Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Jho Low's alleged associate died of massive stroke, police investigation says no foul play
3 mths to 20 days - hiring foreigns talents will be a lot faster. "de-China" trend amongst Chinese tech firms to survive globally. SIA 1st airline to offer unlimited WiFi across all cabin classes.
To our subscribers in East Malaysia, have a good Pesta Kaamatan and Hari Gawai!
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
118,217 households — the number of households registered under the hardcore poor category as of 15 May, an improvement of 5.2% from 124,744 in the same period in 2022. Hardcore poor refers to those with a poverty line income of less than RM1,169 while those in absolute poverty had an income of less than RM2,208. In March, PM Anwar Ibrahim said there are plans to end hardcore poverty in the country by this year.
2,586 meters — the official of Mount Sinsing in Tambunan, Sabah, making it the third tallest mountain in Malaysia after it was officially certified. Mount Trus Madi, adjacent to Mount Sinsing, is the nation’s second tallest mountain, with a height of 2,642 meters. The height of the mountains is measured by sea level. Do we need to mention the tallest mountain in Malaysia? It stands at 4,095 meters.
606,000 people — the net migration to the UK as of Dec 2022, which PM Rishi Sunak said is hitting a record high — “too high”. 2022 saw the immigration of 1.16 mil and the emigration of 557,000 people. The increase was driven by non-EU nationals, including refugees and people migrating for work and education. Some reforms to reduce inflow include removing some international students' right to bring family members into the country. High levels of migration were a key impetus of Brexit, or the UK’s 2016 referendum to leave the EU.
“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”
- Bertrand Russell, British mathematician, prominent logician, philosopher, champions anti-imperialism and proponent of nuclear disarmament
3. IN MALAYSIA
What we know so far - the death of Kee Kok Thiam, Jho Low’s alleged associate
3 May: Arrested upon his return from Macau due to deportation for overstaying.
29 May: Kee died due to a massive stroke, according to his family’s lawyer.
30 May: News of his death became public yesterday, only by chance after an obituary of Kee made its rounds and his death was confirmed by a source in MACC and by a senior official from the Attorney-General’s chambers.
This news came about hours after Al Jazeera reported that Jho Low has been confirmed by MACC to be in Macau, which Kee confirmed he met Jho Low there with other 1MDB fugitives.
31 May: Police classified the case as sudden death and found no criminal elements.
Speedy funeral and investigation by the police, given the timing of his death and his 1MDB involvement.
Btw, his body was cremated.
The heat — either from the weather or from the 1MDB investigation — got to him first.
American journalist and Billion Dollar Whale author Bradley Hope reported that he believed Jho Low is under house arrest in Shanghai and has lost his freedom to move about after Najib Razak’s defeat in 2018.
Hope posed the following question to the Malaysian government:
“What crime in your legal code for a prime minister conspiring with a foreign power to sacrifice national interest/sovereignty and overpay contracts using state money in exchange for covering up a massive fraud?”
Jho Low, Shanghai or Macau — wherever you go, whatever you do, we will be right here waiting for you. It’s a lyric from the 1989 classic Richard Marx’s Right Here Waiting For You (listen here, quite a jiwang song)
Come 15 June, it’s going to be faster to hire foreign talents
This is where speed is appropriately needed - companies seeking to hire foreign professionals expatriates will see the entire process shortened from about three months to 20 days as the process is streamlined into a “single window approach” into a system known as the Xpats Gateway, according to Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli.
Previously, the process took as long as 80 days and involved 11 separate agencies handling the applications for visa of professionals. Some changes made: visa application and approval will be shortened to 5 days from an estimated 30 days, and a requirement for companies to first advertise job vacancies to locals will be shortened from 30 days to 14 days. At present, about 5,000 applications for visas for professionals in the digital sector are made each month, excluding other industries.
Nurul Izzah to run for state election?
PM Anwar’s daughter and the former Permatang Pauh MP downplayed speculation that she would contest for a seat in Penang in the upcoming state elections following an article that claimed so. However, she told Malaysiakini she’s bound by her party’s decision. She’s currently co-heading a special advisory body’s secretariat in the Finance Ministry.
Tasik Kenyir is officially a National Geopark
Efforts to make Tasik Kenyir, Hulu Terengganu, a geopark since 2015 and has turned into reality as the lake is now declared a National Geopark and will be known as Kenyir Geopark. 2027 has been set for a reassessment of the lake’s status as a geopark. A geopark status will boost the location as a tourism hotspot, further creating job and economic opportunities.
Kenyir Geopark comprises of Tasik Kenyir, 340 islands, 15 geosites including Bewah Cave and Batu Bersurat, as well as the discovery of dinosaur footprints and fossils. It’s in Bewah Cave that the oldest known skeleton found in the country which is estimated to be 16,000 years old and a giant shell fossil, estimated to be 250 mil years old was discovered. Take a tour around Tasik Kenyir in the video below — quite well-produced!
Probably one of the worst, if not the worst, first-day IPO performances of the year — Radium Development Bhd, a property developer listed on Main Market, opened at 35 sen yesterday, which is 30% lower than its IPO price of 50 sen. It ended the day at 38.5 sen, still far below its IPO price, valuing it at RM1.34 bil. The company raised a total of RM434 mil from its IPO proceeds.
IPO aside, let’s take a look at its business. Radium has RM3.4 bil worth of projects, or in property developer lingo, gross development value (GDV) in the next 5 years. Since 2017, Radium has delivered high-rise residential projects worth RM2.1 bil, all within KL. Once its hotel at Jalan Ampang is open in 2026, it will generate RM500-700k a month in recurring cash flow for the group, according to its director. Check out Stockbit Malaysia’s investment highlights on this company below.
Star Media Group shareholders holding 81.7% of voting shares during the virtual extraordinary meeting have voted against a proposal to sell properties to Matang Bhd for RM33 mil. MCA (the political party), which owns 43.23% of Star Media, abstained from voting as it is an interested party with shareholdings in both companies.
Prominent businessman and The Edge owner Tong Kooi Ong, who recently emerged as a substantial shareholder in Star Media, voted against the proposal. Ahead of the EGM, he broke down the transaction and provided his rationale for rejecting the deal.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Chinese tech entrepreneurs victims of US-China tensions, as Taiwan rushes to harden phone and internet connections
A new trend among Chinese tech firms is to “de-China” themselves. This is seen as necessary by tech entrepreneurs, as the US remains the most attractive tech market, especially after the crackdown on tech firms initiated by the Chinese government. However, Chinese tech entrepreneurs aiming for US expansion have been increasingly hampered by the tightening regulations imposed by the US on Chinese firms due to the ongoing trade war between the two countries. Previously, entrepreneurs took to setting up headquarters outside China to circumvent the blocks. However, this is apparently no longer sufficient, as some mainland China tech business owners share that they need permanent resident or citizen status outside China to avoid biases against Chinese companies in the US.
Meanwhile, Taiwan is coming to terms with the vulnerability of its digital infrastructure. It is scrambling to harden itself against the possible collapse of all its communications by the end of next year. With the threat of potential Chinese aggression and natural disasters, Taiwan’s response plan is to establish 700 satellite receivers all over the country, a lofty dream that would preferably involve multiple providers to increase the chances of maintaining connectivity. However, the country’s 14 highly-vulnerable undersea cables remain its main digital link to the rest of the world, with current satellite capacity amounting to about “0.01% of the transmission capacity” of the cables.
Apparently, any conflict involving Taiwan means "the tech and electronics industry worldwide is basically screwed". Check this out to find out why.
UN begins salvage operation in a race to prevent FSO Safer oil spill
The operation involves removing 1.1 million barrels of oil from a decaying supertanker off the coast of Yemen to another tanker, with a salvage vessel and crew already on the scene. However, the other tanker is only due to set sail next month from Djibouti, about 760 km away. So far, the UN has raised USD114 mil to pay for the operation through a crowdfunding campaign but urgently needs another USD29 mil. Should the Safer, which is at imminent risk of breaking apart or exploding, fail to hold together before the arrival of the new tanker, it would cause an environmental catastrophe worse than the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. If this happens, the UN estimates cleanup costs of over USD20 billion.
Read: The Ship That Became a Bomb
North Korea’s failed satellite launch triggers a false alarm in South Korea, Japan
The satellite was meant to monitor US military activities, according to an earlier announcement by Pyongyang. A second launch will be attempted as soon as possible. However, the failed launch, which crashed into the sea, led to air raid sirens going off in Seoul, while Japan issued a warning to residents in Okinawa. This led to chaos in Seoul, as there was also an emergency message for people to prepare for an evacuation, only to be told 20 minutes later that the message had been sent in error.
Sources: Market uncertainty leads to Binance laying off up to 20% of workforce
The layoffs would affect about 1,600 people, as Binance employed about 8,000 people worldwide prior to this round of layoffs. Binance responded that the layoffs were to let go of employees who “might not be performing well or who might not be the right cultural fit” as part of periodic staff reviews. This comes two months after the cryptocurrency exchange announced it was not planning any layoffs but instead looking to fill over 500 roles by the end of June.
SIA to offer unlimited Wi-Fi to economy, premium economy members – Singapore Airlines will be offering access to free, unlimited Wi-Fi to its economy and premium economy class passengers starting 1 July. The catch is that passengers must be a member of SIA’s rewards programme KrisFlyer, of which registration is free. This also marks SIA as the first airline to offer free unlimited Wi-Fi to customers across all cabin classes and “virtually across the entire aircraft fleet” of 136 planes, of which 129 are equipped with inflight connectivity.
Indian official who drained dam to retrieve phone finds himself fined – Food inspector Rajesh Vishwas had 4.1 million litres of water pumped out of the Kherkatta Dam to find his phone, which he had dropped while taking a selfie. He claimed it needed to be retrieved as it contained sensitive government information. He was fined USD642 and has to pay for the water wasted as well. The phone cost about USD1,200 and was too waterlogged to work after it was retrieved.
Biden's ex-aide seeks Russian citizenship – Tara Reade, who accused US President Joe Biden of sexually assaulting her in 1993, has applied for citizenship in Russia, where she feels “safe, heard, and respected”. Reade fled to Russia after being informed that she was in physical danger by a Republican politician, the party opposing Biden’s Democrats. The allegations have been denied by Biden.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
When you eat Chinese stir fry, you need the “wok hei” or directly translated breath of the wok to make it a perfect dish. There’s science behind it - food cooked under intense heat in a short time evaporates the moisture in the food quickly and caramelised the fat content, hence creating the unique charred crust and flavour known as wok hei. Tough skill to master as it isn’t as simple as flipping your food into the air over a big fire.
KK Super Mart aiming for IPO in the coming few years. Here’s the story.