- The Coffee Break
- ☕️ Major reshuffling with new ministries and change in portfolios
☕️ Major reshuffling with new ministries and change in portfolios
Call to halt fundamentalist values at Universiti Malaya. Global count of billionaires increased by 7% to reach 2,544 individuals in 2023. Which are the best cities for expats?
Covid-19 cases in the country increased to 6,796 last week from 3,626 in the previous week, up by 87.4%. At the height of the pandemic, we used to have a Covid-19 table tracking daily cases — we hope not to bring that back. Do take care and mask up.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
Hong Kong saw a record-low voter turnout of only 27.5% in the ‘patriots-only’ poll, with just under 1.2 mil of Hong Kong’s 4.3 mil registered electors casting a vote. In the district council election, the number of directly elected seats was drastically reduced by almost 80%, plummeting from 462 to 88. The turnout was low because voters felt the poll had no meaning. The remaining seats are now under the control of the city leader, government loyalists, and rural landlords. The territory’s Chief Executive, John Lee, said it is the last piece of the puzzle for the leaders to implement the principles of patriots governing Hong Kong.
The Permanent Forest Reserve (HSK) in Perak has a total area of 988,700.88 hectares as of November 2023. The Silver State has the highest percentage of HSK in Peninsular Malaysia. The forest reserve in the state is significantly larger than Kuala Lumpur. The increase in forest reserve was a step to deal with the issue of “climate change action” in line with the initiatives outlined in Perak Sejahtera 2030. A hectare is equivalent to 10,000 square meters. KL covers an area of approximately 243 square kilometres (24,300 hectares).
In the 12 months leading up to April 2023, inheritance played a more significant role in the creation of new billionaires compared to successful entrepreneurship, according to Swiss banking giant UBS. Out of the 137 individuals who attained billionaire status during this period, 53 (38.7%) inherited a combined total of USD150.8 bil. This surpassed the USD140.7 bil generated by 84 new billionaires who achieved their wealth through self-made means. The global count of billionaires increased by 7% to reach 2,544 individuals, and their collective wealth rose by 9% to reach USD12 trillion, as reported by UBS.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Major cabinet reshuffle: Key changes unveiled by PM Anwar Ibrahim 🔄
Ministerial changes in the Cabinet:
Datuk Seri Amir Hamzah Azizan (Minister of Finance II, currently CEO of EPF)
Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani (Minister of Plantation and Commodities)
Datuk Seri Dr. Dzulkefly Ahmad (Minister of Health)
Steven Sim (Minister of Human Resources)
Gobind Singh Deo (Minister of Digital); Fahmi Fadzil (Minister of Communications)
Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, Deputy Prime Minister II, takes over the Energy Transition and Public Utilities portfolio.
Tripartite shuffle — Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan shifts from Defence Minister to Foreign Minister while Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin takes over the Defence Minister role, leaving the Higher Education Minister role to Datuk Seri Zambry Abd Kadir.
Lim Hui Ying is now Deputy Finance Minister (from Deputy Education Minister).
Datuk Seri Dr. Noraini Ahmad is the Deputy Women, Family, and Community Development Minister.
Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan moved to the Ministry of Works.
M. Kulasegaran is the Deputy Minister of PM's Department (Law).
Dr Zulkifli Hasa is the Deputy Minister of PM's Department (Religious Matters).
V Sivakumar (Former Human Resources Minister)
Ramkarpal Singh (Former Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department - Law and Institutional Reforms)
The reshuffle also increased the number of cabinet ministers from 28 to 31, and the number of deputy ministers increased from 27 to 29. The biggest disappointment is perhaps PM Anwar Ibrahim’s failure to relinquish the Finance Minister position. Before being elected as the Prime Minister, he had once said there should be a separation of the premier and finance posts to avoid abuse of power.
Deputy ministers are not part of the cabinet.
Gobind's rise triggers legal shift; Ramkarpal resigns to avoid nepotism claimsGobind Singh Deo's appointment as a minister prompts a legal shift as he steps down from defending Lim Guan Eng and Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman in their corruption trials. Haijan Omar, maintaining the defence team, assures that Gobind's departure won't hinder the presentation of arguments.
Meanwhile, DAP's Ramkarpal Singh voluntarily resigned as deputy minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Law and Institutional Reforms) upon learning of his brother Gobind's ministerial role, aiming to avert accusations of nepotism. DAP Secretary-General Anthony Loke appreciates Ramkarpal's decision, emphasising that DAP is not the "biggest winner" in the reshuffle.
The legal landscape adjusts further with Ipoh Barat MP M. Kulasegaran replacing Ramkarpal. The dynamics reflect both legal and political considerations within the Malaysian cabinet. 🏛️⚖️
Sabah leader: Federal leaders lack understanding of Malaysia AgreementUnited Sabah National Organisation president, Pandikar Amin Mulia, attributes the delay in fulfilling Sabah's demands for its rights to the federal government leaders' poor understanding of the Malaysia Agreement 1963. He urged federal leaders to familiarise themselves with the agreement, as well as related documents like the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) report, the Cobbold Commission report, and the 20-Point Agreement. Pandikar emphasised that a lack of understanding hinders progress in addressing Sabah's requests and called on leaders to appreciate the historical processes that led to the formation of Malaysia.
SCB's revival: Serendib Capital infuses RM250 milSarawak Cable Bhd (SCB) rebounds as corporate white knight Serendib Capital Ltd injects RM250 mil to rescue the PN17-listed company. The stock jumped 10 sen to 16 sen, marking a significant turnaround. With accumulated losses at RM296.42 mil, SCB aims to leverage Serendib Capital's financial strength for restructuring and emphasises a focus on a robust RM900 mil order book. Serendib Capital, with 20 years of experience, expresses eagerness to restore SCB as a regional powerhouse. Who is Serendib Capital - read here. One of Serendib’s achievements was making 50x invested capital in the successful restructuring of LangkaBangla Finance.
SCIB shares active after chairman's resignationSarawak Consolidated Industries Bhd (SCIB) shares were the most actively traded on Tuesday, dropping 4.35% to 77 sen after the resignation of Abang Abdillah Izzarim Abang Abdul Rahman Zohari as executive chairman, the son of Sarawak Premier Abang Abdul Rahman Zohari Abang Openg. The departure, citing retirement, comes just six months after his June 2023 appointment. Concurrently, Zaini Jass, a former Sabah police commissioner, assumes the role of non-executive chairman. SCIB, facing penalties for delayed financial reports, sees former leaders Mohd Abdul Karim Abdullah (if this name rings a bell, it’s the same Karim as Serba Dinamik) and Rosland Othman fined and reprimanded by Bursa Securities.
New EPF CEO to be announced soonFollowing the appointment of EPF CEO Amir Hamzah Azizan as the new Finance Minister II, the EPF revealed that his successor will be disclosed in due course. Amir Hamzah’s appointment is seen as a continuation of the government's approach to having industry-experienced individuals in key financial positions. Don’t worry, your EPF dividends will still be intact.
Call to halt fundamentalist values at Universiti MalayaLeaders from the Suara Siswa student union, including Dhurgesswaran Veeran, are urging the prevention of fundamentalist values at Universiti Malaya. This follows recent policies introduced by the Angkatan Mahasiswa student union, advocating for gender segregation in gym facilities and concerts on campus. Dhurgesswaran is concerned that these conservative policies may lead to conflict and instability, violating students' autonomy and freedom of speech. 🚫🎓💬Learn: What is fundamentalism.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Richard Peeperkorn, a World Health Organisation representative for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, said less than one-third of Gaza's hospitals remain partially functional and pleaded for them to remain intact. In just 66 days after the conflict erupted, Gaza’s healthcare system is crumbling, with only 11 out of the 36 hospitals being functional.
The New York Times reported that Israeli officials have been literally assisting the Hamas — in the form of money. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu has been said to be quietly allowing Hamas to remain in power, which would avoid a two-state peace solution. The Hamas has been kept strong enough to counteract the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. According to the New York Times, Netanyahu’s government worked with Qatari to keep the money flowing. However — the unexpected happened — Hamas retaliated and launched a large attack against the Jewish state.
Google lost against Epic GamesIn a landmark decision, a jury unanimously sided with Epic Games over Google in an antitrust case that has the potential to reshape the operations of app marketplaces like Google Play. The three-year-long legal battle concluded with a verdict in favour of Epic Games, the creator of the popular online multiplayer game Fortnite. Epic initially filed the lawsuit in 2020, alleging that Google’s app store practices violated federal and California state antitrust laws.
Epic’s battle against Apple and Google, particularly in relation to its game Fortnite, revolves around the allegation that both tech giants violate antitrust laws. The contention is that Apple and Google compel app users to make payments through their respective systems and, in doing so, take a substantial portion of in-app revenues, a practice Epic deems anti-competitive.
It is an expensive loss to the app store duopoly — Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store. They charge as much as 30% commissions to software developers who typically have few other options. According to research firm Sensor Tower, in-app spending is forecast to reach USD182 bil next year and USD207 bil in 2025.
Zara took “The Jacket” campaign down but stopped short of apologisingFast fashion retailer Zara’s latest campaign, “The Jacket”, received backlash on social media for using photos resembling images from the Israel-Gaza war. The campaign, which has since been taken down, contained a series of images (view here) in which the model was pictured against a background of cracked stones, damaged statues and broken plasterboard. Zara said the campaign was conceived in July and photographed in September. In a statement issued days after the controversy, it stopped short of apologising — “Zara regrets that misunderstanding and we reaffirm our deep respect towards everyone.”
The power of boycotting.
Hasbro cutting 20% of its workforceHasbro, the toymaker behind Transformers and My Little Pony, announced that it will be cutting approximately 1,100 jobs, which accounts for about 20% of its workforce. The toy maker is grappling with declining sales as the industry faces challenges even into another holiday shopping season. The slowdown followed a surge in sales during pandemic lockdowns when parents bought toys to keep their children occupied.
Tesla Cybertruck owners may be sued for USD50K if they resell the carOwners of the limited launch edition “Foundation Series” Cybertruck could be sued by Tesla if they resold their vehicles within the first year. In the contract, the owners are required to offer the car back to Tesla at a lower price before attempting to resell it. Tesla also needs to provide the owners with “written consent.” Breaching those terms can result in Tesla demanding liquidated damages of USD50,000.
Inflation in the US is not over yetThe U.S. consumer prices rose unexpectedly in November, with the consumer price index (CPI) increasing by 0.1% month-on-month after being unchanged in October. On a year-over-year basis, the CPI increased by 3.1% in November, slightly lower than the 3.2% rise in October. This unexpected rise in consumer prices suggests that the Federal Reserve is less likely to consider interest rate cuts early next year.
Which are the best cities for expats?According to global consulting firm Mercer, Vienna (Austria) is the best city for expats in its 2023 Quality of Living survey for expatriates. The report analysed living conditions in more than 450 cities worldwide and examined 39 factors. Zurich (Switzerland) took the 2nd spot, while Auckland (New Zealand) took third. Singapore was the highest-ranked Asian country at 29th place. Malaysia isn’t too far off, ranked 86th.Read: Quality of Living City Ranking 2023
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
Amazon’s Prime Video, despite having a later start than the likes of Netflix, dominates the streaming market with the most content. Getting there wasn’t cheap - Amazon spent USD16.6 bil on video and music in 2022, up 28% from USD13 bil in 2021. Amazon last year also acquired MGM for USD8.5 bil, which owns franchises like James Bond, Rocky and Legally Blonde. MGM’s catalogue comprises more than 4,000 film titles and 17,000 TV episodes, easily catapulting Amazon to the top of the list with the most content.
Mark Rober vs Thieves, edition 6