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☕️ PH-BN Manifesto in Selangor and Penang
Subscription inflation: TM Unify Home, Spotify Premium. Taylor Swift gives USD55 mil bonus to all staff working on Eras Tour in US. How China beat everyone to be the world leader in electric vehicles.
1. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
A few weeks ago, the customs department at the KLIA air cargo complex in Sepang seized 250kg of 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and ketamine, with an estimated worth of RM18.2 mil. The seizure involved 18 boxes, with 12 of them containing transparent plastic packages of suspected MDMA, weighing 232.05kg and valued at approximately RM17 mil. This is the largest haul of MDMA seized by the department and is capable of producing about 1.5 tonnes of ecstasy.
A new report from Credit Summit reveals that nearly two-thirds of American consumers possess at least one unused gift card, with half losing it before using it. This results in around USD21 bil of unspent money from unused and lost gift cards. Most respondents indicated that the unredeemed cards were valued at USD200 or less.
To commemorate the birth of the 911 sports car 60 years ago, Porsche released the Porsche 911 ST, which is based on the 992 GT3. Only 1963 (in honour of its birth year) of these will be made — and you need to be able to work a stick to drive one because it’s only available in manual.
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3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
PH-BN Manifesto in Selangor and Penang
This is part of our efforts to showcase the manifestoes or promises from political parties, especially for the six-state elections. We did one for MUDA, and now we turn to PH-BN.
Penang’s Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Barisan Nasional (BN) unveiled their manifesto for Penang, which comprises 16 main themes, 15 highlights and 50 manifestoes. The manifesto of the PH-BN coalition was presented by the Penang Unity Manifesto committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari. Among the key highlights is the establishment of a State Social Development Fund to collect medical healthcare fees from foreigners and direct the monies to the B40 group. Besides that, the PH-BN coalition also intends to attract high-quality investments via the development of the ‘Silicon Island’ project that will generate RM7 bil for the local economy during its construction period alone.
Whether or not this manifesto is enough to secure PH’s safe deposit state is unsure; we will only know the answer by next weekend. Previously, Penang DAP secretary Lim Hui Ying claimed that DAP had lost 20% of Chinese voters’ support in the state, albeit her sources were unverified.
From Penang, now we turn the crown jewel state of every political party in the country which is Selangor. Selangor PH chairman Amirudin Shari presented the coalition’s manifesto recently. After succumbing to public pressure and snubbing the Petaling Jaya Dispersal (PJD) Link highway, Selangor PH is stating that public transportation will be the future as the coalition promises to build new railway lines connecting Klang to Kuala Selangor, Tanjong Karang, and Sabak Bernam and another rail line connecting Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Tanjong Sepat and Sungai Pelek. Personally, I hope these rail lines materialised so the public can access a better quality of life by living in the outskirts while enjoying the high salary of working in the Klang Valley. You can view the rest of the Selangor PH manifesto here.
As a public service announcement, please cast your votes as every ballot counts. One interesting fact, in GE15, Malay voters had the highest turnout rate at 78%, while Chinese voters had the lowest.
Zahid never permitted the use of Yayasan’s money to pay credit card debts
In Deputy PM Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s Yayasan Akalbudi RM31 mil money laundering trial, Zahid’s former long-serving secretary Rosiah Osman stated that Yayasan’s money was never used to pay for Zahid’s personal credit cards or car insurance. The foundation monies were only used to reimburse Zahid for any expenses incurred on behalf of the mosques, and donations advanced on the Yayasan’s behalf. The 71-year-old Rosiah told the court it was ‘not confusing’ to use Zahid’s credit card to buy donation items and reimburse him later using the Yayasan’s fund as certain items such as carpets for the mosque cannot be paid using the Yayasan’s cheque. Thus, they were paid using Zahid’s credit card first.
Sarawak Premier Abang Johari Tun Openg said that the Sarawak State Government is mulling over a third request from the Federal Government after receiving positive responses regarding the takeover of MASWings and the Bintulu Port from Putrajaya. Apart from that, Abang Johari stated that he will make a special announcement about the establishment of the Sovereign Wealth Future Fund Board that will have an RM8 bil seed funding.
The Premier also announced that Sarawak plans to develop 10,000 ha of commercial bamboo plantations and 1,640 ha of community plantations by 2030. This development is also part of the state’s effort to diversify its timber sources and the downstream timber industry. Commercial bamboo can be processed into high-value products, such as furniture, biomass, charcoal and food packaging.
Transport Minister Anthony Loke mentioned that the Federal Government is considering the proposal of constructing a rail line in Sarawak that will connect the coastal cities in Sarawak with a major spur line connecting to the future capital of Indonesia in Kalimantan. Sarawak is the only state in Malaysia that does not have a rail network.
Kuching South City Council (MBKS) and Curtin University Malaysia have inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together in transforming Kuching into an age-friendly city. At the moment, about 12.1% of the Kuching population is aged 60 and above, slowly inching closer to the 14% threshold, where a locality could be considered as an aged society.
Three things that are certain in our life - death, taxes and price inflation
7.5% - Telekom Malaysia will increase its Unifi Home 2GBps plan by 7.5% from RM399 to RM428.90 effective immediately. The 1GBps plan is also not spared from the price hike, where the home internet plan’s price is adjusted from RM349 to RM378.90.
RM1 - RM1.70 hike - All Spotify Premium plans (Individual, Dua, Family and Student) except for the Spotify Premium Mini plan will experience a price hike of between RM1 to RM1.70 starting immediately. However, if you are already a Premium subscriber, you will only have to suffer the price increase in your next billing cycle in September.
Bosch will invest RM1.62 bil in Penang, spanning a period up to the middle of 2030s, to manufacture one of Asia’s most advanced plant to conduct the final testing of automotive chips and sensors. The production of semiconductors is divided into two sections, including the so-called front-end and back-end production. This new facility in Penang will focus on the back-end production that concentrates mainly on final testing. As of December 2022, Bosch had invested nearly RM400 mil in Penang alone.
Sunway Bhd’s property arm, Sunway Property had purchased a 245-acre land in Kuang, Rawang, for RM115 mil from Kauthar Equities Sdn Bhd. Subsequently, the company will initiate a joint venture with Amal Resources Sdn Bhd to turn the land into an industrial tech park that will have a projected gross development value of at least RM2 bil.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Dark horse arises in Thai Politics
Pheu Thai, a political party associated with former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, is poised to establish a new coalition government in Thailand, seeking support from conservative parties to break the long-standing political deadlock since the May election. The party’s strategy excludes Move Forward Party, which secured the majority of seats, due to its pro-democracy stance and plans to amend the royal insult law. To appease conservatives, Pheu Thai pledged to preserve the law safeguarding the royal family while prioritising the overhaul of the military-drafted constitution to promote democratic reforms. The move has sparked outrage among pro-democracy activists, who see it as a betrayal of the people.
Random Massacre in South Korea
In a shocking incident in South Korea, at least 13 people suffered injuries when a man deliberately drove his car onto a crowded sidewalk near a subway station in Seongnam. After the vehicle rampage, the assailant emerged and began stabbing innocent pedestrians. Nine individuals were stabbed, and four others sustained injuries due to the vehicle's impact. Tragically, there has been one confirmed fatality. This distressing event comes on the heels of another uncommon stabbing attack in Seoul, where one person lost their life, and three others were wounded. In response to these disturbing incidents, the National Police Agency is set to convene an online meeting with regional police chiefs to explore strategies to address stabbings and random attacks on civilians.
India restricts the import of electronic devices
India has imposed immediate restrictions on the import of laptops, tablets, personal computers, and servers, requiring a licensing requirement for imports. The move is believed to be aimed at boosting local manufacturing efforts in the country. India has been providing incentives to firms in recent years to spur domestic production, drawing in smartphone manufacturers and now chipmakers and semiconductor producers.
India has extended the application deadline for a USD2 bil incentive scheme aimed at attracting investments in IT hardware manufacturing as the country aims to achieve annual electronics production worth USD300 bil by 2026.
X welcomes its first lawsuit after rebranding
The Agence France-Presse (AFP) is suing X, formerly known as Twitter, for not engaging in discussions about payment for using its articles on the platform. In 2019, France passed a law extending copyright to news publishers' content for two years after release, requiring sites like X to negotiate remuneration with publishers instead of using the content without compensation.
Pop singer Lizzo denies lawsuit allegations by her former dancers
American pop singer Lizzo is being sued by three former dancers, Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams, and Noelle Rodriguez, who allege sexual, religious, and racial harassment, disability discrimination, assault, and false imprisonment. Lizzo has since released a statement denying all of the allegations, claiming that she never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable or like they aren't valued as an important part of the team.
Bank of England raises interest rates to 5.25% amidst inflation battle
The Bank of England has raised its Bank Rate by 0.25 percentage points to 5.25%, which is the 14th consecutive increase since December 2021, when it was at a record low of 0.1%. The Bank aims to combat inflation at 7.9% in June, targeting 2%. More hikes could be on the horizon.
Taylor Swift showers her tour staff with lots of love (i.e. a big bonus)
Taylor Swift showed her appreciation to her tour staff by giving out "end of tour" bonuses, with approximately USD5 mil going to around 50 truck drivers (USD100k on average each) who assisted in hauling her production equipment during the 17-week US leg of her Eras tour. In total, Swift handed out over USD55 mil in bonuses to her team, including dancers, sound technicians, and caterers.
Weekend read: How China beat everyone to be the world leader in electric vehicles
First, let’s give some context on China’s massive EV market. Clean-car sales, including plug-in hybrids, in China, hit 5.67 mil in 2022, accounting for more than half of all global deliveries and is expected to hit 60% of passenger EV sales this year. Sufficient infrastructure spurs the industry further — China, which has the largest charging network in the world, added 649,000 public charges in 2022 alone, which is more than 70% of all installations done globally that year. The carrots and the sticks explained how China got here.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
New month, new me.
Watch MrMoney’s interview with YB Liew Chin Tong