- The Coffee Break
- ☕️ MYAirline reportedly secures new Middle East investor, but Transport Minister says no refunds, no license
☕️ MYAirline reportedly secures new Middle East investor, but Transport Minister says no refunds, no license
Govt. considering to introduce fixed-term parliament. Serba Dinamik seeking for white knight, RTO. Germany slammed for defending Israel in genocide case.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
Information as of 0725 UTC+8 on Jan 15, 2024.
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women in Malaysia, with 1,740 cases in 2020, leading to 57% fatalities, as per the Global Cancer Observatory (GCO). The GCO estimates that over 12 mil women aged 15 and above in Malaysia are at risk of developing cervical cancer. Globally, cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women, with approximately 604,000 new cases diagnosed in 2020, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
USD63.2 mil (RM293.7 mil) — Tim Cook's earnings in 2023, according to the Apple proxy statement. It’s a steep pay cut compared to what Cook earned in 2022 (USD99.4 mil). In 2023, Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, and the board of directors decided to reduce Cook's compensation. Despite the target award being USD49 mil, it was exceeded due to Apple’s strong performance. For 2024, Cook's target equity award is USD50 mil, with 75% tied to performance-based vesting.
Eleven spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs), launched last Thursday, recorded a trading volume of USD4.6 bil in the maiden day. For comparison, the first gold ETF in the US, GLD ETF, pulled in more than USD1 bil in its first three days of trading back in 2004. Standard Chartered analysts predict that the bitcoin ETFs could attract USD50 billion to USD100 billion in investments this year. Will cryptocurrency finally be accepted by the public?
What's your relationship with Bitcoin?
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Putrajaya is mulling to introduce fixed-term parliament
Law Minister Azalina Othman told the media that the Government is considering adopting the fixed-term parliament act (FTPA) after Deputy PM Ahmad Zahid Hamidi mooted the idea. Azalina added that the Legal Affairs Division will be tasked to initiate in-depth studies to get the public views on this proposed new legislation. If we follow the United Kingdom as an example, there will be a default date for general elections instead of the advisory five-year interval. Azalina highlighted that the move to consider FTPA is not a desperate move by Putrajaya, but it reflects PM Anwar Ibrahim’s commitment to ‘respect electoral mandates, democratic processes, and ensure political stability’.
The proposal to implement FTPA did not get Sarawak Premier Abang Johari Openg too excited as he believed that freedom of choice is a constitutional right and it should be reflected in the choice of the nation’s leadership.
On the other hand, UMNO supreme council member Ahmad Maslan seconded the FTPA proposal as it will bring political stability to the government of the day. Ahmad said that such legislation will ensure that the chosen Government will be given enough time to advance its development agenda without the interference of any party to ‘tebuk atap’ - a term famously coined by PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang, justifying Muhyiddin’s administration was not a back-door government but one formed through a ‘leaking’ roof.
Fumes left in the tank when it comes to the public’s trust in the police
Johor State Police Chief Kamarul Zaman Mamat said that the police station chief who allegedly assaulted a member of the public was recently transferred to another department at the Batu Pahat District Police Headquarters (IPD), where he does not have to interact with the public. The measure is only temporary while the police are still investigating the incident that involved police allegedly assaulting the public. See what we just said and how dumb it is? What could ever go wrong?
Johor police chief orders probe into cop assaulting man
— Free Malaysia Today (@fmtoday)
Jan 12, 2024
In commenting on the recent string of police misconducts, Kuala Lumpur Police Chief Allaudeen Abdul Majid said that the root cause of the misconduct is weak personality and the greedy desire for a luxurious lifestyle. He agreed that those involved in misconduct need to be removed from the force so that the public can appreciate the efforts of the rest of the force to maintain public harmony.
While police misconduct is not going away anytime soon, is the existing Independent Police Conduct Commission (IPCC) enough to investigate any police malice? According to the Malaysia Bar, it is not and Putrajaya should adopt the establishment of an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC). Compared to the IPCC, the IPCMC has disciplinary authority over the police, while the former only recommends proposed action to the Police Force Commission.
Transport Minister Anthony Loke stated that the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project will stay its course despite the rumour that Japanese firms had bailed out their involvement in the project. According to the Japanese news agency Kyodo News, the decision of the Japanese companies to withdraw from the project was mainly due to the increased risk profile of the project due to the absence of financial support from the Malaysian Government. Over five consortiums are expected to present their proposals for the project, including local companies such as YTL Group, Berjaya Group and Gamuda Berhad.
Despite rumoured to secure a new investor from the Middle East, Transport Minister Anthony Loke said that MYAirline could not obtain the air service license (ASL) — conditional or otherwise until all refunds are made to its customers and deals with former staff are fulfilled. MYAirline is believed to have owed RM20 mil to about 125,000 passengers when the company suddenly went bust in October last year.
PN17 designated Scomi Energy Services Bhd, had a change of mind and decided not to proceed with acquiring the assets of a marine vessel operator, Duta Marine Sdn Bhd. Instead, Scomi Energy embarked on a proposed share consolidation plan where its issued shares will be reduced from RM445.535 mil to RM35,000 and a reverse stock split of 20 to 1 will be executed. Then, a private placement exercise of 35.125 mil new shares, representing 60% of its enlarged issued shares, would be conducted and taken over by Dr Subramaniam Pillai, founder and CEO of Dhaya Maju Infrastructure (Asia) Sdn Bhd (DMIA). To sweeten the deal, Scomi Energy would also receive an RM140.03 mil contract under the Klang Valley Electrified Double Track Phase 2 project.
Drinking water manufacturer Life Water Bhd had filed the documents for its initial public offering (IPO) on the Main Market of Bursa Malaysia. The planned IPO of the company will involve the sale of existing 28.39 mil shares and the public issue of up to 97.56 mil new shares. Life Water's profit after tax (PAT) increased to RM20.62 mil in FY2023 from RM15.74 mil in FY2022. The company has three manufacturing plants in Sabah. They can produce a total of 389 mil litres of drinking water and 37 mil litres of carbonated and fruit drinks each year. A new manufacturing plant in Keningau will start operating by the third quarter of 2024. The funds raised from this IPO would be used to finance its capital expansion plan and working capital. You can read the prospectus here. See Life Water’s brands here — heard of any of them before? Meanwhile, Spritzer Bhd has a market cap of RM648.2 mil (view more company info here).
While one company is aiming for an IPO, another company’s listing status is up for grabs. PN17 designated Serba Dinamik Holdings Berhad is scouting for any white knights that are interested in participating in its restructuring exercise by assuming its listing status or a reverse take-over (RTO)*. A white knight is a hostile takeover defence whereby a 'friendly' individual or company acquires a corporation at fair consideration when it is on the verge of being taken over by an 'unfriendly' bidder or acquirer.
*RTO can be viewed as a reverse initial public offering (IPO) where a private company acquires a public company to avoid the lengthy and complex process of IPO — learn more here.
Six individuals were exposed by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), believed to be involved in the syndicate that cheated the Government of more than RM33 mil in luxury car duties. MACC's investigation into this matter was instigated by the 2022 Auditor General's Report, where it was uncovered that there was more than RM72 mil leakage in the customs duty collection of luxury cars.
The Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) had issued a warning of significant weather with easterly winds until January 17. The affected areas will be Sarawak and the eastern region of Sabah, which are forecasted to experience continuous rain with strong winds and rough seas.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
South Africa vs Israel on Palestinian genocide at the ICJ
The 2-day hearing last Thursday and Friday saw the International Court of Justice (aka World Court) hearing South Africa and Israel presenting their arguments in the genocide case brought on by the former against the latter. The ICJ is likely to present a provisional measure in the coming days, though a final verdict will take years. Here are the five main genocidal acts South Africa accused Israel of and Israel’s arguments in defence of these accusations here.
Germany has come to Israel’s defence and is set to intervene on Israel’s behalf at the ICJ, condemning South Africa’s genocide claim as “political instrumentalisation” and “accusation no basis in fact”. Germany’s decision has clearly shocked many, particularly the African nation of Namibia (see map here).
Why Namibia is upset?
Namibia has criticised Germany’s action to support Israel at the ICJ and this nation of 2.53 mil people has all the right to do so, all rooted in history. Namibia was a former colony of Germany in the early 20th century - the German colonisers massacred more than 70,000 Herero and Nama people between 1904 and 1908, which historians consider as the 20th century’s first genocide. Both German and Namibian governments have been in negotiations on the Namibian genocide since 2015, but Germany is said to have fallen short of recognising the Namibian genocide in legal terms — in other words, the Germans refuse the obligations to pay reparations.
Asian politics: Taiwanese election, Myanmar ceasefire
Vice-President William Lai Ching-te from the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has won the Taiwanese presidential election in a tight three-way race for an unprecedented third consecutive term for his party. The result angered China as Lai is pro-Taiwanese independence and China had earlier issued warnings against voting for him. Lai won 40.14% of the votes, followed by China-friendly Hou Yu-ih from Kuomintang (KMT) with 33.44% and Taiwan’s People Party (TPP) Chairman Ko Wen-je with 26.43% of the votes.
In his victory speech, Lai maintained that he is committed to peace and open to conditional engagement with Beijing, and maintaining the current cross-strait status quo, neither seeking for independence nor unification.
Myanmar’s military has agreed to a temporary ceasefire with an alliance of ethnic armed groups, which it has been violently fighting since October to end its control of its regions along the northern border with China. China brokered the agreement, as Beijing is concerned about disruption to trade and a refugee influx. The offensive by these ethnic armed groups has emerged as the biggest threat to the regime since its power grab that toppled the government of Aung San Suu Kyi in Feb 2021.
No break for the airline industry
We are barely halfway through January and the airline industry recorded a third incident for the year, though this time around it is a relatively minor incident. To recap, the earlier two incidents were two Japanese planes crashed on the runway and a plane door blowout. During a domestic flight, Japan’s All Nippon Airways made a U-turn halfway through the flight after a crack was found on the outermost of four layers of windows surrounding the cockpit of the Boeing 737-800 plane. No injuries were reported amongst the 59 passengers and 6 crew.
This plane was not one of the Boeing 737 Max 9 aeroplanes that saw its door blowout in midair. Rarely are we bothered with the aeroplane model that we fly in. Anxiety has risen so much that nervous travellers are requesting travel booking site Kayak.com to make its filters more “granular”. The site now allows users to filter their flights by aeroplane model (i.e. deselect journeys on Boeing 737 Max 9).
Blackrock acquires GIP for USD12.5 bil
Blackrock, the world’s largest asset manager with USD10.01 tril assets under management (AUM), has agreed to acquire Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) for USD12.5 bil in a cash-and-shares deal. GIP, one of the world’s largest alternative asset and private credit asset managers with more than USD100 bil in assets, counts Britain’s Gatwick airport, the Port of Melbourne and offshore wind projects amongst its investments (see portfolio here). If GIP sounds familiar, the asset manager financed a USD230 mil term loan for a business unit of Bursa-listed oil and gas player Yinson Holdings Bhd (see company info here) last August.
ChatGPT for corporate uptake off to a good start
The corporate version of ChatGPT now has signed up 260 enterprise customers, barely four months after launching, with “tens of thousands” of inbound interest from smaller companies that do not qualify for this tier. These companies have more than 150,000 employees registered to use this product. The price tier for the enterprise version starts at USD25 per month. The back-of-the-envelop calculation shows that OpenAI is raking in USD3.75 mil per month from this product, at least. ChatGPT enterprise promises added features such as privacy safeguards and data encryption and guarantees that the company will not use customer information to train its AI model.
The tragic irony would be these companies laid off ChatGPT Enterprise users on the grounds that AI could do their jobs better. This already happened at buy-now-pay-later giant Klarna and language learning app Duolingo.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
Below is the global wealth pyramid in 2022, according to banking giant UBS. There were 3.5 mil fewer USD millionaires, down to 59.4 mil. The top 1% of people own 45.8% (USD208.3 tril) of the world’s wealth in 2022. Read UBS’ Global Wealth Report 2023 here.
Trump the massive troll - the former US president released an advertisement trolling President Biden, referring White House as a senior living facility. The ending is epic - White House Senior Living, where residents feel like presidents.
Have a good start to the working week!