Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Muhyiddin's 'RM15 mil salary' remark - PM Anwar issues legal notice demanding apology
Review ongoing to separate powers of Attorney-General and Public Prosecutor. Michelle Yeoh-TIME's 2022 Icon of the Year. Meet Fanatics Inc-the USD31 bil sports merch, card trading, sports betting co.
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1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
RM60 mil in traffic summonses was collected between Jan to Oct this year. The Inspector-General of Police, Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani, quipped majority of the summonses were collected online — 105,260 users paid their summonses online. A simple way to top up government coffers - stop offering discounts on fines.
Central banks have been stocking up on gold — 670 tonnes since the start of the year until September. Why? Central bankers may think they are getting a bargain, acquiring an asset that seems immune to political and financial turmoil. After all, the price of the metal has dropped 3% this year.
1,000,000 kilograms of trash have been collected by Interceptor 002 from Sungai Klang. The initiative by the non-profit organisation Ocean Cleanup aims to rid the oceans of plastics, and the interceptors work in rivers to prevent plastic wastes from entering oceans.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
The TikTok wave that few saw coming
Communications and digital minister Fahmi Fadzil said 1,126 provocative and extreme videos were banned on TikTok right after election day. The minister clarified TikTok’s artificial intelligence had automatically blocked those videos. He added the ministry would work with social media platforms to ensure online content does not touch on the 3R issues (royalty, religion and race).
The Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (K-KOM) is also now known as the Ministry of Communications and Digital.
The Public Prosecutor's Office (PP) to split from the Attorney General's Chamber (AGC)
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Azalina Othman Said announced that the ministry is currently looking to separate the PP and AGC. The separation would free PP from any government interference of the day. Azalina said AGC would come up with a paper on the refinements of the AG/PP split.
Read the research here by the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) explaining the conflict and diving deeper into the separation of these two roles.
Loke-ing at three agendas
Transport Minister said the ministry will focus on three key agendas — improvement of public transport, digitalisation of services, and road safety. Loke said he would discuss the matter with Prasarana Malaysia Bhd to see the technical constraints if the train frequency was to be increased. One thing is for sure — the East Coast Rail Link Project (ECRL) would continue.
PM10 issues another demand letter, this time to Muhyiddin
Anwar Ibrahim wants Muhyiddin Yassin to apologise for a claim that the prime minister received RM15 million for his services as the Selangor state government’s economic adviser. Anwar’s lawyers, SN Nair & Partners, issued a legal notice demanding Muhyiddin to apologise for his remarks that were made during a Perikatan Nasional campaign in Padang Serai. The remarks were captured on a TikTok video with more than 1.1 mil views. Juwairiya Zulkifli, political secretary to Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari, said the PKR president only received a token sum of RM1 per year for his services.
BN candidate Mohd Johari Hussain has successfully retained the Tioman state seat for Barisan Nasional, having secured victory with 8,080 votes.
PN candidate Azman Nasrudin won the Padang Serai parliamentary seat in Kedah with a 16,260 vote majority. Harapan candidate Mohamed Sofee respects the results, expressing his unhappiness that PN played the racial and religious cards.
Najib failed in his appeal to disqualify Sri Ram
Najib Razak’s failed in his appeal to disqualify senior Deputy Public Prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram from prosecuting him in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) audit trials after a three-member bench of the Federal Court unanimously dismissed the appeal. Najib’s defence lawyer, Shafee Abdullah, applied to disqualify Sri Ram because of former AG Mohamed Apandi Ali’s Facebook posting in 2020, which alleged that Sri Ram had approached him in January 2018 while he was AG, to ask him to arrest Najib. The former PM will know on Jan 30, 2023, whether he will be required to enter his defence with regard to the 1MDB audit tampering charge.
Celebrity preacher Azman Syah Alias charged again with sexually assaulting teen boys
Also known as PU Azman, the celebrity preacher was charged with four counts of sexually assaulting three teenage boys at two separate courts — Klang Sessions Court and Klang Magistrate’s Court. At the Sessions Court, he was charged with two counts of committing physical, sexual assault on a 17-year-old boy and asking another 17-year-old boy to communicate sexually, whereas, at the Magistrate’s court, Azman Syah was charged with committing extreme obscenity against a 19-year-old boy.
Boost-ing Thai tourism dollars into Malaysia
Merchants accepting e-wallet Boost in Malaysia can now accept cross-border payments from tourists from Thailand via its DuitNow QR code. There are about 200,000 Boost DuiNow QR merchants at popular tourist spots in Malaysia. Thais will no longer need to exchange for physical MYR and Boost merchants will receive their payment in ringgit. Now we’re waiting for the opposite to happen. Save the last-minute hassle of going to a money exchange.
KNM Group Bhd defaulted on RM417.6 mil loans
PN17 outfit KNM Group Bhd defaulted on three credit facilities, two totalling USD23 million (RM101.4 million) and one of €68.5 million (RM316.2 million) on Dec 1. The default happened after the disposal of its key subsidiary, Borsig GmbH, for €220.8 million fell through. The group added that the event of default “may have an adverse impact” on its financing facilities (i.e. cross defaults).
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
China: Hacking US, stockpiling gold
The US Secret Service alleged that APT41, a Chinese state-sponsored cybercriminal group, has stolen at least USD20 mil in Covid-19 relief funds, including small business loans and unemployment relief. The hacker group emerged more than a decade ago and is considered the “workhorse” of the Chinese government when it comes to cyberespionage operations.
The People’s Bank of China increased its gold reserves for the first time in over three years by 32 tons in November, bringing its total holdings to 1,980 tons, the sixth-biggest central bank hoard in the world, further signalling its diversification away from the US dollar. The US tops the list with the biggest gold holdings of at least 8,100 tons. It’s picking up some lessons from Russia after its central bank’s foreign reserves held by other central banks of at least USD300 bil were seized.
The Chip War: Apple to onshore chip supply, TSMC to increase US investment to USD40 bil
US President Joe Biden and Apple CEO Tim Cook were present at the opening ceremony of giant Taiwanese chipmaker TSMC’s new Arizona plant. TSMC will more than triple its planned investment of USD12 bil in Arizona to USD40 bil and construct a second production facility. With the majority of advanced chips being manufactured in Taiwan, Taiwan’s proximity to China isn’t giving Biden a good night’s sleep. Growing US-China tension has contributed to the increased urgency in Biden to bring back chip manufacturing to the US, as he signed the Chips and Science Act in August to provide USD50 bil in incentives for companies to produce semiconductors in the US.
Cook said Apple will be using US-made semiconductor chips for the first time in nearly a decade, and it will be the Arizona facility’s largest customer. Apple contributed 26% to TSMC’S revenue in 2021. Looking past the big numbers and getting into the details, an analysis here finds this investment less than impressive
Fanatics - successful USD700 mil funds raised and rare valuation hike in a bear market
Fanatics Inc has raised USD700 mil (two-thirds from new investors) at a valuation of USD31 bil - a modest hike from its previous fundraising round back in March when it raised USD1.5 bil at a USD27 bil valuation. Investors include Silver Lake, Fidelity Management and SoftBank Group.
Fanatics’ primary business provides sports merchandising and memorabilia for professional sports teams, which accounts for USD6 bil of its USD7 bil revenue. It has branched into another business - Fanatics Collectibles, the trading card company launched last year and is fast to post USD1 bil sales this year. Then trading card business separately raised USD350 mil in Sep 2021 at a valuation of USD10.4 bil. Its next area of growth is in the sports-betting business, which will be launched in the spring of 2023.
Former US President Donald Trump’s main company, The Trump Organization, has been found guilty of running a 13-year tax fraud scheme and could face up to USD1.6 mil in fines and hinder his ability to conduct business in New York City when the sentence is handed down later.
Disgraced former crypto exchange FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) has hired a new lawyer - Mark Cohen, who previously defended convicted sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell. The Financial Times revealed Excel screenshots of nearly 500 investments valued at more than USD5.4 bil (it’s mostly, if not all, private companies and illiquid investments, meaning it woud be worth way less when it’s up on the market for sale), made by the venture capital division of FTX. Among these investments are a fertility clinic, vertical farming company, video game studios and military drone maker.
The US Congress excluded an earlier proposed law, known as the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, succumbing to Facebook parent Meta’s threat to remove news from its platforms if the bill is passed. The act would give news organisations greater power to negotiate with Facebook and other social media for a larger share of ad revenue from the content shared on Facebook.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
The RM10 million that Syed Mokhtar’s Bernas has to pay to farmers put in the perspective of his entire wealth. Weirdly, many netizens are criticising PM Anwar’s action on Syed Mokhtar as an attack on a Malay entrepreneur when the rice bowls of petanis and farmers were the ones long being shortchanged due to Bernas’ monopoly.
Malaysia’s Michelle Yeoh is TIME’s 2022 Icon of the Year. Icon of the Year is a special category in the magazine’s annual Person of the Year issue. As for TIME’s 2022 Person of the Year? Ukrainian comedian turned president Volodymyr Zelensky.
If you have heard of author G. Michael Hopf’s “hard times create strong men….” (read here for the whole quote) quote, you will enjoy the meme below.