- The Coffee Break
- ☕️ Johor govt to set up rehabilitation centre for those who practise same-sex relationships
☕️ Johor govt to set up rehabilitation centre for those who practise same-sex relationships
Petronas 9MFY2023 net profit down 17% to RM64.1 bil. RIP Charlie Munger + some of his wisest quotes. Shark Tank’s billionaire Mark Cuban exits show, sells majority stake in basketball team.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
How ready are Malaysians to retire financially? Far from it, for the majority. Deputy Finance Minister II Steven Sim disclosed some EPF stats on the upcoming ‘batch’ of eligible retirees - those at 54 years old:
35% or 94,827 of the 274,715 EPF members aged 54 have less than RM10,000 in their savings, with combined savings of RM246.1 mil or an average of RM2,595 per member.
2% or 4,877 of these members have more than RM1 mil, with combined savings of RM7.9 bil or an average of RM1.62 mil per member, 624 times more on a per capita basis than the bottom 35%.
We have a retirement crisis staring right at our faces.
Of the 23.2 mil tourists that have visited Thailand this year so far, Malaysian tourists take the top spot at 3.82 mil (16.5%), followed by China (2.9 mil), South Korea (1.37 mil), India (1.35 mil) and Russia (1.17 mil). These foreign tourists contributed THB981.7 (RM130.9 bil) to the country during this period. Thailand, on average, records daily arrivals of 53,567 foreign tourists. 23.2 mil is still far from the peak tourist arrivals, which Thailand recorded pre-pandemic of 39 mil in 2019.
Looking for something new to invest? Try uranium. The nuclear fuel is up 55% (up 150% in the last two years) this year, hitting USD74.50 per pound (0.45kg), the highest level since 2008, as demand for the heavy metal surged from nuclear power generation worldwide. There are an existing 436 active nuclear power plants around the world in 31 countries contributing to about 10% of the world’s electricity. About 60 nuclear reactors are under construction globally, requiring an additional 30 mil pounds of uranium a year (USD2.24 bil worth). You can invest in companies related to uranium mining and the production of nuclear components through this ETF here.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Melaka state representatives to receive 33% allowance hike in 2024💰 The Melaka State Assembly has approved a bill to increase the monthly allowances for state representatives by 33%, raising the allowance from RM9,000 to RM12,000, effective January 2024. Chief Minister Datuk Seri Ab Rauf Yusoh justified the raise by highlighting that the remuneration for assembly members had not been reviewed since 2015, and Melaka ranked 11th out of 13 states in terms of allowances. The increase also extends to the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Chief Minister, state executive council members, and other positions, impacting both current and retired members. The move aims to address the comparatively low remuneration for Melaka's representatives.
Court denies unconditional passport release for ex-PM Muhyiddin YassinThe Sessions Court has rejected former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin's plea for the permanent and unconditional return of his passport. Although the court dismissed the request, it granted Muhyiddin temporary release of his passport until January 15, allowing him to renew it for a holiday in Kuala London and a medical check-up in Singapore. The judge, Azura Alwi, emphasised that Muhyiddin's reasons for permanent release needed stronger justification, given the three pending money-laundering charges despite four abuse of power charges being struck out. The court will hear Muhyiddin's bid to strike out the money-laundering charges on February 15.
PMX: Permanent flood relief centres nationwidePM Anwar Ibrahim announced the establishment of permanent disaster relief centres nationwide to replace the current temporary flood shelters. The move aims to provide better protection for flood victims and address the annual flood challenges more effectively. The pilot project will begin in nine states, with each centre's ceiling cost set at RM5 million. Anwar emphasised the impracticality of relying solely on temporary shelters, and the new permanent centres may also function as community activity centres during non-flood periods. The decision comes as part of the government's efforts to enhance flood preparedness and mitigation. Anwar also mentioned plans to revisit collaboration with Dutch flood experts, considering recent changes in the Dutch government.
Amendments to Suhakam Act grant greater authority, strengthen watchdog's role(If you forgot what Suhakam stands for - Suruhanjaya Hak Asasi Manusia Malaysia or the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia)
Azalina Othman Said, the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Law and Institutional Reform), stated that the amendments would give "teeth" to Suhakam because the changes empower Suhakam to visit any detention centre to investigate human rights abuses and enhance its role in protecting the rights of children.
The Children’s Commissioner to the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), Dr Farah Nini Dusuki, pointed out that negative early-life experiences would lead to smaller brain sizes in children. Such developmental effects can lead to health issues, perpetuate cycles of violence, and contribute to a range of health-risk behaviours. On the other hand, Dr N. Thiyagar, a consultant paediatrician and adolescent medicine specialist, notes that boys may feel guilt or shame, believing they should be "strong" enough to protect themselves.
To create a safe environment to promote healthy brain development and overall well-being for children, Azalina is also working on the development of an online system for children to report crimes against them, offering an alternative to traditional police reports.
💹 Public Bank records 7% rise in Q3 net profit to RM1.70 billionPublic Bank reported a 7% increase in net profit for Q3 ended September 30, 2023, reaching RM1.70 billion compared to RM1.59 billion in the same period last year, as revenue for the quarter rose to RM6.48 billion from RM5.50 billion. For the cumulative nine months, net profit stood at RM5.03 billion, up from RM4.41 billion in the previous year. The bank remains committed to strengthening its regional presence, particularly in Indochina, and expanding its business in Vietnam. The bank’s assets stood at RM508 bil and held customer deposits of RM408.7 bil. View earning here.
Petronas records RM23.9 billion net profit in Q3 2023 amidst energy market volatilityPetroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) reported a net profit of RM23.9 billion for Q3 2023, down 22.4% from RM30.8 billion in the same period last year. The decrease is attributed to lower average realised prices, partially offset by a favourable foreign exchange impact. Petronas' revenue for the quarter was RM82.9 billion, down 16.2% compared to RM98.9 billion in the previous year. Despite market volatility, the company remains focused on its energy transition strategy, including reinvesting in core and new businesses. Petronas is committed to fully utilising the 20% capital expenditure allocated for decarbonisation and growth initiatives. View the earnings report here and the earnings presentation deck here. Petronas is expected to pay the government RM40 bil in dividends for 2023.
QL Resources reports highest-ever quarterly net profitIn the second quarter ended September 30, QL's net profit surged to its highest-ever quarterly profit by 30.6% to RM122.6 mil compared to RM93.9 mil in the same quarter last year, and the second time to breach the RM100 mil mark. Revenue for the quarter rose 3.17% to RM1.7 bil against RM1.64 bil a year prior. In the first six months to September 30, QL posted higher net profit and revenue of RM215.4 mil and RM3.3 bil, respectively. View the earnings here. Fun fact: QL Resources is the master franchisee of Family Mart in Malaysia.
The Johor government is setting up a first-of-its-kind centre to "rehabilitate" individuals engaged in same-sex relationships, claiming it contradicts established Islamic teachings. Johor's Islamic Religious Affairs Committee chairman, Mohd Fared Mohd Khalid, announced the initiative, stating that it would be the first of its kind in Malaysia and operational by July next year. However, details about the rehabilitation process remain undisclosed. Conversion therapy, viewed negatively by medical experts, attempts to alter sexual orientation. Can we consider setting up rehabilitation centres for corruption as well? It’s more endemic and cancerous than homosexuality. Read: Insufficient evidence that sexual orientation change efforts work.
PMX airdop incoming. For the crypto minds, it’s not a token. PM Anwar announced that Malaysians aged 21 and above, earning less than RM100,000 annually, can start redeeming the one-off e-cash credit of RM100 from Monday. The initiative, part of the eMadani program, aims to benefit around 10 mil individuals, with a total cost of RM1 bil. Eligible recipients have until Feb 20, 2024, to claim the e-credit through four preferred e-wallet providers. Anwar also highlighted Malaysia's success in securing investment commitments worth RM347 bil, demonstrating positive economic growth and reduced inflation rates.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Israel, Hamas in negotiations to further extend truceThe two sides are looking at another potential extension, with talks being conducted through mediators hours before the truce is to end. The truce was initially slated for four days, with a further two-day extension agreed upon through mediators Qatar and Egypt. Israel had previously stated that the truce could be extended as long as Hamas released at least 10 hostages a day. Hamas has already put forward a new truce deal under which it will release hostages beyond the women and children it has already released.
Spotlight on Saudi Arabia
Riyadh selected to host 2030 World ExpoThe 2030 World Expo’s world fair will be held in Riyadh, with the Gulf country beating out South Korea’s Busan and Italy’s Rome to host the event that is held once every five years. Riyadh won 119 votes from the 182 members of the Paris-based Bureau International des Expositions, compared to Busan’s 29 and Rome’s 17. Riyadh is also expected to host the World Cup in 2034. The first World Expo took place in 1851 in London.Learn: What is World Expos?
Saudi national fund to acquire 10% stake in Heathrow AirportSaudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund will be acquiring the stake for GBP2.37 bil in the UK airport from Spanish infrastructure giant Ferrovial, who currently holds a 25% stake in the airport. The remaining 15% will be sold to French private equity fund Ardian. This deal seems to complement Saudi’s aviation dream - it recently announced its airline Riyadh Air, which will be launching in mid-2025, with the airline owned by PIF as well.
Saudi billionaire prince sells Citigroup stake to own investment fundIn a left-pocket to-right-pocket transaction, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal sold a USD450 mil stake in financial services giant Citigroup to his own investment company, Kingdom Holding Co, raising Kingdom’s stake to 2.2% from 1.63%. Alwaleed is one of the highest-profile investors from Saudi Arabia, and a strong supporter of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s modernisation efforts. The support, perhaps it came after he was locked up by the Crown Prince in a massive corruption crackdown back in 2018 that saw 11 princes being ‘imprisoned’ in a luxury hotel, Ritz Carlton in Riyadh.
Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett’s right-hand man, passes away at 99There were few people that made Warren Buffett the investor he is today. One of them is Charlie Munger, Buffett’s trusted lieutenant who helped build Berkshire Hathaway into a USD784 bil investment giant — he has just passed away peacefully in a California hospital. He was planning a big birthday party to celebrate turning 100 on his birthday on Jan 1. Over the years, Buffett has publicly praised Munger many times.
He is known as a shrewd investor and was responsible for the investment into Chinese electric vehicle maker BYD, which saw a 30-fold return for Berkshire Hathaway. However, Munger has personally admitted that quadrupling his holding on Alibaba’s stock during the 2021 crackdown on cofounder Jack Ma by Beijing was one of his worst mistakes. He admitted to being “charmed by the idea of their position in the Chinese internet”.
Munger is famous for his one-liners. Here are some of his wisdom and quotes:
“It is remarkable how much long-term advantage people like us have gotten by trying to be consistently not stupid instead of trying to be very intelligent.”
"In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn't read all the time--none, zero. You'd be amazed how much Warren reads--and at how much I read. My children laugh at me. They think I'm a book with a couple of legs sticking out."
"The big money is not in the buying and selling, but in the waiting."
"You don't have to be brilliant, only a little bit wiser than the other guys, on average, for a long, long time."
"A great business at a fair price is superior to a fair business at a great price."
"The idea of caring that someone is making money faster [than you are] is one of the deadly sins. Envy is a really stupid sin because it's the only one you could never possibly have any fun at. There's a lot of pain and no fun. Why would you want to get on that trolley?"
Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban exits show, sells stake in sports team - The billionaire who has made a name as a businessman and media personality is reported to be selling his majority stake in the Dallas Mavericks NBA basketball team for USD3.5 bil. However, he will maintain operational control of the team. This follows his announcement that he will be moving on from Shark Tank, an entrepreneurial reality show he joined full-time in 2012. Social media users are speculating that he is letting go of these to prepare to run for president in the 2024 elections.
Rare Sumatran rhino born in Indonesia – The yet-to-be-named calf, which was born at a sanctuary, weighed in at 25kg. There are only about 40 Sumatran rhinos left in the world and they are classed as critically endangered.
Philippines' SEC to block access to Binance – The regulatory body said the operator of crypto exchange Binance was not a registered corporation in the Philippines and was operating without the necessary licence and authority to sell or offer any form of securities. The removal of access will take effect within three months to give Filipino investors time to pull out investments.