Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Global Trans Index: Malaysia ranks 2nd-worst out of 203 countries globally in transgender rights
Billionaire Syed Mokhtar's renewed attempt to acquire FGV's sugar refiner MSM. >31k youths below 35 y.o declared as bankrupt since 2014. Deadpool actor Ryan Reynolds expands business empire into F1.
1. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
14 Apr 1912 — the day when Titanic met its fate and settled at about 12,600 feet below the ocean’s surface around 400 miles (643.7 km) off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. About 1,500 people died, and 700 passengers and crew survived. For 73 years, the ship’s remains remained undiscovered until 1985 by Robert Ballard, an oceanographer and Naval Reserve commanding officer after he developed his own remotely-operated underwater vehicle. Ballard’s expedition was funded by the US Navy on the condition he helps to find two missing US nuclear submarines, to be kept top secret. Hence, the Titanic search expedition was used as a guise for his adventure and all three objects he discovered.
#2 but from behind - Malaysia ranked second-worst out of 203 countries in the world when it comes to transgender rights on the Global Trans Index. Guyana takes the worst spot, whilst Saudi Arabia, Malawi and the UAE round off the bottom five. The top 5 best countries for the transgender community go to Malta, Portugal, Canada, Sweden and Bolivia.
Read the study: 203 Best (& Worst) Countries for Trans Rights in 2023
RM2.5 bil — the sales value of this year’s Ramadan and Aidilfitri bazaars, an increase of 5.9% from RM2.4 bil in 2022, according to the Statistics Department (DoSM). Selangor, Johor and Kuala Lumpur combined contributed 50% of the total sales value this year. These bazaars created sizeable employment — 202,667 workers were hired, up 30.3% from 156,364 last year.
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3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Please make way for election news
PM Anwar Ibrahim suggested that the six-state election will be held in August at the latest. Kelantan and Selangor had dissolved their state assemblies, and the remaining states, Terengganu, Kedah, Negeri Sembilan and Penang are expected to follow soon. According to the law, the Election Commission (EC) must set a polling date within 60 days of the dissolution of the state assemblies. It will be a litmus test for the PM Anwar-led Unity Government.
Whenever we look at the PH-BN alliance, we are reminded of the interspecies friendship between a cat and a group of capybaras. At Zoo Negara, the unlikely friendship between a ginger cat dubbed Oyen and a group of capybaras at the latter’s enclosure has been formalised by the zoo authority. You can see here how both species interact in harmony, a long-term possibility for the PH-BN pact if they fare well in the state elections.
MUDA is going solo-lo-lo-lo-lo-lo - in the words of Blackpink’s Jennie. The party will be going solo in the upcoming state elections, possibly going directly against its GE15 ally PH and the opposition bloc PN. Muar MP and MUDA’s President Syed Saddiq added that most of the election campaigns would be done virtually, but old-school door-to-door campaigns will still be conducted in rural areas that do not have an internet connection.
In a direct jab towards MUDA, Bukit Gasing assemblyperson Rajiv Rishyakaran is welcoming MUDA members that disagreed with MUDA leadership's decision to go lone ranger in the polls, to join DAP instead in the state elections.
Millions of Malaysian will be unemployed if they do not embrace new skills
4.5 mil Malaysians, or more than 25% of the current labour force, will lose their jobs by 2030 if they do not upskill and reskill themselves to adapt to the rise of artificial intelligence, as per Human Resources Minister V Sivakumar.
Perhaps, apart from Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0) related skills (and maybe ChatGPT prompt skills), Malaysian workers should also learn the ropes in participating in the renewable energy industry too. PM Anwar Ibrahim signalled that Malaysia could be the region’s renewable energy (RE) centre if the country play their cards right. In moving towards a low-carbon economy, Malaysia will emphasise the cleanest hydrocarbons, which are natural gas, as the core of its energy mix. Apart from that, the abundance of natural resources such as rare earth minerals could jumpstart a conducive supply chain to support the RE industry.
More than 30,000 youths have registered as bankrupts since 2014
Deputy Law Minister Ramkarpal Singh told the Parliament that a staggering 31,140 youths aged 35 and below have been declared bankrupt since 2014. Putrajaya is worried about this figure and has been introducing a lot of measures to mediate this crisis, including the policy document on Fair Treatment of Financial Consumers, where banks need to treat borrowers that are facing loan repayment issues as humanely as possible (I know it is hard for banks to do this).
Speaking at a separate event, Deputy Finance Minister Ahmad Maslan stated that according to the Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency's (AKPK) own in-house Debt Management Program (DMP), 38.9% of the participants singled out the high cost of living as the main cause of loan repayment failure, followed by weak financial planning. Interestingly, 77% of the participants were married.
Billionaire Syed Mokhtar Albukhary is understood to be making an attempt to take over FGV Holdings' 51%-owned sugar refinery unit MSM Malaysia Holdings Bhd. MSM is one of Malaysia’s two largest sugar refiners; the other is Central Sugars Refinery Sdn Bhd (CSR), which is already under Syed Mokhtar’s control via Perspective Lane (M) Sdn Bhd. Perspective Lane also owns Padiberas Nasional Bhd (Bernas) - the nation's sole rice distributor. If the deal goes through, the security of the nation’s essential food - rice and sugar - will be in the hands of a tycoon.
In a weird update to Malaysia Airline-Brahim saga, Putrajaya via the Finance Ministry will step in as a mediator to help the two companies reconcile. Putrajaya is hoping that both parties can extend their contracts for another two months so the details of a new three-year deal could be ironed out during the extension period.
Previously, Malaysia Airlines' parent Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG) was ready to move on from its partnership with Brahim Holdings Bhd and has explored the possibility of empowering its sister company MAS Awana to pick up the baton. On the other hand, Brahim seems to be at the losing end of the Malaysia Airlines-Brahim partnership’s termination, as about 62.5% of its in-flight catering business comes from Malaysia Airlines. So, is some invisible hand playing tricks at the Finance Ministry? You do the math.
“If I’m so smart then why did I pay so much for Twitter?”
- Elon Musk on his USD44 bil Twitter acquisition during VivaTech Conference in Paris
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Big 4 PwC Australia tax scandal
An investigation into consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found the firm engaged in a “calculated” breach of trust by using confidential information to help its client avoid tax. The scandal broke out in January. It revolves around a former PwC tax partner who had been advising the federal government on laws to prevent corporate tax avoidance and shared this confidential information with colleagues who used it to pitch to multinational companies for work. 9 partners are already placed on leave, and PwC has named four former partners directly involved in the breach, of which two have publicly denied any wrongdoing.
PwC in May initially planned to ringfence its government consulting practice but eventually decided to sell this business to private equity firm Allegro Funds for a grand total of AUD1 (RM3.12). The divestment, if it goes through, will see a new firm launch in September with 1,500 staff and over 100 partners crossing over from PwC. This is a big business PwC had to let go as it represented about 20% of its fiscal 2023 revenue. The firm made AUD3 bil (USD2 bil) in the topline last year.
About alternative fuel - hydrogen and used cooking oil
Toyota Motor announced it will start producing hydrogen in Thailand using biogas in partnership with Thai conglomerate Charoen Pokphand (CP) Group at Toyota’s Asia Pacific HQ in Samut Prakan province, south of Bangkok. The biogas will be made from chicken manure provided by poultry farms operated by CP Group as well as food waste from Toyota’s regional HQ cafeteria. The hydrogen produced will be used to fuel CP Group’s hydrogen-powered trucks in its fleet to reduce its carbon emissions.
Singapore’s import of Chinese used cooking oil (UCO) jumped to a record high in May to 48,832 tons, 18% higher month-on-month and nearly double from a year earlier. This accounted for nearly one-third of China’s total export of UCO. The increase in demand came from Neste Oyj. The Finnish company has just completed the expansion of its facility, making it the world’s biggest renewable diesel refinery and largest producer of sustainable aviation fuel. UCO would be used to produce hydrogenated vegetable oil, recognised as second-generation biodiesel.
Growing demand for green diesel and fuel jets led to record UCO exports in China, while shipments from Malaysia and Indonesia also climbed.
Seems like what Toyota and Singapore are doing can also be done by Malaysia - we have big poultry players, Farm Fresh (cow manure) and lots of food waste (which isn’t actually a good thing here). Nik Nazmi, Zafrul how? Can get these investments? This has greater impact than an EV brand opening merely a retail presence in Malaysia.
Deadpool actor expands his business empire, now into F1
Deadpool actor Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenny, owners of Wrexham Football Club, are part of an investor group taking a 24% stake in Formula 1 team Alpine, whose parent company is Renault. The EUR200 mil (USD218.3 mil) values Alpine Racing at about USD898 mil. Reynolds and McElhenny are investing alongside Otro Capital and RedBird Capital Partners. The latter is an investor in Fenway Sports Group, the owner of the Liverpool football club and Boston Red Sox baseball team. Apart from a football club, Reynolds also owns an alcohol brand and previously owned a telco. He is estimated to be worth USD350 mil. This sounds like the path Tony Fernandes (i.e. football club, telco, F1 team) was on - minus the airlines! Hopefully, Reynolds would fare better.
JD.com’s ambitious 20-year plan
JD.com, China’s second-largest e-commerce firm aims to create 7 listed firms with a market cap of USD14 bil each. Over the weekend, the firm disclosed its longer-term, 20-year vision to its employees via a letter for a sprawling business that now spans logistics, healthcare, e-commerce and online finance. It currently has several listed entities, including JD Health International and JD Logistics, and plans to list another two subsidiaries - Jingdong Property and Jingdong Industrials - this year.
Lofty ambitions JD has: it plans to have three companies with each having revenue exceeding USD140 bil and net profit of USD10 bil, create more than 1 mil jobs and target 5 of its businesses to be included in the world’s top 500 companies.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
25 June 2023 marks the 14th year Michael Jackson left the world. Gone too soon (an MJ song btw). Watch how he was greeted by fans when he came to Malaysia in October 1996. He even visited 1 Utama. Came across this through malaysia.time.tunnel — give them a follow on IG to view interesting past memories of Malaysia’s modern history.
IF Michael Jackson did sports: After attempting a career in boxing, here’s Michael Jackson playing tennis. Impressive that he could do a moonwalk on such a rough surface.