Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Kedah caretaker MB Sanusi Md Nor to be charged in Selayang Court
Berjaya's Vincent Tan sues government over "loss" of vehicle fleet concession. China's GDP grew 6.3%, lower than economists' expectations. Tesla has completed the construction of its first Cybertruck.
To our Muslim readers, have a good Awal Muharam! We will be off tomorrow and back in action on Thursday!
1. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
A study revealed that 43% of voters in Kelantan are dissatisfied with the state government’s performance, according to data obtained by PKR through independent polling firms. PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli said the voters understand that after 33 years, Kelantan is lagging far behind in many things — development, poverty eradication, and basic infrastructure. Even as simple as potable water, they couldn’t get it right after decades.
By 2030, the value of office space in key global cities, including San Francisco, London, and New York, could decrease by USD800 bil due to the growing trend of remote work, as revealed by a McKinsey report. The study, based on a survey of 13,000 full-time office workers, analysed real estate demand projections in nine major cities across the US, Europe, and Asia, highlighting the potential impact of remote work on the commercial property market. McKinsey suggests more value could be lost if interest rates continue to rise.
Two precious metals companies and their owner, Robert Higgins, have been ordered by a US court to pay nearly USD146 mil penalty after over 500,000 American Silver Eagle coins were reported missing. The companies are accused of engaging in a fraudulent scheme by promising to store the coins for customers but failing to deliver. Upon investigation, the coins were found to be missing from the vaults where they were supposed to be stored. The companies were said to run fraudulent silver leasing programs from 2014 to 2022.
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3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Caretaker Kedah MB is to be charged today
According to the Selayang Sessions Court listing, the caretaker Kedah Menteri Besar (MB) Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor will be charged today, believed under the Sedition Act and Section 504 of the Penal, for offences related to 3R (race, religion and royalty). Recently, in a political ceramah in Selayang, Sanusi had accused the Sultan Selangor of not having a ‘pure’ lineage and of appointing a ‘lousy’ menteri besar.
Putrajaya is confident to approve the Penang LRT extension
Transport Minister Anthony Loke is confident that the Federal Government will approve extending the Penang Light Rail Transit (LRT) project to connect Penang Island with the mainland at Seberang Perai. The extension of the Penang LRT project is expected to be linked to the Butterworth KTMB railway station at mainland Penang. The 29 kilometres, 27 stations of light rail transit will cost about RM4.5 bil and will be undertaken by MRT Corp. Traditionally, the project owner of LRTs in Malaysia is Prasarana Malaysia Berhad. However, LRT Penang will mark the rise in the prominence of MRT Corp in the local railway industry after completing both MRT1 and MRT2 projects and currently constructing the RTS project in Johor Bharu.
The Rolodex of insensitive moves
The Kota Bharu Municipal Council (MPKB) had compounded a hair salon owner RM100 for allowing her female worker to cut the hair of a Muslim male customer. In Kota Bharu, Kelantan, non-Muslim hairdressers are prohibited from cutting the hair of Muslims of the opposite sex.
Swatch has filed a lawsuit at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur demanding the return of 172 watches worth RM64,795 that were confiscated by the Malaysian authorities recently. The watches were taken away due to the brand allegedly supporting LGBTQ activism by featuring rainbow colours. Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek stated previously how mere innocent rainbows could be harmful and whether the Malaysian authorities want to confiscate the rainbow in the sky too. It is not surprising to see this kind of news in Malaysia, as Malaysia ranked 174 out of 197 countries in the LGBT Equality Index.
The Malaysia Competition Commission (MyCC) ‘tegur’ the Bar Council’s decision for raising fixed scale conveyancing fees. MyCC said that although the move abides by the wording of the law (obviously), the move by the Bar Council is against the spirit of competition. Both MyCC and the Bar Council have been in negotiations to dismantle the fixed-scale fees entirely since 2015. Conveyancing fees are the group of legal costs you will pay when you buy or sell a house.
All about Berjaya Group
Berjaya Group founder Vincent Tan has filed a lawsuit against Putrajaya and Spanco Sdn Bhd over losing out on the 15-year lucrative vehicle fleet concession contract to supply, maintain and manage around 12,500 vehicles worth an estimated RM300 mil annually after the fifth year. Tan claimed that his 49:51 consortium with Naza Group had won the contract in 2018 and has been granted a Letter of Intent (LOI). However, after three months, the Muhyiddin-led government came into power, Tan argued that the LOI was unfairly terminated, and the contract was handed to Spanco, which bids RM700 mil more expensive than the Berjaya-Naza consortium.
Spanco is owned by another tycoon Tan Hua Choon who is widely known as “Casio King” — he is the first and only distributor of Casio brand’s watches and calculators in the country. More about him here (article dated 2017).
Berjaya Corp Bhd (BCorp) is disposing of the entire stake of its waste management business, Berjaya Enviro Holdings Sdn Bhd (BEnviro), to Naza Corp Holdings Sdn Bhd for a price tag of RM700 mil. With this RM700 mil deal, Naza purchased BEnviro with a valuation based on a price-earning ratio (PE) of more than 45 times. Initially, BCorp intended to sell BEnviro at a higher valuation via an initial public offering (IPO) but the company stumbled into the issue of chain listing regulation.
Though the valuation is pricey, it comes with a 3-year profit guarantee of RM38 mil per annum, valuing it at 18 times the price-earning ratio.
Fun fact: Vincent Tan’s daughter Chrysies Tan is married to Naza Corp deputy group chairman SM Faliq SM Nasimuddin.
IJM Corp Bhd’s subsidiary IJM RE Sdn Bhd inked a deal with FMM Elmina Sdn Bhd to set up a 50:50 special purpose vehicle (SPV) called Exio Logistics Sdn Bhd that will build two modern logistics hubs in the City of Elmina, Shah Alam. The logistic hubs will be constructed on a 22-acre land and a separate agreement has been signed for the SPV to purchase the land from Sime Darby Property.
July 31 will be the last day that Aeon Sunway Pyramid will be operating from the mall after 16 long years of becoming the anchor tenant of the mall. Moving forward, a new grocery store will open on the lower ground 2 (LG2) floor, while the remaining soon-to-be vacated floors will be repurposed for other high-quality retail offerings.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
China is grappling with a new record high in youth unemployment
The jobless rate among 16 to 24-year-olds in urban areas in China reached 21.3% in the latest official figures. This surge in youth unemployment comes as the country's post-pandemic recovery faces challenges, with the economy expanding by just 0.8% in the second quarter. The world’s second-largest economy reported that GDP for the second quarter grew 6.3%, lower than economists expected. Analysts suggest that the sluggish growth rate has heightened expectations for authorities to introduce fresh measures aimed at stimulating the economy.
At least 40 dead in South Korea after severe rains
Severe rains in South Korea over the weekend have resulted in widespread flooding and landslides, leading to the deaths of at least 40 people. President Yoon Suk Yeol has called for a comprehensive reevaluation of the country's strategies for dealing with extreme weather events caused by climate change. On Saturday, floodwaters from a nearby burst riverbank inundated an underpass in Cheongju, trapping at least 15 vehicles, including a bus. It is believed that 13 people have died in their vehicles, while the full death toll is still unknown.
Speaker Tan Chuan-Jin and Member of Parliament Cheng Li Hui have tendered their resignations from parliament and the People's Action Party (PAP) following their admission of having an affair. The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) announced their resignations on Monday (Jul 17) without providing specific details regarding the reasons behind their decision to step down. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was alerted about the relationship in 2020. The pair were spoken to and counselled but went on with the affair.
Russia pulls out of the Black Sea grain deal
Russia suspended its participation in the U.N.-brokered agreement that allows Ukraine to export grain through the Black Sea. This move came shortly after an explosion damaged Russia's bridge to Crimea, which Moscow claimed was a result of a strike by Ukrainian sea drones. Russia described the incident as a terrorist attack and stated that two civilians were killed and their daughter injured.
Russia’s suspension of the Black Sea grain deal could have global implications for food prices, particularly in the poorest countries. Both Ukraine and Russia are major exporters of grain and other food products, and any disruption in their trade relationship can have a significant impact on the global food market.
Microsoft 🤝 Sony
After closing the Activision Blizzard acquisition, Microsoft announced that Sony has signed a 10-year agreement to keep Call of Duty on its PlayStation gaming consoles. Activision is the maker of the best-selling Call of Duty lineup. Regulators globally were concerned about Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision, which would technically allow Microsoft to make games “exclusive” to its consoles — such as Xbox and Windows PC — and displace Sony from competition.
Microsoft’s anti-competition woes aren’t over. According to the Financial Times, the European Commission is preparing to launch a formal investigation into Microsoft over allegations of unfair bundling of its Teams videoconferencing app with its Office software. This investigation marks the first time in over a decade that the commission will be scrutinising Microsoft’s alleged abuse of its dominant position.
Tesla has completed the construction of its first Cybertruck at the company’s Giga Texas assembly line in Austin, marking a two-year delay from its initial schedule. The final pricing of the Cybertruck is yet to be decided. During the launch back in 2019, the starting price for the radical Cybertruck was USD39,900 — but much has happened since.
Elon Musk revealed that Twitter has lost almost half of its advertising revenue since he took over the company. Twitter is struggling under a heavy debt load and cash flow remains negative, Musk said in a tweet over the weekend. Will Musk be able to turn it around?
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
While the world returns to “normal” post-pandemic, the demand for remote jobs is higher than ever.
If you know, you know.