- The Coffee Break
- ☕️ Parliament to investigate high-profile court cases - Zahid Hamidi's recent DNAA, Najib Razak + Arul Kanda and Muhyiddin's DAA.
☕️ Parliament to investigate high-profile court cases - Zahid Hamidi's recent DNAA, Najib Razak + Arul Kanda and Muhyiddin's DAA.
25 y.o. Malaysian student spy caught in Norway. RM300 mil for BMW -bersih, mewah, wangi- toilets. US-Iran prisoner exchange deal - USD6 bil for 5 Americans.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
Asia’s best-performing currency so far this year goes to Indonesian Rupiah, up +1.8%. As for Malaysia — not so great. View the table here.
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
2,056 nuclear tests since 1945 had been carried out by at least 8 countries, according to the Arms Control Association. Of those, 507 were atmospheric explosions that spread radioactive materials through the atmosphere, with the remaining being underground tests. The most recent nuclear test was conducted by North Korea in 2017. No prize for guessing which country did the most tests - the US with 1,030 tests or 50.1% of the total, followed by the USSR/Russia with 715 tests and France with 210 tests. 29 Aug every year is marked by the UN as the International Day against Nuclear Tests to raise awareness of the effects of nuclear weapons testing and achieve a nuclear weapons-free world. View infographics: Nuclear test timeline and test sites
USD555,309 (RM2.6 mil) — the price of ONE class A share of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, closing at an all-time high (ATH), valuing the conglomerate at USD797 mil, exceeding its previous ATH of USD794 bil on 28 Mar 2022. Since Buffett took over the once-textile business in 1965, the stock price has gained a staggering 4,300,000% in value or 43,000x.
RM300 mil for BMW - bersih, mewah, wangi — toilets — the budget Local Government Development Ministry is seeking for the coming budget announcement as part of the government’s reformation agenda for public facilities. The allocation, if approved, will be distributed to 155 local authorities.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
1MDB audit tampering trial - Najib, Arul Kanda acquittal standsThe 3-member Court of Appeal unanimously ruled that the acquittal of former PM Najib Razak and former 1MDB president Arul Kandasamy in the audit report tampering case remains. The decision was made as the prosecution’s notices of appeal were deemed to have lapsed and invalid according to the law. According to the Court, the prosecution was reminded three times to file its petition of appeal but failed to do so and also failed to file for an extension of time. One of the judges even schooled the prosecution on the appeal process and should not give excuses that it is a high-profile case hence there’s no need to follow the process.
In this case, Najib was charged with abuse of power as a public officer in his capacity as the PM and finance minister to alter the 1MDB audit report so that no action could taken against him by the Parliament.
Looks like someone, or some group was sleeping on their job - awaiting an explanation on this matter from AGC.
In a separate but 1MDB-related matter, we now know which Pablo Picasso painting former 1MDB lawyer Jasmine Loo bought with the alleged misappropriated funds - the pencil drawing of “Trois Femmes Nues et Buste D’Homme”, which Loo had acquired from auction house Christie’s for USD1.38 mil. Check out the painting here. This surfaced as the US sued to seize this painting and other assets.
PSSC: High-profile cases, separation of AG and Public Prosecutor to be reviewedDewan Rakyat Speaker Johari Abdul agreed to a proceeding to discuss the separation of powers between the Attorney-General and Public Prosecutor by the Parliamentary Special Select Committee (PSSC) on Human Rights, Election and Institutional Reform.
These proceedings would also involve several high-profile cases and the PSSC found that the outcome of these cases gave the perception that the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) had interfered. These cases are:
Deputy PM Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s recent Yayasan Akalbudi case, which was given a discharge not amounting to acquittal.
Najib Razak and Arul Kandasamy’s acquittal in the 1MDB audit report tampering trial
Former PM Muhyiddin Yassin’s acquittal over abuse of power.
Minister in the PM Department (Law & Institutional Reforms) Azalina Othman, AG Ahmad Terrirudin Mohd Salleh, former AG Idris Harun, and lawyers representing Zahid Hamidi will be amongst the parties to be called up to face the PSSC.
Sarawak’s power export to SingaporeSarawak Utility and Telecommunications Minister Julaihi Narawi reassured the public that Sarawak’s long-term plan to supply electricity to Singapore through the 700 km undersea cables would not affect the state’s domestic supply. As of May, the state’s total generation capacity of 5,745 megawatts (MW) was more than sufficient to cover its current demand of 4,627 MW. The undersea cables have the capacity to export 1,000 MW to Singapore.
The minister also reassured that the economics of this project is viable too as higher power tariffs will be imposed to ensure long-term profitability for the state and the nation and that the construction of the undersea cables would be fully borne by Singapore. The negotiation is said to be at an advanced stage.
TV3’s Nightline newscaster Muhammad Zaman Goh Abdullah, prominently known as Raymond Goh, passed away at 62 yesterday morning after battling the effects of a stroke. The veteran newscaster has more than 30 years of experience in the broadcasting industry. May he rest in peace.
The Foreign Ministry has confirmed that a 25-year-old Malaysian student was arrested in Oslo, Norway, for alleged espionage. The student was detained by Norwegian police intelligence agency. The agency charged the man with spying on the PM’s office, defence ministry, and other government offices in Norway by illegally eavesdropping through various technical devices. The man's identity was undisclosed and Norwegian authorities did not state which country the man was allegedly spying for.
The Mazda automaker and distributor in Malaysia, Bermaz Auto Bhd, saw its net profit jump 99.8% year-on-year to RM100.22 mil on revenue of RM1.09 bil, which is up 52% you in Q1 ended 31 July 2023. This marks the second consecutive quarter that the automaker’s net profit is above RM100 mil. The automaker’s market cap currently stands at RM2.55 bil. View: Bermaz Auto Bhd Bursa quarterly filing.
The fundraising musical chair goes on and on — Malaysia (or Singapore’s, we are unsure) unicorn and used car marketplace platform Carsome CEO Eric Cheng said on the sidelines of the Forbes Global CEO Conference in Singapore that it is open to new funding from potential strategic investors that can value add to its business. The company claims it is operationally profitable in the first quarter of the year and is in no rush for a listing. The company counts Khazanah Nasional, Qatar Investment Authority and Temasek’s 65 Equity Partners among its investors.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Google to face its biggest antitrust trial The US Department of Justice and 52 state attorneys general representing US states or territories will be starting a trial against Google, alleging that the search engine firm built its monopoly on online search by paying billions of dollars to business partners, including Apple, to ensure its search engine would be the default on most phones and browsers. It was reported that in 2020, Google paid between USD8-12 bil to Apple and in 2021, this figure neared USD15 bil and is projected to rise to USD18-20 bil in 2022.
Google has a 90% market share in online searches in the US, and the government believes this results in less consumer choice and less innovation. The government coalition is not seeking a monetary penalty but an injunction barring Google from continuing the alleged anticompetitive practices.
The meeting of the US’s greatest enemies - Kim-Putin North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is reportedly meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin to discuss what analysts believe will be weapons trade and food aid. The Russian leader is said to be looking to purchase arms from North Korea, who in turn could seek humanitarian aid in the form of food and agriculture as well as assistance regarding UN Security Council resolutions against Pyongyang.
North Korean state media reported that Kim boarded his Russia-bound luxury, heavily armoured train accompanied by top arms industry and military officials, lending credence to a possible arms deal being finalised at this meeting. Interestingly, Kim rarely travels abroad, but when he does, it is on his private train. Decadently luxurious and absolutely bulletproof. Here’s a look inside.
Singapore: Temasek-backed VC firm secures USD541 mil despite bearish tech market, as Ryde files for USD17 mil US IPO
Temasek-backed Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India closed its biggest fund yet at USD541 mil, set to back startups in the region in the face of a global slowdown in the tech sector. The firm aims to provide between USD2 mil and USD8 mil to startups focusing on areas such as consumer internet, enterprise and financial technology. Other notable Temasek-backed firms from Malaysia include regional super app Grab and cloud point-of-sale system provider StoreHub. The fund has about USD1.5 bil in assets under management and has backed more than 80 companies over the past 13 years.
Meanwhile, Singapore ride-hailing firm Ryde is looking to list on the New York Stock Exchange, with a preliminary prospectus indicating a target to raise USD17 mil. The company differentiates itself by focusing on carpooling services. The IPO plan comes as its accounting firm raised doubt about whether the company can continue operations, considering its reported net losses of SGD1.2 mil in 2021 and SGD5 mil in 2022. Ryde responded that the IPO is part of its plan to raise funds and that the firm secured SGD5.8 mil in venture capital funding.
Apple finally switched to USB-C for its iPhones
At its Wonderlust event, Apple announced its line-up of updated products — iPhone 15 (and Plus), iPhone 15 Pro (and Max), Apple Watch Series 9, and Apple Watch Ultra 2.
The new iPhones will now have USB-C charging ports. Apple says the change is due to the USB-C cable being the “universally accepted standard.” However, it’s likely due to the European Union (EU) law, which requires all phones sold in the region to use USB-C by autumn of 2024.
iPhone 15 will get the Dynamic Island feature — no more notch (finally!).
iPhone 15 will have a bigger camera sensor of 48 megapixels — up from 12 megapixels and with 2x telephoto.
iPhone 15 Pro will have an action button to replace the silence toggle on top of having the latest A17 Bionic chip (3-nanometer in size). The Pro Max also gets an updated camera with 5x telephoto.
iCloud storage has two additional tiers — 6TB and 12TB.
The Verge put together a 17-minute video covering all that matters.
Floods in Eastern Libya see estimated death toll of 3,000According to Libya’s eastern administration, based in Benghazi, the floods displaced an estimated 20,000 people after Storm Daniel, with 10,000 still reported missing. Relief efforts are underway, though there are still difficulties reaching the hardest-hit city of Derna.
The USD6 bil US-Iran prisoner exchange dealFor USD1.2 bil per American, the US is getting back 5 of its citizens held hostage by Iran in a prisoner exchange deal. The US has waived sanctions for banks to transfer frozen funds from South Korea to Qatar’s central bank. The US said that Qatar agreed to ensure the funds were used by Iran “strictly for humanitarian purposes and in a strictly controlled way” and Iran would not have direct access to the funds.
Nasa spots sign of possible lifeThe agency’s James Webb Space Telescope may have detected a molecule called dimethyl sulphide, which is only produced by life, at least on Earth. The molecule was detected on a planet 120 light years away, with methane and carbon dioxide also detected in that planet’s atmosphere, which could mean the planet has a water ocean. However, the researchers involved stressed that the detection of the molecule was “not robust” and required more data for confirmation.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
Dubbed the ‘world’s smallest number plate’, as small as a fingernail. The Road Transport Department (JPJ) discovered the tiny number plate on a motorcycle in Selangor.
The various times the world nearly nuked itself.