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☕️ New PM, new slogan: "Malaysia Madani"
Randstad Malaysia reports that MY workers to get pay hike of 3% - 20%. China's population fell in 2022 for the 1st time since 1961. South Koreans - world's biggest spenders of luxury goods per capita.
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1. MARKET SUMMARY
If you are looking to buy SGD, hold on. If you are looking to remit SGD to MYR, do it now — Goldman Sachs expects the SGD to weaken against the MYR as Singapore’s central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, signalled it had finished its tightening cycle.
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
USD16.8 bil — the total spending of South Koreans on personal luxury goods in 2022, a growth of 24% YoY, according to Morgan Stanley. That’s about USD325 per capita, far more than the USD55 and USD280 per capita spent by Chinese and American nationals, respectively, making South Koreans the world’s biggest spenders on luxury goods on a per capita basis. The culture of displaying wealth is also more socially acceptable in Korean society. Based on a McKinsey survey, only 22% of respondents consider showing off luxury goods to be in bad taste.
1,411,750,000 — the Chinese population at the end of 2022, according to Beijing’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). This marks a shrink in the population of China for the first time in 60 years. The number reported by NBS was a decrease of 850,000 from the end of the previous year. The world’s most populous nation will likely be overtaken by India sometime this year.
38,000 points — the number of points scored by LeBron James in the history of the NBA, becoming the second player to do so. The 38-year-old forward is playing his 20th season and is on track to break former Lakers centre Abdul-Jabbar’s record of 38,387 points in the coming weeks. Watch his top 35 plays here.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
‘Malaysia Madani’ will be the new go-to phrase
Keeping in line with the tradition of every prime minister before him, PM Anwar Ibrahim uttered the phrase ‘Malaysia Madani’ during his Budget 2023 dialogue, which is the term to be believed to replace the ‘Keluarga Malaysia’ catchphrase. The ‘Malaysia Madani’ term was understood to be originated from PM Anwar himself during the 1990s and was a term coined by him to express the version of Malaysia that he wanted — a perfect balance of individual liberties and societal stability.
The meaning of ‘madani’ here as defined by Dewan Bahasa & Pustaka.
On another note, PM Anwar will discontinue one tradition that was done before by his predecessors, which was building landmarks such as the Petronas Twin Towers by Tun Mahathir and the Exchange 106 by Najib Razak. Instead, he wanted to focus on boosting the current potential of Kuala Lumpur and assisting SMEs to thrive. Great, no more white elephants!
2023 will be the year where we will enjoy a huge pay rise
According to the report published by Randstad Malaysia, Malaysian workers will enjoy a salary increment of between 3% and 20%. High-growth industries such as technology and manufacturing will enjoy the higher end in salary adjustments. In the same report, it was mentioned that technology will be one of the major growth drivers for Malaysia in the coming years, where 5G technology development is expected to create 750,000 jobs in Malaysia by 2023.
Infighting embroiling between BN and PH
Shots were fired by Barisan Nasional (BN)’s GE15 candidate for Segamat, M Ramasamy. Ramasamy filed a petition at the election court accusing Pakatan Harapan (PH)’s candidate and election winner, R Yuneswaran, of violating rules during the campaigning period. Ramasamy claimed that he had the evidence and stated that BN leadership was in the loop regarding his decision to file the petition. Yuneswaran won the Segamat seat with a 5,669 majority.
Headmasters were being called down to the discipline room
Education minister Fadhlina Sidek said that both the Selangor Education Department and the police were investigating the case of stolen RM109,000 from a headmaster that withdrew the money meant for financial aid to his school. Fadhlina stated that the headmaster had violated the standard operating procedure (SOP) in carrying a substantial amount of money meant for the school’s aid, where either the police or other teachers must be present to escort the headmaster in carrying any amount exceeding RM10,000.
A former headmaster, Rosli Abd Rahman, has been charged with sexually communicating, assaulting and raping a 16-year-old girl in Terengganu between Nov 2020 and Nov 2021. The former headmaster is facing the possibility of being jailed for a maximum of 30 years and whipping for sexually and physically harassing a teenage girl for almost a year.
After providing free menstrual pads, Selangor is now providing subsidised mental health treatment
The Selangor state government has allocated RM222,600 to pay for the first two weeks of psychiatric treatment, which include the cost of screening, psychiatric consultation, basic psychotherapy treatment, and medication. However, only 700 subsidised slots are available for Selangor residents, specifically reserved for residents from the lower-income groups. Individuals interested in this program can apply through the Selangkah app (download: iOS, Android) under the Mental Sehat option.
Siti Bainun is now lawyer-less
Straight out of the page of a popular case involving a former PM, Siti Bainun is now left all alone as two of her remaining lawyers withdrew from the case. In order to avoid any attempts by Siti Bainun to delay the whole case, Sessions Court judge Izralizam Sanusi instructed the defendant to find a new lawyer soon, or she will be in court defending herself on her own. Therefore, a new date was set on Jan 26 and 27 to resume the trial to find out whether Siti Bainun was guilty of neglecting and abusing a down syndrome kid between Feb 2021 and Jun 2021.
Sunway Construction Bhd has been awarded an RM218.76mil contract to build a 50 MW photovoltaic plant in Kampar. However, this deal was considered a related party transaction as Sunway Berhad’s indirect subsidiary, Fortuna Gembira Enterpris Sdn Bhd, is a major shareholder of Gopeng Berhad, the awarder of the contract.
Reservoir Link Energy Bhd has been the biggest winner in the solar industry as the company bagged two engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPCC) contracts for large-scale solar photovoltaic plants, one in Bukit Selambau, Kedah, for an EPCC deal worth RM16.6mil and another one in Perak worth RM3.8mil.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Vietnam’s crackdown on corruption continues
Vietnam’s President Nguyen Xuan Phuc submitted his resignation after the ruling Communist Party found him responsible for violations and wrongdoing of numerous officials under him. Phuc’s successor has yet to be identified. Earlier this month, two deputy prime ministers were also dismissed in an anti-corruption purge. The situation is unprecedented as Vietnam is a country with a single-party rule, and any political changes are carefully managed to give the impression of political stability and continuity.
The president’s post in Vietnam is the most powerful in the country — find the hierarchal structure here.
China’s GDP grew by 3% in 2022, beating expectations
China’s National Bureau of Statistics reported GDP growth for 2022 of 3%. It fell short of the official target of around 5.5% set back on March 22. Excluding the 2.2% expansion in 2020, last year’s growth was the lowest since 1976 — the final year of the decade-long Cultural Revolution that wrecked the economy and one of the bloodiest era in Chinese history, which as many as 2 mil people died— thanks to its strict Covid-19 curbs and a slump in the property market.
Kang Yi, director of the National Bureau of Statistics, warned that the world economy might face stagflation.
Read: The Cultural Revolution: all you need to know about China’s political convulsion
Check-in on your investment bankers friends
Goldman Sachs reported a net income of only USD1.3 bil in its fourth quarter, short of analysts’ expectations of USD2.2 bil and down from USD3.9 bil in the same period in 2021. It is the bank’s fifth straight quarterly fall in profits, mainly because of the slowdown in investment banking activity. Goldman’s investment banking revenue fell 48% to USD1.9 bil.
Morgan Stanley reported a 40% YoY drop in net income to USD2.2 bil for its fourth quarter. Its knight in shining armour — wealth management businesses — couldn’t offset the sharp fall at its investment bank. However, Morgan Stanley’s chief executive James Gorman’s strategy to diversify into wealth and asset management continues to pay dividends, reporting a revenue increase of 6%.
Another year, another meme stock in the making
Ryan Cohen, who gained the notorious title of the meme-stock king after igniting explosive rallies in GameStop Corp. and others, has built a stake in Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd worth hundreds of millions of dollars in the second half of last year, according to WSJ. Cohen is also privately lobbying the Chinese e-commerce giant to accelerate and further boost its share-repurchase program as he expressed that the company’s shares are deeply undervalued. Will Alibaba fly?
Cohen, with a net worth of USD2.5 bil also owns stocks in Apple (about USD800 mil), Wells Fargo & Co and Citigroup Inc.
What is a meme stock?
Australian Open (AO) bans Russian and Belarusian flags after a courtside incident. Players from the two countries will be competing under a neutral white flag during the AO tournament. Russian and Belarusian athletes have not been able to play under their countries’ flags in several sports since the invasion of Ukraine began in February last year. Why Belarus? The country is a close ally of Russia.
Anju Khatiwada, the co-pilot of the ill-fated flight that crashed in Nepal on Sunday, lost her husband in a plane crash 16 years earlier. Her husband, Dipak Pokhrel, had also been co-piloting a Yeti Airlines flight when he died. Real-life Final Destination?
5. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
Statistics and all are cool, but let’s watch how it is like living with inflation of nearly 100%
The goliaths of the world.