Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Gen Z the "most challenging generation" to work with, "easily offended" top reason for firing - Survey (n=1,000)
PM Anwar: min wage issue to be resolved "once and for all". Former UMNO bigwigs Noh Omar, Annuar Musa making a comeback. A third major bank failed n the US in 2 months.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
A man has been banned by a Dutch court from donating his sperm after he fathered at least 550 children in the Netherlands and other countries. Under Dutch guidelines, sperm donors are allowed to produce a maximum of 25 children with 12 mothers (to avoid dating half-siblings). The donor, identified as Jonathan M, has lied to prospective parents about his donation history. This is the latest series of fertility scandals to hit the Netherlands after an earlier two incidents involving two doctors who illegally inseminated their patients.
74% (n=1,000) of managers and business leaders in the US said Gen Z is the “most challenging generation” to work with, according to a survey by ResumeBuilder.com. Gen Z is those born between 1997 - 2012. Some of the reasons given: a lack of technological skills, lack of motivation and being easily distracted. 1 in 8 of the survey participants said they had fired a Gen Z less than a week after their start date, citing Gen Z being too easily offended as the top reason to get fired. View the complete survey analysis here.
TikTok — the short-form video giant evolving into a record label. Users listen to licensed songs 3 tril times across roughly two bil videos each month, which has helped give new life to older tracks and also boosted new and old songs on the Billboard 100. The platform recently launched a new song-distribution and artist services platform called SoundOn, with almost 100 employees serving between 35,000 — 40,000 artists and creators. TikTok parent ByteDance harbours ambitions to be a super app — it launched a food delivery service on its Chinese TikTok, Douyin. Music streaming services soon wouldn’t be a surprise.
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3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
May Day goodies
Solution to the minimum wage issue - PM Anwar Ibrahim stated that Putrajaya will be resolving the minimum wage issue “once and for all”, and the earliest we will be hearing the good news about this is right after next month’s Cabinet meeting. Previously, former PM Ismail Sabri announced in 2022 that the Government would increase the minimum wage to RM1,500. However, Putrajaya has struggled to implement the new wage level since then. Human Resources Minister told the media that the Government will identify a new method to set the minimum wage.
RM1 mil each to union bodies - The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) and the Congress of Unions of Employees in Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) will each receive RM1 mil to further improve their respective management systems.
20% EPF contributions by employers to be discussed - PM Anwar said that the Government will initiate the discussion on the workers-led proposal to increase the employers' contribution to the employees’ Employees Provident Fund (EPF) to 20%. At the moment, employers contribute either 12% or 13% of the salary to employees’ EPF, depending on the statutory contribution rate.
Putrajaya will improve workers’ union recognition process - Human Resources Minister V Sivakumar stated that his ministry will revamp the process of recognising workers’ unions in order to give more power to the workers to fight for their rights. This follows the reports that some employers refused to recognise worker unions headed by their employees.
No silent hand to interfere in Najib Razak’s royal pardon review says PM Anwar
PM Anwar told the media that the review of Najib Razak’s royal pardon will be done without any prejudice regarding his application for a royal pardon over his conviction and 12-year jail sentence involving SRC International Sdn Bhd’s RM42mil. As Najib’s offences were allegedly committed in the federal territories, The Federal Territories (FT) Pardons Board will consider his pardon. However, there is no timeline for when Najib’s application will be reviewed. For new readers to the newsletter, we broke down the pardon process here.
The Secretary of the Pardons Board for the Federal Territories, Khairul Dzaimee Daud, said the former prime minister Najib Tun Razak’s application for a royal pardon was not discussed at its 59th meeting on Friday (April 28) at Istana Negara.
Former UMNO bigwigs making a comeback
Noh Omar to PN — Sacked UMNO party member and former Selangor UMNO chief Noh Omar will be defending his Tanjong Karang seat in Selangor for the upcoming state polls. However, he will switch allegiance to Perikatan Nasional (PN) this time around.
Annuar Musa to PAS — PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hasan stated that sacked UMNO member Annuar Musa is among the 20 notable former UMNO figures planning to join PAS or Perikatan Nasional (PN). Interestingly, Takiyudduin also mentioned that former Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin also stated his intention to side with PN. However, no further details were given by the former Rembau MP.
MIROS to assess the safety of new Perodua Axia models
The Transport Ministry’s road safety arm, the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS), will set up a meeting with Perodua to assess its new Axia models. This news came following the revelation that Toyota Motor Corp and its affiliate Daihatsu modified the door trim with a ‘notch’ to increase the probability of passing the safety tests conducted on 88,000 small cars, including Perodua Axia. However, the ‘notch’ was not part of the production vehicle sold to consumers.
In light of this new scandal, Perodua announced that the company will not recall its Perodua Axia models, as Perodua had already received assurance from Daihatsu. Despite the revelation, the safety certification given to Perodua Axia is intact. Toyota Motor Corporation, which wholly owns Daihatsu Co. Ltd, controls a 25% stake in Perodua Bhd.
Khazanah Nasional Bhd invested RM178.41 mil in Mumbai-based logistics provider Xpressbees (like Ninja Van) via a 4% share purchase from an early investor of the company, venture capital firm Elevation Capital, valuing the firm at USD1.2 bil. The firm counts Alibaba, TPG Growth, and ChrysCapital among its existing investors.
Anih Bhd, the concession holder of the Kuala Lumpur-Karak Highway (KL-Karak) and Phase 1 of East Coast Expressway (ECE1), inked an agreement with Putrajaya to extend the concession of the highways by a further 37 years to 2069. The agreement also includes a commitment from Anih to invest RM2.3 bil in lane widening and flood mitigation works. Anih Bhd is 51% owned by the estate of the late Dr Nik Hussain, while the remaining 49% is owned by his son-in-law, Azmil Khalili Khalid. Azmil Khalili Khalid is the chairman of UEM Edgenta Bhd.
Lembaga Tabung Haji maintained its post-zakat profit distribution rate of 3.1% for the third year in a row since 2020. The RM87.6 bil fund recorded a gross income of RM3.85 bil in 2022, compared to RM3.72 bil in 2021. RM2.65bil was put aside in total for the purpose of depositors’ profit distribution.
View chart: Tabung Haji profit distribution 2016-2022
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Geopolitics: China’s military base in Middle East, ISIS leader killed
Leaked US intelligence showed China resuming construction of a military base just outside Abu Dhabi, raising concerns amongst US officials that another US ally in the middle east is drawing closer to China. The plans for the base were halted in 2021 after the US voiced its objections, but the leaked documents indicate the plans are now back on track.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkish intelligence forces have killed the suspected leader of the ISIS group, Abu Al-Hussein al-Qurashi, after monitoring the alleged leader for a long time. ISIS has not made any announcement yet on this matter. al-Qurashi ascended to the leadership position in Nov 2022 after his predecessor was killed.
Despite the hostile relationship between NATO and Russia, Turkey being one of the members of this 31-country military alliance, has maintained a good relationship with Putin by refusing not to sign up for Western sanctions and trying to mediate to end the war. Its president held a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin last Thursday to mark the virtual inauguration of Turkey’s first nuclear power reactor and thanked the Russian President for his help on the power plant. The USD20 bil, 4,800-megawatt Akkuyu nuclear power plant in the south of Turkey has been built by Russia’s state nuclear energy company.
The Pope is also joining the attempt to broker peace in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Pope Francis said the Vatican is involved in a peace mission, declining to provide further information and said it will be revealed in due course.
The US Banking Crisis: The End of First Republic Bank
US financial regulators have seized First Republic Bank and sold it to JP Morgan Chase, marking the third bank to fail in 2 months. JP Morgan will take over USD173 bil of loans, USD30 bil of securities and USD92 bil of deposits from the failed lender. One figure that is missing from the announcement — no details on how much the banking giant paid. First Republic had received a cash influx of more than USD100 bil when it first started showing signs of trouble. That helped to stabilise the situation temporarily. However, the final nail in the coffin happened last week after the bank announced its first-quarter earnings results, disclosing that it suffered more than USD100 bil outflows in deposits in the first quarter, renewing fears again that the bank would fail.
JP Morgan is amongst the few banks that have amassed more than 10% of nationwide deposits, making it ineligible under US regulations to acquire another deposit-taking institution unless given an exception by regulators, which seemed to be the case. The giant bank has been on an acquisition spree since 2021, acquiring more than 30 companies - it even bungled a USD175 mil acquisition of a fintech startup, Frank, claiming that it got scammed by the founder.
Meet Bluesky, the Twitter alternative created by Twitter co-founder
Once a supporter of Elon Musk acquiring Twitter and calling Musk the “singular solution I trust”, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey has launched Bluesky. The app, which is invite-only (get on the waiting list here) and still in beta phase, was launched in February on Apple’s App Store and just recently added Android and beta web version. The app has seen a waiting list of 1.2 mil. Interestingly, Bluesky was funded by Twitter itself, receiving USD13 mil for R&D back in Apr 2022, around the time Elon Musk announced his intention to acquire Twitter.
China shorts - plenty of interesting news:
Chinese home appliance giant Midea Group Co is exploring acquiring the high-end luxury Swedish brand Electrolux. Midea’s market cap is around USD58 bil, whilst Electrolux’s market cap is USD4.3 bil, a fraction of its potential acquirer. The Guangdong-based Midea in 2016 had previously acquired a controlling stake (~80%) in Toshiba Corp’s home appliance unit for USD473 mil.
From entrepreneurship to academia - Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma, who is gradually resurfacing following his disappearance from the public eye after getting into trouble with Chinese authorities, has been invited to be a visiting professor at Tokyo College, with the current stint ending in October and is renewable annually. He will be advising on important research themes and lecturing on management and business startups.
31-year-old Ding Liren of China became the first China male to be crowned as the 17th world chess champion after defeating Russian-born Ian Nepomniacthchi, taking the crown from 5-time world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway. China now proudly holds the men’s and women’s world titles, with current women champion Ju Wenjun set to defend her title this July.
For a short stretch, Bondee was the next big thing in mobile apps developed by Singapore-based Metadream. Things began to unravel after it was revealed the company is linked to Chinese owners and was a repackaging of a defunct Chinese app called Jelly, causing downloads to collapse.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
Ever wondered why we eat popcorn in the cinema?
The History of ISIS