Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ GE15 Election Court Cases: PAS 1 - 1 BN
Dutch court rules sultan’s heirs cannot seize Malaysian assets. New Zealand wants to exterminate all rats by 2050. The pill for weight loss is here — almost.
Selamat Hari Raya Aidiladha to our Muslim readers! Have a good break and celebration! We will be off on Thursday and return on Friday.
1. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
The annual pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, commenced on Sunday with the traditional ritual of tawaf, where pilgrims circle the Kaaba. This year’s pilgrimage is anticipated to witness a significant surge in attendance, potentially setting new records — 2.5 mil Muslims are expected to take part, as coronavirus pandemic restrictions in place since 2020 have been fully relaxed.
According to a report by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, a significant percentage of users on TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram rely on "personalities" for news. How significant? 55% of TikTok and Snapchat users and 52% of Instagram users source their news from these individuals. In comparison, 33%-42% of users on these platforms rely on mainstream media and journalists for news. The study, which involved interviews with approximately 94,000 people in 46 countries, highlights the growing influence of personalities on the news consumption habits of young people.
Out of the 373,974 candidates who took the SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia) examination last year, a significant number struggled with Mathematics and English. Specifically, 89,752 candidates (24.3%) did not pass Mathematics, while 52,674 candidates (14.3%) did not meet the required standard in English, according to an analysis conducted by NGO Untuk Malaysia. It’s a worrying statistic — but these students may not know it.
We want to take a moment to express our utmost gratitude for your amazing support of our humble newsletter. We're embarking on an exciting journey towards sustainability because, let's face it, we want to keep delivering the goods for the long run! Introducing our voluntary subscription—yes, you heard it right, voluntary. We won't slap a giant paywall on your path to knowledge because we believe that keeping Malaysians informed and smarter should be accessible to all. But hey, we're also in the game of survival, so we kindly ask for your support.
If you're feeling extra awesome and want to join the club, you can subscribe right here! Together, we'll keep the knowledge train chugging along!
Cheers to an informed and brilliant future,
The Coffee Break Team
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Blockbuster court news
Malaysia KO Sulu on the global stage — The Court of Appeal in the Netherlands decided to side with the Malaysian Government, dismissing the self-style Sulu Sultanate heirs’ bid to enforce the USD15 bil arbitration award against Putrajaya. The USD15 bil was initially awarded by the French arbitration court in 2022, backed by an ancient land deal that was rooted back in 1878. In honouring the deal, Malaysia still paid an annual token to the heirs but halted the annual payment when the supporters of the Sulu Sultanate attacked Sabah in 2013. The 2013 incursion at Lahad Datu, Sabah, that lasted more than a month, cost the lives of 10 Malaysian servicemen when about 235 militants trespassed into our sovereign territory.
PAS Kuala Terengganu’s win in GE15 is deemed invalid — In a landmark and rare occasion, the Kuala Terengganu election court chaired by High Court Judge Mohd Firuz Jaffril decided to nullify the election victory of PAS member Ahmad Amzad Hashim’s win for the Kuala Terengganu seat in GE15. Amzad’s counsel Yusfarizal Yusoff confirmed the outcome when contacted, adding that they would appeal to the Federal Court (election petition appeals go straight to the apex court, bypassing the Court of Appeal). The petition against Amzad’s win was filed by Barisan Nasional (BN) earlier this year due to alleged bribery given to voters by PAS. Apart from Kuala Terengganu, BN also filed another petition to challenge the GE15 outcome in Marang. However, the winner of Marang’s seat, PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang, gets to retain his seat after the election court upheld Abdul Hadi’s win, where he secured a 41,729-vote majority in GE15.
Read by more than 10,000 Malaysians daily. Grow smarter now for free.
Fahmi Fadzil is being bad at communicating information, yet again
Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil had pushed aside the allegations that he threatened to use the state apparatus, such as the police, to silence his critics during his Tik Tok live session (watch it here). Instead, Fahmi stated that he was just reminding the public not to make provocative remarks over issues pertaining to race, religion and royalty (3R). Whether Fahmi or the public was right in this matter, Fahmi should do better in his role as the Communications Minister.
Hari Raya Haji PSA
Travel Time Advisory by PLUS — The operator of the North-South Highway, PLUS Malaysia Berhad, had issued a Travel Time Advisory (TTA) for the public, in conjunction with the Raya Haji long weekends (given you have enough AL to take the Friday off).
Public holiday for civil servants in Selangor — Fortunately for Selangor civil servants, the State Government has declared a state holiday on Friday. However, this state holiday is only applicable to those working directly under the Selangor State Administration. For the rest, it is up to the employers whether they want to follow this directive or not.
Passengers flying with Malaysia Airlines can enjoy Gate-to-Gate connectivity
Starting from July 1st, 2023, Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG) airlines, including Malaysia Airlines, Firefly, and MASwings, have become the first airlines in Malaysia to allow Gate-to-Gate connectivity, as approved by the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM). Passengers on these airlines will be able to keep their personal and portable electronic devices (PED) switched on throughout the entire journey, from boarding to disembarking at the destination. As a result, passengers will no longer be required to completely switch off their phones during take-off and landing.
But honestly, when was the last time you switched off your devices during take-off and/or landing?
Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) will step in to stabilise the Ringgit if the movement of the currency is deemed too excessive. The value of the Ringgit has been slumping against the greenback since the end of January 2023, where USD: MYR was at 4.666 yesterday compared to 4.244 on 30 January 2023.
However, if the central bank decides to step in, the theory of the impossible trinity will come into play. A country cannot enjoy the free capital flow, fixed exchange rate and sovereign monetary policy all at the same time without sacrificing one or the other.
On top of that, BNM’s Financial Markets Committee (FMC) also stated that the current condition of the Ringgit does not reflect the actual state of the economy. Here is a short and simple explanation of this matter by Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli.
Private equity firm Creador had acquired a 40% stake in Pet World International Sdn Bhd, a Malaysian pet food company that houses brands such as ‘ProDiet’, ‘ProBalance’ and ‘Delizios’. Having Creador on board will surely propel Pet World to the next stage, as the former has invested in companies such as MR DIY, Tealive, Eco-Shop and Bake With Yen - check out its current and past investments here.
Transport Minister Anthony Loke declared that Putrajaya has no plans to revive the abandoned Putrajaya Monorail project to solve the current traffic congestion problem in the nation’s capital. Instead, the Government is looking at alternative transportation solutions, such as increasing the number of feeder buses.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Over 1,000 trafficking victims rescued in the Philippines
Philippine police announced on Tuesday that they successfully rescued over 1,000 individuals who were allegedly trafficked into the country to work in an online casino in Manila. The victims, consisting of Chinese, Vietnamese, Singaporean, and Malaysian nationals, were discovered during a raid on a compound in the capital. According to authorities, these individuals had responded to job postings on Facebook and were promised positions as “assistants in online gaming” in the Philippines.
New Zealand wants to exterminate all rats by 2050
Since the 13th century, Polynesians introduced mice and Pacific rats to the region, and later on, European settlers brought larger mammals that preyed on vulnerable birds. As a result, nearly one-third of the native species have been lost since predators have been brought to the island. The country wants to be rat-free by 2050. The country is set on reaching its goals by setting up a public body, Predator Free 2050 Ltd, to channel government and private money into local projects to test eradication strategies. Hopefully, NZ has studied the 1902 Great Hanoi Rat Massacre.
The Great Hanoi Rat Massacre — this is an interesting case study of when incentives went wrong in eliminating rats back in 1902 in Hanoi, Vietnam. To deal with a rat infestation, the French administration in the first instance, hired rat hunters. It was somewhat effective, but with two problems - too many dead rats to deal with and it didn’t put a dent in the rat population. They then crank things up a notch by implementing a bounty programme open to anyone in the city and only a rat’s tail would be needed as evidence to get rewarded. Problems solved, they thought.
The solutions made matters worse. Tailless rats were appearing in the city. People caught rats, cut off their tails for the bounty and did not kill the rats so they could breed more rats to harvest for their tails. On top of that, people imported rats into the city for their tails.
This situation is described as a perverse incentive, or what economists call the Cobra effect.
The pill for weight loss is here — almost
Novo Nordisk announced that a late-stage trial demonstrated the effectiveness of a high-dose oral version of its drug semaglutide in helping overweight or obese adults achieve a weight loss of 15% of their body weight, aligning with recent findings for other experimental obesity medications.
In a late-stage trial involving 667 obese and overweight adults, the use of a 50mg dose of semaglutide, alongside diet and physical activity, resulted in an average weight loss of 15.1% after 68 weeks. This outcome was significantly higher compared to the placebo group, which achieved an average weight loss of 2.4%.
Meta introduces VR subscription and parental controls for Instagram, Facebook and Messenger
For USD7.99 per month, Meta Quest users can subscribe to a new service that gives them access to the top two titles every month. Meta is also offering an introductory discount — users that sign up now through July 31 only pay USD1 for the first month.
Meta has introduced new parental control tools aimed at enhancing safety and well-being on Instagram, Facebook and Messenger. These tools include a parental supervision hub in Messenger, which allows parents to monitor their children’s activities, as well as features that proactively block unwanted direct messages (DMs) on Messenger and Instagram. Additionally, there will be reminders for teenagers to take breaks from using the platforms. The functionalities will be rolled out first in the US, UK and Canada.
Tech firms aren’t the only ones trimming the fat
KPMG, one of the leading professional services firms, has announced its decision to reduce its workforce in the United States by 5%. This marks the second round of job cuts within the company this year. The cuts will be made by late summer. The move comes as KPMG faces challenges stemming from declining demand for consulting and other services. The decision reflects the company's efforts to adapt to the changing market conditions and ensure long-term sustainability.
Malaria spreads in the US for the first time in 20 years
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a warning stating that malaria, transmitted from mosquitoes to humans, has re-emerged within the United States after a 20-year absence. Four cases of mosquito-transmitted Plasmodium vivax malaria have been identified in Florida over the past two months, and an additional case was found in Texas. Fortunately, all affected patients are reportedly recovering well after treatment.
However, CDC stressed the risk of catching malaria in the US is “extremely low.”
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
Rick Astley rocked the crowd at Glastonbury over the weekend!
Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli on the global stage at the 2023 Qatar Economic Forum.
annoyingads are not where it gets most of its revenue. Despite only making up 40% of its base, paid users have contributed 97% of the company’s cumulative gross profit since 2017. Spotify is rumoured to be launching a ‘Supremium’ tier with lossless streaming.