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  • ☕️ EPF Q1 2024: RM19.2 bil income, RM1.19 tril investment assets

☕️ EPF Q1 2024: RM19.2 bil income, RM1.19 tril investment assets

SG teachers to teach in Malaysia? Proton unveiled e.MAS — a sub-brand for its electric vehicles. Chinese Automakers vs EU tariffs.


Information as of 0720 UTC+8 on June 13, 2024.


RM19.2 bil — the Employee Provident Fund’s (EPF) total distributable income in the first quarter ended March 31, 2024, an increase of 33.1% YoY compared to RM14.42 bil a year earlier. The figure does not include mark-to-market (MTM) gains of securities that have not been realised. EPF Chief Executive Officer Ahmad Zulqarnain Onn said the performance of global markets in Q1 2024 was characterised by resilient global growth, particularly in advanced economies. EPF’s overall investment assets stood at RM1.19 trillion as at March 2024. Bumper dividends for 2024? View the announcement here.

Source: EPF

Malaysia needs 200,000 tonnes of beef annually to meet domestic demand, says Agriculture and Food Security Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu. The government plans to produce 100,000 tonnes of beef by 2030 to address this need. Currently, Malaysia imports 80% of its meat, and efforts will be made to boost local animal husbandry and production to reduce future dependence on imports.

One AI researcher thinks there is a 99.9% chance of artificial intelligence leading to human extinction — he is Roman Yampolskiy. The timeframe is a little longer, within the next hundred years. Yampolskiy teaches computer science at the University of Louisville. However, he seems to be going against the tide. A recent study involving 2,700 AI researchers found that there's only a 5% chance that AI will lead to human extinction. Still, the Terminator scenario is a possibility.


Singapore PM Lawrence Wong’s visit concluded yesterday

  1. Singaporean teachers to teach in Malaysia?
    Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and his Singaporean counterpart Lawrence Wong discussed the possibility of Singaporean teachers being sent to Malaysia to teach English and other subjects. Johor and Singapore have already started working on a joint education project which involves the exchange of programs and teacher training. Why though? Are Malaysian teachers not good enough?

  2. Singtel could be looking at setting up DC in Johor
    The Edge reported that Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (Singtel), via its regional data centre business Nxera, is said to be in talks with Malaysian authorities to set up a data centre in Iskandar Puteri in Johor. Just a couple of days ago, we reported that UEM Sunrise sold a piece of land for RM144.9 mil for the development of a data centre in Johor. The buyer of the land was not disclosed, but it was referred to as “a leading global data centre industry player”. This wasn’t part of the official matters during the PM’s visit.

Johor Plantations Group to be listed in July 2024
Johor Plantations Group Bhd’s initial public offering on the Main Market of Bursa Malaysia is expected to raise RM735 mil. Approximately RM345.2 mil will come from the sale of 411 mil existing shares by its sole shareholder, Kulim (Malaysia) Bhd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Johor Corp (JCorp). Post-listing on July 9, Kulim will retain a 65% stake in JPG, while the IPO will offer investors up to 35% of the enlarged share capital. The IPO includes a public issue of 464 mil new ordinary shares, raising about RM389.8 mil.

The public issue application is open until June 24. With an IPO price set at 84 sen per share, the expected market capitalisation upon listing would be RM2.1 bil, making it the largest IPO on Bursa Malaysia this year. View the prospectus here. How will the proceeds be used?

  • 50.5% of the funds from the public issue, or RM196.83 mil, will be allocated for capital expenditure, including building an integrated sustainable palm oil complex and replanting activities.

  • 43%, or RM167.44 mil, will go towards repaying bank borrowings

  • 1.7%, or RM6.74 mil, for working capital and;

  • RM18.75 mil for listing-related expenses.


  1. Bersih & Gerakan slam the government’s allocations in Sg Bakap
    Ahead of a by-election in Sungai Bakap, the government announced “election goodies” for the constituency — RM290,000 allocation to nine mosques and 20 suraus and RM18 mil to fund various projects. Bersih said the use of government resources prior to election periods is unethical. Gerakan president Dominic Lau outright called the RM18 mil allocation as ‘vote buying’.

  2. Finance Minister II: Let diesel subsidy rationalisation stabilise
    To manage the expectations, Finance Minister II Amir Hamzah Azizan said the government’s focus now is on the implementation of the diesel subsidy rationalisation for now. Some reported Maybank Investment Bank’s simulation showed that the government needs to cut the petrol subsidies soon to achieve savings in Budget 2024 — as soon as July 1, 2024.

  3. Dr M drags everyone else in the Batu Puteh IJC case
    Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the decision to withdraw the bid to overturn the International Court of Justice’s (IJC) ruling on the Batu Puteh case was made collectively by the then Cabinet after much consideration of the views of various experts and briefing sessions.

  4. Proton unveiled e.MAS — a sub-brand for its electric vehicles
    The electric vehicles of Proton will be using the eMas brand — a good wordplay, electrifying Malaysia, but doesn’t sound that nice. The automaker announced the moniker during the appointment of the first 17 Proton EV dealers, who formalised their agreements in a ceremony yesterday. Proton added that it is in the process of identifying suitable models of electric vehicles that are more affordable and practical.

  1. First look at ‘Upin & Ipin’ console game

    Les’ Copaque Production’s CEO, Burhan Radzi, has shared a sneak peek of the upcoming Upin & Ipin console game on Facebook. Developed by Streamline Inc. with a Malaysia-based team, the game will be available on PS4 and Switch. It features an open-world, family-friendly experience with no violence. Radzi is optimistic about the game's success and sees it as a source of pride for Malaysia. Expected to be completed by October, the game aims for an early 2025 release, highlighting Malaysia's growing talent in the gaming industry. Did you know that other than Indonesia, Upin & Ipin also aired in Vietnam? Check out the preview of the game here.


Chinese Automakers vs EU Tariffs
The European Commission is expected to notify automakers that there will be additional provisionally applied duties of up to 38% on imported Chinese EVs from July onwards, with the commission saying Chinese EVs receive excessive subsidies. Beijing stated it would take all necessary measures to “firmly safeguard its lawful rights and interests”, calling the eight-month-long anti-subsidy investigation that preceded the tariffs “a typical case of protectionism”. There are growing concerns that China is using its industrial overcapacity to flood the EU with cheap products, leading to EU trade policy becoming increasingly protective against Chinese imports.

Chinese automaker Nio has stepped forward to oppose the tariffs, calling it a strategy to obstruct normal global EV trade, but reiterated its commitment to Europe’s EV market. While the increased tariffs come as no surprise to Nio, the firm remains hopeful for a solution, as the investigation has yet to reach a conclusion.

In addition to EVs, the anti-subsidy investigation, which is looking into whether Chinese firms are unfairly benefitting from subsidies, also covered medical devices, tinplate steel, wood flooring imports, wind turbines, and solar panels.

Still, the situation for Chinese EV makers looks better than it does for Fisker since the cash-strapped firm is recalling almost 18,000 vehicles due to faulty software and non-compliance with safety standards.

Business Issues

  1. Dropped tariffs see Australian wine industry bolstered by exports to China tariffs

    In the month following the lifted tariffs, Australian winemakers shipped USD57 mil worth of wine to China, with Australian Trade Minister Don Farrell confident of “bumper sales going forward”. Canberra has also promised USD2.3 mil to support the wine industry, aimed at providing better supply and demand data for farmers and marketing to boost sales in China, Japan, and the US. Beijing previously closed trade due to Australia calling for an inquiry into the origins of Covid-19. Still, most of the tariffs have been dropped, though the one on lobsters remains.

  2. Singapore bank eyes USD370 bil in wealth assets by 2026

    DBS Group plans to boost assets under management for its wealth business to USD369.7 bil as it bets on continued strong inflows into Singapore. The bank’s wealth assets grew 23% to USD271.4 bil in 2023. DBS Group is also aiming to double its number of wealthy clients with assets worth at least USD744,000 (SGD1 mil) by 2026. A senior official believes that markets will pick up when rates drop after peaking, leading to the bank’s 2026 goals.

Tech Matters

  1. Apple becomes the first trillion-dollar brand while Nvidia brand value triples on AI revolution

    The tech giant saw its brand value jump 15% last year, pushing it past the USD1 tril mark and retaining its claim as the world’s most valuable brand, according to a report by Kantar’s BrandZ. Apple is followed by Alphabet’s Google at USD753 bil and Microsoft at USD713 bil. Another big winner is Nvidia, which Kantar said grew over USD200 bil in brand value, pushing it into number six. This is due to the AI revolution, with an analyst calling Nvidia’s GPU chips the “new gold and oil in the tech world”.

  2. Musk drops OpenAI lawsuit

    The Tesla CEO unexpectedly withdrew the legal case against OpenAI and its CEO Sam Altman without offering any reason. However, the request for dismissal is “without prejudice”, meaning Musk, who co-founded OpenAI, can pick it back up at a later time. The lawsuit was initially filed with Musk accusing the ChatGPT parent of “deviating from its altruistic goals to focus on making money”. OpenAI countered that Musk had previously backed the idea of a for-profit structure, even suggesting a merger with Tesla. This comes after OpenAI was revealed to be in partnership with Apple for its AI products, which Musk mocked on X.
    Learn: What does ‘without prejudice’ mean?


  1. Norway discovers Europe's largest rare earth metals deposit
    Mining firm Rare Earths Norway made the discovery, which is being seen as a welcome boost to Europe’s efforts to break China’s dominance on rare earth metals, especially as demand is expected to grow exponentially in coming years as the demand for clean energy grows. The firm said the deposit has 8.8 mil metric tonnes of total rare earth oxides, of which 1.5 mil metric tonnes are magnet-related.

Replace oil with rare earth metals

  1. Banana giant must compensate victims of Colombian paramilitary
    Chiquita Brands International was ordered by a US court to pay USD38.3 mil in compensation to the families of eight Colombian men killed by the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, a paramilitary group designated as a terrorist organisation known for its human rights abuses. The case proved Chiquita transferred nearly USD2 mil to the paramilitary group, which was then used to commit war crimes such as torture and forced disappearances.

  2. Denmark recalls Korean spicy noodles for being too spicy
    Denmark’s food agency has recalled several spicy ramen flavours from South Korean company Samyang, urging consumers to abandon the product as “the capsaicin levels in them could poison consumers”. Samyang came forward with a statement summing up the issue as “products were too spicy”. This also marks the first time the globally-exported products were recalled for the stated reason.

  3. FedEx to cut 2,000 jobs in Europe over weak freight demand The logistics firm will be cutting between 1,700 to 2,000 back-office jobs in Europe in a bid to cut costs after a slump in freight demand. The cuts will happen over 18 months, resulting in a pre-tax cost of up to USD375 mil due to legal fees and severance benefits. The move is expected to help save up to USD175 mil from the 2027 fiscal year onwards.

  4. Game platform owner accused of ripping off 14 mil UK gamers 
    Valve, the owner of game platform Steam, is being accused of using its market dominance to overcharge 14 mil people in the UK, with the associated lawsuit demanding USD842.2 mil. The lawsuit alleges Valve “forces” game publishers to sign up to price parity obligations – preventing the games from being sold at lower prices on other platforms – enabling Steam to charge “an excessive commission of up to 30%”.


  1. Man vs Turbine by RedBull. The way the blade hit the ball — it’s scary.

  1. I love exploring the topic of happiness — this scientific breakdown of your hormones can tell you what you’re lacking to be in a state of happy. Remember, happiness is not the destination — it’s the journey.