the market — RM8.50 per kg — as announced by the Federal Territories Minister, Shahidan Kassim.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
DAP veteran Lim Kiat Siang 1 — 0 former attorney general Apandi Ali. The Kuala Lumpur High Court dismissed Apandi’s RM10 mil defamation suit against Kit Siang and ordered Apandi to pay RM80,000 in costs. Justice Azimah Omar’s 100-page judgement said Apandi showed disinterest and indifference to the elementary rule of law and even common sense. One of the many nails to the coffin of the case — is Apandi’s contradictory statement versus his testimony.
Apandi declared to the world that a delegation had flown to Riyadh and personally met the alleged donor himself, but in his testimony during the trial, Apandi said the Saudi Prince refused to meet anybody. While Azimah Omar did not directly call for Apandi to be investigated over the matter, she said Kit Siang’s imputation that Apandi should be investigated is justified. Apandi indicated he would be appealing the decision.
As many as 30 individuals have been identified for their involvement in the #Turun protest — protesting against rising prices — that happened over the weekend. Dang Wangi district police chief ACP Noor Delihan Yahaya said they would be called to have their statements recorded soon. The Turun Movement, mainly led by student groups, managed to get a crowd of over 100 people to turun padang on Saturday.
Malaysia’s second largest lake — Tasik Chini — may see its biosphere reserve status from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) revoked. In its first periodical review of Tasik Chini, Unesco said the lake no longer meets the criteria to be part of their World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) after one year after the designation. Why? Because of intensive land conversion and reopening of old mines.
Over the weekend, South China Morning Post (SCMP) revealed a possible scandal in Johor — more than 600 hectares (1,483 acres) of forest on a 3,775-hectare site were cleared in Johor. The site clearing may have been completed before the necessary approval — approval of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report by the federal Department of Environment. According to SCMP, the Johor royal family is an indirect majority shareholder in the company involved, AA Sawit Sdn Bhd — a plantation company. Neither the company nor the royal family responded to interview requests.
Malaysians are generally happy — scoring 6.48 on the Malaysia Happiness Index 2021 released by the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM). The happiest state in Malaysia is Labuan, and the unhappiest state in Malaysia is Selangor.
Malaysian businessman and MBI Group founder Tedy Teow Wooi Huat has been detained by the Thailand police for alleged money laundering, according to Bangkok Post. Sadao police superintendent Pol Col Bunthaeng Laocharoen confirmed that Teow’s visa has been revoked and he is awaiting deportation by the Thai authorities.
AMMB Holdings Bhd (AmBank) denied news reports that it is in talks to sell its wholly-owned asset management arm, AmInvest. An earlier report said that AmInvest was up for sale for USD300 mil (RM1.3 bil).
Other interesting reads:
An analysis of the internal rift in UMNO caused by 3 clusters - court cluster, non-government cluster and government cluster.
How Khazanah turned an RM20 mil investment in Farm Fresh into a RM1.09 bil stake - 54x return.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
A respite for food inflation - Russia has reached a deal with Ukraine to allow Ukraine to resume exports of wheat through the Black Sea, brokered by Turkey. Ukraine, responsible for 10% of the global share of wheat exports (combined with Russia, which would be 25% of the global supply), has more than 20 mil of tonnes of grain held up at its port due to the blockade by Russia. Wheat prices have dropped to a 5-month low of USD786 per tonne, pretty much giving up all of its “war gains”, and hit a record high of USD1,300 in the two weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine.
WHO officially recognised Monkeypox as a tag-team with Covid-19 to be a global health threat. The WHO activated its highest alert level for the monkeypox outbreak, declaring the virus as a public health emergency of international concern — the last time this was issued was in Jan 2020 due to the Covid-19 outbreak. More than 16,000 monkeypox cases and at least 5 deaths have been reported so far in more than 70 countries. Europe is the epicentre (80% of cases) of the outbreak. Gay and bisexual men are at the highest risk as the virus primarily spreads through skin-to-skin contact.
Japan, in its 7th wave, saw daily Covid-19 cases hit a new all-time high of more than 180,000 on Thursday with the Omicron BA.5 subvariant rampaging across the country.
Japan’s nuclear regulator has approved the plan to release the treated contaminated water used to cool reactors in the aftermath of the 2011 nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant into the Pacific ocean, endorsed by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The site is currently holding 1.29 tonnes of water and is expected to run out of space in a year.
Regulators deemed it to be safe to release the treated water, except for tritium, which is hard to remove but is only harmful to humans in large doses. Fortunately, the plan needs to win over local communities before going ahead and neighbouring countries such as South Korea and China, including Greenpeace, have criticised this plan.
Disney’s Marvel Studios released news, updates and trailers on its Marvel Universe during the San Diego Comic-Con International, an annual comic book convention:
The trailer for this November’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was unveiled. Marvel previously confirmed that it would not re-cast the role of T’Challa after the death of the original actor Chadwick Boseman to colon cancer.
Wakanda Forever will draw the curtains for the current phase, Phase 4 of Marvel Universe. The new Phase 5 will start Feb 17, to be launched by Antman and the Wasp: Quantumania.
Guardians of The Galaxy Volume 3 will be the final instalment of the saga, set for release on 5 May.
Phase 6, sometime in 2024, will feature The Fantastic Four and 2 Avengers movies.
She-Hulk (the female Incredible Hulk) will smash its way to Disney+ this August. Trailer here.
US President Joe Biden contracted the Omicron Covid-19 virus. He experienced “very mild symptoms” and continues to improve.
Mark Cuban shared in a podcast interview that he hasn’t profited from his ‘Shark Tank’ investment. Since the series started airing in 2009, Cuban has invested nearly USD20 mil into 85 companies. Watch the interview here.
China has successfully launched the second of three modules to its permanent space station. The complete structure will be 1/5 of the International Space Station.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
The top reason why people leave their jobs — lack of career development and advancement, according to a new McKinsey study.
Netflix’s “Resident Evil” 3D billboard in Times Square, New York. Quite terrifying.