Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ PAS leader: survey shows 88% of people convicted of giving bribes were non-Malays
Najib Razak's special treatment in prison - fake news says Prisons Dept. Taiwan temporarily removed Malaysia from visa-free entry list. Violent protests in Indonesia over fuel price hikes.
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1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
JPY1.7 bil (USD12 mil) - Japan expects to spend this much on a state funeral for former PM Shinzo Abe after he was assassinated in July during a campaign trail. Polls showed that about half of Japanese voters oppose the publicly funded event.
RM392 bil - the gargantuan amount estimated for a long-term solution to overcome the country’s flood problems for the next 78 years till 2100 according to the Environment and Water Ministry. That’s an average of RM5.02 bil a year.
GBP847 mil (USD1 bil) worth of art belonging to the late co-founder of Microsoft Paul Allen will be sold, making it the largest art auction in history. The auction will sell 150 pieces of art spanning 500 years. Paul Allen co-founded Microsoft with childhood friend Bill Gates in 1975, died in 2018, aged 65 due to non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a rare form of cancer.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
We are going Europeans as masking indoors now optional
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced that masking indoors is no longer mandatory, effective immediately, but property owners may impose face mask rulings at their premises. However, wearing a mask is still mandatory when you are using public transportation (buses, trains, planes, taxis and e-hailing vehicles) and at hospitals or any other medical institutions.
It feels like ages ago when we were required to wear masks at all times and were penalised if we failed to do so. Back in 2020, individuals that did not wear masks in public could either be fined RM1,000 or put in jail.
Najib Razak’s court cases updates:
Audit report tampering trial - prosecution wrapped up its case against Najib Razak for the 1MDB audit report case
The prosecution team led by ad hoc prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram has completed its case, with 18 witnesses having been called to the court. The prosecution now passes the case to the defence team. Najib Razak is being charged for using his position to make amendments to the 1MDB final audit report in 2016, where eventually, two 2014 financial statements, the issuance of Islamic medium-term notes, the Islamic bonds’ secondary subscriber, and Low Taek Jho’s (Jho Low) presence at 1MDB board meetings were removed from the report.
1MDB-Tanore trial - RM8.4mil in the form of cheques had been issued from Najib Razak’s bank account
In the misappropriation of RM2.28bil 1MDB funds case, one of the prosecution witnesses and an Ambank’s executive, Badrul Hisam, testified to the court that Najib Razak had issued and signed an eye-watering RM8.4mil (in total) in the form of cheques from March 2011 to May 2012. Among the beneficiaries of these monies are:
RM3.9mil - to Selangor UMNO
RM1mil - to tycoon Tan Sri Lim Soon Peng (founder of Titijaya Land Berhad)
RM400,000 - to Macang UMNO
RM370,000 - to Pekan UMNO and Pekan UMNO Wanita
RM200,000 - to Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah (former Kedah MB)
Najib Razak does not get special treatment in jail
The Prisons Department had denied the rumours circulating on social media that Najib Razak is allegedly receiving special treatment at Kajang Prison, by being given a house on prison grounds that are meant for senior prison officers.
IGP, Putrajaya failed to strike out Indira Gandhi’s suit
The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal by the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and the Government to strike out a lawsuit filed by Indira Gandhi over the former's failure to arrest the latter’s ex-husband and return her abducted daughter. This Indira Gandhi’s story is a sad one, dating all the way back to 2009. You can view the timeline of events related to this below.
PAS: bribery is a tool used by non-Malays the most
Instead of downplaying or refuting the party’s president, Abdul Hadi Awang’s racist remarks stating that non-Muslims are the main cause of corruption, PAS central committee has doubled down on the statement by putting forward a survey conducted by a local university to back up Abdul Hadi Awang’s claim. According to the survey conducted between 2010 and 2014, 88% of 449 people convicted of giving bribes were non-Malays, where the majority of the recipients of the bribes were Malays. Does it ever occur in PAS leaders’ minds that bribery is a universal problem and bribes (aka money) can tempt both Malays and non-Malays?
Landfill in Negeri Sembilan closed temporarily due to burst waste reservoir
Negeri Sembilan’s exco, Teo Kok Seong gave a statement that the operation of Ladang Tanah Merah Landfill in Port Dickson was closed in the meantime as the solid waste reservoir at the site had burst, causing the leachate to flow into the nearby river. At the moment, the Negeri Sembilan state government is talking to its neighbour, Selangor, in order for the former to send its solid waste to a waste disposal site in Sepang, as a temporary measure.
NFD - no further delay. That was being said by Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS) in relation to the scandalous littoral combat ships (LCS) project, in light of the termination of two main contractors of the project - Contraves Advanced Devices Sdn Bhd (CAD) and Contraves Electrodynamics Sdn Bhd (CED) - in view of the allegedly fraudulent dealings conducted by the two companies.
Taiwan has temporarily removed Malaysia and a number of other countries, including Singapore, from its visa-free entry list. No reason was given for the temporary suspension.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
China remains shut from the rest of the world
Beijing is adamant about its Covid Zero policy. As the world starts to reopen, China still maintains strict control of movement across its borders. China-international flight options collapsed from 2,600 flights per day in 2020 to just around 100 flights per day even until today. Expatriates in the business community had to resort to private plane charters. The US is protesting the intensive border rules by suspending flights by Chinese airlines this month. Domestically, 30 cities across the nation are fully or partially locked down. Megacity Chengdu with a population of 21 mil is still shut after a lockdown last week
Protests in Indonesia over fuel price hike
Thousands of protesters rallied in Indonesia’s biggest cities as the government announced on Saturday to increase the prices of subsidized fuel by about 30%, for the first time in 8 years. Subsidized fuel is a politically sensitive issue in Indonesia - past increases had also triggered protests and led to the fall of dictator Suharto. President Joko Widodo said the price hike was his last option, as the country’s energy subsidy had tripled this year to IDR502 tril (USD34 bil) from its original budget.
Ukraine rebuilds, Putin criticises
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday remotely as he appeals for private investment to rebuild Ukraine. Over 500 projects worth USD400 bil for foreign investors were launched, although the war is still ongoing. Ukraine’s Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko said “it’s necessary to invest in Ukraine now and not wait for the end of the war”.
Huge opportunity there, but most likely, ‘now’ isn’t necessary - any rational investors would wait for the war to end before investing. No one wants their projects to be shelled.
Speaking to the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized Western sanctions on Russia as a “threat to the entire world”, replacing the pandemic and that the West was trying to impose its will on the world but that their power was in decline as the centre of growth moves to Asia.
Putin will be meeting China’s President Xi Jinping during a regional summit in Uzbekistan next week.
Russia’s state-run gas giant Gazprom PJSC said Russia and China will move away from the USD to the national currencies of both countries - ruble and yuan - to pay for Russian gas.
Big, big corporate fines for putting teenagers at risk
Irish regulators have fined Instagram EUR405 mil (USD402 mil) after its inquiry revealed that the social media company mishandled the personal information of teenagers in violation of European Union data privacy standards, making it the second biggest fine issued under the EU’s privacy rules.
Giant e-cigarette maker Juul has agreed to pay USD438.5 mil to settle claims by 34 US states and territories that found it had “relentlessly marketed to underage users” its vaping products and creating a “new generation of nicotine addicts”. The settlement amounts to 25% of Juul’s US sales, which totalled USD1.9 bil last year. Juul has been blamed for the growing trend of vaping among teens as it skyrocketed in the years following Juul’s 2015 launch.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
Bahasa Malaysia heard in the Australian Parliament as Muar-born Sam Lim, who was elected as Tangney MP in Australia’s House of Representatives, delivered his maiden speech. He still speaks like a Malaysian even after migrating there in 2002! PM Sabri congratulated him on his speech.
Pertinent question - why did he migrate?
Argentina’s Vice President Cristina Fernandez got real lucky as she survived an assassination attempt - the gunman’s weapon got jammed and failed to fire.