Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ No more political appointees, cabinet decided
Transport Minister: "maintenance culture" needed. MACC raided 8 govt agencies, 9 companies in alleged misappropriation of RM92.5 bil stimulus package. Henry Cavill: Superman no more.
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1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
63.2% of Malaysians subscribe to at least two over-the-top (OTT) services in Malaysia to their favourite shows, according to iQIYI’s survey. The number is slightly higher than the regional average of 57.8%. The healthy demand for entertainment in Malaysia contributed to iQIYI’s, a Pan-Asian on-demand video streaming platform, strong revenue growth in 2022.
RM9 mil - the staggering cost of a single dose of Zolgensma, a life-saving drug to treat a rare genetic disorder called spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), making it one of the world’s most expensive drugs. Reese, a 17-month-old girl in Bukit Mertajam, is suffering from the disorder, and her parents are appealing to welfare organisations to raise this RM9 mil to treat their daughter. So far, RM3.56 mil has been raised - to donate, visit here.
Explained: Why Zolgensma is so expensive
SGG9.2 bil (RM29.99 bil) — a record amount spent by Singaporeans on lotteries and sports betting in the financial year ended 31 Mar 2022, an increase of 43% year-on-year. Casino entry-level collections hit a 5-year high of SGD125 mil (RM407.4 mil). Singaporeans and Permanent Residents of Singapore have to pay an entry levy (day levy SGD150, annual levy: SGD3,000) to enter casino premises in Singapore.
“You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German poet, playwright, novelist, scientist.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Another massive layoff in Malaysia, but this time in Federal statutory bodies and government-linked corporations (GLCs)
Government Chief Secretary Mohd Zuki Ali issued a directive to the secretaries-general of all ministries, requesting them to end the tenures of chairmen and board members who are regarded as political appointees in Federal statutory bodies and government-linked corporations. The decision was made following the Cabinet meeting last Wednesday (Dec 14). Ironically, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim will likely have the discretionary power to make new appointments.
The Harun brothers will be out of the office soon. A new Attorney General (AG) will be appointed as current AG Idrus Azizan Harun has expressed his intention not to serve out the rest of his contract that expires in March 2023. This comes after his brother and current Dewan Rakyat speaker, Azhar Azizan Harun to step down when Dewan Rakyat sits on 19 Dec.
The movie is about the start.
Transport Minister goes undercover again, this time at KTM and TBS
After LRT, Transport Minister Anthony Loke paid KTM Komuter and TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan) a low-key visit and inspected their services. He has requested Prasarana Malaysia Bhd and Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) to provide weekly audit reports on the maintenance of their facilities to ensure facilities are improved. Prasarana and KTMB are also invited to attend post-cabinet meetings conducted by the Transport Ministry after discovering that both have not been included in the past two years.
One crucial thing Loke highlighted was the need to inculcate a “maintenance culture”, which we severely lack. There must be consistency in the performance of facilities and not just take action when issues arise or go viral. Feeling optimistic now to see fewer faulty escalators and lifts.
Cheaper telco services in the works
Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil said that Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Communications (MCMC) and the telcos have been tasked to conduct a study on reducing the prices of telco services. He added that “maybe” in the coming weeks, he will have a special announcement to make.
19 e-waste containers in Malaysia were sent back to their origins
Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Minister Nik Nazmi said that 19 containers detained at ports containing smuggled e-waste have been sent back this year. Origin? Developed countries including the US, Spain, Australia, Belgium and Japan. So much for promoting ESG and dumping such waste to developing countries,
However, a significantly large number of containers might have sneaked past Customs. Malaysiakini, in a special report published back in October, estimated more than 1,000 containers of e-waste are illegally imported monthly and processed in Malaysia by at least 200 plants, large and small, that are recycling e-waste illegally. 1,000 containers per month coming in vs 19 sent back this year — Who has been sleeping while on duty?
Tycoon Syed Mokhtar Albukhary considering a buyout of DRB-Hicom Bhd
The tycoon is said to be conducting a strategic review that could involve the buyout of DRB-Hicom, of which he already owned 56%. With a market cap of RM2.9 bil, he needs to fork out RM1.28 bil to take the company private, assuming no premium is paid. This will be the second company of Mokhtar’s to be delisted from Bursa after MMC Corp, which is involved in ports and logistics and power generation, which he took private in 2021. Sime prize assets under DRB-Hicom: Proton (which it sold 49.9% to China’s Geely), Bank Muamalat and Pos Malaysia Bhd.
MACC has begun investigations into allegations of leakages in the RM92.5 bil economic stimulus package during Muhyiddin’s administration with multiple raids carried out, including at eight government agencies and nine companies, which are believed to be “major suppliers” of these eight agencies.
Melaka will start regulating the short-term rental industry as operators in the state will now require a license to operate.
Express Rail Link Sdn Bhd (ERL) will resume its KLIA Express and KLIA Transit services from 3 Jan 2023 as passenger ridership picks up after it has been running as combined train services with reduced frequency.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Rate Hikes Inbound
Fed to remain in hawkish stance into 2023, stocks fall in response
After a 50 bps hike announced yesterday, the US Federal Reserve will be continuing its stance of rate hikes to combat inflation, which remains “well above” the Fed’s target of 2%. The S&P 500, Dow Jones, and Nasdaq all fell in response to the news. Concerns were also raised that the central bank would overtighten the economy into a recession, which factored into the weaker indexes.
Bank of England's ninth hike in a row looks to be foregone conclusion
This comes as the economy begins its slide into recession as inflation remains above 10%. The inflation issue is made more difficult by a shortage of workers to fill vacancies. The consensus among economists and investors is that the interest rate will hit a 14-year high of 3.5%.
US DOJ charges socmed influencers over USD114m securities fraud
The eight individuals were charged with conspiracy to commit securities fraud, using their social media presence on the Twitter and Discord platforms to pump prices of certain shares before selling their own to take advantage of the inflated prices. The DOJ believes the individuals profited at least USD114 million between January 2020 to April 2022.
Modi to be extradited to India after failed appeal
Diamond magnate Nirav Modi is a fugitive charged with fraud and money laundering involving the Punjab National Bank. He fled India in 2018 when details of his alleged involvement became public. Modi denied any wrongdoing. The UK Supreme Court judge countered Modi’s warning of high suicide risk, stating that arrangements at the prison will enable authorities to cope properly with Modi’s condition.
Nirav Modi is also the topic in the Netflix documentary Bad Boys Billionaire | India, which explores the suspicion that he illegally inflates diamond prices.
British nurses stage walkout in pay dispute
The nurses want a 19% pay rise, with another strike to take place on 20 December. An estimated 100,000 nurses will go on strike at 76 hospitals and healthcare institutions, cancelling about 70,000 appointments, procedures, and surgeries. This is also the first such protest in the 106-year history of the nurses’ union. The union also warned of more strikes if the government refuses to discuss the wage issue.
China pushes vaccine as zero-Covid strategy is dismantled
The country is racing to vaccinate its vulnerable populations as it faces a surge of infections after it started easing its zero-Covid policy, which relaxed quarantine rules and dropped testing requirements following protests. However, the World Health Organization notes the numbers were surging even before the easing of regulations. Meanwhile, third-term Chinese leader Xi Jinping has not said anything on the matter, despite championing the zero-Covid policy in the first place, which is crumbling.
Airport security 100ml limit at UK airports to be lifted in 2024, with the limit increased to two litres. Passengers also no longer have to remove electrical items from their bags at security, thanks to new high-tech 3D scanners. Anthony Loke, hope you are reading this news. So much more convenient.
Iranian footballer on death row for "campaigning for women's rights" – Amir Nasr-Azadani is among at least nine people on death row for taking part in Iran’s nationwide protests, according to Amnesty International. The athlete is charged with rebellion, membership in illegal gangs, collusion to undermine security, and assisting in moharabeh or “waging war against God”.
Henry Cavill: Superman no more – The decision to drop the actor comes after a meeting with the new bosses of DC Studios and comes less than two months after he announced his return to the role. Henry Cavill’s Superman made an appearance in the recent Black Adam movie.
A look into the power and wealth of the Al Nahyan family, the ruling family of the United Arab Emirates and owner of Manchester City Football Club. Our Yang di-Pertuan Agong is an old buddy of 40 years with the current UAE President, Sheikh Mohamed Zayed Al Nahyan.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
Centuripe in Sicily, Italy - a town that is shaped like a starfish and human
Take a break and understand how your blood pressure works and the impact of stress and a high-sodium (i.e. salty) diet on your blood pressure and heart