Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Najib Razak & his entourage spent USD259k at Trump's hotel back in 2017
KJ 'grilled' on BFM The Breakfast Grille interview. Xi-Biden G20 meeting - improving US-China relations, opposing Russia's threat. Nike entering the metaverse- to sell virtual shoes, apparels.
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1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
8,000,000,000 — the UN has projected the global population to hit eight bil people on Nov 15, 2022, growing at its slowest rate since 1950. Based on its forecast, India will overtake China as the world’s most populous country in 2023. The global population is expected to peak at around 10.4 bil during the 2080s.
Read: Word Population Prospects 2022 report
Dec 13 — foodies, mark your calendar as the first edition of The Michelin Guide Kuala Lumpur & Penang will be revealed at the Berjaya Times Square Hotel. Read here about the Michelin Star award process. What’s not assessed: location, decor, service and available facilities.
USD218,750 — the price someone paid for Steve Jobs’ Birkenstocks at the Icons and Idols: Rock N Roll auction organised by Julien’s Auctions. The shoes received 19 bids and sold for nearly 4x more than what it was expected to fetch of USD60k only. The auction house described it as retaining “the imprint of Steve Jobs’ feet, which had been shaped after years of use”. The last transacted price of this Birkenstocks in 2016 was a little more than USD2k — that’s at least 100x return in 6 years for the collector. See the sandals here.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
— George Santayana, Spanish and American philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
GE15 daily digest
PAS Secretary-General Takiyuddin Hassan was quoted saying that PN was willing to work with any parties, including BN (except PH), to form a mixed government and revealed there were negotiations on the matter. PN Chairman Muhyiddin Yassin issued a statement saying he did not give Takiyuddin the mandate to negotiate with BN. Takiyuddin later said his statement was “taken out of context”. However, he did admit this — PAS is ready to work with BN should PN fail to get a simple majority in GE15. If this materialises, we are back to post-Langkah Sheraton - perpetual regression.
Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) could be the kingmaker in the event PH, PN or BN fails to win the 112-seat majority to form the government. Sarawak Deputy Premier Dr Sim Kui Hian said GPS will not work exclusively with UMNO and wants to observe which coalition gets the most votes to form the government before deciding who to work with. Its interest is in forming a stable federal government and not wanting “to see another 3 PMs leading the country in the next five years”.
The Court of Appeal upheld the High Court’s decision to dismiss former MP Klang Charles Santiago’s suit to halt GE15 on grounds of non-justiciability as it is the absolute discretion of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. Santiago will file an appeal in the Federal Court, although he acknowledged that it would be merely academic as polling day is this Saturday.
Parti Bangsa Malaysia president-designated Zuraida Kamaruddin was seen campaigning on a road divider and holding a campaign poster of herself. Watch her in action here. Can she be fined for endangering the lives of motorists?
Still undecided on who to vote for? Check out the manifesto
lollipopcomparison by Malaysiakini between the three major coalitions (i.e. PH, BN and PN) across a wide range of categories to help you decide.
Najib Razak: USD260k bill at Donald Trump’s hotel, 1MDB audit tampering trial update
A US Congressional report disclosed that Najib Razak and his entourage spent USD259,724 at the Trump International Hotel, Washington, owned by Donald Trump in Sep 2017, which included his stay in the presidential suite for USD10k per night, spending of USD44,562 over three days, including more than USD8,000 for in-room lunches and USD1.5k for a personal trainer. Najib, along with officials from 5 other countries, were staying in the Trump-owned hotel, “seeking to influence American foreign policy”.
During the 1MDB audit tampering trial, prosecutors told the High Court that Najib Razak tried to prevent the first version of the audit report on 1MDB from going to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to conceal his and Jho Low’s wrongdoings. The court has set 30 Jan next year to decide whether Najib Razak and former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda will be acquitted or ordered to enter their defence.
BFM The Breakfast Grille interview with Khairy Jamaluddin. Host Wong Shou Ning didn’t go easy on KJ. Some highlights:
KJ hinted that he aspires to be PM in the next 5 to 10 years.
If Ismail Sabri continues to be the PM, KJ said Sabri should also be the party president, in other words, replacing Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. UMNO must hold its party election no later than six months after GE15.
Pressed on why he openly supported incarcerated former PM Najib Razak during the 1MDB scandal, he justified that the party wants to project a show of “unity” in the run-up to GE14.
Listen to the whole interview here.
Bursa Malaysia Bhd launched the Bursa Malaysia platform. Think RinggitPlus, but for unit trusts. Users can compare unit trusts, track and monitor funds and contact participating fund managers directly. Visit the platform here.
P2P lending platform Funding Societies is partnering with Proton Holdings Bhd to provide credit facilities to Proton dealers to finance the purchase of cars to stock their floor inventory.
Capital expenditure (CAPEX) announcement:
Affin Bank to up its IT CAPEX next year to RM400 mil from RM300 mil this year. It will be launching its mobile app soon. Better late than never.
Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd has revised its CAPEX for the construction of its new manufacturing facilities in Bandar Baru Enstek to RM540 mil from RM340 mil between 2021 and 2025 due to “unprecedented inflation”.
Google Pay is now live in Malaysia. Supported banks (but not all cards): CIMB, Hong Leong Bank, Hong Leong Islamic and Public Bank. You can now save your cards on your phone and make payments with them.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
What’s happening at Bali G20 Summit
Russian missiles rain on Kyiv as world leaders meet
Kyiv came under attack by waves of Russian missiles even as world leaders are meeting and discussing the Ukraine-Russia war at G20. Strikes were also reported in other cities. This comes as a draft declaration is penned at the summit where most of the members of the G20 condemn Russia’s war in Ukraine, though the resolution has yet to be adopted by the countries of the G20.
This comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy proposed a 10-step peace plan in a virtual address at the G20 summit. The plan included ensuring nuclear and food safety, an “all for all” prisoner swap, and the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine.
No new "Cold War" after US-China talk, says Biden
US President Joe Biden and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping both agree they need to improve strained relations as they sat down for their first face-to-face private meeting that lasted for more than 3 hours as national leaders prior to the G20 summit. Biden also believes there is no immediate threat of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan after the meeting. Xi has expressed interest in working with Biden but warned that the issue of Taiwan remains the line in the sand for China.
Both leaders also opposed the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine, with Xi calling out Russian President Vladimir Putin on his nuclear blackmail.
Here’s an analysis that points to Ukraine currently having the superior position in the war after Ukrainian forces retook Kherson.
China's Covid policies spark unrest in Guangzhou as Covid cases rise
Crowds forced their way through Covid barriers and marched in the streets of Guangzhou in a show of resentment over Covid-19 curbs under the nation’s Zero Covid policy. Guangzhou is reported as having the biggest caseload, raising concerns that localised lockdowns could widen.
This comes as China’s economy continues to suffer despite recent moves to ease some Covid curbs and provide financial support to the property sector, as consumer spending and factory output dropped in the face of the strict measures against Covid.
Warren Buffett backs Taiwan chip manufacturer
Billionaire Warren Buffett looks to be backing Taiwan’s chip-manufacturing industry, as Berkshire Hathaway Inc, a conglomerate owned by Buffett, bought more than USD4 billion worth of stock in Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC). This led to TSMC’s shares closing with a 7.9% gain due to boosted investor sentiment, a sharp turnaround from last month when its shares hit a two-year low due to a sharp slowdown in global chip demand.
Tech layoffs keep coming
Amazon is reportedly planning to lay off about 10,000 employees in corporate and technology jobs within the week, focusing on the company’s devices unit (which houses Alexa) and its retail and human resources divisions.
In China, tech giant Tencent is looking to cull an unknown number of staff across three of its six business divisions, namely its platform and content (where it keeps its video and news platforms), the gaming-focused interactive entertainment unit, and the cloud and smart industries divisions.
There’s a figure now for the number of people retrenched at Shopee parent Sea Ltd in the past six months - about 7,000 jobs or approximately 10% of its workforce.
Nike is going to start selling JPEGs. The sportswear giant will be continuing its push into the metaverse with its virtual goods store .Swoosh, even as critics slam the metaverse as being overhyped following news that Meta will be laying off more than 11,000 employees.
The Iranian parliament has voted in favour of the death penalty for protestors after unprecedented levels of protests and civil unrest since the death of Mahsa Amini, who was allegedly severely beaten in custody after being arrested by morality police for wearing an “improper” form of hijab. About 14,000 people were arrested in the recent protests.
The US and Japan are leading a coalition of countries in an effort to help Indonesia move away from coal power. The coalition will be pooling USD20 billion for the effort, making it the single largest climate finance transaction ever.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
Putting Pakatan Harapan’s 22 months in power into perspective. BN had all the time since 1957 to deliver whatever it promised.
2. Australia is CatDog, a Nickelodeon cartoon series