Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ MYAirline fiasco - the juicy summary
Bersatu MP pledges support to PM, remains loyal to party. Goldman Sachs sues MY in UK court over 1MDB settlement. Alarms raised over Israel breaking the laws of war (i.e. Geneva Convention).
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
The wage gap between men and women in the U.S. costs women approximately USD1.6 trillion annually, according to a recent report by the National Partnership for Women and Families. In 2022, women earned 78 cents for every dollar earned by men. Researchers arrived at this total cost to women by analysing data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which included all women who worked full-time or part-time or took time off for reasons like illness or caregiving. This gap is partly explained by “motherhood penalty”.
The 19th edition of the Malaysia International Halal Showcase (Mihas 2023), the world's largest halal exhibition, successfully recorded RM3.11 bil in sales, exceeding the initial target of RM2.5 bil by 24%, further underscoring its significance as a premier global trade platform for the halal industry. Mihas, which took place for five days last month, was hosted by Malaysia's Ministry of Investment, Trade, and Industry (Miti) and organised by Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade).
Kelvin Kiptum shattered the marathon world record on Sunday, 8 October, with a time of 2:00:35. The 23-year-old has only run three marathons in his short career. However, he now holds the title of the fastest marathoner in the world. Kiptum’s time was 34 seconds faster than the best of Eliud Kipchoge, set at the 2022 Berlin Marathon. Kipchoge ran a marathon faster than Kiptum at the 2019 Ineos 1:59 Challenge with a time of 1:59:40, but it's not a legal world record due to the race conditions — rotating pacemakers and other features.
Interesting read: ‘Super-shoes’, tumbling world records and the race for a sub two-hour official marathon
“It can ruin your life only if it ruins your character. Otherwise it cannot harm you — inside or out.”
- Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, Roman emperor from 161 to 180 AD and a Stoic philosopher
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
What a hectic day it must have been for MYAirline passengers. Just when we thought MYAirline could challenge AirAsia’s dominance in this space (pun intended) after being voted one of the most loved airlines in the Asia-Pacific region last year.
What happened? At 5:43 am yesterday, the airline tweeted on X that it has suspended operations, effective October 12, 2023. The airline explained the decision was made due to significant financial pressure to continue operations. Other than asking customers to email customer service, there were no further details divulged — not even the refund process (that was until later in the day). Pictures of MYAirline passengers being stranded in airports flooded social media. Passengers weren’t the only ones who were shocked.
Transport Minister Anthony Loke said the suspension affected about 125,000 passengers who bought air tickets until March 2024 worth RM20 mil in total. Loke went on to say the airline was irresponsible for suspending operations without first notifying either the Transport Ministry or the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom), as it surprised them all. Loke said he has instructed Mavcom to set up a task force to resolve the matter and ensure those affected will be refunded.
How did this happen? The airline is said to be backed by Goh Hwan Hua, the person behind the infamous i-Serve Online Mall Sdn Bhd. In Nov 2021, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) issued an asset freeze order against i-Serve Online Mall Sdn Bhd and its shareholders under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLATFPUA). Just last month, BNM handed i-Serve Online Mall Sdn Bhd and six other companies under the I-Serve Group a RM50 mil compound for accepting deposits without a license on October 19, 2022. The major shareholders of MYAirline — Zillion Wealth Bhd and Trillion Cove Holdings Bhd — are also believed to have links to Goh. The red flag or the last straw was possibly the resignation of the airline’s CEO, Rayner Teo, last Friday.
The airline had audacious goals — it wanted to have a fleet of 20 planes by year-end after only having six planes in the first quarter.
What’s next? At approximately 7:30 pm yesterday, the airline posted on Facebook and encouraged the affected passengers to contact its representatives at firstname.lastname@example.org (from 7am to 12 midnight) to initiate their refund process. Not all is lost — local airlines were sympathetic enough to offer up to 55% discounts for the affected passengers.
AirAsia is offering a 50% discount on one-way base fares.
Batik Air is offering fixed fares on selected and impacted routes.
Malaysia Airlines is offering a 55% discount on flight tickets on affected routes until November 2023.
Goldman Sachs fights back against Malaysia
In a weird twist of event, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has sued Malaysia in a UK court over a settlement related to its involvement in the 1MDB investment-fund scandal. Executives at the Wall Street firm have become increasingly frustrated with the country’s request to revise their current 2020 agreement in favour of harsher penalties. They are also dissatisfied with the lack of information regarding the recovered assets that were stolen.
Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) retaliated, rightfully so, and denied the allegations by Goldman Sachs, saying the allegations mischaracterised the government’s conduct. AGC confirmed the government had received a Request for Arbitration. In 2020, as part of the settlement, Goldman Sachs had agreed to:
Make an initial USD2.5 bil payment in September 2020 (which it did).
Guarantee the return of USD1.4 bil assets seized by authorities worldwide in exchange for the criminal charges against the firm being dropped and no more new ones to be brought upon by Malaysia.
Make an interim payment of USD250 mil if Malaysia doesn’t receive at least USD500 mil of assets and proceeds by August 2022 — this is in dispute, according to the public filings.
Lacklustre debut for furniture and home-living products retailer SSF Home Group Bhd yesterday, which saw its share price close at 26.5 sen. That’s a paltry 6% from its initial public offering (IPO) price of 25 sen. At its closing price, SSF Home is valued at RM212 mil. The company targets to open 18 new retail stores over the next three years. View here to see how other IPOs in 2023 performed on their debut.
IJM Corp Bhd’s wholly-owned subsidiary IJM Construction Sdn Bhd has accepted a RM1.1 bil contract from Malaysia Rapid Transit System Sdn Bhd (MRTS) for the construction of an immigration, customs and quarantine complex (ICQC) for the Johor Bahru–Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link in Bukit Chagar, Johor Bahru. The contract covers the proposed design, construction and completion of Packages 2A and 2B of the ICQC project. The RTS Link project is expected to be completed by December 2026.
You can soon trade in TNGD eWallet!
In the name of financial inclusion, TNG Digital has entered into a partnership with Bursa Malaysia and Affin Hwang Investment Bank to enable share trading on the Touch ‘n Go (TNG) eWallet by Q1 2024 — the real super app. The only thing you can’t do on the eWallet is e-hailing. The feature will enable its users to access their Central Depository System (CDS) account and portfolio and invest and trade on the go. In 2022, retail investors only contributed 25% of the average daily trading value. Hopefully, this feature will increase retail participation in Bursa.
Bersatu MP pledges support to PM
Kuala Kangsar MP, Iskandar Dzulkarnain Abdul Khalid of Perikatan Nasional (PN), goes rogue — pledging his support for PM Anwar Ibrahim’s unity government. The move was made to see if the PM would uphold his pledge regarding allocations for lawmakers. Iskandar wants to ease the burden faced by his constituents over the rising cost of living. The MP insists he remains loyal to his party, Bersatu. He risks facing disciplinary action from his party.
PM leaves the door ajar for PAS
In an interview with Time Magazine, PM Anwar Ibrahim indicated the door is still open for PAS to join his administration in the name of the unity government. Nevertheless, the PM assured that every citizen has a place in this country — with or without PAS in the government — as the country is multi-religious.
PSA — The tabling of the 2024 Budget is happening today at 4 pm. Also, the Health Ministry launched a survey on the Generational End Game bill in MySejahtera app - do the survey for a better, healthier Malaysia! Btw, you need to update the app first.
It’s how you stay informed. Get the daily newsletter of many Malaysians for free.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
The most popular US CEOs right now
Anonymous employee social media platform Blind published a survey report, listing the best and worst CEOs in the US. This survey involved 13,171 verified professionals on its platform and assessed the approval rating of 103 CEOs — the highest scored 96% and the lowest scored the lowest as it gets — 0%.
Since this is a popularity contest, what makes a high approval rating? Based on Blind’s survey, the primary factor seems to be perceived job security. 9 out of 10 CEOs in its top 10 list did not lay off employees in the last year or more. Unsurprisingly, the CEOs with the worst approval ratings saw high-profile job cuts in 2023.
View survey and the rankings: Blind CEO Approval Rating: The Most Popular CEOs, According to Employees
Alarms raised over Israel breaking the laws of war
Even during times of war, there are laws to follow governed by the 1949 Geneva Convention that put a limit to the barbarity of wars and forbid collective punishment of a population. Some basic levels warring parties must adhere to:
Distinguish between combatants and civilians.
Preserve civilian infrastructure such as houses, hospitals and schools.
Give prior warning of attacks if civilians are present in targeted locations.
Allow the passage of impartial humanitarian aid.
Leave civilians and captured combatants unharmed.
Murder, cruel treatment, torture and taking hostages are forbidden.
Power imbalances between warring parties are not taken into account and they are judged solely based on their actions. The laws, as such, apply equally to Hamas.
International rights experts raised alarms over the Israeli military’s indiscriminate nature of the offensive in Gaza that has killed at least 1,100 Palestinians (lots of children and women) and destroyed schools and hospitals. The activists say the complete blockade of Gaza with the cut-off of water, electricity, and fuel supply violates international laws.
Gaza in pictures here by Al Jazeera after nearly a week of attacks by Israel. NSFW - heartbreaking.
The frugal billionaire that gave it all away just passed away
Irish-American billionaire Chuck Feeney has just passed away this week at 92. He is known as the pioneer of duty-free shops, having founded the luxury travel retail group Duty-Free Shoppers in 1960. He achieved his lifetime ambition of giving his USD8 bil fortune away three years ago after making secret donations for decades. His foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies, shut down in 2020 after running out of money.
Feeney was uncomfortable with his wealth earlier on in his career, according to Feeney’s biographer. He refrained from splurging on luxuries, avoided mingling with the wealthy and dressed in understated ways. He wore a cheap Timex watch, bought a second-hand Volvo and insisted that he and his family fly economy class. Towards the end of his life, he and his wife did not have any primary residences and chose to live in modest rented apartments. Nevertheless, he said in an interview in 2012 that he set aside USD2 mil for his retirement. Check out his biography — “The Billionaire Who Wasn’t: How Chuck Feeney Secretly Made and Gave Away a Fortune”.
Private equity giant Apollo Global Management has agreed to acquire The Restaurant Group Plc, the owner of Japanese restaurant chain Wagamama for GBP506 mil (USD616.6 mil). The company runs more than 400 restaurants and pubs across the UK. The deal sent its shares soaring by as much as 38%, but had fallen more than 90% from its peak in 2015.
Accounting firm KPMG was fined a record GBP21 mil (RM122.6 mil) by British accounting regulator over its failed audit of Carillion, the builder that imploded in 2018 and prompted a review of accounting standards. The regulator said that its investigation found this to be a “textbook case study in failure”. KPMG’s failures included not challenging Carillion’s management and loss of objectivity.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
An unfortunate story of these homeowners in Sea Park Apartments caught between a rock and a hard place — imagine having no car parks for your home. How did it happen?
Meal kit companies — where are they today?