Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Malaysia's brain drain rate - 5.6% of population migrated, above global average
PM Anwar shed some light on cap gains tax. Muhyiddin denied arrest but said MACC requested him. Inflatable tanks see a market boom as Russian army pops balloons instead of real tanks.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
5.6% — Malaysia’s brain drain rate, nearly double the world’s average of 3.6% of the population migrating from their home country to other countries, shared by Human Resources Minister V. Sivakumar. This rate works out to 1.86 mil Malaysians who have migrated overseas, of which 1.13 mil or 60% of them are residing across the straits in Singapore as of 2022. Other main destinations of the Malaysian diaspora are Bangladesh, Australia, the UK, the US and Brunei.
2.5 mil people, or 80% of school-aged Afghan girls and young women, have been out of school for over a year following a ban by the ruling Taliban government in Aug 2021 after overthrowing the Western-backed government of President Ashraf Ghani. Women’s employment has also dropped by 25% since then. More than 80 orders and decrees, many of which tightened the Taliban’s grip on Afghan women, based on data compiled. All these restrictions on women have cost Afghanistan USD1 bil in losses, roughly 5% of its GDP, UN Women estimated. Sadly, not so happy International Women’s Day for Afghan women.
View: Timeline of Taliban rule for women
China has a “stunning lead” over the US in 37 out of 44 critical and emerging technologies across defence, space, energy, biotechnology etc., in a study by Australia-based independent think tank Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI). For a few fields, the world’s top 10 research institutions are based in China. To note, the US State Department partly funded the study.
Read: ASPI’s Critical Technology Tracker - The global race for future power.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Should Abdul Hadi’s title be revoked?
Amanah Youth vice-chief Abbas Salimmi Adzmi told the media that PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang’s ‘Tan Sri’ title should be revoked following his blatant disobedience against the King. He had submitted a memorandum of protest to Istana Negara on this matter. The said disobedience referred to Abdul Hadi’s intention to topple the government and to go against the words of the King that advocated for a unity government. In the statement, Abdul Hadi added that at the end of the day, the King is also bound by the Constitution.
Tan Sri is the second most senior title at the Federal Level. There are two categories of Tan Sri differentiated by 2 Malaysian Federal Awards of different ranking, namely Panglima Mangku Negara (PMN rank 7th) and Panglime Setia Mahkota (PSM rank 8th). There may be at any time up to a maximum of 75 living PMN holders, and a maximum of 250 living PSM holders. Abdul Hadi is a PSM holder.
Politics, here, there and everywhere:
Hishamuddin Hussein stated that UMNO’s purge was done to act as a safety net just in case the party was not given the exemption by the Home Ministry on the no-contest motion for its top two posts. Hishamuddin was part of the four members that were suspended from the party, alongside 44 members that were sacked, including Khairy Jamaluddin and Noh Omar.
The alleged news that Muhyiddin Yassin was arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) at a golf course was denied by his aide. Muhyiddin also gave a statement via social media denying the arrest. However, he was scheduled to give a statement to MACC on Thursday regarding the ongoing probe into the alleged abuse of government funds.
PM Anwar says that the proposed capital gains will not be imposed on shares dumped via IPO
PM Anwar Ibrahim said that the proposed capital gains tax would not apply to any individuals or companies selling shares in listed companies, including the sale of unlisted shares via an initial public offering (IPO). PM Anwar added that extensive roundtable sessions would be conducted with stakeholders before the Government finalised the law, announced in the Budget 2023 speech last month. The PM was quoted saying the “tax will not be introduced on listed shares” - does this mean trading on Bursa will be exempted from this cap gains tax? Imposing this tax on unlisted shares might have an impact on venture capital and private equity deals. If this is indeed correct, Inside Scoop would be so happy to get its timing right to sell recently.
Malaysia will green-light the HSR project if no government money is involved
Transport minister Anthony Loke said that the Government is open to reviving the High-Speed Rail (HSR) project between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore if the private sector is willing to fully undertake the project. At the moment, Putrajaya has not received any proposals yet from any party, but the Government welcomes any propositions from any private party. Previously, the HSR project was cancelled by the Muhyiddin-led administration and the country had to pay RM320 mil for doing that.
The Health Ministry will not force employers to make sure their foreign workers take the booster jabs
The Health Minister said that her ministry will not mandate foreign workers to take the booster jabs as per the ministry’s policy. The Health Ministry will encourage people to take the booster jabs, regardless Malaysians or foreigners. This statement will be deemed a huge blow for Pharmaniaga Bhd, who hoped that the Government will force employers to ensure their foreign workers take the booster shots. The pharmaceutical arm of the Boustead Group is in deep financial problems due to the overstocking of its Covid-19 vaccines. For the financial year ended 31 December 2022, Pharmaniaga Bhd suffered a huge loss, to be exact, RM580.85 mil in loss before tax.
Putrajaya will table a new drug law that de-crowd the overcrowded prisons
Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution said that a new drug law will be tabled soon that will redirect minor drug offenders to rehabilitation centres instead of prisons. The Drug and Substance Abuse (Treatment and Rehabilitation) Act is aimed at decriminalising drug offences and helping reduce the population in prisons. There are currently 74,459 prisoners in 39 prisons across Malaysia, above the max capacity of 65,000.
In relation to drug offences, an actor, Said Muhammad Ismail and three of his friends are facing the death penalty for trafficking some 494g of cannabis at a vape shop in Jalan Klang Lama.
Ferrari S.p.A has ended its partnership with Naza Italia Sdn Bhd, which has been exclusively distributing Ferraris in Malaysia since 2008, effective April 8. Wonder who will be the next distributor for Ferrari in Malaysia? Rumour has it that Sunway, Sime Darby and Berjaya are among the contenders. Sime Darby and Berjaya already have existing business relationship with Ferrari. Another company, Ital Auto, which Singapore-based Malaysian billionaire Ong Beng Seng owns, is also throwing his hat into the ring.
Although the relationship between Naza Group and Ferrari comes to an end, the former is still the distributor of Maserati, Ducati and Suzuki in the country.
After the Maharani Energy Gateway project, Sultan Ibrahim has emerged as a shareholder in another sea reclamation project - he is now a 30% minority owner of KAJ Development Sdn Bhd, the developer of the recently revived Melaka Gateway project, a tourism and commercial hub.
Learn more: Maharani Energy Gateway and Melaka Gateway.
Employees Provident Fund Board's wholly owned subsidiary Kwasa Land Sdn Bhd will partner with Exsim Group to finally develop a mixed development project worth RM1.6bil at the not-so-new township. Finally, the MRT Kwasa Damansara station will have some buildings around it.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Inflatable decoy company sees market boom as Russian army pops balloons instead of real tanks
Czech firm Inflatech Decoys (visit site) saw a surge in demand for its products after adding high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS) decoys to its product line. Notably, it would be less expensive for the enemy to destroy an inflatable decoy worth between USD10,000 to USD100,000 compared to an actual HIMARS vehicle. It’s not just merely ‘balloons’ - the product has a heat signal generator that can fool infrared sensors too. Inflatech Decoys saw its business booming over the past year after Russia invaded Ukraine and will continue raising production of its decoys to dozens per month. The firm also told Czech media that it believes over a third of the HIMARS units destroyed by Russian forces were actually the company’s decoys.
This same tactic was deployed on a large scale against Hitler and the Nazis during WWII through a unit called The Ghost Army, with 1,100 people comprising visual artists, carpenters and actors - their task was to stage elaborate displays to fool the Germans.
More pain incoming - US Fed chairperson warns of incoming interest rate hikes
US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the Fed might continue to hike interest rates to further temper inflation, especially after economic data for January showed unexpected strength. However, the decision hinges on other data reports between now and the Federal Open Market Committee’s meeting on March 21 (mark your calendar), including information on employment numbers scheduled for this week. There have been 4.5% of rate hikes since March 2022.
Sea Group sees surprise first profit
The parent of Shopee and Garena saw its first-ever profit when it reported a USD426.8 million net income in the last quarter of its 2022 fiscal year, brought about by its cost-cutting efforts. While revenue growth slowed, the group still saw USD3.5 billion in sales, up 7.1% year-on-year. Last year, Sea cut thousands of jobs, froze salaries, and slashed expenses, closing operations in India and parts of Europe and Latin America. Sea’s shares appreciated 22%, adding USD8 billion to its market value, and over USD900 million to the personal wealth of founder Forrest Li.
View: Q4 and Full Year 2022 Results presentation deck
Adidas slashes dividends in the aftermath of split with Ye
Adidas will be recommending a dividend reduction to 0.7 euro (USD0.74) per share for 2022, with the brand also facing the possibility of its first annual loss in three decades this year. This comes after Adidas split with Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, over the latter’s repeated antisemitic comments. Adidas had immediately halted sales of the Yeezy line when it announced the split and is currently considering a plan of action for the remaining Yeezy merchandise in its stock, worth about USD526 million.
Amazon may look to rehire layoffs
After axing over 18,000 in January in a bid to face down slowing growth and macroeconomic headwinds, Amazon may be looking to call some of its laid-off employees back. In a leaked recording During an internal town hall meeting, Ian Wilson, a human resources VP at Amazon Web Services, said he believes that many of those laid off are eligible for re-hiring, but Amazon’s recent hiring freeze has complicated any plans to call back former employees.
Thai national jailed for insulting royals with satiric duck calendar – The man was sentenced to two years in jail under lese majeste laws, with prosecutors arguing the images of the ducks on the calendars, bedecked in royal regalia and accompanied by controversial captions, ridiculed and defamed King Maha Vajiralongkorn.
China cracks down on betrothal gifts to boost birth rates – In a bid to increase birth rates, China is now targeting the customary practice of a betrothal or bridal gift from a groom to his in-laws, a tradition with a long history in China. A delegate from the state-backed All-China Women’s Federation called for authorities to curb expensive betrothal gifts. The government is also rolling out other incentives to encourage birthrates to combat its declining population.
Singapore’s Paradise Group gifts Rolex watches to long-serving employees– 98 employees who had served with the group for over 10 years were each gifted a luxury watch during the group’s annual dinner, an event that cost an estimated USD1.5 million. They were among 330 employees who were being recognised for their years of service, with awards also including gifts such as a Suisse gold bar. In Malaysia, the company operates well-known F&B brands like Beauty in the Pot and Paradise Dynasty.