Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Jho Low and father sentenced to prison for contempt of court
BN poster boy and PM candidate-still Sabri, for now. Egg-pocalypse is here as the domestic supply of eggs runs low. Undercover investigation: Shein's 'secret sauce' - overwork, underpay staff
Thousands of Malaysians enjoy our newsletter. Subscribe now and stay informed for FREE!
1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
Eminem turned 50 yesterday, feeling old yet? The rapper from Detroit, US, has sold over 220 million records. Just how fast can he rap? 6.5 words per second in Rap God. He’s rumoured to be in talks to headline Glastonbury in the UK next year.
RM925 mil — the gross national income (GNI) from clinical trials after such initiatives began in the country about ten years ago, according to Khairy Jamaluddin. KJ expects the figure to breach RM1 bil by next year. He added clinical trials and research are very valuable because of the exposure it gives our scientists and researchers.
China’s soft power is in building infrastructure. At least 186 government buildings in Africa have been at least partially financed and built by China, according to a 2020 study by the Washington, DC-based Heritage Foundation think tank. Beijing’s game plan is certainly paying off as trade volumes between China and Africa reached a record USD 254 bil in 2021. And it comes at the expense of the US.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Egg-pocalypse is here as domestic supply is low, and our eggs are being rejected overseas
Consumer affairs minister Alexander Nanta Linggi told the press that the current egg supply is insufficient to meet the local demand, as most of our eggs (Grade A, B and C) were being exported overseas. Nanta urged the producers to live up to their responsibilities in producing more for the domestic market, given the subsidies that they had received from the government.
While supply is low for the Malaysian market, the ones being exported were recalled due to the detection of the bacteria Salmonella Enteritidis (SE). The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has suspended the Malaysian egg supplier, Teo Seng Layer Farm 1, from exporting eggs to the island nation until the SE contamination issue has been rectified.
PM Ismail Sabri is still the poster boy and PM candidate for Barisan Nasional in the upcoming election. According to UMNO vice-president Mahdzir Khalid, PM Ismail Sabri has support from most UMNO divisions, evidently through the motions tabled at many party divisions’ meetings as they are ‘bending the knee’ and pledging support to the current PM to be the future PM too.
Retired top policeman Abdul Hamid Bador and director Ahmad Idham could be potential candidates for Tun Mahathir’s Pejuang party in Negeri Sembilan. The final decision has not been made yet, but we could see Abdul Hamid pitting against UMNO deputy president Mohamad Bin Hasan or ‘Tok Mat’ in Rembau while a ‘David versus Goliath’ battle could be materialised as Ahmad Idham is positioned to fight against Anwar Ibrahim in Port Dickson.
Side note: The ‘David vs Goliath’ is a common reference for an underdog (ie. David) going up against a mightier opponent. Here are some facts disproving this reference and that Goliath actually was the underdog.
Gula-gula pilihan raya train is not stopping anytime soon as PM Ismail Sabri announced Felcra’s debt write-off
PM Ismail Sabri announced that Putrajaya has agreed in principle to write off Felcra’s RM233.8mil of outstanding debt for 323 less viable projects covering an area of 22,173 hectares. However, PM Ismail Sabri said that Felcra’s debt cancellation needs to go through the Cabinet for approval, which could only be done after GE15. He also announced the distribution of RM181.5mil profits to 74,949 Felcra participants nationwide.
Court case updates:
Infamous criminal Low Taek Jho (Jho Low) and his father, Larry Low Hock Peng, have been sentenced to jail indefinitely for contempt of court in their failure to abide by the Mareva injunction granted to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and its subsidiaries. Last year, 1MDB and its affiliated companies filed a USD3.78bil suit against Jho Low, his family and associate.
In Bung Mokhtar and his wife’s RM2.8mil corruption case, the prosecution will submit a preliminary objection against the mode of the couple’s application to review the Sessions Court order for them to enter defence. According to the prosecution team, the mode used by the couple was wrong and ‘unknown in law’.
After electric bikes, EP Manufacturing Bhd is embracing its electrification strategy with the intention to introduce a homegrown four-wheel electric vehicle (EV) in the country via a collaboration with US-based EV player Saean Group Inc. Leveraging on its local sourcing to make more affordable EVs, EP Manufacturing targets to mass-produce 20,000 EV per year for the Malaysian and Southeast Asian markets.
In the 21st Asean-China transport ministers’ meeting in Bali, transport minister Wee Ka Siong reiterated Malaysia’s commitment to complete the Singapore-Kunming Rail Link (SKRL) project. The 4,400km-long SKRL project is one of the initiatives under China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The project will also include the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) and Kuala Lumpur to Singapore high-speed rail line. More about the SKRL project here.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Singapore’s SGD1.5 bil inflation support package
Singapore’s Finance Ministry announced a SGD1.5 bil (RM4.94 bil) support package for all Singapore households, mainly for lower to middle-income families, to relieve the rising costs of living. The package includes cash, vouchers and public transport subsidies. Singapore is expected to report a budget surplus for 2022 — so these handouts wouldn’t be debt-financed. Singapore’s fiscal discipline and prudence have allowed it to record more annual surpluses than deficits. As for Malaysia, the country has been experiencing budget deficits since 1998. And that’s how the nation’s debt ballooned — borrow to spend without covering the holes.
UK’s new finance minister jumps into action
Jeremy Hunt, the newly appointed finance minister, announced his tax and spending measures on Monday, two weeks earlier than scheduled, essentially reversing almost all of PM Liz Truss’ tax cuts announced in the mini-budget announced three weeks ago that triggered turmoil in the UK’s financial markets. A detailed plan will be delivered as scheduled on Oct 31.
Included in the earlier budget was a VAT-free (value-added tax) shopping for foreign visitors to the UK, where visitors can obtain a full refund of 20% tax when leaving the country, which is no longer valid. The UK luxury industry estimated this policy to contribute at least GBP1.2 bil in direct retail sales. Short-lived good news for Kuala London folks.
Fiery data centre, disconnected South Koreans, tumbling stock
South Korea’s internet giant Kakao Corp suffered its worst outage, lasting more than 11 hours after its data centre caught fire on Saturday. Kakao operates the popular (only in South Korea) messenger app KakaoTalk, which also functions as a superapp like Tencent’s Wechat with other services such as ride-hailing, payment and games. KakaoTalk has more than 46 mil monthly active users in South Korea, enjoying a dominant position in the nation of 52 mil people. Globally, it has 53 mil users, or in other words, only seven mil non-South Korean users. Its share price plunged as much as 10% over the mass outage.
Fast-fashion brand Shein found to mistreat its factory staff, an undercover investigation found
Shein, known for its dirt-cheap prices, has its ‘secret sauce’ exposed in an undercover investigation — overwork and underpaying workers. Channel 4 and The i newspaper in the UK sent a woman as undercover to work in Shein’s factories and secretly filmed the surroundings. Workers at Shein’s China factories that supply clothes to Shein frequently work up to 18 hours a day with no weekends and just one day off per month. Workers risk a fine amount to ⅔ of their daily pay if they make a single mistake. Shein has responded that it is seeking information from Channel 4 to conduct its investigation. Shein has grown rapidly, reaching a valuation of USD100 bil in April, more than H&M and Zara combined.
South Korean boy band phenomenon BTS will proceed with their mandatory military service beginning this year and will reconvene again in 2025. Hybe Co, BTS’ management company, has lost around 40% of its value since the group announced their hiatus in June.
The Biden administration, in another move to restrict the growth of China’s chip industry, has announced to ban “US persons” (i.e. green card holders, US residents and American citizens) from supporting the development, production or use of integrated circuits at some chip plants in China,
Fake news — Cartoon Network is not dead. The TV channel took to Twitter to dispel concerns that it was shutting down following reports that its parent company Warner Bros. Discovery laid off 82 staff in its scripted, unscripted and animation departments. And it also mentioned they are turning 30.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
A documentary on the legendary ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ song, its singer Rick Astley and how the RickRoll’d meme came about
If you are a fan of Batman, you will enjoy this #ThingsOwnersDoWithTheirPets