- The Coffee Break
- ☕️ It's now a criminal offence to wear LGBTQ+ themed Swatch watches
☕️ It's now a criminal offence to wear LGBTQ+ themed Swatch watches
Global warming turning boiling-July23 the hottest month on record. Coach's parent co wants to acquire Michael Kors. The 5 basic laws of human stupidity.
1. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
PM X turns 76 yesterday on Aug X - how apt.
It’s official — July 2023 was the hottest month by record. The global average temperature for July reached 16.95 degrees Celsius, surpassing the previous record set in 2019 by a margin of a third of a degree Celsius. This unusual temperature increase, as reported by the Copernicus Climate Change Service, whose records go back to 1940, highlights the significant warming trend and its potential impact on climate patterns. The month was 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer than pre-industrial times.
Looking for love? Are you willing to fork out USD500 per month? Because that’s exactly what one of the OG dating apps, Tinder, will offer its users by the end of the year. Dubbed “Tinder Vault”, the idea originated from the learnings of Match Group’s July 2022 acquisition of a high-end dating app, The League, which could cost users up to USD1,000 per week. The product will have limited availability, making it a more exclusive offering.
From January to July this year, a total of 215 cases of fraudulent online part-time job offers led to RM16.46 mil in losses, marking almost a staggering 24x increase compared to the RM660K loss involving 38 cases during the same period last year. According to Selangor Police Chief Hussein Omar Khan, victims were targeted through short messages via platforms like Telegram or WhatsApp, receiving part-time job offers from unfamiliar phone numbers as part of the syndicates' modus operandi.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
A day left until PRN kicks off. Let’s go through a final round of pre-election news and drama:
DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke was disappointed with the outgoing party senior P. Ramasamy, who spat lies where the latter claimed that the party did not have the courtesy to inform before dropping him as one of the candidates for the Penang state election. Loke also stated that Ramasamy is not loyal to the party after the former Penang deputy chief minister, also ‘merajuk’ and resigned from the party. As his last hurrah before quitting the rocket party, Ramasamy said that a political cleansing was carried out in Penang DAP where individuals aligned to the caretaker chief minister Chow Kon Yeow were sidelined from contesting in the election.
Slicing through the chaos, one interesting finding out of these state elections is fewer people are interested in attending political ceramahs. MUDA secretary-general said that the inconsistent messaging and constant u-turns by politicians lead voters to become less and less interested in participating in political events. Pakatan Harapan’s Subang Jaya candidate Michelle Ng, on the other hand, inferred that people are more inclined to follow ceramahs online. Observations by Free Malaysia Today reporters found out that parties from both sides of the aisle were struggling to attract voters to come to their ceramahs, especially ones without the attendance of party bigwigs. If any, this points to the shifting attention of voters to the digital world. TikTok or Whatsapp-friendly formats are just as important a channel to campaign, if not more important than physical ceramahs in the future.
Health director-general Dr Muhammad Radzi Hassan told the media that COVID-19-positive voters will receive the voting guidelines via the MySejahtera app. Within the guidelines, COVID-19-positive voters are advised to cast their ballots during the two-hour window before the polling stations close. And, of course, please mask up.
Safe journey to our readers that are travelling back to vote. Exercise your rights, vote wisely, and enjoy your time with your family!
Putrajaya decided to be homophobic in a weird wayThe Home Ministry said that Putrajaya had gazetted a ban where anyone possessing Swatch products containing elements of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Plus (LGBTQ+) could face up to 3 years in jail, a maximum fine of RM20,000 or both if convicted. This ban covers all Swatch products, including watches, boxes, wrappers and all other relevant materials.
The government justified this ban, which is in line with provisions under Section 7 of the Printing Presses and Publications Act, by stating that it is needed ‘to stop the spread of elements that could be harmful to morality, as well as the interest of the public and nation, in society’. The Home Ministry previously raided multiple Swatch stores and seized the brand’s Pride Collection watches. Responding to that, Swatch Malaysia filed a suit to challenge the seizure of its 172 watches.
Thank god Malaysia is not planning to ban the Barbie movie, compared to what Lebanon and Kuwait decided to do.
In Delloite’s Southeast Asia (SEA) Mid-Year Initial Public Offerings (IPO) report, Malaysia ranked third in the region in terms of the highest capital raised via IPO, having raised USD363 mil so far this year. Indonesia led the region’s IPO scene with USD2.3 bil raised, followed by Thailand at USD528 mil. Out of the 85 IPOs that happened this year, two Malaysian companies, Radium Development Bhd and Cape EMS Bhd’s listings, were ranked among the top 10 IPOs in the region, raising a combined RM667.3 mil in proceeds.
IHH Healthcare Bhd will expand its footprint in Sarawak by acquiring 100% equity of Bedrock Healthcare Sdn Bhd for RM245 mil. Bedrock currently operates an 82-bed Timberland Medical Centre in Kuching, Sarawak, and has earmarked a vacant land in the city to construct a 200-bed hospital. Bedrock’s 9 founders are laughing their way to the bank.
Our homegrown digital wealth management platform Versa reached over RM500 mil in total deposits and over 100,000 accounts within two years of operation. This achievement is mainly driven by its investment product, Versa Cash and its shariah-compliant sister Versa Cash-i. Last year, Versa completed its pre-series A funding round that was participated by institutions such as AHAM Capital and OSK Ventures. The company is running a promotion, offering a 4.3% per annum yield on its money markets fund (an alternative to FD and better rates, but not insured by PIDM). Find out more here.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Ecuadorian presidential candidate shot dead in the head before the electionFernando Villavicencio, an Ecuadorian presidential candidate known for his anti-corruption and anti-gang stance, was fatally shot 3 times to the head at a campaign rally in Quito. He had exposed links between organised crime and government officials, making him a target. The suspect was also shot dead after a security crossfire. The incident occurred just before the upcoming presidential election, which will still go ahead as planned despite the declaration of a state of emergency. NFSW — You may watch the video here.
The Pakistani parliament has been officially dissolved, and what’s next? Following the official dissolution of the National Assembly in Pakistan, their election, which needs to be held within 90 days, is likely to be delayed due to the need for electoral boundaries to be redrawn based on new census data. The process could take about four months, potentially pushing elections into the next year.
Former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s arrest, jailing, and subsequent barring from politics for five years, coupled with his popular appeal, has created political tensions. The delay might be attributed to the ruling party’s uncertainty in the face of Khan's enduring popularity and economic challenges. Analysts suggest Khan's detention might even increase his support. Pakistan's military's influence remains significant, and challenging it, as Khan did, often results in political repercussions.
The consumer-price index (CPI) in the United States, which tracks the prices of various goods and services across the economy, showed a 3.2% rise in July compared to the same period in the previous year. This is a slight uptick from the 3% increase recorded in the year through June. The modest increase in underlying price pressures during this period could potentially discourage the Federal Reserve from implementing interest rate hikes in September.
Alibaba's Q2 revenue reached RMB234.16 bil (USD32.3 bil), surpassing the estimated RMB223.75 bil, marking growth in its core e-commerce sector. Net income rose by around 50% to RMB34.3 bil, beating expectations. On the other hand, Ant Group, Alibaba’s fintech arm, achieved a net profit of RMB13.37 bil yuan (USD1.85 bil) in Q1 2023, marking a 17.5% YoY increase. Alibaba, which spun off Ant, opted not to partake in Ant's share buyback proposal. Besides Alibaba, global investors like CPPIB and Carlyle Group plan to opt out of the proposal due to its valuation drop of over 70%. As for our Khazanah, which invested quite a heavy sum of USD650 mil in 2018, no news on whether they are participating in this proposal or not.
Tapestry, the parent company of Coach, is set to acquire Capri Holdings, owner of Michael Kors, Versace and Jimmy Choo, in a deal valued at USD8.5 bil. This combined entity will generate more than USD12 bil a year in revenue and aims to create a prominent U.S. fashion house to better compete with European luxury rivals such as LVMH, which generated USD87 bil last year. The combined entity will incorporate brands like Kate Spade, Stuart Weitzman, Jimmy Choo, and Versace. Fun fact: Michael Kors acquired Jimmy Choo in 2017 for nearly USD1.2 bil. The namesake founder Jimmy Choo is a Malaysian - read about his background here.
Lulu Group International, a major Middle Eastern hypermarket chain, is securing AED10 bil (USD2.72 bil) to refinance debt in preparation for a potential initial public offering (IPO). Based in Abu Dhabi, Lulu is reshaping its financial structure before a potential 2024 IPO. The capital will be used to pay off existing debts, expand hypermarkets, enhance supply chains, and improve e-commerce capabilities. Lulu was last valued at USD5 bil in 2020 when Abu Dhabi’s royal family bought a 20% stake worth just over USD1 bil.
Jakarta is ranked the world's most polluted cityThe capital, home to a population of more than 10 mil, has consistently ranked in the top 10 globally since May and has been registering unhealthy air pollution levels nearly every day. When President Widodo was asked about Jakarta’s pollution problem, he told reporters the solution would be to move the country’s capital to Nusantara, Kalimantan. That’s akin to saying buy a new car when the aircond is broken.
Elon Musk wants Twitter entirely out of sightElon Musk plans to auction memorabilia from Twitter's former San Francisco headquarters as the platform transitions to its new name, X. The auction starts on September 12, with a USD25 minimum bid per lot — items include the former bird logo, signs, art, and office assets. Check out the listing here if you are keen to collect some of it.
The man that saved 669 Jewish children from the NazisSir Anthony Hopkins will star in the movie titled “One Life'“, depicting the heroic story of Nicholas Winton, who secretly saved the lives of 669 Jewish children from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. He never told anyone about it, not even his wife. It was uncovered some 50 years later when Winton’s wife discovered a scrapbook in the attic detailing everything her husband has done, including the names of the children he saved. When the news spread, he was invited to appear on TV show in 1989, unknowingly surrounded by the audience that revealed themselves to be the grownups of the children he saved - watch the emotional moment below.
Weekend Read: Tesla created secret team to suppress thousands of driving range complaintsWe know many are excited about Tesla’s launch in Malaysia, but the company has some hidden secrets. The team at Reuters revealed in its investigative reporting that Tesla became so inundated with driving-range complaints that it created a special team to deflect complaints about its vehicles’ driving range - amongst the action taken was to cancel owners’ service appointments.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
Today we learn about the science of stupid
The Dunning-Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which people with limited competence in a particular domain overestimate their abilities.
Professor Cipolla in 1976 published a 60-page essay describing the 5 basic laws of a force he perceived as the greatest existential threat to humanity: stupidity. His law #5: A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person.
With this, remember to vote wisely! Signing out for the weekend!