- The Coffee Break
- ☕️ NGO Aman Palestin suspected of funnelling funds to another company to invest in gold, properties
☕️ NGO Aman Palestin suspected of funnelling funds to another company to invest in gold, properties
3-line, 30-km LRT proposed in Johor. Economy Minister: targeted fuel subsidy to be rolled out in H2 2024. Jack is back - Alibaba co-founder’s new business in the food space.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
On average, 22% of land in city centers in US cities with over 1 mil people is used for parking, according to Parking Reform Network, an organisation that works to inform people about the impact of parking on climate change, housing, traffic, etc. In San Bernadino, it gets even worse — 49% of the central city is made for parking, whereas in New York, only 1% of land is dedicated to parking spaces. Parkings create dead zones around a city’s most valuable and walkable areas that limit residential and commercial growth.
India is the top nation in the world making the most aeroplane purchases in 2023, with its 2 airlines, Air India and IndiGo, making a combined purchase of 970 planes worth USD125 bil from Boeing and Airbus. As air travel picks up, Indira Gandhi International Airport will be ready for 109 mil passengers in 2024, making it the world’s second-busiest behind Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in the US. Travel in India is still heavily reliant on trains due to affordability, with 20 journeys by rail for every one by air. An estimated 3% (42 mil) of India’s population of 1.4 bil people flies on a regular basis. In the 9 years since PM Narendra Modi took over, the number of airports has doubled from 74 to 148, with USD11 bil invested in airports in the past decade and is expected to hit 230 by 2030 with another USD15 bil investment.
23,748 notices were issued to motorists caught without a driving license during the Road Transport Department’s (JPJ) 14-day Ops Patuh Bersepadu 2023. A total of 554,372 vehicles were inspected throughout the exercise, so that’s 4.3% of these vehicles or 1 in every 25 on the road, were steered without licenses. No breakdown was given on the type of vehicles fined for this offence.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Aman Palestine Scandal: 🚨RM70 million💰 allegedly diverted, gold bars seizedMalaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) seized four 1kg gold bars* in raids targeting Aman Palestin Berhad, investigating the alleged diversion of RM70 million in donations. The MACC chief confirms 11 individuals were summoned for questioning as part of the ongoing probe. Earlier freezes of over RM25 million in 41 bank accounts heightened concerns over fund misuse. The investigation of the money trail found the NGO allegedly channelled funds to invest in gold and property. *1 kg gold = RM302.5k. Therefore, the four gold bars are worth about RM1.21 mil at market price. Why would an NGO even store its funds in gold?
The NGO said it will take legal action against MACC if the agency fails to release the freeze on the accounts.
LRT — coming soon to Johor Johor has identified three Light Rail Transit (LRT) lines covering 30km in and around Johor Baru. The lines, proposed based on a study by Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) and Johor Public Transport Corporation (PAJ), are the Tebrau line, Skudai line, and Iskandar Puteri line, extending to Senai International Airport. This initiative aims to complement the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System Link (RTS Link), set for completion in early 2027.
The LRT project will undergo further study to align with Johor Baru's unique traffic dynamics. No costs were stated for this LRT project in Johor. For reference, Penang’s 26.8 km LRT project with 23 stations will cost an estimated RM10 bil. The state government also hopes to revive the High-Speed Rail (HSR) project with Singapore. 🚇🌐 Keep an eye on Johor — the state will become a land of abundant economic opportunities in the coming five years. Do we need to explain further?
Malaysia's evolving job market: Rising costs and recruitment challenges unveiledThe recent survey by Employment Hero (view survey here), which was based on responses from 515 business leaders, revealed a few significant changes in Malaysia's job market:
Lengthy average hiring process of 41 days.
121% increase in job advertising rates in the previous year, with an average cost of RM708.
50 hours spent per week on recruitment activities.
SMEs face hurdles in accessing job boards due to budget constraints, intensifying competition with MNCs for top talent.
The skills gap, changing expectations of Gen Z workers, and the allure of the strong Singapore dollar are additional complexities in the evolving recruitment landscape.
Home-grown retail solutions provider Panda Eco System Berhad made an impressive debut on Bursa Malaysia's ACE Market at 29 sen per share, marking an 81.25% premium to its IPO price of 16 sen. Panda's IPO saw overwhelming public interest, being oversubscribed by 153.5 times, reflecting strong investor confidence. 🐼
REDtone Digital Bhd has entered an authorised reseller agreement with SpaceX to provide Starlink satellite-based high-speed internet services across Malaysia. Here’s how much it costs to run a Starlink in Malaysia, starting from RM220/month + hardware cost. With a team of over 150 engineers, REDtone aims to deploy Starlink's broadband services swiftly, targeting sectors like oil and gas, telecommunications, shipping, financial services, and plantations. The collaboration aligns with the Malaysian government's goal of achieving 100% internet access, particularly in areas with limited connectivity, contributing to economic growth, education, healthcare, and public safety. The satellite market in Malaysia is projected to reach RM19.7 billion by 2025. Now, when is Elon Musk bringing in The Boring Company and Neuralink to Malaysia?
AirAsia has announced a substantial expansion of its services, adding 230 weekly flights to China, India, and Malaysia in Q1 2024 with up to 5.2 mil seats per year. This expansion, via AirAsia Malaysia and AirAsia X Malaysia, is a response to the anticipated increase in travel demand following the 30-day visa-free entry for Chinese and Indian travellers to Malaysia, effective December 1, 2023. The move aligns with eased travel restrictions for Malaysians to China. ✈️🌎
There is a new party in town. P. Ramasamy, former Penang deputy chief minister, has introduced a new party called the United for the Rights of Malaysians Party (Urimai), with a focus on ethnic Indians. Ramasamy, who left DAP, stated that Urimai aims to represent the rights of non-Malays, especially Indians, and address the working-class Indians’ concerns. While the party is Indian-based, it welcomes members from all ethnic groups. Ramasamy expressed dissatisfaction with existing parties like DAP and PKR, claiming they failed to champion Indian issues effectively. The new party awaits approval from the Registrar of Societies. 🤝
Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli announced the targeted subsidy program for RON95 petrol will be rolled out in the second half of 2024. The new program will be based on individual and household income. It is set to launch after the introduction of the central database system Padu in January 2024. In 2022, the government spent RM50.8 bil in fuel subsidies, of which 35% was enjoyed by T20, 41% by M40 and 24% by B40. 🚗💸
Together with Stockbit
Investment app Stockbit is organising a community meetup this Saturday, Dec 2@TTDI KL, from 9 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. Hear from industry experts and network with like-minded investors and Stockbit members. Get your tickets here!
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
New Zealand’s GEG makes a u-turnThe incoming new government of PM Christopher Luxon is scrapping its Smokefree policy, or its version of “generation end game”, that aimed to prohibit the sales of cigarettes to anyone born after 2008. The government cited fears of a flourishing black market and loss of tax revenue as the reasons but stressed that the latter is “not the motivation for doing it”. New finance minister Nicola Willis said the law would cost the government about “a billion (NZD) dollars.”
The number of adults smoking in NZ is already relatively low at just 8%. Also, under the new law, only a maximum of 600 retailers nationwide would be able to sell tobacco products, a massive slash from the current 6,000. Health groups and experts have slammed this decision and called for the government to backtrack. The Smokefree passed last year under Jacinda Arden’s government has been internationally acclaimed, inspiring other nations like the UK and including our own to implement similar laws. A spokeswoman for UK PM Rishi Sunak said his position is unchanged after NZ’s reversal. Given this development, we hope our government won’t succumb to business groups lobbying against the GEG.
Meta in hot soup for misleading the public on harmful content stats on its platformsIn a new unsealed legal complaint file against Meta by 33 US states, the social media giant has been accused of creating reports that downplayed the rate of misinformation, hate speech, discrimination, and other harmful content on its platforms and excluded key data from user experience surveys that evidence much higher rates of user encounters with harmful content.
What Meta publicly reported: For every 10,000 content views on its platforms only 10 or 11 would contain the above harmful elements, or about 0.10% to 0.11%, per its data for July through Sep 2020.
What Meta omitted: Meta’s internal user survey reported significantly higher levels of hate speech just months earlier. An average of 19.3% of users on Instagram and 17.6% of users on Facebook reported witnessing hate speech/discrimination. 12.2% of Instagram users and 16.6% of Facebook users reported seeing graphic violence, and over 20% of users witnessed bullying and harassment.
The western Indian state of Gujarat has been hit by heavy thunderstorms and rainfalls on Sunday and Monday. 23 have died in rain-related incidents and 24 people have died by lightning strikes. Gujarat is no stranger to wild rain storms, but big rainstorms are not expected in the state during winter months, catching its citizens off guard. Scientists warned that rising global temperatures are unleashing a cascade of extreme weather events.
A wedding ceremony in Thailand turned into a murder scene by none other than the groom. The groom, a Thai para-athlete and former soldier, left the wedding party abruptly and came back with a gun, shooting his bride, her mother and her sister before killing himself. Stray bullets hit two guests, killing one of them. His motive is not known yet, as investigations are underway. Last month, three people were killed in a shooting in a luxury mall in Bangkok. Although gun ownership is common in Thailand, mass shootings are rare.
Jack is back - Alibaba co-founder’s new business in the food spaceThe corporate filing showed that Jack Ma, through his investment vehicle Hangzhou Dajingtou, incorporated a company called “Hangzhou Ma’s Kitchen Food”, seeded with 10 mil yuan (USD1.4 mil). The company is involved in the sales of pre-packaged food and the processing and retail of agricultural products.
Since taking a step back from Alibaba following a regulatory crackdown in 2020, Ma has taken an interest in agriculture and has travelled around the world while studying agrotech. In May, Tokyo College announced Ma would be taking a teaching position while researching sustainable agriculture and food production. He was in Thailand in January to meet Supakit Chearavanont, the chairman of Thai conglomerate CP Group, which is also a major animal feed producer and the owner of Lotus’s Malaysia (formerly Tesco).
Singapore household debt drops to lowest in a decadeFalling debt level can be interpreted in 2 ways — good in the sense consumers deleveraged, or bad in the sense that consumers pulled back their spending. Household debt consists of consumer loans (e.g. credit cards, personal loans) and mortgages. Singapore's central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), reported that average household debt have reduced their debt levels to 1.2 times personal disposable income in Q3 2023 as high interest rates discouraged new loans and healthy income growth (wow, something we need in MY). In Q2 2023, Singapore household debt-to-GDP stood at 55.7%. As for Malaysia in Q2 2023, our household debt-to-GDP ratio was 81.9%, with a median debt-to-income ratio of 1.4 times. Another L for the nation against our neighbour. Read the report: MAS Nov 2023 Financial Stability Review.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
Life-saving videos. Worth watching these lessons by this swimming coach, Mike Nitro, especially if you don’t know how to swim and even if you do know how to swim:
A collection of 10 powerful anti-smoking ads. Our GEG needs to get going.
Budget cut left right, expectations yet sky high