Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Home Minister: Certain politicians protecting illegal online gambling syndicates
Muhyiddin: PN to have support of 80% of Malays voters in state elections. Japan's overhaul of its sex crime laws - redefining rape, higher age of consent. Trademark dispute: Zoom vs Zoom vs Zoom.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman Muhyiddin Yassin expressed confidence in having the support of 80% of Malay voters in the upcoming state elections, citing dissatisfaction with the current Pakatan Harapan-Barisan Nasional unity government. During the launch of the PN election machinery and convention, he expressed that many people are disappointed with the current administration, which he believes has failed to provide assistance to the people in the past several months since assuming power.
Bloomberg reports that JPMorgan is leading the way in Wall Street's embrace of AI, having advertised a total of 3,651 jobs globally from February through April. These job listings were specifically related to AI and encompassed roles such as data engineers, quants, and positions focused on ethics and governance in AI, according to data provided by consultancy firm Evident. Citigroup, its closest competitor, announced only 2,100 AI-related roles across the same time period.
According to the Department of Shariah Judiciary Malaysia (JKSM), between 2015 and 2019, a significant number of cases in Shariah courts throughout Malaysia were related to the dissolution of marriages. Out of a total of 306,454 cases, 73% were specifically for the dissolution of marriages. Furthermore, 90% of these cases were filed by the wives as plaintiffs. Relations with other women or other men — infidelity — give the highest risk ratio for delaying Shariah cases being resolved.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
How Khazanah’s (aka ours) RM165.5 mil went down the drain
In October 2020, it was reported that Khazanah Nasional Bhd-owned KidZania Singapore had outstanding debts of SGD53.4 mil owed to over 1,000 parties, including businesses and government agencies in Singapore. The family attraction subsequently went into liquidation. Last week, a report from The Business Times Singapore indicated that KidZania Singapore’s non-movable assets had been bought by Sim Leisure Group for a mere SGD110,000 (~RM378,700).
Khazanah and Boustead Holdings Bhd, the entities behind the launch of KidZania in Singapore in 2016, reportedly invested SGD48 mil (RM165.52 mil) into the project. In addition to KidZania Singapore, Khazanah’s investment in KidZania theme park in Malaysia has also faced similar circumstances. PM Anwar said he will discuss this matter with Khazanah, but will anyone ever be held accountable? The theme park in Malaysia, which was acquired by Sim Leisure Group in 2020, has encountered financial difficulties and challenges. Under its new owner, KidZania Malaysia achieved a profit of RM6.46 mil in FY22, marking its first-ever profit. It’s a slap to our faces.
Khazanh recently announced that it has invested RM67 mil in homegrown insurance tech (insurtech) company PolicyStreet. Godspeed.
Politicians involved in online gambling activities? *Gasp*
During his speech in the Dewan Rakyat, Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution highlighted that certain politicians were providing protection to illegal online gambling syndicates, making it challenging to eliminate the problem. He stated that he had been briefed by the police regarding this issue. The political patronage received by illegal online gambling syndicates has negatively impacted the effectiveness of the police force in addressing the issue.
Following Saifuddin’s statement, Inspector-General of Police Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani has confirmed that the police and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) are conducting a joint investigation into the allegations of political involvement in online gambling activities.
UMNO leaders seeping into the Government
Former law minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar confirmed he has been nominated for the Dewan Negara president’s post to replace Rais Yatim, whose tenure as the Senate’s president ended on June 15, 2023. Meanwhile, several sources from Barisan Nasional have stated that the government intends to nominate Umno leader Nur Jazlan Mohamed for the position of deputy speaker of Dewan Negara, as reported by Malaysiakini.
All in the name of Unity.
In the final match of the Indonesian Open, world champions Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik were defeated by the Indian pair Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty in Jakarta. Satwiksairaj and Chirag emerged victorious with a 21-17, 21-18 score after a 43-minute contest at the Istora Senayan Stadium, marking a loss for the top Malaysian men's doubles pair. Nevertheless, kudos for making the nation proud!
The Court of Appeal in Putrajaya has granted Rosmah Mansor’s request for the temporary release of her passport, marking the third time Rosmah has been granted the request. This will allow her to travel to Singapore and visit her daughter, Nooryana Najwa Mohd Najib, along with her family. According to Rosmah Mansor's lawyer, she plans to return to Malaysia before her appeal for the solar hybrid case, which is set to be heard in the Court of Appeal on July 11.
Last last week, it was reported that opposition leader Hamzah Zainudin’s home was raided by the Inland Revenue Board in relation to alleged unreported income taxes. However, Hamzah neither confirmed nor denied the report — he only stated he would take action against accusations hurled against him.
Top Glove Corp Bhd reported a narrower net loss of RM130.59 mil in the third financial quarter ended May 31, 2023 (3QFY2023), compared to RM164.67 mil in the previous quarter (2QFY2023). Its revenue dropped to RM530.6 mil, a 64.5% decrease from RM1.49 bil for 3QFY2022. This improvement was attributed to higher average selling prices (ASPs) and ongoing cost optimisation efforts. Top Glove also trimmed its workforce by 600 people of its total workforce from 12,600 to 12,000, under a mutual separation scheme (MSS). In addition to reducing its workforce, the group has been decommissioning outdated production lines and temporarily suspending operations at 17 of its 49 factories.
Edra Power Holdings Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of China General Nuclear Power Corporation (“CGN”), is collaborating with TNB Power Generation Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Tenaga Nasional Bhd, to lead its power generation business. The collaboration aims to facilitate the sharing of technical information and the pooling of spare parts for the operations and maintenance of the 9HA.02 gas turbine technology.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Students in Uganda killed by militants linked to the Islamic State group
37 students confirmed to have been killed in an attack at a school in western Uganda by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), rebels linked to the Islamic State (IS) group. The students were killed and maimed by machetes and some were burned to death beyond recognition and needed DNA tests to identify them. 6 students were even abducted to help carry food for the rebels stole from the schools.
The ADF was created in the 1990s to fight against Uganda’s long-serving President, Yowen Museveni, alleging the government's persecution of Muslims. ADF’s leader in 2016 pledged allegiance to IS in 2016.
Japan’s long-awaited overhaul of its sex crime laws
Japan has passed laws that redefined rape and raised the age of consent in this landmark overhaul of its sex crime law, the first time it revised it in more than a century since 1907. The legal age of consent has been raised to 16 from 13. Japan had one of the lowest ages of consent among developed nations. However, a person who has had sex with a minor aged 13 to 15 will be punished only if the person is 5 or more years older than the minor.
As for rape cases, the definition has been broadened to “non-consensual sexual intercourse” from “forcible sexual intercourse” (to us laymen, both sound the same). The new law outlines eight scenarios where it is difficult for victims to express consent to sexual intercourse, including intoxication by alcohol and drugs, subject to violence or threats, or under a scenario of abuse of power where the victim is worried about the consequences of the refusal.
Basketball legend Michael Jordan has agreed to sell his majority stake in NBA’s Charlotte Hornets to its other existing investors and will retain a minority stake, the team announced. Jordan’s stake is believed to be worth USD3 bil — if the sale is approved by the league, Jordan would make roughly 10x his original investment when he took this majority stake in 2010 for USD275 mil. Jordan is the only black majority owner in the league. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has called for the need for more diversity, where owners are overwhelmingly white men.
Two Thai companies are about to spice up the IPO market in Southeast Asia, raising a combined of USD2.5 bil. Big C Supercenter, with over 2,000 stores in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam, is the supermarket arm of trading group Berli Jucker controlled by billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, it could raise as much as USD1 bil and CPF Global Food Solutions, a unit of Thai food conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Foods that distributes fresh and processed food products in Thailand and overseas, is expected to raise USD1.5 bil.
Whilst Carsome had to endure a series of PR issues lately (here and here), its competitor down south, Carro, has partnered with investment holding company Jardine Cycle & Carriage (JC&C) to make a cross-investment in each other. JC&C will invest USD60 mil (RM277.2 mil) in Carro and Carro will make an equal investment in JC&C’s used car unit, Republic Auto. JC&C is listed on SGX with a market cap of SGD13.48 bil (RM46.43 bil).
AI market turning frothy? France’s Mistral AI raised a massive seed round of EUR104 mil (USD113.4 mil) at a valuation of EUR240 mil (USD260 mil) one month into its founding without any product to go up against ChatGT creator OpenAI. The round was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and counts former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, French billionaire Xavier Niel and French advertising giant JCDecaux as investors.
Zoom vs Zoom vs Zoom — all three parties in different industries are fighting over the “ZOOM” trademark in Japan. One is the US-based video conferencing tech company, the other a Japanese audio manufacturer and lastly, to complicate matters, a Japanese stationery manufacturer entered the dispute.
The US visits China - The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a 2-day official trip on Sunday to Beijing and has met his counterpart Qin Gang, the highest level trip by a US official to China in nearly five years as both superpowers aim to stabilise ties. On Friday, Bill Gates met Chinese President Xi Jinping, with Xi calling Gates “an old friend”.
No more “ducking hell” typo - Apple announced it will release an upgraded autocorrect powered by AI in iOS 17 that will allow the expletive to be typed without error. iOS17 is expected to be released as a public beta in July.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
The Ringgit’s value isn’t the only thing that dropped.
At this rate, Rafizi Ramli may even be dropped in the rumoured cabinet reshuffling. Why is Khairy Jamaluddin, an outsider, in a discussion regarding the economy of the country? Rafizi, as the Minister of Economy, is nowhere to be seen. That said, the Secretary General of Economy Ministry Azmie Diron was present in the meeting.
Throwback - McDonald’s price in the 1980s vs today.