Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ PAC: RM505 mil losses due to expired Covid-19 vaccines
2nd Bersatu MP to declare support for PMX. Thai's Kasikorn Bank acquires crypto exchange for USD102.8 mil. AI godfather-real threat from AI not killer robots, but one-percenters trying to control it.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
The prisoner rehabilitation programme through parole and community services has been very effective, with 1 out of 800 prisoners, or 0.125%, returned to prison, according to Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution. This is compared to 18.6% of those who did not follow the programme leading to recidivism. One of the important mechanisms for rehabilitation through parole and community services is the provision of transitional homes that can house parolees and former convicts so they have a temporary place to live and for activities and classes. There are 14 transitional homes nationwide.
There were more children killed in Gaza in the last three weeks than the total killed in conflicts around the world in every year since 2019, according to NGO Save the Children. At least 3,324 children have been killed in Gaza since Oct 7, of which 36 have died in the West Bank and another 1,000 children have been reported missing and may be under the rubble. According to the UN, 2022 saw a total of 2,985 children killed across 24 countries. One child’s death is one too many.
USD325 bil — the amount of double-digit yielding debt (at least 10%) in the US junk bond market, growing by about USD45 bil in the past six months. This makes up about 30% of the speculative-grade index. USD139 bil (42.7%) of that comes from the communications sector. At 10% minimum per annum, that's USD32.5 bil, at least in interest investors can earn from these junk bonds. But beware - it’s called junk bonds for a reason and these companies issuing the bonds carry a high risk of default.
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3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
PAC: RM505 mil losses due to expired Covid-19 vaccines
A recent report from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) shed light on Malaysia’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, revealing a substantial financial loss of RM505 mil due to the expiration of 8.5 mil Covid-19 vaccine doses (RM59.4 per dose on average).
Some key findings:
To mitigate vaccine wastage, Malaysia distributed 1.89 mil doses to countries like Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos, and Bosnia-Herzegovina and promoted booster shots. Had it not been for this contribution, we can assume another RM112.3 mil losses.
The system used to manage and order ventilators — WhatsApp, bypassing standard procedures due to exceptional circumstances during the MCO.
There was no written agreement between Pharmaniaga Logistics Sdn Bhd (PLSB) and the Ministry of Health over the procurement of ventilators. As such, no party is being held accountable for the malfunction of 104 ventilator units. The report added that the uncertainty surrounding PLSB’s role has hindered legal action.
The report identified a discrepancy between MOH and PLSB regarding the warranty status of all 136 ventilators. Although PLSB’s quotation document indicated a warranty, it did not cover all 136 units - does this even make sense for the officer in charge of the purchase?
Quite a shit show. Never-experienced before emergency hence this mismanagement is a real lousy reason. Look down south and how they managed their emergency — it puts the previous administration to shame. The government then had only incompetency to offer, except when it comes to backdoor activities.
From the PN Camp
Here comes the second Bersatu MP to declare his support for PM Anwar. Labuan MP Suhaili Abdul Rahman earlier declared his support for the PM, citing long-standing issues on the island and the increasing cost of living as reasons behind his decision. He affirmed his loyalty to Bersatu. About two weeks ago, Kuala Kangsar MP Dzulkarnain Abdul Khalid declared his support for PMX, but since then, he has gone MIA from Parliament. Either PM Anwar is really inspiring across the aisle or something is going on internally in Bersatu. Realistically, we think it’s the latter.
A small win for Bersatu in the court as the Kuala Lumpur High Court has granted permission to Bersatu to challenge the seizure of its accounts by the MACC. The party contends that these actions by the MACC were politically motivated, alleging that they were intended to hinder the party's financial resources, potentially affecting its ability to participate in upcoming elections.
Former Malaysian Prime Minister's Department (Religious Affairs) minister, Dr. Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri, is auctioning his Rolex and will donate the proceeds to support Palestinian causes. Nothing scandalous here about the watch — the luxury watch was a gift from Saudi Arabian King Salman Abdulaziz Al Saud when Zulkifli assumed the Federal Territory Mufti post. Zulkifli explained that he received the watch in 2017 but only opened it after resigning from the Mufti post in 2021. As of the latest update, the highest bid for the watch had reached RM115k. Check it out here.
PNB, EPF, and KWAP collaborate in RM2 bil investment in Kulim II high-tech industrial asset
PNB, EPF and KWAP have jointly invested (taking an equal stake of 33.3% each) RM2 bil in the high-tech industrial asset Kulim II. They have signed a 10-year sale and leaseback agreement with Osram Opto Semiconductors Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Austria-based Osram AG. This 10-year investment aligns with Malaysia's New Industrial Master Plan 2023 and promotes the development of an ecosystem for high-value-added activities, particularly semiconductor fabrication. The investment has a clear exit strategy (no details provided) and provides competition returns (no figures provided).
Read: What are sale-leasebacks?
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
ICC Prosecutor: Israel could face “criminal responsibility” for blocking aid
The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor Karim Khan told a news conference that Israel must make “discernible efforts” to ensure civilians get basic food and medicine or it could give rise to “criminal responsibility” under the Rome Statute*. NGO Oxfam accused Israel of using “starvation as a weapon of war” in Gaza, noting that Gaza has received only 2% of the food it normally would have seen delivered.
Khan said the court has “active investigations ongoing” in relation to crimes allegedly committed in the recent conflict and as far back as 2014. Israel, however, is not a member of the ICC and has rejected the court’s jurisdiction. On Oct 10, the ICC said its mandate applies to the current conflict. The ICC has legal authority to investigate alleged crimes on the territory of its members or by their nationals when domestic authorities are unwilling or unable to do so.
The Rome Statute of 2022 established the ICC to prosecute the most serious crimes of international concern and to end impunity. There are 123 countries party to the Rome Statute. Malaysia in 2019 withdrew from ratifying the Rome Statute over concerns it will affect the sovereignty of the country’s Malay Rulers and Malay privileges.
Interesting new members to the 3 Commas Club
Taylor Swift: At just 34, the musician has achieved a 10-figure net worth as Bloomberg puts her current net worth at USD1.1 bil, thanks to her wildly successful Eras Tour. The first run of her US tour could gross her USD620 mil, with Swift taking home USD500 mil. Adding in her music catalogue (USD400 mil), streaming (USD120 mil), real estate (USD110 mil) and royalties (USD80 mil), all these got her the ticket into the billionaire club.
What’s impressive about this achievement is that she is one of the few who reached billionaire status exclusively from her music and performances. The likes of Jay-Z, Rihanna, etc., capitalised on their celebrity status to start new businesses such as fashion, cosmetics, alcoholic drinks, etc., that boosted their net worth into the 10-figure. The Bloomberg article here chronicled her rise to billionaire status.
Magic Johnson: The 62-year-old former NBA star has also joined the club, according to Forbes, estimating his net worth at about USD1.2 bil. This makes him the fourth athlete to join the club after Michael Jordan, Lebron James and Tiger Woods (footballers missing in this club). Johnson made his money through his numerous stakes in various sports teams, but his stake in a life insurance company made the bulk of his fortune. His NBA career made him a paltry USD40 mil.
Johnson shared that he could have been a billionaire sooner if he had not turned down shares in Nike (worth USD5 bil today) when he was entering the NBA in the 1970s and took a deal with Converse instead, which offered him USD100k a year. He said his family didn’t come from money and he didn’t even know what shares were. The importance of personal finance.
Magic Johnson could potentially be the only HIV-positive billionaire in the world. He was diagnosed in 1991, later disclosing that he contracted HIV from unprotected sex. An experimental cocktail of drug treatments saved his life, preventing the virus from progressing into AIDS. His status as an athlete has helped to fight stigma against HIV. Read his interview here with The Guardian 30 years after his diagnosis.
Learn: How has Magic Johnson survived with HIV?
The real threat from AI? The one-percenters trying to control it
One of AI godfathers Yann LeCun has a different take on the real threat from AI. It isn’t Skynet (Terminator reference, not the delivery service provider) but the powerful one-percenters who want to control AI, the biggest tech development in technology now. LeCun, who is Meta’s chief AI scientist, accused some prominent founders, naming OpenAI’s Sam Altman, Google DeepMind’s Demis Hassabis, and Anthropic’s Dario Amodel in a long Twitter (or X) post (view it here), accusing them of “fear-mongering” and “massive corporate lobbying” to serve their own interests.
If their efforts succeed, the outcome would be “catastrophe” as a small number of companies will control AI. LeCun said the doomsday headlines and warnings by this group are just to skate over the real risks of AI, such as worker exploitation and data theft. He championed open-source AI development, which Meta is practising with its AI model.
Thailand’s Kasikorn Bank (K-Bank) has acquired a 97% stake in the parent company of Satang crypto exchange for THB3.71 bil (USD102.8 mil). The exchange has operated in Thailand since 2017 with 1 mil users and once the deal closes, it will be rebranded to Orbix. K-Bank wasn’t the first Thai bank to make such a bold move. Siam Commercial Bank, Thailand’s oldest bank, made a USD500 mil offer to acquire a 51% stake in Thailand’s largest crypto exchange, Bitkub, but abandoned the deal last year due to unresolved regulatory issues.
Meta vs Threads - Threads is the Twitter version launched by Meta (who’s still using it?) in July. Another Threads, a British software company going by the name Threads Software Ltd, is demanding Meta to stop using the name Threads within 30 days as it owns the trademark, which it trademarked in 2012 for its intelligent messaging hub. The company said it had declined four offers that Meta’s lawyer made to purchase its domain name “threads.app”.
Former president of the Spanish Football Federation Luiz Rubiales has been banned from all football-related activities for 3 years by FIFA over the allegedly non-consensual kiss he gave to Spanish woman footballer Jenni Hermoso after the Women’s World Cup final back in August.
There’s a dark story behind Abercrombie & Fitch’s shirtless male models. A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the fashion brand, accusing the firm of funding sex-trafficking operation by its ex-CEO Mike Jeffries. The lawsuit also accused Jeffries of sexual misconduct and rape. Earlier this month, BBC published its investigation into a highly organised network that used intermediaries to recruit young adult men for events with Jeffries.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
Halloween special today!
The brief history of Halloween
Drone for wars ❌ Drone for Halloween pranks ✅