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  • ☕️ Orang Asli with PR can now ‘apply’ for Malaysian citizenship

☕️ Orang Asli with PR can now ‘apply’ for Malaysian citizenship

Tun Dr Mahathir is MACC’s target, says his sons. PM: govt considering non-tax revenue to raise national income. WeWork founder plans to buy back bankrupt WeWork.


Information as of 0730 UTC+8 on Mar 27, 2024


Naluri, a digital health service provider, revealed in its "Growing Insights: Southeast Asia's Largest Dataset 2023" study that the mental health of Malaysians showed improvement in 2023 compared to the previous year. The study found that depression levels decreased from 58% in 2022 to 55% in 2023, while anxiety levels dropped from 55% to 53% during the same period. Additionally, stress levels saw a slight decline from 40% in 2022 to 39% in 2023. However, the study highlighted ongoing challenges related to work culture and financial security that continue to impact the population, indicating that there is still progress to be made in addressing these issues.
Read the report here.

Image credits: Naluri

As grain prices experienced a decline, prices of "gourmet commodities," including cocoa and olive oil, have surged. Cocoa prices have risen drastically in the past year, reaching a 46-year high. Olive oil prices, at EUR9,000 (USD9,800) per tonne, have hit an all-time high. Futures contracts for frozen concentrated orange juice in New York are trading at USD3.07 per pound, marking a 50% increase compared to January of the previous year. While the coffee market is relatively stable, prices for Arabica beans, known for their quality, have risen by 44% since 2021.

In 2023, over 10 mil Thai people sought treatment for illnesses associated with air pollution, according to data from the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC). That’s about 14% of Thailand’s population of 71.6 mil. Thailand’s air quality has been deteriorating, with widespread farm burning and forest fires, particularly in the north, leading to noxious smog, especially at the beginning of the year. The trend has continued into 2024, with a notable increase in pollution-related disease cases compared to the previous year. In the first nine weeks of 2023, 1.3 mil people sought treatment for pollution-related illnesses, which rose to 1.6 mil at the beginning of 2024, as reported by AFP.


Orang Asli with PR can now ‘apply’ for Malaysian citizenship
Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution stated that Orang Asli who are permanent residents (PR) can now apply for Malaysian citizenship. If they can provide proof of residing in the country, they can apply under existing laws. He asserts that the amendment will not affect Orang Asli or Orang Asal children who are stateless but seeks to limit the automatic acquisition of Malaysian citizenship to children born to PR parents of other nationalities. Saifuddin says that the number of individuals with no nationality but only a Malaysian PR is very small, but we beg to differ. The Malaysian Citizenship Rights Alliance (MRCA) states that many Orang Asli (indigenous people of Peninsular Malaysia) and Orang Asal (natives of Sabah and Sarawak) still hold a ‘red IC’, where they are only PRs but do not have citizenships. Rather oxymoronic that they are Orang Asli yet have to apply for citizenship.

Tun Dr Mahathir is MACC’s target, says his sons
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) ordered Mokhzani and Mirzan, Tun M’s sons, to declare their assets dating back to 1981, coinciding with Tun M’s first term as PM. The sons believed that their father is the primary suspect in the probe and the brothers claimed they were merely witnesses in the investigations. MACC said that the orders are part of an ongoing investigation into offshore business records revealed by a journalism consortium but failed to mention that Tun M was their main target. Tun M stated at a press briefing in January that the probe involving his son was politically motivated. Last May, Tun M filed an RM150 mil defamation suit against PM Anwar Ibrahim, alleging that the PM had accused Tun M of “stealing government money”. Tun M continuously denies all accusations, of course.

PM: govt considering non-tax revenue to raise national income
PM Anwar Ibrahim announced that the government plans to focus on non-tax revenue as an additional alternative to raise national income. Non-tax revenue mainly comprises of licenses, permits, petroleum royalties, interest, and returns on investment. This will include transforming GLCs and GLICs to boost strategic domestic investments and strengthen governance (in pursuit of reducing “bleeding costs” and leakages). The PM is confident that the effort will improve dividend yields from GLCs and GLICs. Currently, 50% of non-tax revenue comes from investment income including dividends from Petronas, Bank Negara Malaysia, and Khazanah Nasional Berhad.

However, the government still expects to collect a further RM3 bil in revenue through the wider scope and increase in sales and service tax (SST). PM Anwar says that the 2% rise in SST (6% to 8%) did not significantly impact inflation rates as expenses for F&B and telco have not increased and remain at 6% and utilities remain untaxed. Numerous crucial services are also exempt from SST, including education and healthcare.

Ekuinas’ 50.2% stake in Icon sold for RM172.7 mil
Government-linked private equity firm Ekuiti Nasional Bhd (Ekuinas) has sold a 50.2% stake in Icon Offshore Bhd to Liannex Maritime Sdn Bhd for RM172.7 million, leading to a mandatory takeover offer though the new shareholder plans to maintain ICON’s listing status. Liannex is the private vehicle of Lim Han Weng and his spouse Bah Kim Lian, who are also major shareholders of Yinson Holdings Bhd, a large energy and infrastructure technology company with market cap of RM7.2 bil.

This move comes after Ekuinas reinvested in ICON post-2018 debt restructuring to aid in its sustainability. Ekuinas exits ICON after more than a decade with over RM500 million in cumulative gains, reducing its shareholding to about 5.8% (this stake is still worth a cool RM22.9 mil at ICON’s current market cap of RM395.4 mil). ICON, a leading offshore support vessel provider in Malaysia and Southeast Asia, reported a 75% active utilization rate in FY2023, with an order book exceeding RM300 million.


  1. Socks Saga Episode N: KK Mart in Bidor got molotov cocktail-ed
    A Molotov cocktail was thrown at a KK Super Mart outlet in Bidor, Tapah yesterday. The Perak police department obtained CCTV footage of the incident and is investigating the case. The police confirmed that the shop was not damaged but hit the walkway in front of the shop where glass shards were found. In case you didn’t know what a Molotov cocktail was and how dangerous it can be, learn here. Malaysia, in the month of Ramadan?

  2. Embracing the world of AI and tech in schools, finally
    Primary school students will be introduced to a Technology and Digital subject in 2027, which includes the basics of artificial intelligence (AI). Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek says that the curriculum seeks to include ‘Fasih Digital’ (Digital Literacy) among the 7 competencies that students should master. Further application of AI will continue in the same subject for secondary schools.

  3. Should non-Bumis start expecting handouts, Rafizi?
    Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli denied that the low sign-ups among non-Bumiputeras for Padu was due to mistrust towards the government. Instead, the reason is that non-Bumis are not used to receiving government aid, leading to them thinking they are in the M40 category (or perhaps, many felt they are second-class citizens instead) and thus why many are not registered in the current system. He added that if they fail to register with Padu, they will miss out on aid through eKasih or Sumbangan Tunai Rahmah.


Meanwhile in Russia: Crypto sanctions, terrorists

Baltimore port bridge collapses after container ship hits support strut
The Francis Scott Key Bridge in the US port of Baltimore collapsed after a container ship collided with a support strut. Rescue operations are still ongoing, with two survivors already rescued. Baltimore officials believe at least seven people were thrown into the water but do not have an exact figure. The incident could have been deadlier had the ship not called in a “mayday” and is now deemed a “mass-casualty, multi-agency event”, and identified as the worst US bridge collapse since 2007. The White House has determined that there was no indication of nefarious intent.

The ship involved in the incident was the Dali, a Singaporean-flagged vessel owned by Grace Ocean Pte Ltd and managed by Synergy Marine Corp. At the time of the collision, the vessel was being chartered by Danish shipping company Maersk. All crew members of the Dali were reported uninjured.

Recorded footage of the collision can be seen here and here - looks surreal, like straight outta movie.

Fun fact: Mayday was made an official distress call in 1943 and is repeated 3 times to avoid confusion by surrounding noises. It came about as it sounds like “m’aider” in French which means help me - here’s the origin story.


  • Adam Neumann, partners offer USD500 mil for bankrupt WeWork
    A “coalition of half a dozen financing partners” known to WeWork, led by its former founder Adam Neumann and his real estate firm Flow, has pulled together a financing package worth over USD500 mil to buy beleaguered co-working firm WeWork out of bankruptcy. However, it was not immediately clear how Neumann would finance the acquisition of his own startup, which he left after a disastrous listing attempt in 2019. WeWork declared bankruptcy last year, listing USD19 bil of liabilities against USD15 bil of assets - a big hole of at least USD4 bil there. Still, WeWork aims to exit bankruptcy protection in the second quarter as a “financially strong and profitable company”. Neumann reportedly collected tens of millions of dollars when he left WeWork in 2019 and received USD770 mil as proceedings when the firm eventually went public via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). Ran the company into the ground yet still became a centi-millionaire at least and now buying back the company on the cheap - a champion, in a wrong way.

  • McBurgers meet Donuts
    Krispy Kreme and McDonald’s are expanding on their initial partnership to now have all of McDonald’s US locations selling the doughnuts by the end of 2026, which will see Krispy Kreme having to more than double its distribution to cater to the planned 14,400 stores McDonald’s will have by 2027. The partnership, which started in 2022, will see a rollout starting in the second half of this year. The agreement also stipulates that McDonald’s will be the exclusive fast-food partner for the doughnut firm in the US. This announcement led to Krispy Kreme’s shares climbing 28% in morning trading, valuing it at about USD2.69 bil.
    Are you thinking what I am thinking? Hope this partnership won’t give ideas to some nutheads trying to score cheap publicity and inflict further economic damage.


  1. Meta chief writing personal emails to recruit AI researchers from Google's DeepMind 
    Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg took to writing personal emails to researchers from Google’s DeepMind AI team to entice them to Meta, with the Meta CEO reportedly offering jobs to candidates without conducting any interviews. These steps appear to be part of Zuckerberg’s strategy to turn Meta into a dominant player in the AI segment. Stroking the ego of the potential hire - interesting move.

  2. Bomb attack on Chinese engineers in Pakistan kills six 
    A convoy of Chinese engineers working on a dam project in northwest Pakistan was rammed by a suicide bomber, leading to six deaths. This marks the third major attack on Chinese interests in Pakistan in a week, with the first two targeting a naval air base and a strategic port. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack so far.

  3. Portugal orders ChatGPT founder's Worldcoin to stop data collection
    Portugal’s data regulator has ordered Sam Altman’s iris-scanning project Worldcoin to stop collecting biometric data for 90 days, citing a high risk to citizens’ data protection rights, justifying the urgent intervention. This marks the latest blow to the venture which saw raised privacy concerns in multiple countries. The project, which encourages people to have their faces scanned in exchange for a digital ID and free cryptocurrency, has seen more than 4.5 mil people in 120 countries signing up.


  1. Rap legends Dre, Eminem, Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live in celebration of Dre receiving his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. They did a skit - vulgar, but hey, it’s funny!

  1. Is Gucci losing its allure? The sales figures are indicating so. In 2023, Gucci reported selling almost USD11 bil worth of luxury goods, accounting for more than half of its parent company Kering's overall revenue and almost two-thirds of its profits. However, the brand's popularity in China, which has been a significant driving force behind its growth for the past decade, is now fading. Luxury conglomerate Kering, which competes with LVMH also owns Yves Saint Laurent and Balenciaga - check out its house of brands here.

Credits: chartr.co