- The Coffee Break
- ☕️ McD's Malaysia - affected by boycott, eyes 2x growth to 750 outlets by 2030
☕️ McD's Malaysia - affected by boycott, eyes 2x growth to 750 outlets by 2030
Pharmaniaga awarded MOH concession, contract value confidential. 2024: Year of election for 76 countries. Samsung Galaxy AI phone - coming soon..
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
Information as of 0730 UTC+8 on Jan 5, 2024.
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
Social media companies collectively generated over USD11 bil in advertising revenue from minors in the United States last year, as per a study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The study indicates that YouTube earned the highest ad revenue (USD959 mil) from users aged 12 and under, followed by Instagram and Facebook. Instagram led in ad revenue from users aged 13-17, followed by TikTok and YouTube. The study estimates that Snapchat derived the highest proportion of its overall 2022 ad revenue from users under 18, followed by TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram.
Eight out of the ten most populous countries in the world will have their elections in 2024 — Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan, Russia and the United States. In total, The Economist estimated that 76 countries are scheduled to hold elections this year. Elections in Bangladesh, Mexico, Pakistan, and Russia are unlikely to bring about regime change, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), which classifies them as hybrid regimes or authoritarian. On the other hand, Brazil, India, Indonesia, and the United States are labelled as "flawed democracies," indicating that while their elections are free and fair with the potential for change, their political systems have notable weaknesses, as per the EIU classification.
The wealthiest 1% of the global population, consisting of 77 mil individuals, generates more carbon emissions than the poorest 66%, posing severe consequences for vulnerable communities and hindering global efforts to address the climate crisis. The study, the most extensive examination of global climate inequality to date, reveals that this elite group, including billionaires, millionaires, and those earning over USD140,000 per year, contributed 16% of all CO2 emissions in 2019. This level of emissions is associated with over a million excess deaths due to heat-related issues, as outlined in the report. It just goes to show that inequality is more than wealth.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
MACC working hard
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had summoned four individuals to assist with the authority’s investigation into former finance minister Daim Zainuddin. All four individuals showed up despite being given less than 24 hours’ notice to appear at MACC headquarters. However, MACC barred the lawyers representing the four from being there with their clients during questioning.
Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil stated that his ministry is unsurprisingly ready to assist MACC in the latter’s investigation into the RM700mil expenditure on promotions and publicity by the previous two administrations. However, Fahmi said that his ministry has yet to receive a notification from MACC. Is it just me, or why do I feel that Fahmi is slowly turning into a Wan Fahysal?
Give the job that you promised or risk getting fined, minister warns companies
Newly minted Plantations and Commodities minister Johari Abdul Ghani proposed that a stern fine of up to RM30,000 per foreign worker should be imposed if the companies that brought them in do not employ them within one month. Johari said that certain sectors, such as plantations, are in dire need of workers, to the tune of 80,000 workers. He opined that if there are unemployed foreign workers in Malaysia already, we should transfer them to the plantations. However, Johari acknowledged an issue where the Human Resources Ministry could not transfer the foreign workers' quota to another field in dire need of labour forces as the company had no authority and rights to do so.
While talking about foreign workers, the police’s Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) has opened an investigation paper after receiving numerous reports regarding alleged deceptive migrant recruitment activities by an unnamed individual. The companies that were frauded by the individual will not be investigated by the police. Last November, Malaysiakini revealed that this individual utilised six companies as his vessel to bring hundreds of foreign workers under quotas obtained using fake documents and loopholes in the system.
Boycotted McDonald’s is doing fine after all
McDonald’s Malaysia managing director Azmir Jaafar announced that the company aims to open 750 fast-food restaurants in Malaysia by 2030. At the moment, the company has 370 restaurants nationwide, including the addition of another 32 new restaurants opened in 2023. Azmir concurred with the fact that the company is struggling with the current boycott but he still insisted that McDonald’s Malaysia is fully owned by Muslims when Saudi Arabia’s Lionhorn Pte Ltd took over the company in 2017.
Kudos to McD for being 100% Muslim-owned but the act of suing a pro-Palestinian boycott movement is the biggest shot in the foot for McDonald’s Malaysia. Recently, McDonald’s Malaysia filed a lawsuit against Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Malaysia for issuing alleged defamatory statements. On top of the lawsuit, McDonald’s even demanded BDS pay RM6 mil in special damages. In response to the lawsuit, BDS chairman Professor Dr Mohd Nazari Ismail stated that the McDonald’s lawsuit stands on shaky grounds.
Putrajaya agreed to a phased handover of regulatory power Sabah's electricity supply and Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) to the state government. Despite the handover, the Federal Government will still hand-hold Sabah in its journey to become independent of Putrajaya, power supply authority-wise, by subsiding SESB until the completion of the SESB Transformation Plan in 2030.
A d*ck move by Indonesian CV Ego Sun Star Sukses Mandiri
The company served a trademark infringement claim for RM23 mil worth of damages to Power Root Bhd. The case started when CV Ego filed a trademark for AH HUAT (a name internationally linked to Power Root) a day before CV Ego’s official appointment as Power Root's distributor for Indonesia. A real d*ck move.
The perks of being a PN17 company
PN17-listed Pharmaniaga Bhd’s wholly-owned unit, Pharmaniaga Logistic Sdn Bhd (PLSB), has landed a blockbuster 7-year concession agreement with the Ministry of Health (MOH) for medical supply logistics services. To make things sweeter, the value of the deal is kept confidential. PLSB has been monopolising the supply of medicines and medical supplies to public health facilities since 1994.
Roche Pharmaceuticals picks Malaysia for clinical trials
Sarawak General Hospital has been chosen as the global First-in-Human (FIH) clinical trial site for Swiss healthcare giant Roche Pharmaceuticals. Malaysia will be the seventh country chosen by Roche for this particular study. Since 2012, Roche has invested circa RM190 mil in clinical trials in the country.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Twin explosion in Iran
2 explosions in the city of Kerman had killed nearly 100 people and wounded over 200 others at a ceremony to commemorate the 4th anniversary of the death of top commander Qassem Soleimani, who was then the second most powerful in Iran. This was the deadliest attack in Iran since its 1979 Islamic Revolution. Soleimani was killed in 2020 by a drone strike in Iraq ordered by then-President Donald Trump. Then-President Trump called Soleimani “the number-one terrorist anywhere in the world” and alleged that troops under his command had murdered hundreds of Americans.
Iran initially suspected Israel and the US behind the attacks. The Islamic State (ISIS) group later came out to claim responsibility. One thing the US and ISIS have in common - both disliked Soleimani. The militia had been battling Iran under Soleimani’s leadership in Iraq for years before his death as ISIS, made up of Sunni extremists, was ideologically at odds with Soleimani and the Iranian Shiite regime.
Freedom for prisoners
Largest Russia-Ukraine prisoner exchange
Kyiv announced that the largest prisoner exchange since the war erupted took place in a surprise deal brokered by the United Arab Emirates. Russia released 230 Ukrainian soldiers and civilians, whilst Ukraine released 248 troops back to Moscow. This is the first exchange in months amidst a series of Russian bombardments on Ukraine.
Myanmar pardons 9,000+ prisoners
Nearer to home, Myanmar’s military government has pardoned 9,625 prisoners, including 114 foreign nationals, to mark the country’s Independence Day. Identities of the prisoners released were not yet known and there was no indication that any political prisoners would be freed. Residing in prison is Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, whose government was overthrown by a military coup in Feb 2021. Suu Kyi was sentenced to 33 years over a wide range of politically motivated charges, from corruption to flouting Covid-19 restrictions.
Japan Airlines crash updates
The damage: JAL estimated that the disaster would result in an operating loss of JPY15 bil (USD105 mil), though it is most likely be covered by insurance taken from US insurer AIG, the lead insurer on a USD130 mil “all-risks” policy for the 2-year-old plane. This is the first-ever hull loss globally for the Airbus A350 model since it entered commercial service in 2015.
RIP: Although all 379 passengers in the plane survived, there were non-human deaths — JAL apologised over the death of 2 pets that were checked-in, though it wouldn’t disclose what type of animals the pets were. In the coast guard plane JAL collided with, there were five deaths reported.
A miracle, only partially: The fact that all passengers in the JAL plane survived wasn’t entirely a miracle. Modern safety features and great safety training paid off in this case. Planes have to be designed so that they can be evacuated in only 90 seconds with only 50% of exits available during an accident.
Ironically, only this week, JAL was named amongst the world’s safest 25 airlines in an annual listing by Airlineratings.com.
Retailers vs FMCG brands
Giant retailer Carrefour in France announced that it will no longer sell PepsiCo products like Pepsi, Lay’s crisps and 7up as it had become too costly due to “unacceptable price increases” in the latest price negotiation war between retailers and global food giants. Carrefour has been one of the most active retailers to put up a fight against the big FMCG brands over prices. Last year, it started a “shrinkflation” campaign, labelling sticker warnings on products that have shrunk in size but increased in prices.
Boycotts in such manner against the brands by grocery retailers have been picking up in other countries such as Germany and Belgium as well as a tactic in price negotiations that have become more fraught with rising inflation.
Not helping with the situation is the sharp rise in shipping costs as vessels have to be redirected away from the Red Sea over attacks from Houthi militants as a result of the spillover effects of the Israel-Hamas war. Shipping a 40-foot container from Asia to northern Europe now tops USD4,000, a 173% jump from just before the diversion started in mid-December.
The Samsung AI phone — coming soon
Samsung released a teaser video that it will be unveiling its newest Galaxy series later this month which will be “powered by AI”. It’s not entirely clear what exactly these AI-powered phones can do, but a demo back in November featured an AI live translator integrated into calls that can translate and audio in real-time over a call.
Human 1 - 0 Tetris
A 13-year-old teenager from Oklahoma, US, is believed to have become the first human player to beat Nintendo’s classic video game Tetris 34 years after its release. Well, the other party that beat Tetris was an AI. It took the boy 38 minutes to reach level 157, causing the game to crash, which by definition means beating it. Only until recently, it’s believed that level 29 is the maximum one can play to. If you are looking for a movie to watch, check out the Tetris movie, telling the story of how the game was created by a Soviet engineer — worth the watch! Even the Soviet government had its hands involved in creating this game. Watch the trailer here.
Weekend read: Inside the industry selling life after death
Coming back to life after death could soon be a reality, only if done cryogenically. A handful of companies are selling people this dream of getting their bodies cryogenically frozen after death in liquid nitrogen. However, there is yet to be a solution to revive them. If you are yearning to see the future (assuming humans haven’t nuked themselves or global warming killed us all), set aside USD220,000 (RM1.02 mil) for full-body preservation or USD80,000 just to preserve your brain (but how many of us have Einstein-like brains worth preserving?)
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
Another episode of Are We OK? by former MP Ong Kian Ming and Mr Money TV, where OKM discussed with Tony Pua on MRT 3, HSR dan lain-lain. The show is also available on Spotify! Listen to it here.
Apple + Microsoft breaking the Pareto principle.
This is an important day to highlight the following:
The aggregate weight of Apple and Microsoft in the S&P 500 index is now larger than 4 sectors combined, and 70x greater than the entire metals and mining industry.
This level of dominance by 2 companies is unprecedented.… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
— Otavio (Tavi) Costa (@TaviCosta)
Jan 2, 2024