Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ KJ considering a comeback- 'a lot of potential for restarting my political career in Selangor'
Watch lion dance x Thaipusam procession collab. US-China tension escalates - over a balloon. Back-to-back deadly earthquakes hit Turkiye, Syria.
Welcome back from the long weekend! Hope you are all recharged, and let’s get your week kickstarted with our newsletter today.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
How popular have exchange-traded funds (ETFs) become? It is now a USD10 trillion industry globally. The first US ETF, SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY), started with USD 6.5 mil in assets back in 1993. 30 years later, it now has an industry-leading USD354.6 bil in assets. ETF gives investors diversified exposure in a particular index, sector, commodity or other assets. (ie. meme stock ETF) Been contemplating investing in ETFs? Investopedia has a comprehensive article explaining the investment asset here.
Singer Beyonce broke the record for most career wins at the Grammy Awards with a career total of 32 Grammy Awards after picking up 4 Grammys, including the Best Dance/Electronic Album for Renaissance. She missed out on the night’s top prizes - Best Album went to Harry Styles’ Harry’s House and Grammy for Record of the Year - the award honouring overall performance for a song - went to Lizzo’s hit single About Damn Time. View the complete list of the 2023 Grammy Awards here.
Read: Everything you need to know about the Grammy Awards voting process.
Some staggering numbers from Apple Inc’s first fiscal quarter announcement:
935 mil paid subscriptions across its services (e.g. iCloud, Apple Music, Apple Pay).
Two bil active device install base reached, which includes iPhones, iPads, Macs, HomePods, Apple TVs and Apple Watches.
iPhone hit a new high for its share of profits from global smartphone sales in 2022, accounting for 85% of operating profit and 48% of revenue from smartphone sales — both were new highs for the iPhone’s 15 years on the market.
Apple recorded its first-ever quarterly decline in revenue - down 5.5% to USD117.2 bil. iPhone contributed its largest share of revenue (USD65.8 bil, 56.1%).
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3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
KJ may contest in the upcoming Selangor State Election
The party-less Khairy Jamaluddin hints that he may be contesting in the Selangor state polls, and he has been talking to a few political parties about this. However, he states that he is not too excited about creating a new political party as he deduced that the political market is too saturated to squeeze in another new political party.
However, Khairy is unlikely to join Pakatan Harapan (PH) or any other component parties of the current federal government based on the notion that accepting Khairy into PH may negatively affect the relationship between PH and UMNO, as explained concisely by a Perlis PH leader, Asrul Nizan Abd Jalil.
MACC is open to reforms in the appointment of the agency’s top two
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is open to multiple institutional reforms to empower the Parliament, including handing over the power of appointing the top two positions within MACC to a special select committee formed under the Parliament. These reforms have been proposed to ensure government institutions such as MACC and the Election Commission (EC) can act neutrally. Currently, the head of the MACC, such as its current chief, Azam Baki, is appointed by the Prime Minister. Even the hiring or dismissal of MACC officers is done by the Public Services Commission (SPA). Both MACC and SPA are agencies under the Prime Minister’s Department.
The public is not keen on legalising fireworks
In response to local government minister Nga Kor Ming's announcement that the Government will legalise fireworks and firecrackers, a few parties have voiced out against the new directive, including Penang Hindu Association president P. Murugiah. Murugiah states that before approving the sale and use of fireworks, those products need to be Sirim-approved to avoid fire incidents caused by firecrackers.
Every year we hear news about the loss of lives or buildings caused by fireworks. For example, in 2018, five stalls in Kepong burned down to ashes after a customer accidentally ignited the fireworks that were being sold at a few of the burnt stalls. In 2022, a 2-year-old boy died in a fire allegedly caused by firecrackers stored in a house in Kuantan. Too many lives and buildings are at risk for the purpose of legalising the use and sale of air-contaminating fireworks in order to light the sky a few nights in a year.
No forest reserves are cut down more than necessary, ECRL project owner said
Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL), the project owner of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project, mentions that the land clearing in the Selangor State Park, after being exposed on social media by an environmental group called Rimba Disclosure Project, does not involve the de-gazettement of forest reserve. MRL explains that the company has received a right-of-way permit for its contractors to go through the forest reserve to conduct activities related to the ECRL project.
New year, new development projects in the pipeline:
Subang Airport or officially known as the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport, has received approval from the Government to be redeveloped into a premium city airport and aviation hub that can handle up to eight mil passengers per year and can accommodate narrow-body jets such as the Airbus A320 to operate in the airport again. Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) has been given two months to develop a working business plan for the redevelopment of Subang Airport.
From Selangor, we will now go to Perlis as Kuala Perlis will be developed as a motorsports and extreme sports tourism destination. The state government said that market validation exercises have been done by the state via the successful hosting of the 4x4 tournament in Pulau Ketam and other motocross tournaments.
Three Warisan assemblymen, namely Kunak assemblywoman Norazlinah Arif, Mohammad Mohamarin (Banggi), and Chong Chen Bin (Tanjong Kapor), quit the party. They would remain independents and continue to support the current Sabah government.
The Malaysian Technology Development Corporation (MTDC) and Gobi Partners have partnered up to jointly invest RM5 mil in Pitch Platforms Sdn Bhd, the operator of pitchIN, an equity crowdfunding (ECF) platform that has raised over RM280mil across 154 deals - the most amongst all ECF platforms in Malaysia. Funny they didn’t fundraise their equity on their platform. Understand the need for strategic investors, but it would be nice to share the pie with their platform investors and supporters.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Back-to-back deadly earthquakes hit Turkiye, Syria
A powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck southeast Turkiye and Syria, and 12 hours later, another massive 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck again — occurred during the time of writing. It’s estimated 1,300 people were killed in the first earthquake — the death toll is expected to climb with the second earthquake. In Turkey, 912 people were killed, 5,385 people were wounded, and 2,818 buildings were toppled in the first earthquake. Rescue operations were hampered by the extremely severe, harsh winter conditions on the ground.
So far, Wisma Putra reported that no Malaysians were affected by the earthquake. The Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART) will be deployed to assist in the search and rescue (SAR) of victims in Turkiye. The SMART team received recognition from the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) in 2016, which allows its members to participate in disaster missions abroad. SMART was deployed in SAR operations in the recent Batang Kali landslide disaster, though there is no indication whether the same heroes will be deployed to Turkiye.
New China-US tension escalates over a balloon
The US Department of Defense raised the alarm about an intelligence-gathering balloon it spotted hovering over Montana, saying it was “most certainly” sent by China. Initially denying it, China later admitted that the large white balloon belonged to its own but denied it was used for spying purposes. China’s foreign ministry said the balloon is a civilian airship primarily used for “meteorological research”. Montana is particularly a sensitive state as its home to some of the US’s nuclear arsenal. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken was scheduled to visit China over the weekend to reinforce communication and cooperation between the two countries but has indefinitely postponed the trip due to this incident.
The US military deployed an F-22 jet to shoot down the balloon and plans to collect the debris to analyse the capabilities of the balloon. China has condemned the US’ action of shooting down the balloon, but its statement has been muted and unusually brief compared to previous diplomatic sparring with the US. An international law expert believes that China’s calculated response is giving consideration in the event the US starts sending balloons to China.
Read: What are ‘spy balloons’ and why are they used?
The Premier League charged football club Manchester City with more than 100 breaches of its financial rules between 2009 to 2018 following a 4-year investigation and has referred the club to an independent commission. If found guilty, the commission can impose punishments ranging from a fine and points deduction to expulsion from the Premier League.
Dell Technologies Inc will eliminate 6,650 jobs, about 5% of its global workforce, as it is experiencing a catering demand following a pandemic-fuelled PC boom. Among major companies, Dell saw the largest decline in PC shipments - 37% compared to 2021. It generates 55% of its revenue from PCs.
In the world of finance, capitalists can find money to be made even when a company goes bankrupt. Cryptocurrency firms are setting up to trade the claims of bankrupt crypto exchange FTX.
This is called bankruptcy claims - creditors of a bankrupt company can sell their claims to investors, usually at a fraction of the face value, and the investors bet that the bankrupt company can repay the claims post-restructuring. All is not lost if you have exposure to any of these failed crypto exchanges — you might be able to recoup some money back through this channel.
Read: 101: What is Bankruptcy Claims Trading?
5. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
Beautiful drone photography and video captured by aerial photographer @siva_wwc on Instagram of the Thaipusam celebration. Visit his page and browse the rest of his posts — a particularly interesting one is the drone’s eye view of a tour of Batu Caves.
TIL: there are about 15,000 Chinese Hindus in Malaysia, according to a 2010 census. An interesting series of photos here capturing Chinese Hindus practising Thaipusam rituals.
Thaipusam falls on the same day as Chap Goh Mei this year - and this awesome collab (watch below) — lion dance x Thaipusam procession occurred in KL. Got to say - the music remix is quite epic.
Oh wait, this should be banned. According to logic of pak lebais, the sight of other religions’ rituals and symbols could cause them to stray from their faith and convert.