Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Mid Valley + NU Sentral - mall combo closure due to electrical issues
PSA: water supply cut in Klang, Shah Alam, Kuala Selangor this 22 May. ChatGPT creator OpenAI CEO urged govt to regulate AI. Google to start deleting inactive accounts for 2 years from Dec 2023.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
The cost of Julie’s Biscuits’ global rebranding came close to SGD1 mil (RM3.37 mil), according to its director Sai Tzy Hong. The rebranding took place during the pandemic and was the first for the brand in 35 years. Will generative AI make future rebranding a cheaper endeavour?
At 81 years old, Martha Stewart, businesswoman and celebrity presenter (and also bff with Snoop Dogg), became the oldest-ever cover model for Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit edition alongside three others, Megan Fox being one of them. She was featured in a one-piece swimsuit on the magazine's front page — view the shot here (NSFW). She told the magazine she wanted to inspire other women “to challenge yourself to try new things, no matter what stage of life you are in”.
27 times — the record for the most summits of the world’s highest mountain, Mt Everest, achieved by Nepalese climber Kami Rita Sherpa. He reclaimed this record on Wednesday after another Nepali Sherpa equalled his record of 26 times over the weekend. Also on Wednesday, British mountain guide Kenton Cool reached the world’s highest point for the 17th time, extending his own record for the most summits by a non-Nepalese. Climbing Mt Everest ain’t cheap — the permit alone to scale the mountain costs USD11,000. Nepal is home to 8 of the world’s 10 highest peaks.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
The “Allah” issue saga - PM Anwar to seek audience with Conference of Rulers
PM Anwar said following a discussion with the Cabinet, the government will seek an audience with the Conference of Rulers to present its proposals to strengthen enforcement on the use of the word “Allah” whilst balancing interracial and inter-religious unity and harmony. PM Anwar earlier defended the government’s decision to withdraw the appeal from this 15-year-long legal saga, saying that it only affected Sarawak.
However, opposition leader Hamzah Zainuddin slammed Anwar for being “reckless” in suggesting that the High Court ruling is only applicable to Sarawak. Playing the Salah DAP card, Perikatan Nasional chief Muhyiddin Yassin claimed that a DAP minister, without naming who, during Pakatan Harapan’s first administration had once asked Muhyiddin who was the Home Minister then to settle this case out of court. Lim Guan Eng, already having a legal lawsuit with Muhyddin’s claims on a tax exemption issue, challenged Muhyiddin to name the minister.
Sarawak’s high-tech + low-tech solutions to its growing crocodile problem
Stray dogs living amongst humans are still ok, but crocodiles, that’s next level. Crocodiles have been reported to be found in drains in residential and commercial areas. Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) is working with Sarawak Information Systems Sdn Bhd to develop a tracking system of crocodiles in real time using drones and a global positioning system (GPS) to monitor its population and identify hotspots for human conflict with the reptiles.
The low-tech way involved the issuance of crocodile hunting licenses (the literal Crocodile Hunter), resulting in the capture of 133 crocodiles since 2020. The state government is also drafting a crocodile management plan to address conservation efforts and ensure public safety with the help of experts from Australia, South Africa and the US.
An electrifying day for malls in Kuala Lumpur
Mid Valley Megamall fire — let’s start with the good news post-fire: the mall will reopen today, no casualties and GSC Cinema will refund all tickets for shows cancelled yesterday as the mall was closed due to the incident. Initial investigation revealed the fire was caused by overheated cooling oil at one of the 4 TNB substations in Mid Valley. Watch the fire and the aftermath.
No comments were made about whether a technical issue caused the overheating or the blazing hot weather triggered it. If it’s the latter, the nation has a real problem to deal with as rising temperature leads to higher utilisation of air conditioners, further straining our energy infrastructure. Not too far away from Mid Valley, NU Sentral Shopping Centre was closed too until further notice due to an unscheduled power cut.
Curious how much Mid Valley Megamall and The Gardens are worth?
12 people were arrested, of which 7 were police officers, in a series of raids on illegal gambling dens around Penang on Sunday. All the detained policemen were based at the same police station. Penang police chief Khaw Kok Chin confirmed the arrests but refused to comment further as it was still under investigation.
99 areas in Klang, Shah Alam and Kuala Selangor will experience an unscheduled water supply cut from 9am on Monday, 22 May, until 3am the following day due to a burst pipe. Full recovery is expected by 9am on 24 May. Check here to see if your area is affected.
Conglomerate Berjaya Group is expanding into the rail business. Its unit Berjaya Land has set up a rail business unit, Berjaya Rail Sdn Bhd, as it sets its eyes on the High-Speed Rail Project and will engage in a request for information exercise on the project conducted by MyHSR Corp Sdn Bhd under the Ministry of Finance.
Pavilion Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) is set to raise the largest private placement ever for Malaysian REITs, amounting to RM720 mil. The proceeds raised will be used to partially fund the RM2.2 bil acquisition of Pavilion Bukit Jalil Mall from Malton Bhd. The REIT’s current portfolio consists of Pavilion KL, Elite Pavilion Mall, Intermark Mall, DA MEN Mall and Pavilion Tower. There’s some controversy surrounding this transaction as it involved a common shareholder in both the buyer and seller (left pocket to right pocket) — more here.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
SEA Election News: Cambodia bans opposition, Thais concerned whether youth party will be allowed to rule
Cambodia’s election commission has disqualified the nation’s main opposition party, the Candlelight Party, from contesting in the July elections due to a “failure to submit proper registration documents”. The Candlelight Party was the most serious challenger to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), which has held power for decades. This disqualification means the CPP, under Prime Minister Hun Sen, will most likely sweep the elections in a repeat of 2018.
In Thailand, the youth-led Move Forward Party is the biggest winner in the Thai general elections, with talks to form a coalition with the Pheu Thai party to form a majority of 292 seats. However, concerns remain as to whether the royalist-military elite, who have staged two coups in the past two decades, will allow a smooth handover. Analysts foresee a long, drawn-out process that could trigger new instabilities and protests, which could lead to intervention from the military again.
White knight UBS sees potential USD17 bil loss due to rushed Credit Suisse takeover
UBS Group was forced and rushed into buying rival Credit Suisse, with less than four days to conduct due diligence in a deal it did not want. This rushed deal could lead to a financial hit to UBS in the region of about USD17 bil. Though UBS had expressed interest in a takeover since October, when Credit Suisse was already facing a difficult year, later assessments showed that an acquisition was “not desirable”. Credit Suisse was involved in a series of corporate collapses leading to spooked clients withdrawing funds, accelerated by US bank failures sparking fears of a broader banking crisis.
Situation critical: OpenAI CEO urges lawmakers to regulate AI
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman urged US legislators that it is “critical” for government regulation of artificial intelligence due to the potential risks to humanity. All hail our new AI overlords! Altman told Congress big tech needs new rules, despite political divisions that have blocked internet regulation legislation for years. He proposed the formation of an agency that would licence the most powerful AI systems that has the authority to ensure compliance with safety standards or to take the licence away. Altman is planning a tour across six continents to speak with the public and policymakers regarding AI regulations.
World's third-largest carmaker warns of plant closures if Brexit deal remains unchanged
Stellantis warned the UK parliament that UK car plants will close, leading to about 800,000 jobs lost, if there is no change to a Brexit deal regarding the manufacturing of electric vehicles (EVs) and the associated tariffs for export to the EU. The agreement requires 45% of the value of an EV being sold in the EU must come from Britain or the EU from 2024 to avoid tariffs. However, batteries account for up to half the cost of a new EV and are heavy and costly to transport. With Britain not having the battery industry to support its car industry in switching to EVs, carmakers will be forced to move to mainland Europe to avoid tariffs. Stellantis is the world’s third-largest carmaker by sales and owns 14 brands, including Peugeot, Citroen, and Fiat.
Google to start deleting inactive accounts – Google has announced it will be deleting accounts that have been inactive for two years in a bid to strengthen security measures for its user base. The purge will begin in December 2023.
China fines comedy troupe for "humiliating the People's Army" – A Chinese comedy troupe has been fined USD2.1 million as a penalty for making a joke about the military. The comedian, Li Haoshi, made a joke likening the behaviour of a comedian’s dogs to military conduct during a stand-up performance.
F1 races cancelled as floods prompt evacuations in Italy – The Emilia-Romagna F1 Grand Prix has been called off, as heavy rains have led to flooding in the region. Five have already been killed, with 10,000 people evacuated, as 14 rivers broke their banks and flooded 23 towns.
Microsoft's Activision deal gets EU approval after UK veto – The Microsoft USD69 bil acquisition of game maker Activision has received EU approval, with the European Commission saying Microsoft had addressed their concerns on competition issues. The UK had previously blocked the deal over competition concerns in the cloud gaming business. The US Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit last December to block the deal, but a judge’s decision is unlikely before the end of the year. For the deal to go through, Microsoft needs the approval of regulatory bodies in the UK, EU, and the US.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
Something to think about. But, not that this should be the reason not to work hard. Sacrifices today have to be made for the kids’ future. Work hard with a touch of smarts.
Mother’s Day is over but every day, we should still show our love for our mother. When was the last you kissed or hugged your mum or said ‘I love you’ to her? A short comic by 15-year-old Malaysian artist @bangkaibintang. Try to hold back your tears.