- The Coffee Break
- ☕️ Najib to file new application for pardon #nevergiveup
☕️ Najib to file new application for pardon #nevergiveup
Bukit Gantang MP: 16 Bersatu MPs to express support for PMX by Feb 28. Breakdown: Who are the owners of EPL clubs? Sarawak Report editor’s jail sentence for defamation against T'gganu Sultanah.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
Information as of 0735 UTC+8 on Feb 8, 2024.
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
The Mineral and Geoscience Department has identified Cameron Highlands and the Tapah-Cameron Highlands route as two of the 31 landslide hotspots in the country. According to its director-general, Zamri Ramli, Cameron Highlands alone has experienced 6,431 landslides from 1961 to 2023, and 6.5% of the total landslides occurred at the 31 hotspots.
The World Health Organization's cancer agency predicts a substantial increase in global cancer cases, reaching 35 mil by 2050, a 77% surge compared to 2022 figures. Factors contributing to this rise include tobacco use, alcohol consumption, obesity, and air pollution. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) highlights that approximately one in five individuals will develop cancer in their lifetime, with mortality rates at one in nine for men and one in twelve for women.
How deep does one have to go to find dark matter? 7,874 feet (2.4 km). China has inaugurated the world's largest and deepest underground laboratory, the China Jinping Underground Laboratory-II (CJPL-II), in Sichuan Province. Opened in December 2023, it expands upon the original CJPL, operational since 2010. Located 7,874 feet underground and covering over 11.6 million cubic feet, CJPL-II surpasses Italy's Gran Sasso National Laboratory, previously the largest. The facility benefits from its extensive mountainous cover, providing ideal conditions for studying dark matter, which constitutes an estimated 95% of the universe.
Learn: Dark Energy, Dark Matter
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Najib Razak plans fresh pardon bid amidst controversy
Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, the lawyer representing Najib Razak, revealed to the press (watch the press conference here) what happened during the Pardons Board meeting assessing Najib’s pardon application. He insinuated that the then-YDPA contemplated granting a full pardon to Najib. However, a letter carrying the seal of the then-YDPA Shafee shown to the press revealed that the Pardons Board did not advise the Agong to reduce the former PM’s prison term and recommended that Najib serve out his sentence. He expressed dissatisfaction with the decision-making process, citing uncertainties about how the final decision was reached.
Shafee also announced former PM Najib Razak's intention to file a new application for a full pardon, awaiting the inauguration of Malaysia's new king. In addition, he rebuked critics of Najib's commuted sentence, particularly Malaysian Bar president Karen Cheah Yee Lynn and G25, dismissing their remarks as uninformed on the YDPA’s royal prerogative to pardon.
Here’s the funny thing — why is Shafee the one disclosing the details of the Pardons Board meeting and not the government of the day?
Syndicate behind RM500mil illegal gambling FPX transactions nabbed
A syndicate operating under the guise of Cita Layar Sdn Bhd has been busted for facilitating over RM500mil in illegal gambling transactions through their online payment gateway, MyPay88. The arrest of 10 individuals, including a Datuk Seri, sheds light on the network's extensive operations involving technicians, programmers, and administrative staff. The syndicate, operating since mid-2022, earned hefty commissions by exploiting loopholes in the online payment system. The police said investigations revealed that about 40 illegal gambling rackets had used the services of this particular syndicate.
The syndicate earned a 2% commission for every transaction made via its payment gateway — that’s an easy RM10 mil in transaction fees since the inception of the syndicate.
More Bersatu MPs rally behind Prime Minister, deny allegations of deals
Bukit Gantang MP Datuk Syed Abu Hussin Hafiz Syed Abdul Fasal claims that at least 16 Bersatu MPs will express support for the Prime Minister by Feb 28. He refutes accusations of brokering deals and asserts that their allegiance to the government remains steadfast. Syed Abu Hussin Hafiz criticises the Opposition's efforts, stating their inability to manage their members. Despite potential repercussions from Bersatu, he remains resolute and prepared to defend his stance in court, emphasising their loyalty to the party despite supporting the government.
KLCCP stapled group reports record profits
KLCCP Stapled Group, comprising KLCC Property Holdings Bhd and KLCC Real Estate Investment Trust, saw a significant 37.6% rise in net profit to RM 384.59 mil for 4QFY2023, driven by improved performance in the hotel and retail segments. Quarterly revenue also increased by 7.1% to RM 442.63 mil, with a declared dividend of 14.4 sen per stapled security. The group's FY2023 net profit climbed to RM931.29 mil, buoyed by a 10.9% revenue increase.
The group owns prime assets, including Mandarin Oriental KL, Suria KLCC, Petronas Twin Towers, Menara 3 Petronas, and Menara ExxonMobil. View earnings here.
YTL REIT expands portfolio
YTL Hospitality REIT (YTL REIT) is set to acquire Syeun Hotel in Ipoh, Perak, for RM55 mil cash, marking its continuous investment in high-quality hospitality properties. Managed by Pintar Projek Sdn Bhd, the acquisition aims to enhance long-term income distribution and net asset value growth for unitholders. The property will be renovated and reopened as an AC Hotels by Marriott. YTL REIT expects positive prospects due to its strategic location. The acquisition will be completed in the first half of 2024. It will add to YTL REIT's portfolio of 10 hotels in Malaysia, including JW Marriott Hotel Kuala Lumpur and The Ritz Carlton Hotel Kuala Lumpur — view all its assets here.
Works Minister Alexander Nanta Linggi announces toll-free travel for private vehicles on Feb 8 and 9, excluding BSI and Tanjung Kupang plazas in Johor. The initiative aims to ease the financial burden on road users and foster unity. Nanta advises travellers to plan their journeys, adhere to travel advisories, observe road safety measures, and ensure sufficient balance in their payment cards or e-wallets. The speed limit on all federal roads nationwide will also be reduced from 90 kmh to 80kmh from Thursday, Feb 8 until Feb 13.
Clare Rewcastle Brown, Sarawak Report editor, expresses embarrassment for Malaysia after being sentenced in absentia to two years in jail for criminal defamation. The Kuala Terengganu court convicted Brown for defaming Sultanah Nur Zahirah in her book "The Sarawak Report – The Inside Story of the 1MDB Expose" on 1MDB. Rewcastle Brown states she and her lawyers were not informed of any hearing, and she was never formally charged. She also links the timing of the sentence to the recent reduction of Najib Razak's sentence, highlighting concerns about Malaysia's legal proceedings.
Clare is married to Andrew Brown, the younger brother of former British PM Gordon Brown.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Israel-Palestine: The middle ground for peace is far from sight
Saudi Arabia has declared it will not have diplomatic relations with Israel unless an independent Palestinian state “on the 1967 borders” is recognised, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Another requirement, as per a released statement, is for “Israeli aggression” in Gaza to stop, with all occupation forces withdrawn. However, this runs contrary to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans for “full Israeli security” west of the Jordan River, which is not something he will compromise on. The statement also reiterated Saudi Arabia’s call for the permanent members of the UN Security Council that have not recognised the Palestinian state to expedite that recognition.
Meanwhile, Hamas has offered a counterproposal in the mediation talks with a ceasefire for 135 days (3 phases, 45 days each), during which all hostages would be freed, Israel would withdraw its forces from the Gaza Strip, and an agreement could be reached to end the war. It is also reported that Hamas wants guarantees from Qatar, Egypt, and other friendly states that the ceasefire will not collapse as soon as the hostages are set free. These terms were offered in response to an initial proposal for a three-stage truce plan offered by mediators with Israel's approval. However, an Israeli senior official was cited as saying that some of the demands presented by Hamas’ counterproposal were “not acceptable to Israel”.
Explosions kill at least 22 on the eve of Pakistani general elections
Two bombs in the Pakistani province of Balochistan killed at least 22 people the day before the people were to vote in the nation’s general elections. One of the bombs, which killed 14, went off in front of the party office of an independent candidate, who was meeting his polling agent at the time. The second bomb went off in Qila Saifullah’s main bazaar, targeting the election office of the JUI-F party. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Balochistan government has stated that the vote will proceed as planned.
DBS CEO slapped with pay cut in the millions due to digital banking outage
DBS CEO Piyush Gupta, one of the highest-paid executives in Singapore, saw a 30% pay cut amounting to SGD4.1 mil despite the bank seeing a 2% net profit increase to SGD2.39 bil for the last quarter of 2023. The pay cut was due to the repeated and prolonged outages in digital banking across Singapore in 2023 that saw payment and ATM transactions stalled, with the group management committee seeing a collective 21% cut in remuneration as well. DBS has stepped forward, promising greater service reliability and alternative channels for payments and enquiries should issues happen. The bank ended 2023 with a net profit exceeding SGD10 bil.
Alibaba misses third-quarter revenue estimates, cites soft retail market and sagging economy
The Chinese giant saw a net income of USD1.5 bil, a decrease of 77%, citing the softness in the retail market and sagging economic recovery in China as to why. However, executives on a post-earnings call said there was evidence of recovery in Taobao and Tmall, two of the six units that Alibaba split into in March 2023. Still, the group’s International Digital Commerce segment made a good showing, with AliExpress orders rising by 60%.
View deck: Dec Quarter 2023 Results
Uber expects strong core profits as demand for food delivery and ride-sharing grows
The ride-share giant expects core profits and gross bookings across the next quarter to grow above estimates after beating market expectations for the previous quarter. This is attributed to the higher demand in its ride-sharing and food delivery businesses. The firm has been working to improve user retention by expanding initiatives like memberships, corporate travel, and advertising (USD900 mil annual run-rate). Uber is expecting up to USD1.34 bil in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation for the quarter ending March, with gross bookings forecast to hit up to USD38.5 bil from the previously expected USD37.3 bil. In its latest disclosure, Uber still holds a 14% stake in Grab worth USD1.8 bil.
View deck: Uber Technologies Q4 2023 Earnings
Who’s who: Premier League club owners
The issue of multi-club ownership is back in focus in the Premier League, with UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin saying rules could soon be tightened up. BBC has helpfully put together a list of club owners, with City Football Group being notable for currently owning 12 football clubs. The group was founded by Sheik Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan (a UAE royal who is currently the Vice President of the UAE) and Khaldoon Al Mubarak and is owned by three organisations: American firm Silver Lake with 18%, Chinese firms China Media Capital and CITIC Capital with 1%, and the Abu Dhabi United Group, who is the majority stakeholder with 81% owned.
Australia to introduce laws giving workers the right to ignore unreasonable work calls
The “right to disconnect” is part of a number of changes to industrial relations laws proposed by the federal government under a parliamentary bill to protect workers’ rights and help restore work-life balance. If passed, workers will have the right to ignore unreasonable calls and messages from their bosses outside working hours without penalty, with the employers themselves facing potential fines instead for breaking that rule. Similar laws are already in place in France, Spain, and other EU nations.
Pope calls naysayers of same-sex blessings hypocrites
Pope Francis stated he sees “hypocrisy” in those criticising his decision to allow priests to bless same-sex couples, which he made last month. He is quoted as saying, "nobody gets scandalised if I give my blessings to a businessman who perhaps exploits people, and this is a very grave sin. But they get scandalised if I give them to a homosexual." Still, he acknowledged the pushback against his decision, giving the example that blessings do not amount to formal Church approval for same-sex unions, as the blessings are for the people and not the union.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
If you’re picking up a loved one from the airport during this holiday season, you can actually chill out for about 30 minutes in waiting area at KLIA!
If you’re picking up guests at KLIA and you arrive early, here’s where you can park your car for free and chill out while waiting. It’s a spacious and safe waiting area. Here’s how to get there. 😊
📍Waiting Area, KLIA
— Malaysia Airports (@MY_Airports)
Jan 21, 2024
The Futurizts explains why ASB returns is on a downtrend.
ASB Historic Returns (including bonuses):
There are several reasons for the steady decline in dividends.
Allow us to explain. twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
— The Futurizts (@TheFuturizts)
Feb 7, 2024