Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ PAS at it again - DAP promoting Islamophobia
PM Anwar: 2-week deadline for targeted subsidy plan. Ukrainian hospital Sun Tzu-ed Russian army from takeover. Luxury brand Balenciaga in hot water for ad campaign that sexualised children.
1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
28.1% of Malaysia’s population of 32.65 mil are children, according to the Children Statistics Malaysia 2022 report issued by the statistics department (DoSM). There are more boys than girls — 4.75 mil boys vs 4.44 mil girls. Under Childs Act 2001, a child is defined as a person under the age of 18 years.
11 mil Malaysian WhatsApp numbers are up for sale, according to an ad posted on a well-known hacking community forum claiming to sell a 2022 database of 487 million WhatsApp mobile numbers. Ugh, thank you Zuck. The leak includes accounts from 84 countries. WhatsApp’s parent company, Meta, has yet to respond to the news.
USD2,000 per sq ft (approx. RM8,960) — the average annual rent for Upper Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York, making it the priciest street globally for shopping, knocking Hong Kong off the perch. The rate is 14% higher than pre-pandemic levels, according to a survey by commercial property firm Cushman & Wakefield Plc. Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui district comes second.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Lodge a police report if DAP is indeed promoting Islamophobia
Following the occasional op-ed published by PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang via its Facebook account, PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil challenged the PAS leader to file a police report so that the authorities can investigate the allegations perpetrated by Abdul Hadi towards DAP, including importing western media’s Islamophia narrative into Malaysia and fielding Malay candidates to silently spread DAP’s allegedly anti-Islam ideology.
Read: DAP mempromosikan Islamofobia.
This is just another communication war initiated by PAS towards Pakatan Harapan (PH), which the latter clearly lost in the first round (during the 22 months after GE14). PH better bring their A-game to tilt the political thermometer of the country towards the centre and not slide towards the extreme right.
No new Mercedes for me, says PM Anwar
As part of his drive against the wastage of public funds, PM Anwar Ibrahim cancelled the purchase of a new RM1.35mil Mercedes S600 limousine, which was intended to be used as the official car for the PM. According to Berita Harian, the vehicle purchase was mooted by Muhyiddin Yassin and approved by Ismail Sabri.
Ismail Sabri’s aide, on the other hand, stated that this act of turning down new vehicles by PM Anwar is not something new as former PM Ismail Sabri Yaakob himself rejected the use of a new bullet-proof vehicle as his new official vehicle.
Kick-a** meme of Anwar Ibrahim:
PH-BN cooperation continues in Pahang
Pahang Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pahang Pakatan Harapan (PH) agreed to continue the momentum achieved at the Perak state and federal levels by cooperating in forming the Pahang state government. BN-man Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail will be leading the state government for the second time as Menteri Besar. In reciprocating the newly formed allegiance, Wan Rosdy stated that there is no final decision yet for PH to make way for them in the Tioman state seat election.
Two-week deadline for targeted subsidy plan
After chairing the National Action Council on Cost of Living (NACCOL) special meeting on a Sunday (yeap, you read that right), PM Anwar Ibrahim is giving the relevant agencies two weeks to draft a plan to address the rising cost of living for the Cabinet’s approval. The plan will include a targeted subsidy program for lower-income individuals.
In 2022, 48% or RM37.3bil of the country’s total subsidies went towards petrol-based subsidies, and 53% or RM19.8bil of the petrol-based subsidies were enjoyed by the T20 income group. The top recipient is not lower-income individuals. However, one needs to remain cautious that adopting targeted subsidies in favour of universal subsidies may raise efficiency issues and potential tension between those who are excluded and the beneficiaries.
Oprah Winfrey-level cash handout giveaway in Terengganu
As part of its RM2.4bil 2023 state budget, the Terengganu state government has approved wide-ranging cash handouts to its residents, from schoolchildren to tourism workers. The details of the one-off payments are as below:
RM110 to all schoolchildren;
RM100 book aid to pupils taking SPM and STPM public examinations;
RM200 to single mothers and persons with disabilities;
RM150 to security guards, farmers, fishermen and tourism workers;
RM150 to youth from low-income families;
RM300 to support important cultural festivals for all poor households;
RM200 to imams and bilals.
MetMalaysia: continuous rain until Sunday
The Department of Meteorology Malaysia (MetMalaysia) had issued warnings of continuous rain in four states: Terengganu, Kelantan, Pahang and Sabah. The rain will persist until Sunday (Dec 3).
The continuous rain has claimed its first victims as 60 people in Raub need to be evacuated due to non-stop heavy rain leading to water overflow from Sungai Kenong and flooding the low-lying settlements.
Genting Berhad linked firm, GMM Limited, failed to gain entry into Macau’s gaming hub after the entity was not shortlisted as one of the final six casino operators that managed to obtain the coveted 10-year gaming license.
Scandal-laden Boustead Heavy Industries Corp Bhd (BHIC) reported a massive drop in net profit for 3QFY2022, recording RM564,000 net profit, down 95% compared to the same period last year, due to lower contributions from submarine projects and other defence-related maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) projects.
S&P Global lowered its long-term issuer credit rating on Axiata Group Berhad from ‘BBB+’ to ‘BBB’ due to the company's weak earnings quality and worsening debt ratio. Recently, for 3QFY2022, Axiata posted a net loss of RM52.4mil compared to a net profit of RM349.6mil for the same period last year.
Read: What is credit rating and why it matters to companies and even governments
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Rare wave of protests across China
A fire incident killing 10 people in a high-rise building in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, has sparked a rare wave of protests across the country against the government as it was alleged that residents could not escape in time due to the building being under partial lock-down due to Covid-19 restrictions. Four mil of Urumqi residents have been under one of China’s longest lockdowns for as long as 100 days.
This incident has raised public anger towards the widening Covid-19 lockdowns, with protesters across the country seen chanting “End the lockdown!” and holding white, blank pieces of paper as a sign of protest against censorship on videos circulating on social media.
Stock and commodities across the world suffered a broad sell-off yesterday in response to this protest as growth expectations are set to weaken in the world’s second-largest economy. Oil prices dropped to the lowest level since Dec 2021 and before Russia invaded Ukraine.
Foxconn, one of Apple’s largest manufacturers, is offering USD1,800 to its existing workers at its Zhengzhou facility (the world’s largest iPhone factory) to sustain the number of staff following violent protests against lockdowns in the facility; the fix might have come a bit too late as Apple expects a shortfall of close to 6 mil iPhone Pro units this quarter.
Still on smartphone: In a reply to a tweet, Elon Musk said he will make an “alternative phone” in the event Apple and Google boot the Twitter app from their app stores. Coming from Musk, it could be a pure joke or a reality if push comes to shove.
Ukrainian hospital pulled off a Sun Tzu Art of War move against Russia
War strategist Sun Tzu once said “all warfare is based on deception”. The Russians, were they deceived. Dr Remiga, a doctor with the Tropinka Hospital in Kherson city of Ukraine, shared with the Wall Street Journal the lengths he and his colleagues went to prevent the Russians from taking over their hospital. Russian soldiers showed up at the hospital within days of invading the city, wanting to convert it into a military hospital. Remiga told the Russians the hospital is dealing with an active outbreak, with full hazmat suits donned and warning signs put up on the hospital walls about the outbreak. The Russians fell for the story and the hospital remained in the hands of Ukrainians since. Read the hospital’s detailed encounter here.
“All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”
- Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Asia’s largest REIT by market value set to grow larger
Hong Kong-listed and Asia’s biggest REIT Link Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) emerged as the frontrunner to acquire a portfolio of assets from Singapore shopping mall owner NTUCT Enterprise Co-operative Ltd in a deal worth USD1.8 bil. If the deal materialises, it would be Southeast Asia’s largest real estate transaction in 2022 and Link’s first investment in the city-state. With a market value of USD14 bil, nearly three-quarters of Link’s portfolio value is based in Hong Kong and the rest in mainland China, Australia and the UK.
REIT is a type of investment that allows investors to invest in prime real estate assets (i.e. commercial, industrial) without the hassle of managing them. A good asset for new investors to explore if one does not want to deviate too far from the comfort of real estate investing — learn more here.
Whilst the World Cup is in play in the middle east, Al Rihla, the official football in the tournament, is made in Madiun Regency in the East Java province of Indonesia by PT Global Way. Employing more than 2,000 workers, it has produced one mil of this football and exported it around the world.
Squid Game actor O Yeong-su has been charged with sexual misconduct for allegedly improperly touching a woman’s body in 2017. The 78-year-old played the character of Oh Il-nam a.k.a. The Host or Player 001. He became the first South Korean ever to win a Golden Globe award for the best supporting actor in his role in Squid Game.
Social media is urging to #cancelBalenciaga - luxury brand Balenciaga is in hot water for producing a holiday ad campaign that sexualises children, as the ad featured kids carrying fetish-adorned purses and teddy bears. Balenciaga has issued its apology and its ambassador, celebrity entrepreneur Kim Kardashian has spoken out against the brand and is reevaluating its ties.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
Watch Barney the Dinosaur exploding during Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade 25 years ago
After all these years of eating Toblerone, thinking it was just snow on Mont Matterhorn in its logo. Toblerone logo explained.