- The Coffee Break
- ☕️ Mask up - 57.3% spike in Covid-19 cases from a week earlier, >1k weekly cases for the past 6 weeks
☕️ Mask up - 57.3% spike in Covid-19 cases from a week earlier, >1k weekly cases for the past 6 weeks
Petronas discovered 1 bil barrels of oil in 2023. PN's unsurprising landslide Kemaman by-election victory. Battle of the Billionaires: Buffett vs Haslam.
Happy Monday! Now that you have viewed your Spotify 2023 Wrapped, here’s your Office 2023 Wrapped.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
Information as of 0720 UTC+8 on Mon 4, 2023.
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
Malaysia looks to be experiencing another wave of Covid-19 infections as the 47th epidemiological week (ME47/2023) from Nov 19-25 reported 3,626 cases — a 57.3% increase compared to the week prior. The number of weekly cases has been above 1,000 cases since six weeks ago. Health Director-General Dr Muhammad Radzi Abu Hassan said the admission rate of Covid-19 patients to health facilities here has increased to 2.9% per 100,000 of the population during ME47/2023. Please stay safe everyone!
RM404,040,404.04 — the amount of money that got a Maybank customer into trouble, not due to her fault, by the way. We know it’s because of the non-auspicious number. The incident happened due to an alleged bank glitch that had inadvertently made the customer a centi-millionaire overnight. Her personal and company accounts were subsequently blocked while the bank investigated the incident.
How expensive can a bottle of whisky get? USD2.7 mil (~RM12.6 mil) — the price of the Macallan 1926 single malt sold by Sotheby’s last month. The spirit is one of the world's most sought-after bottles of Scotch whisky. It is just one of 40 bottles that spent 60 years maturing in dark oak sherry casks. This batch was not made available for purchase — they were just offered to The Macallan’s top clients. The bottle sold at the auction was one of 12 with labels designed by Italian painter Valerio Adami. Exclusiveception.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
PN unsurprisingly won Kemaman in a landslide victory
PN, represented by PAS Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar, has won the Kemaman by-election by a landslide with a 37,220 votes majority, accumulating 70.1% of the share of the votes counted. The vote share obtained by PN was way higher than its feat in GE15 when PN only achieved a 58.11% vote share. Upon being announced as the winner of the by-election, Ahmad Samsuri, who is the current Terengganu Menteri Besar and now Kemaman MP, stated that he never harboured any ambitions to be prime minister. Still, he will consider the position if he is entrusted by the party and the rakyat in the future.
Every time PN won a by-election, there was sure to be news of MPs defecting to their side, and this time was no different. Recently, Bersatu supreme council member Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof told the press that 10 MPs from the Government would be the first batch to allegedly switch sides due to their disappointment over the coalition government being ‘led by DAP’ (salah DAP lagi). Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil is quick to refute the statement and stated that those claims by the Opposition are mere speculation.
Aman Palestin will commence legal actions against MACC
Aman Palestin, represented by its lawyer Rafique Rashid said that the organisation is ready to commence judicial review proceedings against the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for not releasing its funds. Previously, MACC had frozen 41 bank accounts related to Aman Palestin in its investigation against the organisation for alleged misappropriation of RM70 mil.
In news that might be triggered by the whole Aman Palestin saga, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Mohd Na’im Mokhtar said that Putrajaya is looking into methods to regulate the collection of humanitarian donations by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) so that NGOs do not capitalise on the generosity of fellow Malaysians.
All things immigration
Starting December 1, all foreigners entering Malaysia need to furnish the Malaysia Digital Arrival Card (MDAC) online three days before they arrive. Only three groups do not need to fill up the MDAC, namely — those transiting or transferring through Singapore without seeking immigration clearance; Malaysian permanent residents; and Malaysian Automated Clearance System (MACS) Holders. The Immigration Department also announced that ten countries - Australia, Brunei, Germany, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the US and the UK - will be eligible to use the auto gates for immigration clearance at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).
Johor Menteri Besar Onn Hafiz Ghazi said that Putrajaya should consider emulating Singapore to implement a quick response (QR) code system at the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex in Johor. This proposal is part of a three-point recommendation in order to ensure the success of the Johor-Singapore Special Economic Zone (JS-SEZ). As part of the recommendation, the Johor State Government suggested that key infrastructure projects such as high-speed rail (HSR) and light rail transit (LRT) be implemented.
Petronas struck more black gold in 2023
Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) and its contractors recorded 19 exploration discoveries and two exploration-appraisal successes that led to cumulatively over 1 bil barrel of oil equivalent (bboe) of new resources for the country this year. According to the company, more than half of the discoveries were found in the Sarawak Basin. At about USD80 per barrel, that’s about USD80 bil worth of oil discovered.
While talking about the great old fossil fuel, recently, Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow is mulling to introduce a Sarawak-like petroleum products sales tax if Petronas’ survey for hydrocarbons in the waters off Perlis, Kedah and Penang struck liquid black gold. However, Chow’s statement irked the environmental group Network for Ecology and Climate (Jedi) as the Chief Minister’s notion was against Penang’s vision to be the greenest state in Malaysia via the Penang Green Agenda Vision.
A 13-year-old boy who stabbed an e-hailing driver pleaded not guilty
The 13-year-old who stabbed an e-hailing driver in Kedah was charged with attempted robbery in the Sungai Petani Magistrate. The teenager pleaded not guilty (really?!). The whole incident was caught by the driver’s in-car dashcam. If the boy is found guilty, he can be imprisoned for up to seven years and is liable to a fine. Charged just robbery? Not attempted murder? Why?
The company, P Tech Resources Sdn Bhd and the lorry driver, N Maridass, were fined RM320,000 and RM100,000, respectively, for causing the major pollution at Sungai Kim Kim, Johor, that caused more than 2,700 people to be hospitalised. Just to refresh the minds of the public, a total of 1,500 tonnes of river water was needed to clear the 900 tonnes of toxic sludge that was dumped in the area. We need a stronger anti-pollution law or else businesses will deem these measly fines as another cost of business expenses item.
A local Chinese male who was killed after being crushed by a Light Rail Transit (LRT) train at the Datuk Keramat station was believed to have jumped onto the tracks voluntarily. According to the Wangsa Maju Police Chief Superintendent Ashari Abu Samah, the man suddenly jumped and lay on the tracks and the LRT train collided with the victim, causing fatal injuries to both legs.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
A weekend of chaos
The Philippines: Double chaos at our neighbour’s. A powerful 7.6 magnitude earthquake hit the southern Philippines off the coast of Mindanao (see map here) on Saturday, followed by four major aftershocks of magnitudes exceeding 6.0. The earthquake triggered a tsunami warning in the Philippines and Japan, but it was later lifted. So far, only one person was reported to have been killed. Watch the earthquake captured on tape here, here and here.
On Sunday, a university gymnasium, also in the southern Philippines in Marawi City, was hit by a bomb attack killing four people. The explosion took place during a Catholic mass service on Sunday morning. Police are still investigating the matter and did not rule out the possibility it was carried out by pro-ISIS fighters.
France: A German tourist was killed and two others wounded in a knife attack close to the iconic Eiffel Tower in central Paris on Saturday. The attacker, a 26-year-old French citizen, was known to authorities and was previously sentenced in 2016 to 4 years in prison for planning another attack, which he failed to carry out. Paris is set to host the Olympic Games in about eight months’ time, and the incident has raised security concerns.
Gaza: The Israel-Hamas 7-day truce is now over and things are back to post-Oct 7. Israel resumed its bombardment of the enclave, killing more than 700 Palestinians. The death toll so far has exceeded 15,200 Palestinians since Oct 7. Hopes of any cessation ended on Saturday when Israel announced it was pulling out from negotiations in Doha, Qatar, saying talks reached an “impasse”.
With this conflict, we are witnessing the wrong use case of AI, where it should not be used. The Guardian revealed that Israel has been using an AI target-creation platform called Habsora (Gospel in English) to produce automated recommendations for attacking targets. In a way, the ‘decision’ to kill is outsourced to an AI. Read here for more.
Big Oil’s controversial pledge at COP28 climate summit
Exxon Mobil and Saudi Aramco led a pledge by 50 oil and gas producers (our Petronas amongst these 50) at the COP28 climate summit to cut emissions from their own operations*. These 50 companies account for about 40% of global oil production and include 29 national oil companies. The deal is deemed controversial as none of these companies agreed to reduce O&G production, though they pledge to stem the release of methane to near zero by 2030 and stop routine flaring of natural gas. Methane is 80 times more potent in trapping heat than carbon dioxide. Flaring is the burning of natural gas associated with oil extraction, and for a range of reasons, it could not be commercialised.
*These O&G companies will commit to eliminating carbon pollution from their operations, known as scope 1 and 2 emissions. However, this pledge completely excludes Scope 3 emissions, which come from burning fossil fuels they produced that make up the vast majority of their climate damage.
Battle of the Billionaires: Buffett vs Haslam
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is in a legal battle with Jimmy Haslam, the billionaire owner of Pilot Travel Centers, the US truck stop chain, in which Berkshire has forked out nearly USD11 bil to acquire an 80% stake. Haslam earlier sued Berkshire over an accounting change that will cut the value of his remaining 20% holdings by USD1.2 bil, which Haslam has the right to sell to Berkshire on 1 Jan 2024.
Buffett and Berkshire are well-known for making deals that are friendly and trust the operators of the business. In this case, the trust might have been misplaced. Berkshire’s court filing revealed that Haslam launched an “illicit scheme” involving secret pledges to 15 senior executives and other managers to pay them millions of dollars to boost short-term profit (i.e. 2023) to raise the value of his 20% stake in the chain. Berkshire is seeking the court to bar Haslam from selling his remaining stake as Berkshire said it does not know whom to trust or whether the 2023 earnings can be used to value Haslam’s holdings.
“He insisted on making money in the most morally sound way, entering transactions only when, if positions were reversed, he would comfortably take the other side. He sought worldly wisdom through life-long learning.”
Honda invests in electric motorcycles, while Huawei’s new smart car firm reaches USD34.7 bil valuation
The overlooked EV — the two-wheeler ebike. Some countries have more motorbikes than cars and motorbikes can be more polluting than cars. Automaker Honda will be investing USD3.4 bil in its electric motorcycle business by 2030, with the firm also raising its annual sales target to four million units for 2030, compared to a previous goal of 3.5 million. The plan is to introduce 30 new models worldwide by 2030, with dedicated electric motorcycle plants operating globally starting in 2027.
Meanwhile, Huawei Technologies’ new smart car software and components firm reached a valuation of USD34.7 bil after selling stakes to investors, according to sources. Huawei will be spinning off its Intelligent Automotive Solution (IAS) business unit into a new company which will receive the business unit’s core technologies and resources. Among the investors is Changan Auto, a state-owned automaker founded in 1862.
5. FOR YOUR EYES
The story of brotherly love — of two orphans who fight for survival as Malaysians without documentation. Kang Ren Wu actually won the best actor at the recent 60th Golden Horse Awards for portraying the role of Abang in the movie.
Watch the team at Mr Money TV dissect the most evil financial tool - Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL).
3. Painful to watch — a Porsche in Singapore got hit by two bikes about 12 seconds apart. Ouch.