☕️ His Majesty paid RM1.5 mil for "GOLD 1" car plate

PM said Madani rice to combat cartels. Supermax posts 5th consecutive quarterly loss. US finally wants a ceasefire in Gaza. China saw a resurgence of domestic travels during CNY, surpassing 2019 levels.


Information as of 0735 UTC+8 on Feb 21, 2024.


RM1.5 mil — the price paid by His Majesty Sultan Ibrahim, King of Malaysia, for the esteemed “GOLD 1” number plate. It is the highest amount of money ever paid for a number plate. The "GOLD" series number plates were released to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Federal Territories. The money will be channelled to the Federal Government.

The police have opened 18 investigation papers related to cases of impersonation of National Scam Response Centre (NSRC) officers, which has resulted in losses totalling RM1.49 mil. Victims typically receive calls from individuals identifying themselves as NSRC officers — I’ve also experienced the same. In fact, I went on to validate some of my details, but when they wanted me to go to Ipoh to meet “the officer” in charge of my case and I told them I was in Ipoh, the scammer couldn’t follow up further. Please remember that NSRC is a call centre that only receives calls from the public. It is a one-way communication channel only. Be vigilant!

China’s Lunar New Year holiday, the world’s largest annual migration, witnessed a remarkable economic resurgence of the domestic travel and tourism industry in the country, surpassing the pre-pandemic levels seen in 2019, with a 34.3% increase in total domestic trips to 474 mil and a 47.3% growth in tourism receipts to RMB632.6 bil (RM421.6 bil), indicating a remarkable rebound in consumer confidence. Despite the decline in consumer prices by 0.8% in January, the current data brings some hope for Chinese policymakers looking to boost domestic demand. The positive outlook may help to offset the recent setback and contribute to further growth in the near future.

“Investing is not a game where the guy with the 160 IQ beats the guy with the 130 IQ. Once you have ordinary intelligence, what you need is the temperament to control the urges that get other people into trouble in investing.”

Warren Buffett


Historic appointment — Mutang Tagal sworn in as Dewan Negara president
Mutang Tagal, a member of Sarawak's Lun Bawang community, has made history by becoming the first Dayak appointed as Dewan Negara president. Pledging to continue parliamentary reforms, including the implementation of the Parliamentary Services Act, he aims to enhance the Senate's role in checks and balances. With a background in law and prior experience as an MP, Mutang emphasised the importance of scrutinising bills to ensure the passage of good laws for the benefit of the people and the nation. His appointment follows the vacancy left by Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar's appointment as Sarawak Yang di-Pertua Negeri.

PM: Madani rice initiative aims to combat cartel influence 🌾
The Madani rice proposal aims to standardise locally-produced white rice varieties into a single type, sold at a ceiling price of RM30 per 10kg. Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim asserts that the Madani rice initiative is intended to counter manipulation by cartels in the rice production industry, dismissing concerns about increased monopolies.

He stated that further discussion would be held at the National Action Council on Cost of Living (Naccol) meeting. Anwar's comments come in response to criticisms suggesting that the proposal could strengthen cartel influence. Critics, including Umno Youth chief Akmal Saleh, argue that the initiative could impact the pricing of the staple, potentially eliminating the sale of locally-produced white rice priced at RM26. Instead, traders may favour the more profitable Madani rice priced at RM30. However, the proposal is pending Cabinet approval, and its implications are still under review.

Federal Court dismisses application challenging vernacular school medium of instruction
In a split decision, the Federal Court dismissed a leave application by two Malay-Muslim interest groups challenging a Court of Appeal ruling affirming the constitutionality of vernacular schools using Mandarin or Tamil as their medium of instruction. The bench chaired by Justice Mary Lim stated that the Islamic Education Development Council (Mappim) and Confederation of Malaysian Writers Association (Gapena) failed to meet the threshold required under Section 96 of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964.

You can read Section 96 of the Act here on page 55. In layman’s terms, here is what it means:

  1. You can appeal if the case involves a significant question of law or principle that hasn't been decided before, and it's important for the public to have a final decision from the Federal Court. This is the argument of the two groups.

  2. You can also appeal if the decision involves interpreting the Constitution or deciding if a law follows the Constitution correctly.

Thank you, ChatGPT! To our readers with a legal background, please correct us if we messed up.

Context — Last year, the Court of Appeal ruled that vernacular schools, long recognised in Malaysia's legislative framework, are not public authorities, and therefore, teaching in non-Malay mediums does not violate the law. Despite the dismissal, the debate over vernacular schools’ medium of instruction continues.

Business news

  1. Yinson Holdings considers USD1 bil funding round for FPSO unit ahead of US IPO

    Yinson Holdings Bhd, an energy infrastructure firm, plans a USD1 bil funding for its floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) unit to attract global and private equity funds before its US IPO. RRJ Capital intends to inject USD320 mil in the upcoming funding round, but the final terms of the investment are pending. Singapore-based Yinson Production Offshore Pte Ltd is estimated to have generated approximately USD680 mil in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation for 2023. The company is contemplating a US IPO for the FPSO business by 2026. Yinson Holdings CEO Lim Chern Yuan suggests potential strategies such as spinning off businesses or seeking strategic investors to fuel growth. The company also ventures into renewable energy and green technology. View its latest earnings here.

  2. CelcomDigi gears up for integration, sets sights on digital leadership

    CelcomDigi Bhd is advancing its integration efforts to unlock synergies from the merger, with 35% of network integration already completed, surpassing the initial 30% target. The telco’s CEO, Idham Nawawi, emphasised the company's commitment to strengthening market leadership in the digital era. Despite a profit after tax (PAT) of RM439mil in 4QFY23 and a slight dip in revenue compared to the previous year, CelcomDigi remains optimistic, declaring a fourth interim dividend of 3.5 sen per share. With enhanced 4G and 5G offerings, the company aims to sustain growth and improve customer satisfaction, which is evident in the increase of 466,000 subscribers year-on-year. View its earnings here.

  3. Supermax Corp Bhd recorded 5th consecutive quarterly loss amid glove market challenges
    Supermax Corp Bhd recorded a net loss of RM44.36 mil for Q2FY2024, marking its fifth consecutive quarterly loss. Revenue declined by 16.7% due to weak post-pandemic demand and competition from Chinese manufacturers. The group added that manufacturers from China are proving to be daunting competitors and are believed to have taken over the global leadership from Malaysia, at least in terms of pricing. Despite reduced losses from the previous year, Q2FY2024 saw widened losses due to revenue decline and stock impairments. The outlook for 2024 remains unfavourable, with ASPs suppressed and oversupply to continue. High material and utility costs continue to squeeze margins. Supermax is investing in automation to reduce costs and reliance on foreign workers. View its earnings here. The company still has a war chest to battle its Chinese competitors — the company has RM1.6 bil cash, about 64% of its market cap of RM2.5 bil.


Capital One buys Discover Financial for a cool USD35 bil
Capital One will acquire Discover Financial Services for more than USD35 bil under the terms of an all-stock deal to form the largest US credit card company by loan size. Discover shareholders will receive 1.0192 Capital One shares for each Discover share, equating to a premium of approximately 27% based on Discover's closing price on Friday. Following the completion of the deal, Capital One shareholders will possess approximately 60% of the merged entity, while Discover shareholders will retain the remaining ownership stake.

The acquisition will give Capital One the upper hand in the credit-card sector that benefited from the pandemic as more consumers are moving from paying with cash to cards due to generous rewards programs and the digitisation of commerce. Discover has a payments network, which Capital One, the ninth-largest bank in the US, intends to leverage on as the latter would be able to negotiate interchange fees and other terms directly with merchants for card transactions that travel over its network. Credit card debts in the US are also on the rise, playing into the hands of Capital One as the deal would expand the number of cardholders it has.

The US wants a temporary ceasefire in Gaza (finally)
The United States has drafted a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a temporary ceasefire in the Gaza Strip “as soon as practical” on the grounds that all hostages be released while also allowing the provision of humanitarian assistance at scale in Gaza. Additionally, the draft also warns Israel not to launch a ground offensive in Rafah, where more than 1.4 mil of the 2.3 mil Palestinians in Gaza have sought shelter. However, it was not clear when or if the US draft resolution would be put to a vote.

A draft resolution by Algeria proposing an immediate ceasefire was vetoed by the US yesterday over concerns it would jeopardise talks between the US, Egypt, Israel and Qatar that seek to broker a pause in the war and the release of hostages held by Hamas.

A report by independent researchers in the US and Britain has revealed that even if the fighting in Gaza stopped now, about 8,000 more people could die there over the next six months due to the public health crisis from the conflict. The excess deaths are stemming from the collapsing healthcare system, with hospitals being destroyed and rising cases of diseases like diarrhoea as well as malnutrition famine in overcrowded shelters.

Mind-bending stats about a quasar
A newly discovered quasar, named J0529-4351, is breaking records in the astronomical world. It not only holds the title of the brightest quasar ever observed but also stands as the brightest known astronomical object overall. It is 500 trillion times brighter than our brilliant star. Quasars are regions at the hearts of galaxies that host supermassive black holes surrounded by the gas and dust these voids feed on.

What's more, it hosts the most voracious and rapidly growing black hole ever detected, devouring the equivalent of over one sun’s mass daily. Situated at a distance so vast that its light has taken 12 bil years to reach us, this quasar offers a glimpse into the early universe, appearing as it did when the cosmos was just under two bil years old. At its core lies a supermassive black hole estimated to be between 17 bil and 19 billion bil the mass of the sun. Initially detected in the Schmidt Southern Sky Survey dating back to 1980, J0529-4351's true nature as a quasar took decades to confirm. The finding of this quasar was published in the journal Nature Astronomy on Monday.

Read: The accretion of a solar mass per day by a 17-billion solar mass black hole


  1. China cuts 5-year mortgage rate
    To spur the distressed property sector and prop up weak business confidence, the People's Bank of China lowered the five-year rate to 3.95% from 4.2%, marking the first reduction since last June. The bank was expected to reduce its one-year loan prime rate from 3.45% to alleviate corporate borrowing expenses; however, it decided to maintain the rate unchanged. Earlier this month, there was a half a percentage point reduction in commercial banks' reserve obligations, releasing RMB1 trillion yuan in long-term capital to bolster liquidity. The rising dragon or just a half-awaken dragon?

  2. Kylian Mbappe has agreed to join Real Madrid
    The 25-year-old France captain is set to sign a five-year deal with Real Madrid, earning EUR15 mil a season and EUR150 mil signing-on bonus to be paid over five years. Moreover, he will keep a percentage of his image rights. Despite being offered GBP259 mil by the Saudi Pro League side Al-Hilal, he refused to meet their representatives. Mbappe has yet to sign the contract but will be able to do so once it is no longer possible for the clubs to meet in this season's Champions League.

  3. Hungary might finally agree to Sweden joining NATO
    Hungary’s ruling party is poised to approve Sweden's NATO membership on Monday, concluding over a year of negotiations. Sweden's membership is vital to boost the alliance's defence along its eastern border, particularly after Finland's admission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) last year. The move was mainly influenced by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, leading both Sweden and Finland to seek membership in the alliance.

  4. TikTok still violating Indonesian in-app transactions ban
    Despite having bought 75.01% of Tokopedia for USD840 mil in December 2023, TikTok is still said to be violating the country’s rule that bans in-app transactions. Teten Masduki, the Indonesian minister for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), said the government has to reprimand TikTok so that it complies with regulations.


  1. Which is the most valuable brand in the world right now?

  1. Most people want fast money, so they trade. Unless you have the skills to do it, the odds are against you. Making money is as easy as just waiting —

    but it takes patience.
    Read: Why investing shouldn't be considered gambling (examples)

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