☕️ DOSM's special report on eggs hatched new insights - who is to be responsible for egg shortages?
Fire at Jakel Shah Alam-RM100 mil estimated loss, just from building alone. Alleged massive data leak involving 13 mil Malaysians. IMF: 2023 looking gloomy, 1/3 of global economy to be in recession.
Happy New Year!
1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
In 2021, Malaysia’s informal employment reached 3.5 mil persons, contributing 23.2% of the country’s total employment, according to the Statistics Department (DOSM). The main reason was due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. What is an informal worker? A worker in informal employment refers to any worker who does not have access to at least one social security scheme or employment benefit (i.e. SOCSO, EPF).
600,000 units — RHB Investment Bank Bhd’s forecast of the total industry volume (TIV) for the automotive sector. The figure is lower than the forecasted 700k units in 2022 due to slower economic growth expected this year. However, the Malaysian Automotive Association's (MAA) forecast is 6% higher than RHB’s, at 636,000 units.
The Economics Ministry 🤝 Chief Statistician
RM0.48 — the average production cost of egg at the farm in Malaysia in September 2022, according to the Department of Statistics’s special report on the production cost of chicken and eggs (hah, we finally know which came first). Why is there a shortage of eggs in Malaysia? It’s the government’s own doing. The fixed cost component is production takes up 96.89% of the production cost. The price ceiling is making the situation worse because for every egg produced, and they are making a loss (even with a subsidy of RM0.08 per egg).
The full publication from the Department of Statistics is available here.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
2023 may be version 2.0 of 2020
More than two years since the pandemic started, we are still talking about it and now there is a season 2 in the making of this deadly reality series. According to the health director-general, Dr Noor Hisham, two main Covid-19 variants spreading like wildfire in China, namely the BA.5.2 and BF.7 variants, were detected in Malaysia. As of Dec 31 2022, there were 4,148 cases infected with BA.5.2 and three cases infected with BF.7 in the country.
On another note, DG Hisham also told the press that based on wastewater samples collected at international entry points from June 2022 to 31 Dec 2022, 96.5% of them contained Covid-19 (n = 298). This indicates that the majority of people that fly into Malaysia have Covid-19. Currently, wastewater sampling for Covid-19 testing is conducted twice a week.
Responding to this latest news, the health minister, Dr Saliha Mustafa, stated that Putrajaya is ready to re-tune the existing pandemic management policy, including tightening the standard operating procedure (SOP) for health checks at all entry points. Dr Saliha also said that all actions would be guided based on science and accurate data while working in tandem with other countries.
In light of this situation, there were certain corners supporting the idea of temporarily banning the entry of China travellers into Malaysia in order to avoid another rapid resurgence of Covid-19 cases. However, the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) has called the proposal to close Malaysian borders to China tourists ‘irrational and irresponsible’, citing that Chinese tourists expected to generate RM3.6bil in tourism receipts.
13 mil Malaysians may be affected by the massive data leak
According to a source, 13 mil Malaysian users were allegedly victims of a massive data leak where information such as IC numbers, phone numbers and full addresses were allegedly syphoned out from Astro, Maybank and SPR (presumably the Election Commission) and auctioned at an online forum.
Both Astro and Maybank publicly denied the alleged data leak and internal investigations were conducted by both companies. Meanwhile, the Digital Communications minister, Fahmi Fadzil, had instructed both CyberSecurity Malaysia and the Personal Data Protection Department to investigate if the massive data leak did happen in the first place.
In a separate incident, Telekom Malaysia (TM) confirmed that customers’ contact information, including names, phone numbers and emails, were compromised in a data breach of 250,248 Unifi mobile customers. TM said that the company had notified the affected customers and the relevant authorities of this data breach.
No more gaming outlets in Kedah, or at least the legal ones
After the Kedah state government decided not to renew gaming licenses starting Jan 1, 2023. Kedah Menteri Besar, Muhammad Sanusi, had instructed the local authorities to monitor all gaming outlets so that they adhere to this directive.
However, according to criminologist Dr P. Sundramoorthy, when one door closes, others will open. He said that the directive by the Menteri Besar would be a lose-lose situation for Kedah as the black market will flourish as regular punters turned to illegal operators, and Kedah will be deprived of tax revenue from licensed gaming outlets previously.
An abusive coach apologised to players
Melaka state exco, VP Shanmugam, said that the Melaka U14 girls’ volleyball coach had met the two players that he slapped and apologised to them. The coach had also explained the situation to the management, and the latter had suspended the coach from involvement in all national volleyball activities until investigations are completed. This incident received backlash both domestically and globally. Such a disgrace to the country. NFSW video below.
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In the SGD13.56mil Ultra Kirana bribery case involving deputy PM Zahid Hamidi, the persecution had filed an appeal underlying 14 reasons against the decision to acquit Zahid Hamidi from all 40 charges of receiving bribes related to the Foreign Visa System (VLN). Case management for the appeal was set on Jan 10.
Rejoice for inhabitants of Klang Valley as Putrajaya announced reduced toll rates for users of Besraya and Lekas highways starting from Jan 1, 2023. These lower toll rates were the outcomes of negotiations with the highway operator of these two highways which is IJM Corp.
The fire that broke out at Jakel Group’s branch in Shah Alam was a costly one, with a RM100 mil estimated loss, just on the building alone. According to the Shah Alam OCPD Asst Comm Mohd Iqbal Ibrahim, the fire was believed to be originated from a short circuit. Two K9 units from the Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department (JBPM), Selangor, named Rusty and Sam, have been roped in to investigate the case!
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
IMF: One-third of the global economy will be in recession this year
Not the best news to start the year with, but yes — Kristalina Georgieva, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), said 2023 will be “tougher” than last year as the US, EU, and China see their economies slow. Why? The prolonged war in Ukraine, rising prices, higher interest rates and the spread of Covid in China.
On the Ukraine war, both leaders vowed to push for victory in New Year speeches. Just half an hour into 2023, air raid sirens ring across Ukraine's capital, followed by explosions. On the 2nd day, infrastructure in Ukraine's capital and surrounding areas were attacked, damaging energy facilities and causing some power outages. Ukraine’s officials said its air defence systems destroyed all of Russia's 39 Iranian-made Shahed drones.
Remember: Tough times don’t last, tough people do.
Meanwhile, Financial Times listed business trends, risks and people to look out for in 2023. The article focused on these industries — Energy, Technology, Private Capital, Commercial Property and Cryptocurrencies.
Troubles brewing in Asia
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wants to counter the United States and South Korea by increasing the production of nuclear warheads and developing a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Kim’s statement came after North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile off its east coast in a rare late-night New Year’s Day weapons test.
India reported its highest overall unemployment rate since August 2021 — it increased to 8.3% in Dec 2022, up from 8% in November. The rise in unemployment comes amid a demand slowdown following the festive season.
Many are questioning Xi Jinping’s Covid-19 policies. Experts say China has been caught ill-prepared by the abrupt U-turn in policies long championed by Xi as the country is seeing a massive wave of infections. The social and political stability in China could be at stake if its people begin to mistrust the institutions.
Many couldn’t make it into 2023
Tens of thousands of visitors are expected to pay their last respects in the Vatican to former Pope Benedict XVI, who will be buried in the papal tombs under St Peter’s Basilica. Pope Benefit passed away on Dec 31, aged 95.
Brazilian football legend, Pelé, passed away on Dec 30 at Sao Paulo’s Albert Einstein hospital. Pelé had been undergoing treatment for colon cancer since 2021. Many paid tribute to the football king wearing his iconic number 10 shirt. Pelé scored a world record of 1,281 goals in 1,363 appearances during a 21-year career — including 77 goals for his country. He is the only player to win the World Cup thrice.
The first US female network news anchor Barbara Walters aged 93, passed away on Dec 31 after a career spanning half a century during which she won 12 Emmy awards. Labelled by Oprah Winfrey and many as a trailblazer, Walters rose through the ranks of the male-dominated industry.
The doyenne of British design Vivienne Westwood aged 81, passed away on Dec 29. Westwood was known for popularising leather bondage gear in the 1970s, and the time she went without underwear to Buckingham Palace to receive her damehood from the late Queen Elizabeth II. How did this make it to the news? By accident as she twirled around in her dress and revealed herself. See the iconic photo here.
Un-“Honourable Mention” — Greta Thunberg TKO-ed Andrew Tate, a controversial social media personality and former professional kickboxer, on Twitter last week. Tate, who is a suspect involved in human trafficking under investigation by the Romanian police, ousted his location in response to Greta’s tweet of the year (2022), which led to his eventual arrest. He really put the nail to his coffin. What gave his location away? The pizza box.
No more 30% alcohol tax and fees for personal alcohol licenses (yes, you need an alcohol license to drink) in Dubai as the city wants to be more attractive to foreigners in the face of competition from neighbours. Fun fact: Expatriates outnumber nationals by nine to one in Dubai.
Cristiano Ronaldo finally found a new club after Al-Nassr, Saudi Arabia’s second-biggest team, offered a lush USD75 mil-a-year contract. Al-Nassr is considered the Real Madrid in the Gulf. No more Champions League, but with great pay, rumoured to be worth over USD200 mil — Cristiano can definitely look past it.
Croatia joined the Eurozone and the Schengen on Jan 1, becoming the latest Balkan country to do so. Croatia is now the 20th EU member. However, Croatians are wary of the new currency that they need to use — the euro — 81% of Croats fear the introduction of the euro will lead to higher prices, according to a European Commission survey. Many stores currently show prices in both kuna (Croatia’s currency) and euro.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
BBC News put together a list of photos of countries ushering in 2023. Our favourite has to be Sydney, Australia.
New year, new paths. May you have the courage to explore the things you’ve always wanted to in 2023.
How did the Malaysian stock market do in 2022 compared to regional peers?