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☕️ Bapa Lantikan Politik
Johnny English-standard kidnapping operation of Palestinian men. Starbucks MY to install EV chargers at drive-thrus. How Starbucks made it in Italy when Domino's, Ben & Jerry's failed.
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1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
Caught the travel bug? TimeOut listed the 51 coolest neighbourhoods worldwide just in time for the holiday season. The editors polled 20,000 city-dwellers and grilled local experts to curate the list of the greatest places for fun, food, culture and community.
1.2% - the prevalence of blindness in Malaysia, with cataracts (58.6%) being the leading cause, followed by retinopathy (10.4%) and glaucoma (6.6%), according to Health DG Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah. 80% of the leading causes can be treated and prevented.
USD300 mil - the amount spent by investment banking giant Goldman Sachs through its consumer banking arm to build and power the infrastructure for Apple Card. Then, Apple snubbed Goldman Sachs during the launch, boasting that it was ‘created by Apple, not a bank’.
Russia 110-108 Ukraine — not a scoreboard but the number of prisoners exchanged between both countries. Russia swapped 108 Ukrainian women for 110 Russians detained in Ukraine in one of the largest swaps so far.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Israeli spy agency infiltrated Malaysia to track down Palestinians
Straight out of the scenes from the James Bond/Johnny English movie, two Palestinian men were abducted recently by a group of Malaysian kidnappers headed by a Malaysian woman who was believed to be recruited by the Israeli version of MI6 (UK’s Secret Intelligence Service) called Mossad. The bungled operation seemed more like a scene from Johnny English - a victim escaping, failing to cover their faces, and using an actual vehicle registration plate.
The Palestinian man was believed to be targeted for his involvement in Hamas, a Palestinian independence movement. Fortunately, the Palestinian men were rescued by the authorities. Since then, 11 people, including a woman, were captured by the police and faced charges that could lead to life imprisonment or a death sentence for kidnapping the Palestinian man.
This is not the first time Mossad has conducted an operation in the country. In 2018, Mossad was believed to be behind the killing of Palestinian academic Fadi al-Batsh, who was fatally shot when he was on his way to the mosque for his morning prayers. This Khashoggi-liked hit is aligned with Mossad’s policy of targetting Hamas activists anywhere.
Mossad is the Israeli intelligence agency that has an estimated annual budget of USD2.73bil and reports directly to the Israeli Prime Minister. It operates as a ‘deep state’ entity as its roles and objectives are not clearly defined in the country’s law. Malaysia used to have a Mossad-like entity dubbed the Research Division of the Prime Minister's Department until Tun Mahathir abolished it in 2018. You can learn more about Mossad here.
The suit against the Parliament’s dissolution is irrelevant as Agong’s decision cannot be challenged — PM Ismail Sabri
The suit filed by Klang MP Charles Santiago against various parties, including Putrajaya, was irrelevant as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had already consented to the dissolution and the King’s decision cannot be disputed, said PM Ismail Sabri. The suit that was filed merely two days after the dissolution announcement focused on PM Ismail Sabri's request to dissolve the Parliament, which had allegedly gone against the Federal Constitution's Articles 40(1), stated that the King is to act in accordance with the advice of the Cabinet or a minister acting under the Cabinet's general authority. The striking-out application by Putrajaya will be heard by the High Court on Thursday.
PM Ismail Sabri - ‘Bapa Lantikan Politik’
According to a revelation made by Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), PM Ismail Sabri had appointed 234 political appointments in federal statutory bodies (FSBs), higher than three of his predecessors. IDEAS chief executive officer Dr Tricia Yeoh said that the high number of political appointees by the prime minister is a clear indicator of the compromises made by him to make every party in his coalition whole and eventually ensure political stability, albeit short-lived. You can see how well PM Ismail Sabri utilised political appointees to garner support for his premiership.
When it rains, it pours for Jho Low as he is now ordered to pay over RM1bil to the Inland Revenue Board (IRB)
After being indefinitely jailed for contempt of court, Jho Low is now being ordered by the court to pay RM1,053,972,936.58 (that’s RM1.05 bil) with 5% interest to the IRB for his failure to submit tax returns for 2013 and 2014. The court earlier rejected Low’s defence against the lawsuit, where he stated that he did not have any bank account and did not conduct any business activities in Malaysia for those two years.
A new 10,000-seater stadium will be built in Putrajaya, a collaborative project by Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). The stadium will be constructed on a land site spanning 15.43 acres. The project will be financed by FIFA’s Forward program. Cost? Not disclosed.
The Indonesian unicorn coffee chain, Kenangan Coffee (Kopi Kenangan in Indonesia) which is backed by celebrities such as Jay-Z and Serena Williams, has chosen Malaysia, specifically Suria KLCC, to open its first outlet outside of Indonesia. The coffee chain chose Malaysia due to the country’s similar coffee culture compared to Indonesia and the steady growth of the market segment. Up to ten outlets will be opened in Malaysia by the end of the first quarter of 2023.
Caffeine for you, electrons for your car - Malaysia’s current largest coffee chain Starbucks Malaysia has partnered with Yinson GreenTech to install electric vehicles (EV) charging stations at Starbucks’s drive-through outlets, being the first coffee chain to do so. Now, you can charge your EVs for free at selected Starbucks stores until the end of the month.
PM Ismail Sabri had instructed the Works Ministry to explain the RM80mil in unpaid payments to subcontractors of the recently opened Damansara–Shah Alam Elevated Expressway (DASH).
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
UK MoD: China luring UK’s ex-military pilots to train PLA
The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence believes that China has recruited up to 30 former UK military pilots to help the People’s Liberation Army develop tactics and train pilots. The recruitment, supposedly done through intermediary headhunters, with pay as much as USD270,000, has led to concerns that the British pilots are being used for information on how Western planes and pilots operate, which could prove vital should a conflict occur.
James Heappey, the Minister for Armed Forces and Veterans in the UK, called for the nation to change the law to ensure pilots did not pass on intelligence in future. So far, no evidence exists that any laws have been broken.
Japan, Australia, to ink updated security agreement amid China reunification concerns
Japan and Australia are set to sign a new security agreement when Prime Minister Fumio Kishida visits Perth on Saturday. This will update the previous agreement, that was more focused on antiterrorism, and the new one will be focused on China.
The two nations shared concerns about China’s rapidly expanding interests in the region, such as building artificial islands in the South China Sea and conducting regular military exercises near Taiwan. This also comes after China’s President Xi Jinping announced the nation’s plan to strengthen its military further and pursue a “reunification of China”, with Xi making no promise that China will “renounce the use of force” regarding Taiwan.
Ukraine moves to downgrade diplomatic ties to Iran over kamikaze drones
The Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, will be submitting a proposal to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for the nation to sever diplomatic ties to Iran, citing the weapons supplied to Russia as the reason. An official note seeking assistance will also be sent to Israel.
This follows accusations that Russia had used Iranian kamikaze drones to conduct attacks on Kyiv, with the US State Department assessing that the drones used were Iranian in origin. Russia has denied using Iranian drones, while Iran has denied supplying said drones to Russia. However, the Kremlin confirmed that strikes had been carried out against military and energy infrastructure targets in Ukraine, stating the attacks were made with “high-precision long-range air and sea-based weapons”.
Female Iranian climber: Hijab fell off accidentally
Iranian sport climber Elnaz Rekabi, who was feared missing after competing without a hijab on during the recent Asian Championships in South Korea, has explained that she was travelling when friends and family could not contact her.
Her family and friends lost contact with her after she met with an Iranian official, with fears that she would be taken directly to prison on her return to Iran. When queried, the Iranian embassy in South Korea said Rekabi had left Seoul for Iran on Tuesday morning.
Rekabi explained via social media that her headscarf had fallen off accidentally due to an unexpected call for her to make her climb.
Japanese yen hits 32-year low, more market intervention possible
As the Japanese yen hits a 32-year low against the US dollar, the Japanese government has promised that “appropriate and decisive action against excessive, speculator-driven currency moves” will be taken.
This followed the yen slipping to 149.10 to the dollar, the weakest since August 1990. Policymakers have expressed concerns that the sharp fall of the yen will cause further distress to households and business plans due to the higher costs of imports.
Embattled UK Prime Minister Mary Elizabeth “Liz” Truss has stated she will lead the Conservative Party in the next general elections, despite mistakes that caused her plans to stabilise market turmoil in the UK to be thrown out by new chancellor Jeremy Hunt. The question is whether she can still hold on to her premiership until the election.
One of the richest, if not the richest man in crypto, Changpeng Zhao, the CEO and founder of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Binance published a 6,000-word document on his management style. If that’s too long to read, you can read the takeaways here.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
Domino’s and Ben & Jerry’s both failed in the land of pizza and gelato. It took Starbucks 47 years to open its first shop in Italy in 2018, and it is thriving. Here’s how Starbucks was able to pull it off in the land of espresso.
Inflation, recession, stagflation or shrinkflation won’t stop the rich from splurging on luxury goods. One of the world’s largest luxury conglomerates, LVMH (the owner of Christian Dior, TAG Heuer, Tiffany & Co. etc.) reported stellar quarterly earnings despite the economic environment.