Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Over 2,000 villagers in Kelantan haven't received clean water for Ramadhan
Five more highways to get open toll payment system. Proton releases its new seven-seater SUV, the X90. Alibaba to split into six units to unlock more value.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
Drought in Somalia led to the “excess” deaths of approximately 43,000 people last year — half of the dead were children under five. Two factors exacerbated the situation — the Russian-Ukraine War and jihadists. The drought has also caused widespread food shortages and malnutrition in the region. Despite efforts to provide aid and support to affected communities, the situation remains dire and could lead to further loss of life.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) financing in Malaysia rose to RM1.58 billion in 2022, according to a report by the Securities Commission Malaysia. The total number of issuers (i.e. lenders) stood at 6,913, with an 88% increase to 3,732 issuers against 1,886 in 2021. The report also noted that the industry has experienced significant growth over the past few years, with the number of licensed P2P financing platforms in the country increasing to 28. The report attributes this growth to factors such as increasing digitalisation and the need for alternative sources of financing for small and medium-sized enterprises.
You may soon see Apple TV+ movies in theatres, a plan that could cost the company USD1 billion a year. Apple’s original movies have either received small theatrical runs or been exclusive to Apple TV+. The potential investment would likely bring Apple TV+ more subscribers since theatrical releases help promote both the title and also the streaming service.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
PM Anwar says that the ‘divorce’ between AGC and the Public Prosecutor needs more study
PM Anwar Ibrahim told the Parliament that careful study is needed to refine the complex separation of powers between the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) and the Public Prosecutor’s office. On top of that, PM Anwar also mentioned a financial implication of almost RM300mil will be expensed if Putrajaya decides to proceed with the separation. We are not sure about the breakdown of the RM300mil price tag, but in the video below, you will understand why this separation is needed.
Bolehland — the land of corruption and missed opportunities
Government MPs are not invincible under the eye of the law, says PM Anwar
PM Anwar Ibrahim stated that he had received information from enforcement agencies that several government MPs are being investigated for corruption. However, PM Anwar did not know who the specific individuals were involved and he would let the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) decide whether to prosecute the said individuals or not.
MACC nabs the sixth immigration official believed to be involved in the foreign workers smuggling ring
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is being granted the remand order to bring in another Immigration Department officer to assist them in its investigation into the Sabah-KL foreign worker smuggling syndicate. The slew of arrests started when MACC launched Ops Lancar last Friday and remanded nine individuals, including five immigration officers that allegedly involved in a syndicate that smuggled undocumented foreign workers from Tawau to KLIA Terminal 2 via commercial flights since 2018.
Welcome to the no-water Ramadhan challenge conducted in two states, Kelantan and Sabah
More than 2,000 villagers in Tanah Merah have not received a clean supply of tap water since last week. According to Air Kelantan Sdn Bhd (AKSB), the dry season is to blame for the low water pressure in the village that led to this problem. AKSB is still figuring things out and has sent out water tankers to the village as temporary measures, albeit not enough, as per the villagers. Everyone knows that Kelantan has serious clean water supply problems, but not according to their leaders though.
From the north of the peninsula, we now go to the tip of Borneo, which is the state of Sabah. The irregular water supply in the state capital of Kota Kinabalu and other major towns had reached a breaking point and a reshuffle of its Water Department may be in the cards. Other than that, at this moment, the Telibong Water Scheme 2 project is poised to be one of the solutions to solve the water supply issue in Sabah, but there is still no fixed date on when the project will be operational.
Lawmakers are calling on Putrajaya to continue SSPN tax reliefs
Ayer Hitam MP Wee Ka Siong told Putrajaya that the Government should continue the tax reliefs for Skim Simpanan Pendidikan Nasional (SSPN) deposits, where previously, SSPN contributors were given a tax relief of up to RM8,000 annually. The tax relief was discontinued this year, but Wee said it is still possible for the Government to make a U-turn on its decision.
Wee’s request was echoed, too, by Muar MP Syed Saddiq, who said that without the tax relief, parents will not be motivated to set up education funds for their children. Putrajaya’s decision to terminate the tax relief was because alternative tax reliefs are given instead, such as the 2% reduction in individual income tax for the M40 and higher medical expenses tax relief.
Five more highways to get open toll payment system
Works Minister Alexander Nanta Linggi announced that another five highways would join the band in implementing the available toll payment system, bringing the total number of highways on board to 11. The five new highways that will implement the open payment system are:
Damansara-Puchong Expressway (LDP);
Shah Alam Expressway (Kesas);
Kuala Lumpur-Putrajaya Expressway (MEX).
Nanta also mentioned that the Sungai Besi Expressway would be the first location for the multi-lane fast flow (MLFF) proof of concept, which would kickstart in Q32023.
On another highway news, the Sarawak state government is seeking approval from Brunei for the Pan Borneo Highway to cut through the oil-rich nation. The connection that will cut through Brunei will be made via the proposed development of the Sarawak coastal road development project.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Dozens of people were killed in a blaze at a detention centre in Mexico
A fire has killed at least 40 people at a migrant detention centre in the Mexican state of Tabasco. Reports suggest that the fire was caused by a short circuit, which then spread through the facility, killing many trapped inside. The facility was holding around 68 people at the time, many of whom were Central American migrants waiting to have their asylum claims processed. This is the latest tragedy to hit migrants attempting to enter the US through Mexico, highlighting the dangers faced by those seeking refuge from poverty, violence and political instability in their home countries.
Alibaba to split into six units to unlock more value
After almost USD600 billion of value being wiped out since Alibaba’s share price peak in October 2020, Alibaba announced plans to split into six separate business units. Five of the units will be able to raise funds and potentially launch initial public offerings (IPOs) in the future. The move is intended to unlock shareholder value and foster market competitiveness — Alibaba saw its shares pop more than 7% pre-trade. The six units will include core commerce, logistics, local services, cross-border commerce, investment and the newly formed data and artificial intelligence unit.
Welcome to 2023, where Elon Musk makes decisions on what you can do on Twitter. After all, he owns the platform. The social network’s CEO has declared that Twitter will only show verified accounts on the algorithmic “For You” timeline starting April 15, meaning only a paid user, a brand, or a government official to be recommended by Twitter’s algorithm. Some analysts say that Twitter only has 385,000 paying users currently, generating just USD11 mil in its first three months.
Parts of Twitter’s proprietary source code (secret sauce, if you will, pun intended) have been leaked online by a user named “FreeSpeechEnthusiast” on GitHub. The platform filled a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown request to have the code removed from GitHub. The leak is said to be a jab at Musk, who has claimed to be a free-speech proponent.
Apple has acquired a start-up called WaveOne, which specialises in AI-powered video compression. WaveOne’s main innovation was a “content-aware” video compression and decompression algorithm — the technology could prioritise faces at the expense of other elements within a scene to save bandwidth. The acquisition will likely help Apple improve its streaming services. This reminds us of Pied Piper in the comedy TV series “Silicon Valley" (watch trailer here), which offers the same technology.
JPMorgan chief global market strategist Marko Kolanovic said the stock market party that began in mid-October last year is coming to an end. Kolanovic advised investors to stay defensive instead of buying the dip as he thinks the equity prices have already peaked in 2023. In addition, after the banking crisis, commercial real estate (in the US) is said to be under stress and could be the next shoe to drop — he could be right. NFA. Are you well prepared for the upcoming recession?
A fatal shooting in a private Christian school for students aged three to 11 in Nashville, Tennesse, has claimed the lives of three children and three adults. The shooter, a former student named Audrey Hale, 28, armed with three guns, was shot dead by the police. Officers said resentment may have been a motive.
Terrorism level in Northern Ireland has been raised, following a rise in dissident republican activity, including a recent gun attack on a senior police officer. It was announced by Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris, based on a Security Service (MI5) intelligence assessment.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
Proton has finally released the photos of new energy vehicle, X90 — its seven-seater SUV, which is based on the Geely Haoyue. No pricing details were released, but Paultan.org expects it to range between RM130k-150k. For more photos, click here.
Other than facing an existential crisis in your life in this timeline, you’d also face another crisis — climate. UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said the world needs to stick to the plan of keeping warming below 1.5°C.