Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ BN is PN's main enemy in GE15 - Muhyiddin
Inflation in MY coming in 🔥, 4.7% YoY in Aug '22. World’s Best Low-Cost Airline in 2022 for 13 years straight - AirAsia. NASA's DART mission to test asteroid-deflection tech.
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1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
20 quadrillion — 15 zeros — the estimated number of ants on Earth, which is approximately 2.5 mil ants per human, according to Patrick Schultheiss and his team. The four scientists who conducted the study said the figure is conservative. Can’t imagine the figure? Well, if all the ants were plucked from the ground and put on a scale, they would outweigh all the wild birds and mammals put together.
51% of potential homebuyers in Malaysia cannot afford to buy a house because they do not qualify for government affordable housing schemes, according to a recent study by PropertyGuru. Without financial assistance, they could not realise their goals of becoming homeowners. Even civil servants face the same issue — 50% of the 1.62 mil of them are unable to own their homes due to the sector’s minimum wage, according to Congress of Unions of Employees in Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) president Datuk Adnan Mat.
Let’s hope the 2023 Budget will include the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (KPKT) proposal for 100% stamp duty exemption for ownership of first-time homeowners of properties priced above RM500,000 and RM1 mil.
Malaysia’s inflation in August ‘22 increased by 4.7% YoY (July ‘22 was 4.4%). According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM), food and non-alcoholic beverage component remained the main contributor to inflation. It is the sixth consecutive month of YoY increase since March. Thank you, Annuar Musa and his Jihad Against Inflation task force! But, this wasn’t the positive results we are looking for.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Last Friday was a good Friday for UMNO folks in court.
Zahid Hamidi said, “Justice has been served” after he was acquitted of 40 charges in relation to the Foreign Visa System (VLN) — the Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd (UKSB) case.
Shah Alam High Court judge Mohd Yazid Mustafa ruled that the prosecution had failed to prove a prima facie case on all charges. The judge found the prosecution had failed to prove a crucial element in the case — the receipt of corrupt monies. On top of that, the judge also said the three key witnesses were unreliable. The UKSB ledger was not accepted as convincing evidence.
To recap, the case had 33 charges against Zahid for allegedly receiving bribes amounting to SD13.56mil (RM43.6 mil) from UKSB and additional seven charges for allegedly obtaining SGD1.15 mil (RM3.7 mil), RM3.125 mil, 15,000 Swiss francs (RM70,000) and USD15,000 (RM68,000) from the same company.
High Court judge Yazid Mustafa highlighted a salient fact in his judgement — the prosecution did not produce any sample brown envelope that the witnesses said the cash was delivered in. There were five occasions where Zahid allegedly received SGD600,000 in an envelope. Moreover, a person mentioned by the witnesses and whose name appeared on every sheet of the ledger — Nicole Tan — was not called by the prosecution. Nicole could have potentially verified that one of the witnesses, David, received cash on a weekly basis.
One down, one more to go. Zahid still has the Yayasan Akalbudi case, in which he faces 47 charges.
Former Tabung Haji chairman Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim is also out of the woods.
Abdul Azeez was given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) by Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court Judge Azura Alwi on nine charges — three for corruption and six for money laundering, in connection with road projects in Perak and Kedah after deputy public prosecutor Aslinda Ahad requested the court to do so.
Bung Moktar and wife’s corruption case on hold
The High Court has stayed the RM2.8 mil corruption trial of UMNO chief Bung Moktar and his wife, following the couple’s applications to review the Sessions Court's decision for both to enter their defence.
If you want to feel better because it’s Monday today — Najib Razak has to go (or has gone) back to Kajang Prison after medical consultants from Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) and HRC have granted medical clearance for him to balik
Perikatan Nasional (PN) will go head on with Barisan National (BN).
It’s like Johnny Lawrence going against John Kreese. Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairperson Muhyiddin Yassin said all component parties — Bersatu, PAS, Gerakan, Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (Star) and Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) — agreed their main enemy in GE15 is BN. However, the statement is contradictory to PAS’s secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan, who said the party’s real political enemies are Harapan and its “big tent” allies, not BN.
Penang International Airport’s (PIA) reputation is down the drain, but not the water.
On Saturday morning, the island famous for its food culture saw heavy rainfall that brought flash floods to PIA. Cars were driving through a flooded driveway at the airport’s entrance, a Truly Asia experience for our international visitors. Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) apologised for the flooding.
Down south in Johor, two flood relief centres were opened following hours of rain.
22 houses in Batu Pahat were flooded in less than an hour as water levels rose rapidly past the knee level after a heavy morning downpour yesterday. In Pontian and Muar, strong winds blew the roofs off several houses. Social media users in Danga Bay also reported flash floods after a couple of hours of rain.
Environment and Water Minister dishes out some wise words — “It is not suitable to hold the 15th GE this year due to the heavy rains and floods.”
Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, who is PAS deputy president, said the country is expected to receive more rainfall in mid-November than in any other month based on the weather forecast issued by the Malaysian Meteorological Department. The minister said it could be troublesome to hold the elections during the floods because there are not enough police officers to i) guard the ballot boxes and; ii) assist the people affected by the flood disaster.
Drum rolls — the winner of the World’s Best Low-Cost Airline in 2022 is AirAsia!
It is the 13th consecutive year that AirAsia, every Malaysian’s favourite airline, has won the World’s Best Low-Cost Airline. The Skytrax World Airline Awards 2022 surveyed over 14.3 mil customers who reviewed over 300 airlines from Sept 21 to Aug 22. Congratulations to Uncle Tony and team — on a serious note, where are our refunds?
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Approved: SpaceX’s Starlink internet for Iranians. Rejected: Iranian President's request for the interviewer to wear a head scarf.
The US government has approved Elon Musk’s request for exemptions from sanctions to activate Starlink for Iran following the widespread protests that broke out last week in Iran over the death of Mahsa Amini, resulting in the government blocking access to Instagram and Whatsapp.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi attempted to ‘export’ its law for women to wear a headscarf to the US as he made a last-minute request for CNN”s chief international anchor Christiane Amanpour to wear it during a rare and highly anticipated interview at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York. She declined. Interview cancelled. Read her Twitter thread here recapping the incident and her rationale for declining the request.
In a separate incident during the UNGA — The South Korean President was caught on hot mic calling members of the US Congress “idiots” in reference to a USD6 bil funding pledge President Biden made to the Global Fund, an international organisation to fight HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.
NASA’s DART mission to save Earth from asteroid strikes
To be clear - Earth is not facing its Armageddon moment. NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Testing (DART) mission will intentionally smash into a tiny asteroid today to deflect it away from its trajectory. This will be humanity’s first test to deflect a space rock.
The golf card-sized spacecraft, costing USD308 mil, will smash into a 163 m wide asteroid called Dimorphos, 10.9 mil km away from Earth at about 225,308 km per hour. NASA currently monitors about 28,000 nearby asteroids and fortunately, none are posing an immediate threat to human civilisation.
Spotlight on China:
Chinese (not Malaysian Chinese, sadly, but Mainland Chinese) are wealthier than Europeans. Along with geopolitical influence, wealth is shifting from the West to the East too. According to Credit Suisse’s 2022 Global Wealth Report, China’s median wealth (USD26,752) has overtaken Europe’s (USD26,690), albeit by a small margin. However, the European figure takes into account the whole of the continent, which includes less wealthy nations in the east and south of Europe. Global wealth in 2021 totalled USD463.6 tril — it goes without saying North America accounted for slightly more than one-third and China for nearly a fifth.
Sun Lijun, China’s former vice minister of public security, was given a suspended death sentence after being found guilty of taking RMB646 mil (USD90.6 mil) in bribes, manipulating the stock market and illegally possessing weapons. In China’s unique criminal law, the death sentence with a 2-year reprieve will be commuted by life imprisonment with no possibility of commutation and parole.
Tom Wright, the author of Billion Dollar Whale, alleged that Sun served as a “protector” of our notorious and wanted Jho Low.
Rumours are swirling on social media, though unsubstantiated, that Chinese President Xi Jinping is under house arrest and overthrown by China’s People Liberation Army.
Roman Abramovich - from trading footballers to prisoners
Bloomberg reported that the largest prisoner swap between Ukraine and Russia that surprisingly took place week was brokered by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. This took place after former Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich (Chelsea was seized by the UK government after he was sanctioned) met the crown prince in late August. Few details of Abramovich’s involvement were reported.
Japan’s doors fully re-open to welcome tourists effective Oct 11 — foreign tourists can visit Japan without going through a travel agency and the cap on daily arrivals has been lifted as well.
Aircraft maker Boeing has been fined USD200 mil by the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) for failing to disclose to investors problems with its 737 Max aeroplanes that saw two deadly crashes.
What happens when inflation soars? Cut interest rates — in Turkey, the central bank cut interest rates instead as Turkey’s August inflation rate hit 80.2%. This flies in the face of other central banks as rates are being increased around the world.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
Roger Federer officially retires — the end of an era. Even Rafael Nadal shed tears during Federer’s emotional sendoff.
Take a tour inside Buckingham Palace. Also, meet Michael Fagan — the man that broke into Buckingham Palace twice. He even intruded the Queen’s bedroom whilst she was sleeping.
Cross-checked with Google Translate. German is indeed legit hard.