Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Grab is SEA's food delivery champion by a mile - grabbing 54% of market share
Special branch under SUHAKAM will be set up to represent children. Bersatu disagrees with Dewan Rakyat speaker's decision on GRS 4. Microsoft's AI tool VALL-E clones voice with just 3-second clip.
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1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
14.5 bil rupees (RM773 mil) — the donations collected by the Sri Venkateswara Swami Vaari Temple in Andhra Pradesh, India, in 2022, according to its annual report, making it the highest donation in the temple’s history. That’s an average donation of RM2.12 mil per day. The major pilgrimage site for Hindus attracted 23.7 mil people last year. The temple is believed to be constructed over a period of time since 300 AD.
118 years old — the age of the world’s oldest person, French nun Lucile Randon who has just passed away peacefully in her sleep. She was the oldest person in Europe before taking over the global throne after the death of Japan’s Kane Tanaka at 119 last year. Guinness World Records officially recognised her status in Apr 2022. Born on 11 Feb 1904, a decade before World War I, she has witnessed all wars in modern times. Al Jazeera compiled an infographic of the oldest living people (supercentenarians) — all of them are women.
10 mil Saudi riyals (RM11.5 mil) — the winning price of a ticket to watch Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi facing off in a friendly today won at a charity auction by a Saudi real estate mogul. This would be Ronaldo’s first match since he signed his contract with Al Nassr. The special ticket comes with other perks, like photo opportunities with players and access to the locker rooms.
Wisdom Thursday. Luck is merely a component of success. Making the right decisions play the bigger role.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Bersatu to take legal action against Dewan Rakyat speaker’s decision on GRS4
Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin vowed that his party will take legal action against a decision by the Speaker of the Lower House of Parliament, Johari Abdul, for allowing the four Sabah MPs to keep their seats after the four MPs defected to an umbrella organisation, Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) from Bersatu, which the latter was one of the founding members of GRS. After GE15, GRS was part of the unity government, while Bersatu became the opposition. According to the anti-hopping law, any MP that switched parties after the general election will automatically lose their seats.
UMNO division to challenge the no-contest motion
The drama continues even after its annual general assembly ended. Alor Setar UMNO will file a formal protest to the Registrar of Societies (RoS) regarding the approved no-contest motion for the president and deputy president’s post. This move came after UMNO vice president Ismail Sabri stated that the no-contest motion was invalid and against the constitution and said that anyone not happy should voice out.
Up and down the staircase of justice:
In Lim Guan Eng’s Penang Undersea Tunnel corruption trial, the Whatsapp conversation between Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (CZCSB) director Zarul Ahmad and G. Gnanaraja became the highlight of the problem as allegedly RM2mil bribe or ‘chocolate’ were meant to be given to someone living in Taman Duta on July 23 2017. However, further questioning in the trial led to the conclusion that the bribe was not intended to be given to Lim. Lim’s counsel contended that it was meant for then-PM Najib Razak.
In Najib Razak’s tampering with 1MDB’s audit report, the High Court postponed the delivery of the decision on whether to acquit or call for Najib Razak to enter his defence. No reasons were given for this postponement, which was pushed to March instead of the end of this month. Najib and Zahid Hamidi do share the same luck when it comes to court cases.
The unlikely duo, Ahmad Maslan and Rafizi Ramli, suggested ways to deal with the rising debts
As the government debt almost broke the RM1.5tril ceiling, accounting for more than 80% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), deputy finance minister Ahmad Maslan gave a list of seven ways via his social media on how the government can deal with this issue. Nothing innovative about these methods — let’s see how they enforce them.
On the other hand, economic minister Rafizi Ramli called out to the rakyat not to panic as the government will find ways to deal with the rising debt. The government project’s cost optimisation and revenue collection expansion were among the measures touted by Rafizi.
Touch ‘n Go’s launched a half-baked product
The monopoly Touch ‘n Go (TNG) Sdn Bhd’s subsidiary, TNG Digital, has introduced a Visa card that is linked to its TNG eWallet recently. However, there were two major issues — the card cannot be used to pay for public transportation, toll and parking payment, and it could not be integrated with the existing TNG NFC card in order to create one comprehensive card, due to technological limitations, according to TNG Digital CEO Alan Ni. As a digital company, introducing two physical cards defeat the spirit of digitalisation. TNG Sdn Bhd is wholly owned by CIMB.
A special branch under SUHAKAM will be set up to represent children
PM Anwar Ibrahim announced that the Cabinet has decided to introduce an autonomous division under the Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM) to represent children, as the number of children facing abuses and mistreatment was increasing as of late. On top of that, deputy PM Zahid Hamidi will chair a committee to look into children-related issues and any recommendations from the committee will be enforced by the women and family minister.
According to the Edge, Datasonic Group Bhd has bagged a 10-year circa RM1bil deal to provide total turnkey solutions consisting of the domain name system, IT infrastructure and facility for the land office of a West African nation.
TT Vision Holdings Bhd enjoyed a tremendous initial public offering (IPO) as the machine vision equipment manufacturer overachieved its IPO price of RM0.34 by 276% to close at RM1.28 — the highest performer in 2023. The company raised RM28.73 million, which will be used for working capital, R&D and bank debt repayment.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Southeast Asia’s food delivery champion goes to…
Grab. Accounting for 54% of the food delivery’s gross market value (GMV), super app Grab is far ahead of its competitors, nearly 3x the market share of runner-up Foodpanda. According to Momentum Works that put together this market research, the food delivery industry exploded from 2019 to 2020 (+183%), grew by 30% in 2021 and growth decelerated to 5% in 2022, ending 2022 with a GMV of USD16.3 bil.
The report also highlighted the industry’s growing pressure to achieve profitability, leading players to cut back on subsidies and expand their revenue streams beyond commissions and delivery fees such as subscription packages and advertising.
Download this report for free here.
Macau gambling tycoon and junket pioneer sentenced to prison for underground gambling empire
Alvin Chau, once known as Macau’s casino “junket king” and amongst the highest-profile gambling tycoon in Macau, has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for running an illegal gambling empire. His trial centred on alleged under-the-table bets worth 824 bil Hong Kong dollars (USD105 bil) over eight years, defrauding the Macau government in more than 1 bil HKD (USD128 bil) in tax revenue.
Chau founded Suncity Group and pioneered the junket industry. Junket operators are akin to marketing agents of casinos - they bring in high rollers from mainland China to Macau and also provide credit to these wealthy gamblers (and if they don’t pay up, they function as debt collectors on behalf of casinos too).
Read; How Macau’s casino junket system works
A few days ago, we shared that Matteo Messina Denaro, Italy’s most-wanted mafia boss on the run for the past 30 years, was finally arrested — an interesting read here on how authorities zeroed in on his activities and location to finally arrest him.
Spotlight on Microsoft: mass layoffs, AI voice cloning
Tech giant Microsoft Corp announced in a memo by its CEO Satya Nadella that it plans to cut 10,000 jobs or about 5% of its more than 220,000 workforce as the firm said it’s seeing customers exercising caution. The company will take a USD1.2 bil charge in Q2 due to this move.
Microsoft is working on an AI called VALL-E (not Disney’s WALL-E) that can clone someone's voice from just a 3-second clip. VALL-E has been trained with 60,000 hours of English speech and can mimic a voice in “zero-shot scenarios”- meaning the AI tool can make the voice say words it never heard before. VALL-E was introduced via a paper published by Cornell University - read it here.
The AI tool is not currently accessible to the public, and Microsoft did not make clear what are its intended purpose. It also issued an ethical warning and its risks, saying the tool could be misused to “spoof voice identification or impersonate a specific speaker”.
Top Ukrainian interior ministry leaders, including its minister, deputy minister and state secretary, together with 11 others, including three children, were killed in a helicopter crash near a nursery in a suburb of the capital Kyiv. There was no indication the crash was anything other than an accident. Scene of the incident here (warning - disturbing footage).
The Marvel Cinematic Universe will return to China next month after being shut out for nearly four years from the world’s largest movie market over political and cultural sensitivities. The last MCU movie approved for release in China was “Spiderman: Far From Home”, and the subsequent six instalments of the MCU released during the pandemic were shut out.
Madonna announced her 35-date Celebration Tour (she’s 64 years old btw) to celebrate the 40th anniversary of her breakout single Holiday (listen on Spotify). She has scored 63 top 10 hits in the UK, including 13 number-one singles.