☕️ Juicy details from PM Anwar's post-special cabinet meeting press conference
Billionaire Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary got 'tegur'-ed by PM Anwar over rice monopoly. EPF 2022 9-month gross investment income down 18% yoy. US flexes military might, unveils next gen stealth bomber.
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1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
8 — the number of special draws for 4D numbers from next year onwards, as announced by PM Anwar Ibrahim. He took a jab at the previous cabinet of Perikatan Nasional, who increased the draws from eight to 22. Ibrahim went on to allege that the previous government may have used funds derived from gambling activities to finance the election.
20% — the Cabinet ministers have agreed to take a 20% pay cut until Malaysia continues to recover economically. Anwar Ibrahim hinted the pay cut would last for at least three years. He clarified that he wouldn’t be taking any salary as a Finance Minister.
8,700% — Kate Bush’s classic “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” (listen here) saw an increase in Spotify streams this year and giving it the most streamed throwback song on Spotify in 2022. Spotify categorises songs released over 20 years ago as “throwback songs”. The song has also broken three Guinness World Records.
The longest time taken for a single to top the UK single charts;
The longest gap between No. 1 singles on the UK single charts and;
The oldest female artist to score a top hit on the UK singles chart.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
PM Anwar’s post-special cabinet meeting press conference is juicy, so here are the drips
PM Anwar told the press that the agriculture minister, Mohamad Sabu, would announce a new lower price for eggs on Tuesday. Mohamad Sabu will also reveal the measures that Putrajaya will undertake to reduce the country’s dependency on cartels that are controlling the egg supply market.
PM Anwar also has ‘tegur’ tycoon Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary for creating a monopoly of rice imports via its control of nearly 92% of Bernas (Padiberas Nasional Berhad). The premier revealed that Syed Mokhtar created that monopoly by purchasing RM800mil worth of shares from Tan Boon Seng and RM400mil from Shahidan Kassim. PM Anwar vows to break existing monopolies over key supply chains during his tenure. But for the meantime, the PM has instructed Syed Mokhtar to give RM10mil to poor paddy farmers and starting next year, Bernas will allocate RM50mil annually for them. Bernas is the single gatekeeper for rice imports, where their accumulated profits in 2018 were RM1.2bil, RM1.3bil in 2019 and RM798mil in 2020.
Putrajaya will review the state-owned Digital Nasional Berhad’s (DNB) single wholesale network (SWN) model for the country’s 5G rollout due to a lack of transparency in DNB’s conduct. In 2021, DNB awarded the Swedish firm Ericsson, an RM11bil contract to design and build the country’s 5G telecommunication network.
Muhyiddin is in hot water as PM Anwar revealed that there were discrepancies in the use of RM600bil funds
PM Anwar dropped the bombshell and stated that based on information that he received, there were several procedural breaches in the use of RM600bil during former PM Muhyiddin's premiership, which led to some parties enjoying the high price mark-ups granted by the previous government. When asked whether a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) is needed to investigate these allegations, PM Anwar said that he would leave it to the discretion of the Cabinet.
Previously, Muhyiddin Yassin denied the allegations that he swindled RM600bil from the government’s coffers. Muhyiddin seemed perplexed about where the figure is derived, as the economic stimulus packages that he announced were only worth RM530bil, whereas only RM83bil was in the form of fiscal injections.
Transport Minister went on an unannounced visit on the Kelana Jaya LRT line during the peak hours to experience the life of rakyat. He shared his experience in a Facebook post, saying the condition on the train was very cramped and uncomfortable. He will meet with Prasarana’s top management by this week to discuss improving the public transport service.
Tengku Zafrul was a no-show during the first special cabinet meeting
Perhaps he thought that Monday was his replacement holiday for clocking in on a Saturday, but the Trade & Industry minister, Tengku Zafrul, was the sole absentee for the special cabinet meeting on Monday. According to sources cited by the New Straits Times, he was on a trade mission to Abu Dhabi, not Qatar, as initially reported. I guess the World Cup’s knockout matches are too big to miss, even for a minister in the face of an economic recession.
MACC Act trumps over any other contrary laws in admitting evidence for graft proceedings, Gopal Sri Ram said.
In Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB)-Tanore trial, the prosecution led by Gopal Sri Ram is utilising the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 in their effort to admit an audio voice recording of an alleged conversation between Najib Razak and a Middle Eastern leader as evidence in the trial, despite calls from the defence team that the recording may be illegally obtained. The prosecution believed that the audio recording can contradict Najib’s defence that the monies that he received were donations.
EPF’s investment income is downed by 18%
The Employees Provident Fund's (EPF)’s total gross investment income fell by 18% YoY or RM8.71bil to RM39.31bil for the nine-month period ended Sept 30, 2022. Although EPF CEO Amir Hamzah Azizan remains optimistic for the future, it raises questions about whether we will get a lower dividend this year. According to the law, EPF needs to provide a guaranteed annual dividend of 2.5%. Historically, EPF provided more than double the minimum dividend amount to its depositors. Even during the hell period of the 2008 global financial crisis, the entity churned out a 4.5% dividend.
No mergers for AirAsia’s airlines
Capital A Bhd CEO Tony Fernandes said that there will be no merger of AirAsia’s airlines but instead, all aviation operations will be put under one existing structure that will later be renamed AirAsia Aviation Group. A smart way of right-pocket-left-pocket your debts.
"We are just injecting AirAsia airlines into AAX’s listing status...there is no merger. AAX will be renamed as AAG, and there will be six airlines under it.”
On another note, now you can pay RM888 to subscribe to airasia Super App’s flight subscription product Super+, for unlimited free seats to ASEAN countries. Subscription, not again.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
US flexes military might, unveils next-gen stealth bomber
The US Air Force unveiled its new stealth bomber in 3 decades - the B-21 Raider. The sixth generation bomber, manufactured by Northrop Grumman, costs USD700 mil per unit and Uncle Sam is planning to purchase 100 of it, with the first to be deployed next year. Apart from all the high-tech upgrades, the bomber can now be flown without a pilot and can carry a nuclear payload. Most importantly, it’s significantly cheaper to produce than its predecessor, B-2. The B-2 and B-21 are deemed deadly aircraft as they are undetected by radar and can carry out surveillance at a greater rate than rivals. This unveiling of an upgraded weapon comes at a time of heightened geopolitical tensions between the US, Russia and China - the US is sending a signal.
Donald Trump’s call for ‘termination’ of the constitution condemned
Former US President Donald Trump still hasn’t moved on from his defeat in the last US election. The White House has condemned a post Trump made on his Truth Social account — he once more made repeated false claims that he won the 2020 presidential election and that there was “massive and widespread fraud and deception”. On these grounds, Trump calls for the “termination” of the Constitution. Although it’s musth, his behaviour needs to be taken seriously as Trump still wields a large influence amongst his followers and the Republican party.
Iran suspends ‘morality police’, the root cause of the ongoing protest
‘Morality police’, the cause of Iran’s protests which is running into its third month, has been suspended according to Iranian prosecutor general Mohamad Jafar Montazeri. Protests erupted after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, after she was arrested by a unit of the morality police for allegedly not adhering to the country’s mandatory dress code for women. Morality police officers enforce the country’s dress code, which requires women to cover their heads and wear loose-fitting clothing. Read more here on the morality police.
Tesla finally delivers its semitrailer truck
First announced in 2017 and initially slated for delivery in 2019, Tesla has finally delivered its electric semitrailer truck to its first customer, PepsiCo. With a range of up to 500 miles, Tesla plans to produce 50,000 semis in the US in 2024. Musk declined to reveal the exact prices of the semis but said it would cost “much more than a passenger vehicle”.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
Remember the sperm issue we reported last week? Here’s a short video showing the falling fertility rates over time.
Indonesia’s highest volcano, Mount Semeru, has erupted, spewing ash 15km into the sky. Authorities have raised their volcano alert to the highest level and nearly 2,000 people have been evacuated. There are 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia.
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