- The Coffee Break
- ☕️ Penang residential property market 2nd-best performing in ASEAN, up +5.6% in H1 2023
☕️ Penang residential property market 2nd-best performing in ASEAN, up +5.6% in H1 2023
Summary of 12th Malaysia Plan Mid-Term Review. Muda plans to protest against Zahid's DNAA. President Biden: China's Taiwan invasion not so soon due to "difficult economic problem" at home.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
Penangites grew a bit richer in 2023- at least on paper. Penang’s residential property market recorded an annual growth of 5.6% in the first half of 2023, making it the second-best performing market in Southeast Asia behind Singapore’s 8%. As for KL, prices grew by 0.34% year-on-year. This is according to Knight Frank’s latest report that tracks the movement of average residential prices in the Asia-Pacific region covering 25 cities. 14 cities recorded positive annual growth whilst average residential price growth in the region stands at -0.2%View report: Asia-Pacific Residential Index for 1H2023
24 — the number of grand slams won by Novak Djokovic after beating Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 7-6(7-5), 6-3 in the US Open men’s final. The 36-year-old Serb becomes the oldest US Open men’s winner in the Open era and the first to win three grand slam events in a season for the fourth time. The achievement by the Serb now matches the overall record for grand slam singles titles held by Margaret Court.
Someone paid 19 bitcoin (approx. USD509k at the time of reporting) as a transaction fee for the transfer of a modest 0.074 BTC. How did this happen though? Several speculate it was due to an error or a misconfiguration in the transaction software. F2Pool, a mining pool, has announced its decision to temporarily set aside the staggering fee, and if it goes unclaimed for three days, it will be distributed to miners instead.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Anwar tables 12MP mid-term review with RM15 bil extra allocationIn a significant announcement, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim presented the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) Mid-Term Review. Here are the key points you need to know:
More Money: An extra RM15 bil has been added to the 12MP budget, bringing the total allocation to RM415 bil. This additional funding is intended to meet the needs of the people, enhance management quality, and support targeted subsidies.
Tax Changes and Reforms: Anwar discussed plans for new taxes, including the introduction of a capital gains tax next year. He reassured the public that the government is committed to fair taxation, especially for those with lower incomes, and won't impose excessive tax burdens. Discussions about the possible reintroduction of the goods and services tax (GST) are ongoing, but the immediate focus is implementing a capital gains tax in 2024.
Financial Goals: The government is focused on improving financial management. They aim to reduce the fiscal deficit to 3.5% of the country's income by 2025, which involves responsible debt management and reduced spending.
Housing Help: Anwar also announced the construction of 800 affordable homes in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, and Penang under the Madani Inclusive Housing project. This initiative aims to provide housing options for people of different income groups.
Greater Transparency: The Companies Act 2016 and Limited Liability Partnerships Act 2012 related to the declaration of beneficial owners are being reviewed with the aim of strengthening transparency on share ownership, especially among bumiputra-owned companies. This aligns with efforts to promote good governance.
Bumiputra Economic Agenda: The approach to bumiputra economic participation is being reevaluated through the Madani economy. Anwar announced a bumiputra economic congress in January to determine new, just, fair, and inclusive approaches to the bumiputra agenda.
These developments outlined in the 12MP Mid-Term Review aim to foster sustainable economic development and improved financial management in Malaysia.
Muda plans to protest against Zahid’s DNAAMuda, along with civil society organizations, are planning for a protest following the withdrawal of corruption charges against Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. Muda and its electoral partner, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), submitted a memorandum to the Attorney-General’s Chambers demanding an explanation for halting proceedings against Zahid. They call for reinstating the charges and suggest Zahid step down during the case to prevent conflicts of interest. If their demands aren't met within five working days, protests are on the horizon. Muda recently left the Pakatan Harapan-led government bloc in response to Zahid’s case discharge.
Court cases: Tahfiz centre fire sentence; RCI members' list for Tommy Thomas' probe
The Court of Appeal has upheld the prison sentence for a youth found guilty of causing the 2017 Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah Tahfiz Centre fire, resulting in 23 deaths. Another youth charged in the same case was declared not guilty. The decisions were unanimous among the three judges. The acquitted youth was released due to difficulties in proving their presence during the fire. The prosecution argued that there must have been more than one person involved, while the defence emphasised the lack of eyewitnesses linking the convicted youth to the crime. Both youths were initially charged with murder, which provides for the mandatory death penalty upon conviction. However, the Children's Act 2001 allows for prison sentences for offenders under 18, subject to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong's approval.
The list of members for the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) tasked with investigating former Attorney General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas’ memoir will be presented to the Cabinet, according to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. The name list will be submitted by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said before seeking consent from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah. Thomas' book, titled "My Story: Justice in the Wilderness," raised controversy over his disclosures about discussions with former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad during their time in the government.
Ramsay Health Care and Sime Darby have identified potential buyers for their hospital unit, which could result in a deal worth approximately USD1.5 bil. TPG-backed hospital group Columbia Asia, Sunway Medical Centre, Macquarie Asset Management, and PT Mitra Keluarga Karyasehat are among the shortlisted candidates. Binding bids for Ramsay Sime Darby Health Care are expected in October. It's important to note that discussions with IHH Healthcare collapsed last year, and there's no guarantee a deal will proceed with the current shortlisted buyers.
CIMB Group Holdings has increased its sustainable finance target to RM100 bil by 2024, a significant rise from its previous goals of RM60 bil in 2022 and RM30 bil in 2021. The move comes as CIMB surpassed its earlier target, currently mobilising nearly RM70 bil in sustainable finance. The group aims to make a positive impact in line with its green, social, and sustainable impact products and services framework. In 2022, CIMB achieved RM27.8 bil in sustainable finance, with over 50% allocated to supporting underserved communities.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
AI for a better worldYesterday’s AI news was dark — today’s more hopeful (sort of)
A woman who suffered a brain stem stroke nearly two decades ago was left paralysed and unable to speak until today due to a condition known as locked-in syndrome (paralysed except for the muscles that control eye movement). With the help of AI, she can now express herself — just by thinking. The woman became the first patient to successfully use a groubdbreaking neurotechnology - a thin electrode is implanted in her brain, picks up her brain signals perceptible to the electrodes and with the help of AI, the signals get decoded and then synthesises speech and facial expressions using a computer-generated avatar.
A team of researchers from Brown University and several Chinese universities set out to explore if AI can run a software company cost-effectively with minimal human intervention. The researchers ran an experiment, powering their AI using ChatGPT’s 3.5 model to design various types of software, including games. The AI is assigned roles (i.e. CEO, CTO) and assigned 70 tasks. The study found that the AI-powered company completed the full software development process (from brainstorming to execution) on average in under 7 minutes at the cost of a grand total of less than USD1 (one dollar), all while identifying and troubleshooting “potential vulnerabilities” through its “memory” and “self-reflection”. 86.7% of the generated software systems were “executed flawlessly”. Read the experiment here. Should we all start worrying about our jobs?
Alibaba’s top exec sudden resignationHead of Alibaba’s cloud unit Daniel Zhang resigned over the weekend without stating any reasons in a surprise move, causing Alibaba’s stock to lose more than 4%. This comes just two months after Zhang stepped down as Alibaba’s group CEO to focus on the cloud unit, the group’s number 2 money spinner, valued at USD41 bil. He succeeded Jack Ma in 2015 as group CEO. This sudden resignation raised concern over the unit’s spin-off and IPO plan.
Alibaba announced that Zhang volunteered to resign from the cloud unit and would set up a fund to support Alibaba’s technology ecosystem and investment, which Alibaba plans to invest USD1 bil (sounds like Zhang and Alibaba are still on good terms).
G20 summit takeawayG20 is the collection of the world’s largest economies formed in 1999, comprising 19 countries and the European Union. The 2-day summit hosted by India has come to an end. The next summit will be hosted by Brazil in Nov 2024. Some highlights:
The G20 released a joint declaration on the Russia-Ukraine conflict without condemning Moscow directly and denounced using force for territorial gain. The language and tone of this declaration are a lot less aggressive and watered down compared to the one issued at the Bali summit last year. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov praised the joint declaration, and of course, Ukraine criticised it. Check out the difference here.
The bloc admitted another bloc, or a new member - the African Union, which consists of 55 member states at the invitation of India, one of whose key objectives is to make the G20 more inclusive with greater participation of so-called Global South countries. G21 it is now.
Bharat - that’s the other official name of India, which is a Sanskrit word. The name was prominently used instead of India on invitation cards and President Narendra Modi’s placard, fueling speculation that the government plans to phase out the country’s English designation (i.e. India).
Read: What is the G20, who’s in it and what happens at the summit?
When will China invade Taiwan? Not anytime soon, at least according to US President Joe Biden. At a press conference during his state visit to Hanoi, Vietnam, Biden said China’s “difficult economic problem,” including its real-estate crisis (Chinese real estate developers at the brink of collapsing left and right) and record high youth unemployment, is keeping China’s “hands full” to bother about invading Taiwan. For the US, this is one problem less to worry about amidst China’s growing tech superiority, as we shared yesterday.
Spanish football president Luis Rubiales had succumbed to pressure and resigned from his post on Sunday following the lip-kissing scandal of a Women’s World Cup player. He was suspended by FIFA earlier after refusing to step down and Spanish public prosecutors filed a lawsuit against him for sexual assault and coercion last week.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
Interested in the initial public offering of SSF Home Group Bhd? The team at Stockbit unboxed the IPO — the background of the company and what the proceeds from the IPO will be used for.
Time in the market is more important than timing the market.
How Silicon Valley was created by one engineer — and the power of the flywheel effect.