Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ New superapp in town - MyOnePAS (yes, it's that PAS)
EPF's domestic investments hit RM665 bil as of June 23. Biggest cervical cancer treatment breakthrough in 20 years. Jokowi’s former political rival picked Jokowi’s son as his running mate.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
Domestic and global worries sent China’s blue-chip share index, the CSI300, to close at its lowest level in 4.5 years since Feb 2019.
We are one step closer to having a Bitcoin ETF as a federal appeals court in the US formalised a victory for Grayscale Investments LLC in its bid to create an exchange-traded fund based on Bitcoin. The court’s mandate enforces its August ruling, overturning the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) rejection of Grayscale’s ETF proposal. The ball is now in the SEC’s court. Pun intended.
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
13.5% (74,296) of public university students last year were non-bumiputras out of a total of 551,082 students, according to Higher Education Minister Mohamed Khaled Nordin. Of the 86.5% of bumiputra students, 94.7% are Muslims, while 5.3%(25,217) are non-Muslims. In terms of the 3 top fields chosen by local students, social sciences, business and law are the most popular choices, followed by engineering, manufacturing and construction in second place and science, mathematics and computer science in third place.
Malaysia, on a national level, loses about 37.2% of treated water due to non-revenue water (NRW). NRW refers to water that had been produced and was lost before it reached the customer. This resulted in a waste of 7.084 mil litres of treated water daily and loss of RM2 bil a year (literally leakages). Four states exceeded the 50% threshold, namely Kedah (51.5%), Kelantan (53.7%), Sabah (55%) and Perlis (61.5%). Natural Resources, Environment, and Climate Change Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said water tariffs have to be streamlined to reflect rising material costs. He added that there’s a state without specifying which has not increased its water tariff for 40 years.
Rice has high water requirements in cultivation, typically needing 3,000 to 5,000 litres of water per kilogram of crop. This is approximately three times more water than what wheat requires.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
EPF's domestic investments reach RM665 bil by June 2023, expected to hit RM700 bil by year-end
By June 2023, the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has seen its investments in Malaysia increase to a whopping RM665 bil, which is 9% more compared to 2022. Deputy Finance Minister Ahmad Maslan predicts that the total investments in Malaysia will reach RM700 bil by the end of this year. This news comes after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim suggested that the EPF should increase its investments within Malaysia to 70%, up from 64% in the previous year.
For 2023, EPF plans to put RM97 bil, or 83% of its investment funds, into the local market. This shows the EPF is committed to investing in Malaysia, including local banks and financial markets.
EPF follows a strategy to manage its investments wisely, spreading money across various types of assets and geographical regions.
For 2022 to 2024, EPF is investing 45.5% in fixed-income instruments, 42.5% in listed equities, 3% in private equity, 6% in real assets, and 3% in money market instruments.
The government won't allow targeted EPF withdrawals in the future. Instead, they plan to introduce a Flexible Account to help people during financial emergencies. It will be accessible to all EPF members, no matter their income group.
In the past, the EPF allowed people to withdraw money totalling RM145.5 bil due to government initiatives. These initiatives included i-Lestari (RM20.8 bil), i-Citra (RM21.4 bil), i-Sinar (RM58.7 bil), and a special withdrawal (RM44.6 bil).
If you missed the news last week, we broke down the performance of retirement systems around the world, ranked by the Mercer CFA Institute. Malaysia ranked 32 out of 47 systems that were reviewed.
Company director alleges giving RM2 mil each to Najib and Lim Guan Eng in the Penang tunnel case
In the ongoing corruption trial of former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng, Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd director, Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli, testified that he handed RM2 mil in cash to Najib Abdul Razak and RM2 mil by cheque to Lim Guan Eng. The money to Najib was reportedly handed over to halt a corruption investigation by the MACC against Zarul's company. Lim’s lead defence counsel Gobind Singh Deo, accused Zarul during cross-examination for lying as the witness previously testified that the RM2 mil was for another individual. Lim Guan Eng faces multiple charges, including corruption and misappropriation of property, related to the RM6.3 bil project.
PAS joins the superapp bandwagon with MyOnePAS
Yes, that PAS. After unveiling SG4, its own BRICS bloc, the political party also unveiled its MyOnePas superapp, which features an integrated e-wallet and offers users the option to apply for a co-branded Mastercard card linked to the e-wallet, developed in collaboration with Mastercard and MPay. PAS Secretary-General Takiyuddin Hassan noted that the app is accessible to all, not just PAS members, and offers additional features such as prayer time information, qibla direction, party donations, and party activity updates.
MYAirline: Episode N. As one goes out, another goes in. MYAirline co-founder Allan Goh was released on bail yesterday as his remand ends whilst the police picked up a suspect at his home in Bangsar and will be remanded for 5 days. As more and more is being revealed by investigations, this could be a Netflix-worthy documentary/mini-drama.
Malaysian men's doubles duo Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik secured their inaugural World Tour title at the 2023 Denmark Open by defeating their Indonesian opponents, Muhammad Shohibul Fikri and Bagas Maulana, with a score of 21-13, 21-17 (watch highlights here). This victory follows six previous final appearances and comes with a prize money of USD62,900 (RM299.8k). In the men's singles final, Malaysia's Lee Zii Jia lost to China's Weng Hong Yang, finishing as the runner-up with a prize of USD28,900 (RM137.8k). China also claimed titles in the women's doubles, mixed doubles, and women's singles categories.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Hyundai x Saudi Arabia Automotive JV
To future-proof itself in a post-fossil fuel world, Saudi Arabia has expanded into football, golf, esports, gaming, and airlines — the list could go on and on, and we might have missed out on some. Now, it’s eyeing the automotive industry. South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Group, the world’s third-largest auto group by sales, has joined hands with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund Public Investment Fund (PIF) to build a car plant.
The USD500 mil plant will have an annual production capacity of 50,000 electric and gas-powered cars and will be the South Korean giant’s first automobile factory in the Middle East. PIF will hold a 70% stake in the new JV, with Hyundai owning the remaining 30%. The first cars are expected to roll out in 2026, though no details were given on the specific models and the location of the plant.
Biggest cervical cancer treatment breakthrough in 20 years - old methods, new process
In a research funded by Cancer Research UK, the trial findings revealed that using a course of existing, cheap drugs ahead of usual radiotherapy treatment would cut the risk of women dying from the disease or the cancer returning by 35%. Not only would it reduce the chances of cancer returning, but the treatment can be delivered using drugs already available worldwide. The lead investigator of the trial said that this is the “biggest improvement in outcome of this disease in over 20 years”. However, the researchers warned that not every woman with cervical cancer would get the same beneficial outcomes as many of the women in the study (n=500) had cancers that had not yet spread elsewhere in the body. Read the study here.
According to the National Cancer Society of Malaysia, cervical cancer is the third most common cancer in Malaysia. It is the easiest gynaecological cancer to prevent with regular pap smear tests.
Jokowi’s former political rival picks Jokowi’s son as VP running mate
Indonesia’s defence minister and presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, 72, has announced current President Joko Widodo’s eldest son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, 36, as his vice president running mate for next year’s election. The world’s third largest democracy will hold simultaneous presidential and legislative elections on Feb 14, with nearly 205 mil of Indonesia’s more than 270 mil population eligible to vote. This alliance could transfer some of Jokowi’s support base to Prabowo and retain the outgoing leader’s influence. Gibran is currently the mayor of Surakarta City.
Fun fact: Jokowi is the seventh president of Indonesia and has beaten Prabowo twice to win the presidency in 2014 and 2019. Indonesia has imposed a 2-term limit to the presidency, whether successive or separated. As the saying goes - in politics, there are no permanent enemies, no permanent friends - only permanent interests.
Meanwhile, in Pakistan, there’s no break for former PM Imran Khan with indictments, as he’s now indicted for leaking state secrets. Since his downfall in Apr 2022, he has faced a slew of criminal charges ranging from terrorism to contempt of court to blasphemy. From an outsider’s perspective, it’s hard to see how this isn’t political prosecution.
Dropbox is paying USD79 mil to terminate a quarter or 165,244 sq feet (USD478 per sq feet termination fee it seems) of its office space at its San Francisco HQ as it sees remote working is here to stay. Fortunately, the payment comes with many Malaysians’ preferred payment method — instalment — as it has three years to complete the payment. San Francisco’s commercial real estate crisis is brewing as office vacancy rates now stand at around 30% — up from 6.3% in the first quarter of 2020.
Add hot air balloon rides to Uber’s list of transportation modes offered. The company will now allow users to book hot air balloon rides over Turkey’s touristic Cappadocia region. Users can book through the app to reserve one of 20 seats on a 1.5-hour sunrise flight 3,000 feet (914.4 m) above the UNESCO-registered volcanic landscape for EUR150 (RM761.30). Turkey has become one of Uber’s fastest-growing markets, with the number of app trips rising by 50% since last year.
Cut hair has its value - environmentally. Venezuelan environmentalist organisation Proyecto Sirena is seeking hair donations to help soak up oil from an oil spill in Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela; a pound of hair can soak up between 11 to 17 pounds of oil. This method was created in 1989 by a hairdresser in Alabama and has been tested by NASA and deemed effective.
Warning — heartbreaks incoming. Parents in Gaza are writing the names of their children on their legs and abdomens so that doctors can identify them in hospitals if they, as in the children, go missing and are found dead in hospitals. Nearly 5,087 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip since Israel launched its relentless bombing campaigns, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. 40% of these people killed are children. Nearly half of Gaza’s 2.3 mil population is under the age of 18.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
These numbers you see on plastics are known as resin codes, indicating the material the plastics are made of. The universally recognised recycling symbol surrounds the numbers. However, the reality is not so straightforward as most of these plastics cannot be recycled.
In Costa Rica, vehicles stop for ‘banana train’ to cross the traffic. In 2021, Costa Rica exported USD1.2 bil of bananas, making it the third-largest exporter of bananas in the world.