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  • ☕️ Malaysia's big semiconductor dream but continuing decline in STEM students in SPM 2023

☕️ Malaysia's big semiconductor dream but continuing decline in STEM students in SPM 2023

A good 'one-by-one' gentlement settlement. PH fields PKR fresh face in Sg Bakap by-election. EIA: We may see cheap oil by end of the decade.


Information as of 0720 UTC+8 on June 14, 2024.


About 72% of rivers nationwide are classified as "clean," according to Fadillah Yusof. Btw, it seems like the definition of clean river means it is not polluted — not pristine crystal clear water. This figure comes from a survey by the Environmental Department, which found that 486 (72.3%) out of 672 rivers meet the clean criteria. Fadillah, who chaired the first meeting of the Special Committee to counter water quality deterioration, also announced plans to utilise AI technology for enhanced river quality monitoring, led by the National Water Research Institute of Malaysia (Nahrim).

At 39, Cristiano Ronaldo is leading Portugal's bid to reclaim the European Championship in what could be the last major tournament of his illustrious career. Ronaldo debuted in the Euros in 2004 at the age of 19 and has set records just by participating. Ronaldo has made a total of 25 appearances since his debut. He is already the only male player to have represented his country in five Euros and is on track to extend that to six, provided he remains injury-free. Excluding penalty shootouts, Ronaldo has scored 14 goals in the Euros.

One of the most valuable privately-owned coin collections, once belonging to Danish businessman and butter tycoon Lars Emil Bruun, is headed to auction later this year after spending over a century in secrecy. Bruun's collection, which includes nearly 20,000 coins, banknotes, and medals, was kept from sale due to a stipulation in his will that forbade their sale until a century after his death in 1923. The collection is estimated to be worth up to USD72 mil (RM339.5 mil), making it the most valuable coin collection ever to go to auction, according to Stack's Bowers, the New York rare coin dealer and auction house overseeing the sale. View the collection here.


National Corruption Day

  1. The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) nabbed 17 people to assist in the ‘flying container’ investigation that led to up to RM3.5 bil in tax leakages. Apart from the arrest, MACC has also thus far seized RM4.4 mil in cash and a number of luxurious goods, which were believed to be proceeds from the corruption.

  2. MACC is flying high this week — in another case, the anti-graft body called up three individuals from the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) to record their statements regarding the sale of Felda land in Melaka. MACC believed that a syndicate had been illegally selling Felda-owned lands to external parties, including the sale of 260 hectares of Felda land worth RM400 mil in Bukit Katil, Melaka, in 2023. To date, MACC has frozen 200 bank accounts worth RM28 million, including fake Felda bank accounts.

  3. With the rising news on corruption lately, the MACC chief commissioner Azam Baki has issued a warning, especially to the public services’ head of departments, to report any corrupt practices, where failure to do so will lead to job termination or facing criminal charges in court.

  4. If MACC wants to clean up Putrajaya of corruption, perhaps the anti-graft body should look at the Immigration Department first. According to the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC), the body has received 176 complaints thus far this year, mostly directed towards the Immigration Department. Out of the 176 complaints, about 24% are related to abuse of power and corruption. EAIC is a federal statutory body responsible for monitoring and investigating the public complaints of misconduct of enforcement officers or agencies as listed in Act 700.

PKR to field a local teacher for the Sungai Bakap by-election
Pakatan Harapan (PH), via its component party PKR, will field a fresh face in the form of a 60-year-old teacher named Joohari Ariffin as the candidate for the Sungai Bakap by-election in Penang. Before the formal introduction of Joohari, he signed an anti-hopping pledge to prevent him from switching parties if he won the by-election. Bersatu learned the hard way of the importance of signing an anti-hopping pledge.

Credits: Nga Kor Ming

In response to the candidate announcement by PH, Penang PAS deputy chief II Mohd Yusni Mat Piah stated that PH's decision to field a candidate with a religious background in Sungai Bakap aims to balance the influence of the PAS candidate. Mohd Yusni added that this is because PAS candidates usually have an Islamic education background. PAS will announce its candidate for the by-election on June 15.

Good week for the domestic defense sphere

  1. Boustead Heavy Industries Corporation Bhd (BHIC) has secured an RM1.1 bil contract to provide in-service support to the Royal Malaysian Navy’s Prime Minister Class Submarines. At the moment, Malaysia has 2 Scorpene submarines, with plans to have a total of 4 submarines in its fleet, in accordance with the Navy’s 15-to-5 plan.

  2. As a result of Defense Minister Mohamed Khaled Nordin’s trip to Turkiye, Malaysia has signed a memorandum of understanding to purchase three Turkish Littoral Mission Ships (LMS) to be built by Turkish defence form STM. The purchase of the ships will ensure the country is on the right track in implementing the Navy’s 15-to-5 plan. This deal also marked the first time Malaysia had signed a government-to-government (G2G) deal to acquire defence products.


  1. Gentlemen settlement
    There will be no rematch between two men who had a brawl at a local sundry store as the duo had buried the hatchet. Penang police chief Hamzah Ahmad said both men have retracted their police reports, and the case has been classified as No Further Action (NFA). If you missed the viral fight between a Chinese and an Indian fighting in the Malay language (#1Malaysia), you can view it — warning, graphic contenthere.

  1. Negligence instead of murder?
    ‘Close but still so far’ — said Comm Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain in relation to the murder of Zayn Rayyan Abdul Matiin. According to Mohd Suhaily, based on the discussion between the police and the Attorney General’s Chambers, the prosecution decided to charge the dead boy's parents with child negligence instead of murder. If you require more unofficial information, you can just go to Edisi Siasat X and read it at your discretion.

  1. High-income nation a pipe dream
    Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Chang Lih King said that the total number of 2023 Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) students taking science and mathematics subjects has shown a declining trend over the past six years. At the moment, Chang’s ministry is aiming to solve the issue via the National Science Week (MSN) 2024 Carnival, which aims to engage over 600,000 participants. Long-term talent crisis in slow motion as Malaysia tries to build its USD100 bil semiconductor plan.

The shortage of highly skilled labour is one of the reasons why Malaysia is still stuck in the middle-income trap. According to Small and Medium Enterprises Association of Malaysia (Samenta) chairman William Ng, Penang alone is short of 50,000 engineers to support the semiconductor boom. The declining rate of SPM students taking STEM subjects is a worrying trend and a one-week science carnival is not enough to reverse this trend.


Israel-Hamas ceasefire — so close yet so far
Thought we were so close to some peace, to see a ceasefire after the US proposed its 3-phase plan, backed by the UN Security Council. Now, we are back to square 1 and Israel’s war and killing spree in Gaza will continue. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, alongside Qatar’s PM Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, said the amendments proposed by Hamas to the US’s proposal are not “workable” even though the deal is “virtually identical” to the proposal Hamas put forward on May 6, that Israel has accepted. The discrepancy between Hamas’s position and the US proposal is not known. 

Hamas responded to Blinken, saying that Hamas did accept the proposal put forward by Qatar and Egypt on May 6 and it was Israel that amended it. Hamas slammed Blinken for acting as though he’s the foreign minister of Israel. The ceasefire talks are still ongoing. And so does the killing of innocent Gazans, too. 

We may see cheap oil by end of the decade
In its latest report (view here), the International Energy Agency (IEA) said the world will see an overflow of global oil supply as world consumption demand peaks ahead of 2030. It is estimated supply will blow past projected demand starting in 2025 by up to 8 mil barrels per day above the projected demand of 105.4 mil barrels per day. Some reasons for the potential plateaued demand: pandemic rebound loses steam, clean energy transitions accelerate further, slowdown and structural shift in China’s economy.  Although the oil cartel (OPEC) curtailed output, the world’s largest producer of oil, the US is seeing a boom in its shale industry, cancelling out the impact of OPEC’s supply cut. 
Opposing view: Why the IEA is wrong about peak oil demand

This view is not shared by the industry - the biggest pushback coming from OPEC said the peak demand warnings have been replayed since the 1880s and have yet to manifest. Perhaps, this time it’s different? If it materialises, it would be good news for consumers. But for Malaysia, this will blow a fiscal hole in our national budget if oil prices collapse as the government is heavily reliant on Petronas. In 2023, petroleum-based revenue contributed 23% towards the government’s budget, down 28% from the year before and is expected to further decline in 2024. A small relief, with this reducing dependency. 

Business models going upside down

  • OpenAI: Superb revenue growth and how much did Apple pay them
    OpenAI is on fire as its revenue — annualised revenue, that is - more than doubled over the last six months to USD3.4 bil, up from USD1.6 bil in 2023, The Information reported. So is OpenAI going to make truckloads more now that Apple is powering its latest iOS 18 utilising OpenAI’s GPT4o model? Apparently not, according to Bloomberg. Apple executives were mum on the financial terms of this partnership. Instead, Apple is believed to have ‘paid’ OpenAI in-kind by giving them the exposure on hundreds of millions of Apple devices. In fact, not only is Apple not paying using real moolah, it might also want to monetise from this partnership through revenue-sharing, such as from the USD20-per-month premium plan for ChatGPT Plus. Apple seems to be repeating its playbook with Google as it charged them USD20 bil in 2022 according to court filing, to be the default search engine in Safari on Apple devices.

  • GameStop’s saviour - interest income
    Memestock and struggling games retailer GameStop has capitalised on its recent frenzy to sell additional shares to raise roughly USD3 bil, adding to the USD933 mil it raised in mid-May. This brings its total cash balance to USD4 bil. It might have discovered a new business model — collecting interest income. With one-year Treasury bills yielding over 5%, this could generate about USD200 mil in interest income by virtually doing nothing, its core retail business hasn’t generated any profits on an annual basis since 2019 and has bled a cumulative USD969 mil in operating losses. Though a high-interest environment wouldn’t last long, at least this buys them more time to figure out a sustained turnaround strategy. 


  1. China carmakers overtake US counterparts for first time
    For the first time last year, Chinese carmakers outsold US carmakers globally. Brands led by BYD sold 13.4 mil new vehicles last year, outpacing the 11.9 units delivered by American brands such as Ford and Chevrolet. However, this lead might not last long for the Chinese carmakers, given the additional tariffs imposed on EVs imported from China by the EU this week. Of course, Japanese brands maintained their lead over the rest of the industry, delivering 23.6 mil cars in total and making 7 of the 10 best-selling models. The best-selling model? Elon Musk must be proud - this goes to Tesla Model Y, with 1.22 mil units delivered last year, up by a huge 64%. 

  2. EU fines Hungary USD216 mil over asylum laws
    The EU’s top court, the European Court of Justice, fined Hungary GBP200 mil (USD216 mil) and imposed a daily fine of EUR1 mil (USD108 mil) penalty for failing to follow the bloc’s asylum laws and illegally deporting migrants. The anti-immigrant government of Hungary has taken a hard line on people entering the country since well over 1 mil refugees and asylum seekers entered Europe in 2015, with most fleeing conflict in Syria. Hungary is often referred to as the ‘Bad Boy’ of Europe, as its PM Viktor Orban often clashed with Brussels.


  1. The most muhibah wedding of the year. A Malay couple's wedding celebrated with silat + Indian dhol drums + Chinese lion dance.

  1. Have a good long weekend ahead folks and happy holidays!