Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Court instructs Sapura Energy to release docs on former CEO's remuneration, incentive package
Loke vs Wee over airfares. Sega in talks to acquire Rovio, "Angry Birds" creator, for USD1 bil. A 21 yo behind highly classified US Pentagon Papers leak.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
RM789.56 mil worth of heroin in a shipping container from Malaysia was seized in Brisbane. Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has instructed the Customs Department to prepare a complete and detailed report on the incident, which the PM described as a national humiliation. The 336kg heroin was stashed in two 500kg concrete blocks and checks revealed that the shipment was declared as solar panel accessories.
The number of Covid-19 cases in Southeast Asia rose by 481% MoM, according to a monthly report released by the World Health Organisation (WHO). WHO said the latest variant is an Omicron subvariant XBB.1.16, dubbed Arcturus. The variant is said to be driving the surge in India, which saw cases rising by 937% from 6,374 cases to 66,124 new cases. In Malaysia, the number of cases increased by 87.5% in the 14 days up to April 8. Mask up and stay safe peeps. Get tested if you’re having symptoms.
USD104 billion is required to reconstruct buildings demolished by the deadly quake in Turkey, according to Turkey’s strategy-and-budget office. Over 300,000 buildings spanning 110,000 square kilometres have been destroyed. The amount constitutes 11% of the country’s GDP. The people of Turkey will decide whether its current president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, can rebuild the country in a month’s time. The election is scheduled on May 14, 2023.
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3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
MACC is on a roll
Mohamad Madani Sahari, 56, the former chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and Internet of Things Institute (MARii), was charged at the Shah Alam Sessions Court for accepting a bribe of RM5 mil in 2021. The money was said to be a reward for helping a company secure a letter of award for a contract worth RM12 mil. That’s 41.6% of the contract value, without having to do anything. He got the concept of ‘work smart, not hard’ wrong.
Two men, aged 50 and 55, who are directors of a wellness company, have been arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on suspicion of embezzling the company’s funds, amounting to millions of ringgit. The suspects allegedly purchased massage oils at a higher than market price through a supplier believed to be a proxy, causing the company to lose RM1.8 million.
MACC chief Azam Baki confirmed the arrest and remand of Human Resources Minister V Sivakumar’s private secretary in connection to the commission’s probe on migrant workers’ hiring quota approvals. Sivakumar has so far declined comments and said he would cooperate in the investigation. Yesterday (April 16, 2023), Sivakumar was present at MACC headquarters to give his statement regarding the arrest of his officers.
Restricted hours for heavy vehicles and a lower speed limit for Eid celebrations
The Transport Ministry (MoT) will enforce a road ban on good vehicles in conjunction with the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations for four days (April 20, 21, 24 and 25) to reduce traffic congestion and the risk of traffic accidents. The speed limit will also be reduced to 80km/h throughout Malaysia. In addition, the Road Transport Department (JPJ) will conduct strict enforcement to ensure motorists obey traffic rules.
In another MoT news, the ministry has approved RM169.9 million worth of subsidies for the Interim Stage Bus Support Fund (ISBSF), which helps stage bus operators run less profitable routes. As a result, some 252 routes will be operated by 37 bus operators, with 439 buses over the next three years. That’s an average subsidy of RM674.2k to service a route and RM4.6 mil on average per bus operator. From 2012 to 2022, the government has provided more than RM1 bil to provide subsidies to these bus operators for this purpose.
Loke vs Wee over airfares
On April 15, 2023 (Saturday), former transport minister Wee Ka Siong posted on Facebook complaining about the exorbitant price of a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Tawau — RM3,138 for a one-way ticket on what looks like the AirAsia app. Transport Minister Anthony Loke said Wee’s claims are inaccurate. It is believed that all economy tickets were sold out, and only business class tickets were left.
Loke said he contacted Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB) Group Chief Executive Officer Captain Izham Ismail yesterday and was informed about discrepancies in the facts. Additionally, Loke will hold a press conference today to clear the air (pun intended). Subsequently, Wee changed his target and blamed the booking app instead of himself for the blunder.
Two rotten apples are giving the police a bad rep. A 42-year-old Indonesian female tourist at a hotel in Plaza Mahkota was robbed by two Malaysian policemen in early April. The suspects had allegedly demanded RM5,000 from the victim during the robbery as an inducement not to take action against her.
We may just get to know Shahril Shamsuddin’s remuneration and incentive package during his tenure as Sapura Energy Bhd’s chief executive officer as Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli has been allowed to obtain documents from Sapura Energy Berhad. The Sessions Court ordered Sapura to produce said documents within one month.
Rakuten Trade Sdn Bhd has lowered its minimum brokerage fee to RM1 from RM7 for all of its market access — Bursa Malaysia, New York Stock Exchange/Nasdaq, and Hong Kong Exchange markets. The RM1 fee is applicable for trades of less than RM700. Trades less than RM10,000 will have a RM9 brokerage fee. For trades above RM10,000, a 0.1% fee applies and is capped at RM100 for trades above RM100,000. Time to goreng the market!
Affin Bank Bhd said its largest shareholder Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT), has divested a 4.95% stake — 112.56 million shares — in the bank to State Financial Secretary Sarawak for a cash consideration of RM221.74 million. The sale is apparently to fund LTAT’s proposed privatisation of Boustead Holdings Bhd.
Autocount Dotcom Bhd, a financial management software developer, has set an issue price of 33 sen per share for its initial public offering (IPO) exercise that will raise RM30.88 million. The IPO comprises a public issuance of 93.59 million new shares, or 17% of its enlarged share base, to raise RM30.88 million mainly for expansion and research and development.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
The US classified Pentagon Papers leak done by a 21-year-old
It turns out, one of the most significant leaks in US history was not caused by foreign spies or cyber hacks but by 21-year-old Jack Texeira, who served in the Massachusetts Air Force National Guard. He has been arrested and charged by the FBI. Texeira posted the highly sensitive documents to a private group on the social media platform Discord.
How was he identified? The kitchen top in a photo posted in the group, his gaming profile and Instagram gave away his identity after The New York Times did some digging.
How did a 21-year-old get such security clearance? He managed computers and communication systems and as such, top-secret clearance was given to him since 2021 to allow him to perform his job. The Washington Post explains more here.
Energy makes the world go round
Western price cap on Russian oil turning ineffective
New data from commodities analytics firm Kpler showed that Russia is selling more oil than before its war on Ukraine. Russia’s seaborne oil exports totalled 3.5 mil barrels per day (bpd) vs 3.35 mil bpd in the quarter a year ago. China and India now account for roughly 90% of Russia’s oil, enough to absorb the shipments that no longer head to European nations that used to account for two-thirds of Russian exports. Now, Europe only takes in 8% of Russia’s oil export. After
China and India are taking advantage of the cheaper Russian crude oil caused by the price cap imposed by the West that was intended to suppress Russia’s oil income but turned out to be ineffective. After these two, Turkey and Bulgaria are the next biggest buyers — Turkey is a member of NATO, btw - the military alliance that Russia is accusing of provoking it.
Germany says bye-bye to nuclear energy for good
Germany finally switched off its last three nuclear reactors on Saturday, delaying it until this year due to soaring energy prices after Germany halted imports of Russian oil. Germany even had to turn on its coal-fuelled plants, amongst the most polluting source of energy, to cover the energy shortfall. Germany pledged to quit nuclear energy definitively following Japan’s 2011 Fukushima disaster. The last three nuclear plants provided just 6% of Germany’s energy last year, compared to 30.8% from all nuclear plants in 1997.
Of Louis Vuitton and Saint Laurent
LVMH now the world’s top 10 most valuable company
LVMH, the world’s largest luxury conglomerate, which owns brands like Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Tiffany & Co., etc., reported a jump in sales in its first quarter thanks to China’s economy reopening. Revenue soared 17% to EUR21 bil (USD23.3 bil). This performance pushed LVMH’s stock price up by 5% to EUR883. 9 (it’s up 29% year-to-date), lifting its market cap to nearly USD500 bil at USD486 bil, briefly making it the world’s 10th biggest company by market cap. Already Europe’s most valuable company, breaking USD500 bil would make it Europe’s first company to achieve this milestone.
Saint Laurent expands into film production
Saint Laurent, owned by another French luxury conglomerate Kering, announced it will be establishing a film production company, making it the first luxury brand to fully finance films. Its inaugural movie is the short film “Strange Way of Life” (trailer here) starring Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal (The Last of Us main actor). The brand did not state how much it plans to invest in films. Saint Laurent generated EUR3.3 bil last year, up by a third year-on-year.
Living things on fire
35-year-old Tunisian professional footballer Nizar Issaoui set himself on fire against “police injustice” after being falsely accused of “terrorism” in the village Haffouz, Tunisia. He suffered third-degree burns and could not be saved. His death sparked a protest in Haffouz with young demonstrators hurling stones at police. Recall that a street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi, also a Tunisian, burned himself to death in 2010, sparking the Arab Spring uprisings that toppled authoritarian leaders across the Middle East.
Read: What is the Arab Spring, and how did it start?
More than 18,000 cows died in a blaze after an explosion occured at a family dairy farm in Texas, US, making it the deadliest barn blaze on record in the US.
Rovio Entertainment, the creator of once popular “Angry Birds” is in talks with Sega Sammy Holdings Inc, the Japanese gaming company behind “Sonic the Hedgehog”, to be acquired for a cool USD1 bil, according to The Wall Street Journal. Following its debut in 2009, Rovio has failed to replicate and sustain the success of Angry Birds.
The US Department of Justice announced it has seized around 50,767 bitcoin from a 32-year-old who fraudulently obtained it in 2012 from The Silk Road, a site on the dark web oncecalled the “Amazon of drugs”. The government seized it back in Nov 2021, when it was around USD3.36 bil, and the bitcoin was found in a popcorn tin.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
Have you ever been curious about how big Sarawak is?
Spotlight on Spotify - watch:
The Economics of Spotify - how much artists get paid
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