☕️Boycott à la PAS-style

Survey: MY's 2024 expected average salary increment. Hamas leader: ‘approaching Gaza truce agreement’ with Israel. WSJ: Binance's CZ pleaded guilty, stepped down, and agreed to pay USD4.3 bil fine.

We start today with an interesting personal finance advice on a hot but little-discussed topic — dealing with family members who ask for money. 



5.1% — the expected average increment in salary for 2024 in Malaysia, according to Mercer’s Total Remuneration Survey 2023, which is slightly below the Asian average of 5.2%. Emerging economies are expected to see a higher average increment as compared to developed economies - India, Vietnam and Indonesia are set to report the highest projected median salary increments in 2024 at 9.3%, 7% and 6.5% respectively whereas Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong are expected to register the lowest at 2.6%, 3.8% and 3.9% respectively. This survey was conducted amongst 668 multinational corporations (MNCs) across 15 industries in Malaysia. When this survey was conducted is important - between April to June this year. Sentiment might have changed — for the worse, just maybe. The full report is here, but unfortunately, it ain’t free — USD15,800 (RM73.5k) if you have that much to spare after a potential 2024 increment. 

Six of the seven shirts worn by Lionel Messi, including the one from the final during Argentina’s World Cup-winning campaign, are to be sold at a Sotheby’s auction and are expected to fetch GBP8 mil (RM46.6 mil). Messi played in all seven matches and became the first player in World Cup history to score in the group stage, last 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals of a single tournament. One shirt during the group stage was swapped with an Australian player. The record set for a game-worn football shirt is Diego Maradona’s, which he wore when he scored the ‘Hand of God’ goal (watch here) in 1986 — it sold for GBP7.1 mil in 2022.

A report by the Danish Institute for Sports Studies showed the extent and scale of Saudi Arabian state investment in sports for the first time. The study found 312 sponsorship deals across 21 sports, as well as multi-sports events. Football is the main focus, with 83 (26.6%) of the total deals, followed by motorsports (34 deals) and golf (33 deals). Of these 312, the research suggests that 139 (44.6%) are connected directly to the USD700 bil Saudi sovereign wealth fund - the Public Investment Fund, which also owns Newcastle United and the four leading Saudi Pro League football clubs.View study: Sports power relations in Saudi Arabia.


Nationwide bomb hoax19 schools nationwide saw classes coming to a halt yesterday over a bomb hoax email. The schools are in Selangor, KL, Johor, Penang, Perak and Negeri Sembilan. Police revealed that the email was written originally in English and then translated to BM and the schools received the same email from an account bearing the name ‘takstorer’, which means disruptor of peace in German. The email with the same content was also sent to 70 schools in Jamaica on Nov 12 using the same email service provider. An investigation is underway to determine if both incidents in Malaysia and Jamaica were connected to the same mastermind.

Sarawak becomes first state to regulate climate changeThe Sarawak Legislative Assembly passed the Environment (Reduction of Greenhouse Gases Emission) Bill, aiming to safeguard Sarawak’s environment. Although Malaysia had committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 in accordance with the Paris Agreement, Parliament has yet to pass any laws to implement any legislation to address climate change. Some measures introduced in Sarawak’s Bill include requiring registered businesses in selected sectors to submit carbon emission reports and setting carbon emission thresholds. The Bill will also promote carbon capture and storage and trading carbon credits. 

Boycott à la PAS-styleDuring a Parliamentary debate, Kampar MP Chong Zhemin hit out at Perikatan Nasional over the coalition’s double standards regarding the issue of boycotting brands that support Israel. Chong asked why the Kelantan state government did not boycott Mercedes-Benz*, and in response, PAS Pasir Mas MP Ahmad Fadhli Shaari defended the state government’s decision saying that the boycott should be done based on “rasa hati” (the way we interpret - as one’s own wish) and added that not all can be boycotted such as iPhone and Facebook.

This sounds like PAS is practising selective boycotting, depending on their convenience and immediate needs. Watch for yourself Pasir Mas MP’s response here — at best, it’s comical. At worst, it’s hypocritical, mocking Malaysians who are properly boycotting the likes of McDonald’s and Starbucks. 

*Context: Mercedes Benz last week announced a EUR1 mil donation to the German Red Cross and United Hatzalah, an Israeli NGO. Kelantan spent RM3.5 mil on 14 Mercedes-Benz as official vehicles for the Kelantan state government leaders.


  1. Taiwan’s Sinyi Group and UK’s Intercontinental Hotels Group are planning to build a RM1 bil luxury resort in Sabah. This 450-room five-star luxury resort in Melingsung, Papar, will further catalyse Sabah’s tourism sector and create more than 500 jobs. Sabah has targeted 2.2 mil visitor arrivals in 2023 and has met 86% of its target. 

  2. Proton owner Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd unveiled three variants of its smart #1 EV in KL as it competes with Tesla and BYD Co. The three variants - Pro, Premium and Brabus — start at RM189,000 (same as Tesla Model 3) to RM249,000. The smart cars will be distributed by Pro-Net, a unit of Proton. Malaysia’s EV market is forecast to hit 5,840 new units this year, representing a penetration rate of just 1.8%. Check out #1 here.

  3. Finally, AirAsia X Bhd will no longer be PN17 status effective today as Bursa Securities had allowed for the airlines’ appeal for the upliftment. The company also announced its Q3 FY2023 results ended 30 Sep 2023 — revenue surged 6x to RM648.36 mil from a year ago, but net profit declined 77.8% to RM5.56 mil due to higher fuel expenses and maintenance and overhaul costs. AAX is currently operating 14 aircraft out of its fleet of 17 and expects to get at least 16 operating by De 2023. AAX share price closed at RM2.10 yesterday — it’s up a staggering +268.4% year-to-date from 57 sen at the beginning of the year. View its earnings results here.

  4. Poultry player Teo Seng Capital Bhd is on track to post a record high annual profit for FU2023. The company posted RM43.8 mil in net profit, up 84x year-on-year in its Q3 FY2023 ended 30 Sep 2023, boosted by higher average selling price and egg volume. Revenue was up 20.1% to RM199.99 mil from RM166.7 mil year-on-year. Interestingly, Q3 FY2023’s net profit in a single quarter alone is already more than double the group’s full-year net profit of RM21.6 mil in FY2022 and marks the company’s highest quarterly profit ever recorded since its listing in 2008. Its share price is up an impressive 85.9% YTD, giving it a market cap of RM435 mil. View earnings results here.


  1. Digital haggling comes to Grab. Grab Malaysia said it is testing a fare bidding feature in selected towns in the country where passengers can propose the ride price for drivers to accept or make a counter-offer. The feature is optional for both passengers and drivers.

  2. A step towards better welfare for national athletes. Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh said the National Sports Council is studying a possible first-time implementation of contributions such as EPF and SOCSO for athletes under the podium programme starting January next year. The Podium programme is a dedicated national elite athlete preparation programme aiming to achieve sporting excellence for the country at major International Sports Championships. 


Israel-Palestine updates

  • Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh announced that Hamas is “approaching a Gaza truce agreement with Israel, referring to the Qatari-mediated talks involving prisoner exchanges and aid delivery. A Hamas official revealed that negotiations were centred on the length of the ceasefire, the arrangements for aid delivery into the region, and the exchange of Israeli captives for Palestinian prisoners, with both sides freeing women and children. The official also mentioned talks have lasted weeks, but Israel had been stalling the agreement.

  • Elsewhere, a video has been published by Iran-backed Houthi rebels, showing their helicopter raid of the internationally-flagged cargo ship Galaxy Leader. The video (watch here) showed rifle-toting militants storming the vessel and capturing the crew while yelling at them. A Houthi spokesperson stated the hijacking was due to the Galaxy Leader being “connected to Israel”, with a warning to all Israel-associated ships that they are “legitimate targets for military action”. However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office stated the ship is owned by a British company and operated by a Japanese firm, although it is reportedly affiliated with an Israeli billionaire. Currently, the Japanese government is negotiating with the Houthi rebels for the release of the crew, which the owner says is near Yemen’s Hodeidah port. Wonder if this hijacking will be used against Hamas by Israel in the truce negotiations.

Binance’s USD4.3 bil penalty “ok with crypto markets” while US SEC sues Kraken for operating without a permit

  • The US Justice Department is seeking more than USD4 bil to end a criminal probe into crypto exchange Binance and its CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, and crypto markets showed they are ok with this. Prosecutors accused Binance of facilitating transactions with sanctioned groups. While the DoJ will see this as one of the heftiest penalties ever levied against a company, the market sees this as a way forward for Binance while removing an “overhang in the industry”. The Wall Street Journal reported that CZ has pleaded guilty, agreed to pay USD4.3 bil fine, and stepped down from his position in exchange for retaining his majority ownership in Binance. Binance acknowledged that it lacked needed compliance controls in the past, but that the settlement marked its taking responsibility.

  • Meanwhile, one of the oldest crypto exchanges, Kraken, is in trouble with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, which filed a lawsuit against the exchange for illegally operating as a securities exchange without registering with the regulator. This marks the latest move by SEC Chair Gary Gensler to bring crypto under his agency’s purview. Kraken intends to defend itself and stated that the lawsuit will not affect its clients, who number over 10 million.

As a side note, Ukrainian lawmakers had their own bit of trouble with crypto, in that it is investigating its first-ever documented cryptocurrency bribe.

Italy mafia trial: 200 sentenced to a collective 2,200 years in jailThe three-year trial sentenced over 200 defendants allegedly linked to the ‘Ndrangheta criminal organisation, one of Europe’s most influential mobs, for crimes ranging from drug trafficking to extortion. The defendants included a former Italian senator. Over 100 more defendants were acquitted. The case is said to highlight the mob’s broad influence over the politics and society of southern Italy. The gang is said to have an annual turnover of around USD60 bil with control of over 80% of Europe’s cocaine market. This places the mob in the same bracket as companies like Deere and Panasonic and higher than American Express, Intel, and Hewlett-Packard.

China attempts pivot to Singapore-style social housing in bid to end three-year construction slumpBeijing named two “big projects” as the centre of its housing policy, now focussed on building social housing and renovating run-down inner-city districts. The projects have top-level political backing, with reports alleging they could soon have more than USD138 bil of central government support. Authorities are also mulling to fund the project by offering cheap central bank loans to key state-owned policy banks. This social housing model mimics the policy Singapore already has in place, where a large part of the residential market is public housing.


  1. Somalia floods claim 50 lives, displace almost 700,000 – The flash flooding is expected to worsen with more heavy rain starting on Tuesday, with the downpours in the Horn of Africa region blamed on the El Nino phenomenon. Hundreds of thousands have lost their homes and properties, along with animals and crops. The International Rescue Committee stated that more than 1.7 million people are now in “urgent need”. Somalia is also known as the Horn of Africa — here’s Somalia on the map, with its shape explaining its nickname.

  2. Brazil sees hottest ever temperature – The record of 44.8 degrees Celsius was attributed to the El Nino phenomenon and climate change and is part of a heatwave that forecasters say may ease this week. The previous record was 44.7 degrees Celsius, measured in 2005. The heatwave a month before the beginning of summer has led to record energy consumption levels in Brazil as people try to stay cool.


  1. FAQ Show x The Coffee Break weekly roundup — it’s basically our newsletter in video format plus one of our faces.

  2. If you are burning out, read this advice from Adam Grant. an organisation psychologist and New York Times best-selling author.

  3. One-of-a-kind moonwalk performed by cheerleaders.