Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ The list of relaxed Covid-19 SOPs and restrictions
Former DPM Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to sue Tun M for defamation. Russia weaponises energy system-cut gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland. An African country becomes 2nd country to make Bitcoin legal tender.
1. MARKET SUMMARY
Bursa Malaysia will be closed from 2 to 4 May in conjunction with the Labour Day replacement and Raya holidays. Market and operations to resume on Thursday, 5 May 2022.
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
15,000 Russian troops have died since the invasion of Ukraine two months ago. Roughly the same number of Soviet soldiers died during the nine-year war in Afghanistan.
USD174 bil — the size of the dairy industry in India. India produces a fifth of the world’s milk from its 200 mil cows and 100 mil buffaloes.
Harvard University is allocating USD100 million for an endowment fund and other measures to close the educational, social and economic gaps that are legacies of slavery and racism. The decision could be the result of a 100-page report by the university’s 14-member Committee on Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery. The report laid out a history of slaves toiling on the campus and how the prestigious university benefited from the slave trade and industries linked to slavery.
3. COVID-19 SUMMARY
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced the updated protocols for Covid-19 as the country transitions into endemic:
The public can visit the cemetery during the coming Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
All activities can now operate at 100% capacity. If you are thinking of getting married this year, you missed the boat for a low-key wedding.
The vaccinated and unvaccinated can finally hang out together as individuals are now allowed to enter premises regardless of vaccination status. Premise owners are instead advised to check whether the person has Covid-19 or not.
You can finally go clubbing — activities under the negative list of the National Security Council standard operating procedures (SOP) will be dropped from May 15.
4. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
The Nagaenthran Dharmalingam death sentence is coming close to an end - his brother confirmed that he was hanged yesterday morning. What happened post-sentencing:
Naga’s family said they have accepted his sentence with a heavy heart and would not be taking any further action.
About 100 people attended the wake held for him in Sin Ming Drive, Singapore.
One of his last wishes was granted before his execution to dress in his favourite outfit.
Singapore’s Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) issued a statement after Naga’s sentencing that various individuals and groups in and out of Singapore had repeated false allegations over the conflict of interest of Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon to preside Naga’s case as Sundaresh was the AG during Naga’s criminal proceedings. The AGC noted that this was brought to Naga’s counsel’s attention and Naga had expressly confirmed in 2016 under legal advice that he had no objection to Chief Justice Menon hearing his case.
Wisma Putra said Malaysia is open to holding discussions with Singapore to implement a prisoner exchange programme in the wake of Naga’s execution.
Another Malaysian, Datchinamurthy Kataiah, convicted for drug offences in Singapore, will be hanged this Friday.
Express English lesson: past tense of ‘hang’ in almost all situations is ‘hung’. ‘Hanged’ is used in reference to a death sentence via hanging.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the government will not wait for the Public Accounts Committee’s (PAC) report before concluding the deal on the MySejahtera application despite the PAC chairperson calling the government not to make such a decision before the report is tabled and debated in Parliament. Why the rush KJ? Given check-ins wouldn’t be mandatory anymore, a large component of the app is no longer relevant - will this be factored into the contract cost?
Former deputy PM Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is suing Tun Mahathir for defamation over Tun M’s allegations that Ahmad Zahid had visited him after GE14 to seek help to resolve Ahmad Zahid’s ongoing court case. Tun M stands by his remarks that Ahmad Zahid did seek his help to “drop” the court case and will contest the defamation suit. Earlier, a defamation suit was also filed against former PM Muhyiddin Yassin last month over a similar allegation.
A French judge has charged defence group Thales with complicity in bribery over a 2022 sale of submarines to Malaysia. Former PM Najib Razak was the defence minister when the deal was signed to buy 2 Scorpene-class submarines and 1 Agosta submarine in a deal worth USD1.2 bil.
Najib’s associate Abdul Razak Baginda acted as the advisor to the deal and was accused of disguising the kickbacks of more than EUR114 mil (RM528.6 mil) as “consulting work”, with the proceeds allegedly given to Najib. Abdul Razak was charged in France, whilst Najib was questioned by MACC in 2018, but no charges were filed. Malaysia, your move next.
Celcom Axiata Bhd and Digi.com Bhd plan to complete their proposed merger announced on Apr 8, 2021, by the second half (H2) of 2022. The completion of the merger is subject to the approval of both company and Digi shareholders, regulatory approvals and other terms and conditions.
5. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
The US weaponises the financial system, Russia weaponises the energy system — Russia halted gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland on Wednesday for rejecting its demand to pay in roubles. European leaders denounced the step as “blackmail”. On another note, in mid-April, the US swooped in the fill in the missing Russian supply with its 2-million-barrel supertanker, Solana. However, the 2-million barrels can’t even match Russia’s daily supply of 3.5 million barrels to the EU.
Indonesia might make a u-turn on its ban on palm oil exports as industry officials said Jakarta has limited infrastructure to store the surplus oil, and the country faces mounting pressure from buyers to resume shipments. On Monday, officials clarified the ban would only apply to exports of refined, bleached and deodorised (RBD) palm olein. RBD palm olein accounts for around 40% of Indonesia’s total exports of palm oil products.
Myanmar’s former leader Aung San Suu Kyi, has been found guilty of corruption by a court in the military-ruled country. The court said Ms Suu Kyi took a USD600,000 bribe in the form of cash and gold bars from the former head of Yangon. She has been under house arrest since February 2021 after a military coup took over the government.
Revenue of USD56 bil (vs expected USD56.1 bil)
Net income of USD16.4 bil (USD24.62 per share vs expected USD26.29)
Youtube ad revenue of USD6.87 bil (vs expected USD7.4 bil)
Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat said the search giant was affected by the suspension of its commercial activities in Russia and broader unrest as a result of the invasion of Ukraine. The company also announced a USD70 bil share buyback program.
Apple has officially opened the self-service repair programme to users in the US. Owners of the iPhone 12, 13 and third-gen SE will be able to purchase spare parts and tools and peruse instruction manuals that will walk them through the process of fixing common issues with the handsets.
Instead of withdrawing retirement funds to buy bitcoin, people in the US can choose to stake their retirement savings in bitcoin. Retirement giant Fidelity launched a way for workers to put some of their 401(k) savings and contributions directly in bitcoin, up to 20%! Does anyone know how to get a green card?
Another country has adopted Bitcoin as a legal tender — the Central African Republic became the second country to do so. Lawmakers unanimously adopted a bill that made bitcoin legal tender alongside the CFA franc and legalised the use of cryptocurrencies. Have not heard of this country? See the map here.
This is a significant development for the country as its currency is a legacy of the French colony, still controlled by Paris until today and is deemed as a form of ‘monetary colonialism’. 14 other countries are still using this currency. A very interesting read here on this monetary colonialism.
Scandal-laden Archegos Capital Management’s owner Bill Hwang and its former chief financial officer, Patrick Halligan, were arrested and charged with racketeering conspiracy, securities fraud and wire fraud. The charging documents say that the men used leverage to inflate their market positions, which swelled to as much as USD160 billion. They should have listened to the Oracle of Omaha.
“If you don’t have leverage, you don’t get in trouble. That’s the only way a smart person can go broke, basically. And I’ve always said, ‘If you're smart, you don’t need it; and if you’re dumb, you shouldn’t be using it.’”
— Warren Buffett
6. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
The overall winner of Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year 2022 — Debdatta Chakraborty
Parenting hack: leverage thousands of eyeballs through Facebook Live to watch your kids
3. Know your whales.