- The Coffee Break
- ☕️ Malaysia ranked 57th in TI Corruption Perceptions Index
☕️ Malaysia ranked 57th in TI Corruption Perceptions Index
"GOLD" number plate series up for grabs. Weight pay gap - the obese earn less than the skinny. Musk's latest invention - brain implant tech, Telepathy.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
Information as of 0725 UTC+8 on Jan 31, 2024.
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
A study on C-suite executives at Fortune 100 companies revealed that the average age has returned to 57, the same as it was four decades ago. The research analysing C-suite leaders from 1980 onwards highlighted a reversal of a long trend. Initially, the average age of C-suite executives had been trending downward after 1980, reaching an average age of 51 in 2001. Fortune 100 C-suite executives often have multi-industry experience in law or finance. The study also revealed that 28% of these executives were women, up from levels in 1980. Welcome back gerontocracy — a rule by those that are significantly older than the adult population.
When body weight affects salary — numerous studies have demonstrated that employees who are classified as obese, with a body-mass index (BMI) of 30 or more, tend to earn significantly less than their slimmer colleagues. However, the costs of weight discrimination may be more severe than was previously thought. The greater your level of education, the higher the penalty. The Economist’s research shows that obese men with a bachelor's degree earn 5% less than their thinner colleagues, while those with a graduate degree earn 14% less. Obese women, unfortunately, face even greater challenges: the corresponding percentages for them are 12% and 19%, respectively. In this case, it literally pays to be healthy.
The authorities blocked 1,675 websites selling illegal pharmaceuticals and seized unregistered pharmaceutical products worth RM500,000 during Operation Pangea XVI in October 2023. Ministry of Health’s (MOH) pharmacy services senior director Norhaliza A Halim said 76% of the websites were identified through e-commerce platforms. The operation also seized 13,552 units of unregistered pharmaceutical products worth RM132,498 at all the country's main entry points. Please get your meds and supplements from the proper channels!
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Minister urges caution amid Najib pardon speculation 🔍
Rumours that former Prime Minister Najib Razak could potentially be granted a royal pardon arose from a report in a Malay daily, which cited sources claiming that the Pardons Board had discussed and decided on the matter. Although the daily later retracted the report, rumours persisted, suggesting Najib's jail term might be commuted (reduced) to six years instead of being fully pardoned.
Following the retraction, the Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil stressed the importance of verification before publication. He advises media practitioners to await an official statement from the Pardons Board regarding Najib Razak’s appeal for a royal pardon.
Apa motif cuba sorok keputusan ni daripada pengetahuan awam selama mungkin?
Kalau keputusannya adil, kenapa takut nak umumkan? Kalau keputusannya tidak adil, kenapa keputusan tu dibuat?
— Iqbal (@Iqtodabal)
Jan 30, 2024
Transport Ministry launches "GOLD" number plate series for FT day celebration
To mark the 50th anniversary of Federal Territories (FT) Day, the Transport Ministry unveils a special "GOLD" number plate series. Bidding for these plates will run from Feb 1 to Feb 5, with results announced on Feb 6. The series, representing the golden jubilee of FT Day, will be auctioned via the JPJeBid system (place your bids here), with minimum bids starting at RM20,000 for single-digit numbers. Part of the proceeds from the auctions will support Social Security Organisation (Socso) payments for taxi drivers, providing a safety net for approximately 40,000 drivers, particularly seniors and army veterans.
Additionally, efforts to cap flight ticket prices for festive season travel and address challenges in commuter services are highlighted by Minister Anthony Loke. Similar initiatives will be extended for upcoming celebrations, ensuring continued support and improvement in transportation services.
Loke also announced that approximately 6,369 passengers took advantage of the government's move to limit flight ticket prices from the peninsula to Sabah and Sarawak to RM599 just before Christmas last December. The initiative incurred a subsidy cost of RM2.7 mil, with an average subsidy of RM429 per ticket.
Do you agree with this subsidy?
Integrity unwavering: Singapore holds firm, Malaysia on the rise 🙌
Singapore maintains its fifth-place position globally in the 2023 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, boasting an unchanging score of 83. The nation's consistent top 10 presence since 1995 underscores its steadfast commitment to integrity, backed by low corruption rates and strong public confidence. Just a few weeks ago, the Singapore Transport Minister was charged over receiving kickbacks worth just SGD383.4k from a Malaysian property tycoon. That amount wouldn’t even get the parties out of the bed in Malaysia.
Conversely, Malaysia shows progress, with its CPI score climbing from 47 to 50 in 2023, placing the country 57th globally. A slight improvement from 61st in 2022. Initiatives by the MACC, Attorney-General’s Chambers, and Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim drive this improvement, aligning with Anwar's goal to elevate Malaysia to the top 25 CPI rankings by 2033. Interestingly, this improved score did not factor in a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) granted to Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi last September. Would the score be the same if this issue had been taken into account?
Check out the 2023 Corruption Perceptions Index here.
HE Group Bhd debuted strongly on the ACE Market of Bursa Malaysia, opening at 43 sen, up 53.6% from its IPO price of 28 sen. With a high oversubscription rate of 63.35 times, the company raised RM24.33 mil, earmarked for working capital and expansion, including data centres in Johor to tap into the Johor-Singapore Special Economic Zone. Managing director Amos Haw Chee Seng outlined plans for new offices in Kedah and Johor, focusing on opportunities in semiconductor manufacturing and AI. Reporting a profit after tax of RM7.26 mil on RM138.58 mil revenue for the financial period ended Aug 31, 2023, HE Group sees significant growth potential, backed by a strong order book of RM211.9 mil as of Dec 15, 2023, and optimism in Malaysia's stable political landscape amid global trade tensions.
Nylex (Malaysia) Bhd's shares will be suspended from trading starting Feb 7 as it failed to submit a regularisation plan for its Practice Note 17 (PN17) status by the extended deadline of Jan 26. Despite appealing for more time, the suspension will proceed pending a decision. Nylex entered PN17 status after divesting assets to its parent company in January 2022. It aimed to regularise through a light rail project in Johor Bahru (ahh, the right city to be in), but progress depends on feasibility studies and government approval.
Urgent: Cloud seeding requested as Air Itam dam levels plummet
Water levels in Penang's Air Itam Dam have dipped below 40%, jeopardising the water supply for 170,000 residents. The situation worsens with increased pumping due to a burst pipe in Sungai Perai. Dry weather and high demand during Chinese New Year exacerbate the issue. Cloud seeding is urgently requested as the dam nears Alert Level 2 at 39.37% capacity. Despite past resilience, immediate action is crucial to address the escalating crisis and ensure continued water stability.
Learn: How cloud seeding works to create rain
Malaysian trio's breakthrough: Wireless power for space satellites 🚀
Muhammad Kamil, Razlan Dhamir Hamdan, and Justin Lee, all aged 29, developed groundbreaking wireless charging technology for satellites — a wireless power bank for satellites. Radio signals are used, similar to wirelessly charging a smartphone using a power bank. Inspired by Neil Armstrong's moon landing, Razlan conceptualised the idea, with Muhammad and Lee joining the effort. Astrolab, partnering with SpaceX, shows interest in their innovation for lunar rover power. Muhammad hopes their success will inspire more Malaysians to innovate and challenge stereotypes. Kudos folks!
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Israel’s inhumane act
Israel seems to be ignoring the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) orders to prevent acts of genocide in Gaza and provide humanitarian aid to Palestinians. However, the court stopped short of ordering a cessation of hostilities in Gaza. Israeli forces, dressed as doctors, nurses and even civilians, killed three Palestinians inside a hospital while they were asleep. The Israeli army said its troops had “neutralised” the men, who were hiding in the hospital and belonged to a “Hamas terrorist cell”. Based on the article, the death toll arising from Israeli attacks on Gaza is currently 26,637.
Hamas’s group leader, Ismail Haniyeh, confirmed that he is studying a proposal for a truce in Gaza that was thrashed out in Paris over the weekend to halt the war and enable the exchange of prisoners.
Elon Musk’s latest product — Telepathy
Musk’s brain chip start-up Neuralink implanted a device in its first live human subject over the weekend. The patient is said to be recovering well. Musk named the first Neuralink product Telepathy and said it is meant for people who have lost the ability to use their limbs. Neuralink adopts an invasive and high-bandwidth approach in contrast to some competitors, seeking to enhance the rapid data transfer from the brain to the computer. The device is surgically implanted into the brain’s surface using a robot during a surgical procedure. Positioned in the part of the brain responsible for planning movements, the device interprets neural activity, enabling individuals to control external devices, like smartphones or computers, using their thoughts.
While it is still undergoing human trials, there are ethical issues related to emerging neurotechnologies — such as using brain data or a class divide between the cognitively enhanced and others that aren’t.
IMF: Positive global outlook for 2024
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) revised its global growth forecast for this year, anticipating a 3.1% expansion, up from the previous estimate of 2.9%. The improved outlook is attributed to stronger-than-expected growth in the US and fiscal stimulus measures in China. Despite the positive adjustments, the IMF warned of potential risks stemming from conflicts and inflation. The projections also account for assumptions of decreasing commodity prices, including fuel, in the coming years and anticipated interest rate reductions in major economies. The IMF maintained its 2025 growth forecast at 3.2%.
On the other hand, the Euro area’s growth forecast was cut to 0.9% from 1.2% previously. Based on gross domestic product (GDP) data released on Tuesday, the eurozone economy flatlined in the last three months of 2023 — 0.1% growth YoY and 0.1% contraction QoQ. The Eurozone's economic growth is hampered by challenges, with Germany and France contributing to the overall slowdown. High-interest rates, low foreign demand, and geopolitical tensions are key obstacles. This pressures the European Central Bank (ECB) to consider measures to lower borrowing costs and stimulate growth.
Former Pakistani PM Imran Khan sentenced to 10 years in jail
Khan, who is already serving a three-year jail term after being convicted of corruption, has been sentenced to 10 years in jail, which he was charged with leaking state secrets. He said the charges are politically motivated as the conviction comes the week before general elections, in which he is barred from standing. The so-called cypher case revolves around the alleged leaking of secret diplomatic correspondence sent by Pakistan’s ambassador in Washington to Islamabad when Khan was prime minister.
A slap on the wrist for HSBC for failing to protect its deposits
The Bank of England's Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) has fined HSBC GBP57.4 mil for failing to protect up to GBP112 bil of deposits over several years. The global bank failed to accurately identify deposits eligible for Britain's Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which protects customer cash up to GBP85,000. The PRA said that the failings occurred at HSBC Bank plc between 2015 and 2022 and at HSBC UK Bank plc between 2018 and 2021. Think PIDM.
Saudi Arabia dropped its plan to raise oil production
Saudi Arabia has abandoned its plan to expand daily oil production capacity, marking a significant policy reversal. Saudi Aramco, the state-run company, disclosed that it was instructed by the energy ministry to halt the initiative to increase maximum sustainable production capacity from 12 mil barrels per day to 13 mil by 2027. Saudi Aramco, responsible for about 10% of global daily oil consumption (100 mil barrels per day), had embarked on a multibillion-dollar investment program. No reasons were given for this sudden reversal.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
How our minds play tricks on us.
MrBeast and team are at it again — exploring some of the most expensive private islands in the world.
Malaysia’s first glow-in-the-dark road was implemented in Hulu Langat, Semenyih, by the Public Works Department, covering a length of 245m with 490m of road markings in November. The Works Ministry is still evaluating its effectiveness in improving safety due to its relatively high implementation cost. Quite a sight.