Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Corruption trial goes on for Deputy PM Zahid Hamidi
Gov to spend RM40 mil to incentivise TVET upskilling. Australia uncovers “most horrific” child sexual abuse case involving 91 girls. Uber reports 1st-ever quarterly net profit.
PSA — Malaysiakini will provide free access to its articles until Aug 13 to help voters make an informed choice in the state elections. Thank you!
1. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
The assets under management of bond exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have reached a landmark figure of USD2 trillion (RM9.2 trillion) for the first time, indicating the increasing appeal of these products and the attractive yields on fixed-income assets. The yields available on bonds have surged since 2021 as global central banks have rapidly raised interest rates to tame a resurgence of inflation.
Living pay cheque to pay cheque? You’re not alone. Between 2019 and 2022, Malaysian households experienced a faster increase in average monthly expenditures compared to their gross income. This was mainly attributed to higher spending on housing and utilities, food, restaurants and hotels, as well as transportation. According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM), the average monthly household expenditure in 2022 was RM5,150, showing a 3.7% increase from 2019 vs income growth of only 2.4%.
Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li has made a generous donation of HKD1.5 mil (RM880,000) to a fund that supports Malaysian students studying in Hong Kong. Transport Minister Anthony Loke acknowledged the contribution, highlighting the strong trade ties between Malaysia and Hong Kong. The fund, set up by the Malaysia Chamber of Commerce, has benefited numerous Malaysian students pursuing their education at Hong Kong and Macau universities, having raised HKD15.6 mil (RM9.1 mil) over the years.
Fun facts: Richard Li is the son of Li Ka-shing, one of Asia’s richest men who is nicknamed “Superman” for his investment prowess.
His other son, Victor Li, was kidnapped for one night in 1996 by crime king Cheung Tze-keung. So brazen Cheung was that he turned up at Li Ka-shing’s house (with Ak-47s), demanded HKD2 bil (RM1.16 bil*) in ransom, but left with HKD1 bil (RM579.7 mil) in cash. Later, Cheung even called Senior Li, asking for advice on investing.
*Exchange rate as of the time of writing.
It’s how you stay informed. Get the daily newsletter of many Malaysians for free.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Cops investigating speech by Fahmi
The video of Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil giving a so-called political speech in a mosque in Rawang, Selangor, has caused controversy as the state has a ban on politicking in mosques. The Selangor Islamic Department (Jais) is investigating Fahmi Fadzil over the incident under Section 12 of the Selangor Syariah Crimes Enactment. The investigation is based on suspicions of Fahmi insulting religious authorities. Fahmi denied politicking and said he was explaining the controversy surrounding The 1975.
Sanusi’s lapses of memory
A couple of weeks ago, Kedah caretaker menteri besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor denied knowing much about the two Chinese nationals who were allegedly employed by MBI. After Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail revealed a photo at a press conference in Alor Setar, Sanusi responded and acknowledged meeting a Chinese national wanted in connection with the theft of rare earth resources in the state. However, he asserted that the Chinese national’s business is solely with the Kedah Land and Minerals Office and the state's Menteri Besar Incorporated (MBI), in which he has no involvement.
Sanusi said there was a significant language barrier as the suspect does not speak Malay or English — maybe they speak money.
Gov wants the young and vulnerable to upskill
The Malaysian government, through the Ministry of Economy, will allocate RM40 mil for the recruitment of 10,000 workers under the new Academy in Industry (AiI)-SLDN programme until the end of 2023. The fund will be used to cover worker placement incentives (that’s an average of RM4k per person) as well as graduation and certification incentives for trainees who stay at work and obtain the Malaysian Skills Certificate (SKM). The program is meant to encourage those without a Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) qualification to join the workforce. The AiI Initiative follows a demand-driven industry approach, focusing on industrial needs and implementing a “place and train” concept.
Zahid’s trial goes on
The Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) has not made a decision yet on Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's representation letters requesting to drop the 47 charges related to Yayasan Akalbudi. According to the testimony in the High Court by Rosiah Osman, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi used his personal credit cards to buy donation items for a mosque as part of Yayasan Akalbudi’s (YAB) charitable activities. The purchases were later reimbursed using YAB funds.
The sixth defence witness Zahid’s special officer Mohd Kamal Abdullah said the DPM’s executive secretary Major Mazlina Mazlan Ramly, was often careless in managing the cheques in 2013.
EP Manufacturing Bhd (EPMB) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China-based BAIC International Development Co Ltd (BAIC International) to produce BAIC's BJ40P and X55II sport utility vehicles (SUVs) locally. The agreement also includes the production of future right-hand drive (RHD), internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles and electric vehicles (EVs). BAIC was reported to have sold 1.45 mil vehicles in 2022. EP is listed on Bursa, with a market cap of RM203.8 mil.
Opcom Holdings Bhd has put forth a proposal to acquire 5.39 million shares, equivalent to a 49% equity interest, in Transgrid Ventures Sdn Bhd, a power transmission company, for a maximum amount of RM98 million. This move aims to allow Opcom to diversify its business into the power generation and transmission sectors. Opcom is also listed on Bursa, with a market cap of RM295.7 mil.
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim will lead the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Public Service Reform (JKK-PPA) on August 7 to discuss the review of the Public Service Remuneration System (SSPA). The review of the Public Service Remuneration System (SSPA) is a significant part of the government's initiatives to reform the public service in line with the vision of building a MADANI nation.
The RM100 e-cash credit will be provided to all citizens aged 21 years and above within the B40 and M40 income groups. The rollout of this e-cash aid is scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year, and it is expected to benefit over 10 mil recipients who earn RM100,000 or below.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Australian police uncover “most horrific” child sexual abuse case involving 91 young girls
Sydney is rocked by news of what police detectives call the most horrific case of sexual abuse in Australia. A local childcare worker had sexually abused 91 young girls over 15 years. The paedophile had also documented his alleged crimes in thousands of photos and videos, leading to a total of 1,623 criminal charges.
Included in these charges were 136 accounts of rape, 110 counts of sexual intercourse with a child younger than 10 and 613 counts of making child pornography. The paedophile, identified to be a 45-year-old man, has been sharing his cache of child pornography online on the dark web since 2014, but it was only in August last year investigator made a breakthrough by matching visual cues in the background images to a childcare centre in Brisbane.
We urge parents to continue to keep their children safe online and offline. Here are some tips for you that might help.
The death-defying journey of four Nigerians
Four Nigerian stowaways have reportedly crossed the Atlantic in a 5,600-kilometre journey lasting 14 days. Surviving by drinking seawater and food prepared before the trip, the four men had hoped to reach Europe but ended up in Brazil instead. When asked why they left the country, the men said that economic hardship, political instability and crime had left them little option but to leave. The four men are now seeking asylum from the authorities of Brazil.
Myanmar’s military junta shaves 6 years off Aung San Suu Kyi’s 33-year sentence
Nobel laureate and popular political leader Aung San Suu Kyi received partial clemency and now faces a shorter house arrest sentence. Suu Kyi was charged with 19 criminal cases ranging from corruption to breaching Covid-19 rules by the military government.
The political leader still faces a total of 14 charges despite the pardon. Despite controversies during her leadership of Myanmar regarding the Rohingya crisis, Suu Kyi remains a popular leader in Myanmar.
Ongoing violence in the state of Myanmar has forced military leaders to extend its state of emergency and delay elections slated for August this year. The nation has remained in a state of emergency since Suu Kyi's arrest in February 2021.
Typhoon Doksuri lambastes Beijing
Beijing is the next on Typhoon Doksuri’s list of victims. The storm continues its onslaught across countries in Asia. Chinese state media reports at least 11 people have been reported dead and 27 missing after the typhoon wreaked havoc in the state capital. Beijing and Hebei province have issued red alerts on the typhoon. The typhoon has caused water shortages in districts such as Mentougou and Fangshan, affecting more than 150,000 households. Chinese officials have launched airdrop rescue missions and dispatched water tankers to the respective regions to offer emergency supplies.
Indian officials at Tiruchirappalli (Trichy) airport in southern India have seized 47 pythons from an Indian national arriving from Kuala Lumpur. The passenger had concealed a total of 47 pythons and two lizards in his passenger baggage.
I guess like Samuel L. Jackson, India has had it with these motherf**king snakes on this motherf**king plane — Snakes on a Plane movie reference, btw.
Financial services giant Fidelity Investments continues marking up Twitter (or X) shares for a second straight month by 11% in June. In other words, Fidelity thinks Twitter became more valuable in the past two months, increasing its valuation in its books. This is despite a continued downward trend of the company’s shares since Elon Musk took over the company six months ago.
Earlier news reports back in May stated that Twitter is now only worth 33% of what Musk and co-investors bought at a sky-high (we think) USD 44 bil.
Is Uber the next comeback kid? Uber Technologies Inc has surprised investors by generating its first-ever operating profit. Generating a net income of USD394 mil in Q2 of this year on revenue of USD9.23 bil, the ride-hailing company has surprised analyst expectations by generating a profit in large part due to unrealised gains in equity investments. Its core business is barely profitable. Not that rosy, but progress nonetheless.
View: Uber Q2 2023 earnings announcement
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
Which country has the largest reserve of lithium reserves? Bolivian President Luis Arce announced that confirmed lithium resources in the country have increased to 23 million tons. Exxon Mobil, the oil and gas giant, realising the changing tides, is in early-stage talks to supply lithium to EV makers like Tesla, Ford, and Volkswagen.
Netizens thought a Malayan sun bear at the Hangzhou Zoo was a human in costume. The Chinese zoo denied it.
eyesears only. If you want to listen to an inspiring story, listen to MrMoneyTV’s Peter origins story. There are two parts — good listen for the morning commute!