Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Merdeka Center Survey: Most popular party leader - Muhyiddin, least popular party leader - Ahmad Zahid Hamidi
MY women's doubles won first-ever French Open final. Parti Bangsa Malaysia havoc - who on earth is its president? Halloween party in South Korea turned into deadly stampede horror.
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1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
Youth voters can finally exercise their fundamental right to vote, and the Ministry of Education has announced Nov 17 to 21 as school holidays for (Form 6 and varsity students). However, those in varsity still face one hurdle — financial hurdle. Former Election Commission (EC) deputy chairman Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said an estimated 1.4 mil tertiary students won’t be voting in GE15 due to financial constraints. Wan Ahmad recommends expanding postal voting to include students who cannot return to vote.
An article published by The Edge Markets suggests the wild card isn’t Undi18 but automatic voter registration (AVR). The AVR has added 6.23 mil new voters to the voters’ roll (total: 21.17 mil). Undi18 only accounts for about one-quarter of the new voters — and from the looks of it, a considerable portion of the youth voters may not be able to vote due to financial constraints.
224,569 — the number of deaths in Malaysia in 2021, a 34.5% increase over 2020. Covid-19 was the primary cause of death in 2021, making up 19.8% of total deaths.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Malaysia’s women’s badminton doubles pair created history by winning the French Open.
National women’s doubles Pearly Tan & Muralitharan Thinaah have become the country’s first women’s doubles pair to win the French Open final. The pair defeated Japan’s two-time world champions Mayu Matsumoto-Wakana Nagahara 21-19, 18-21, 21- 15 in a hard-fought final in Paris last night.
The Kuala Lumpur High Court allowed the government’s application to strike out Charles Santiago’s lawsuit to stop GE15. Judge Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid believes PM Ismail Sabri need not ask his Cabinet before requesting the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to dissolve Parliament. The justice added that “the plaintiff’s originating summons is scandalous, frivolous, or vexatious and an abuse of the court process.” Santiago is believed to be filing an appeal on the judgement.
Havoc in Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM) as the legitimate president of the party (as confirmed by the Registrar of Societies), Larry Sng Wei Shien, has suspended 13 of its members, namely, incumbent Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin and 12 other supreme council members of PBM. However, Zuraida insists she is the president. She added the party would contest GE15 on its own.
MUDA has announced the three candidates that it will be fielding in GE15. The fate of its president and incumbent Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman will be revealed on Wednesday. Given the party’s co-founder Thanussha Francis Xavier once said the party would not work with “court cluster,” will Syed Saddiq contest?
Pakatan Harapan has rejected an electoral pact with Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), to the disappointment of PSM’s deputy chairman S. Arutchelvan.
A report by Singapore’s Straits Times listed the top five (5) party leaders by popularity, according to a September survey by pollster Merdeka Center. The percentage indicates approval.
Muhyiddin Yassin (51%)
Ismail Sabri Yaakob (46%)
Anwar Ibrahim (33%)
Mohamad Hasan (32%)
Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (13%)
Those travelling interstates for the upcoming GE15 may have the option to take midnight flights as the Transport Ministry has requested the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) to look into the possibility of operating flights in the middle of the night during the GE15 period. The measure to increase flight frequencies is meant to lower the cost for people to vote.
The tale of two S-es
Last Friday, incumbent Muar MP Syed Saddiq was ordered to enter his defence on charges of abetting in criminal breach of trust (CBT) of RM1.12 mil, misappropriation of assets and money laundering of RM100,000. Judicial Commissioner Azhar Abdul Hamid found the prosecution has proven there is a prima facie case.
On the other hand, lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah has been acquitted of all four charges related to money laundering and making false declarations to the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) by the Kuala Lumpur High Court. Justice Muhammad Jamil Hussin delivered the decision.
Malaysia’s human rights record worsens
Earlier last week, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, called on Malaysia to immediately stop the forced returns of Myanmar nationals seeking safety from serious harm. UNHCR has received multiple reports of forced returns of Myanmar nationals from Malaysia, including people seeking international protection.
Caretaker home minister Hamzah Zainudin told United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in Malaysia, as well as human rights groups, not to interfere with the government’s action of deporting Myanmar nationals back to the country. Hamzah said the fact that these foreigners violated laws in the country, hence had to be sent back.
BFM reported a Halloween party at RexKL on Saturday night (Oct 29) was raided by the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) and Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department (JAWI). Those who were cross-dressing (i.e. drag queens) were reportedly getting hauled up. Attendees were also held up at the venue for an hour and a half.
Malaysia wants to be the ecotourism destination of the world
Caretaker Energy and Natural Resources Minister Takiyuddin Hassan said the government aims to brand Malaysia as a ‘Top of The Mind Ecotourism Destination of the World” as part of the National Tourism Policy 2020-2030.
Maxis Bhd gets a new CEO to succeed Gokhan Ogut, who will complete his service on Nov 30. Goh Seow Eng, the president and chief operating officer (COO) of Advanced Info Service (AIS) in Thailand, will be CEO-designate of Maxis Bhd on Nov 1 before officially becoming CEO on Dec 1.
Johor Corp (JCorp) is taking its property arm Damansara Holdings Bhd private by proposing a selective capital repayment (SCR) of 80 sen per share — a total payment of RM43.25 mil — to the Damansara Holdings' board. The SCR of 80 sen is nearly 82% higher than the last traded price of 44 sen per share.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter is now official last Friday
Just one weekend and lots have happened with the new boss in charge:
Musk fired Twitter’s top executives, including its CEO Parag Agrawal. No broken hearts amongst the fired - these execs are walking away USD88 mil between them as they will receive severance and automatic vesting of their shares. Agrawal alone will be entitled to USD38.7 mil, the largest payout.
Binance, the largest crypto exchange in the world, which is an investor in this takeover, will set up an internal team to explore how blockchain and cryptocurrencies could help the social media platform. Binance confirmed that it has invested USD500 mil. Here’s the breakdown of how Musk is funding his USD44bil takeover.
Musk’s first policy action is to form a content moderation council to review the platform’s moderation policies. We might see former US President Donald Trump be reinstated back after getting permanently banned from Twitter after allegedly inciting the US Capitol riot.
Tesla competitor General Motors (GM) became one of the first major companies to announce that it will pause advertising on Twitter as it reviews the platform under new ownership. The WSJ reported that advertisers would boycott Twitter if Trump is allowed back to the platform.
A weekend of horror - death by stampede and bomb
Halloween party turned into a real stampede horror in Itaewon, South Korea
At least 153 were killed, and 133 were hurt in a stampede in the district in Seoul after a huge crowd thronged a narrow street during Halloween celebrations. Many of the victims were women and young people in their 20s. Dozens of people were seen receiving CPR on the streets. Local media reported that the stampede occurred after a large group of people rushed to a bar after hearing an unidentified celebrity was there. Some scenes of the incident here, here and here (warning - graphic content).
Bomb explosion horror in Mogadishu, Somalia
Somalia, the easternmost country in Africa, saw at least 100 people killed and 300 wounded in 2 car explosions in its capital. The attack targeted the Somali education ministry and a school. The government has blamed al-Shabab, an Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group that has been fighting in Somalia for more than a decade, to topple the government. Some history of Al-Qaeda here.
O&G giants’ massive profits
Big Oil is raking in massive profits when the world faces decades-high inflation and energy shortages. Exxon reported the highest quarterly profit in its 152-year history of USD19.66 bil, nearly matching Apple’s USD20.7 bil in the same period. Chevron’s net profit came in at USD11.2 bil, slightly lower than its all-time high quarterly profit of more than USD12 bil in the preceding quarter. Other O&G giants experienced the same fortune.
Calls for windfall taxes are getting louder now. US President Joe Biden has criticised Big Oil for misusing its profits on share buybacks and increasing dividends and instead called for them to reinvest their windfall profit to increase production capacity. Earlier in the year, Biden said Exxon was making “more money than God”.
The European Parliament and the EU member countries have reached a deal to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel passenger vehicles by 2035, a small step towards achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
Hong Kong made its biggest bust of ‘coconut water’ worth more than HKD1 bil (USD130 mil). A record-breaking 1.8 tonnes of liquid methamphetamine were hidden in cartons of coconut water en route to Australia from Mexico and is said to involve a massive international drug trafficking ring. Authorities said coconut water shipments from Mexico are extremely rare, with the last shipment in 2016 weighing just 6 kg.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
Extraterrestrial series today - Mars, moon and Earth’s magnetic field
NASA’s Insight Lander detected rumblings of a meteor crash into Mars on Christmas Eve in 2021. Only recently, its Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter circling the red planet discovered the impact crater — the biggest new crater NASA has ever seen, 10x larger than typical craters forming on Mars. The crash revealed an interesting find - blocks of water ice kicked up from beneath the surface.
NASA’s Lucy spacecraft captured a rare image of Earth and the moon together, showing the vast space between both. Can you spot the moon? 30 Earths can fit into that space, and it took Apollo astronauts three days to reach the moon.