Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ PM Anwar: "Final warning" to all parties not to exploit the 3Rs - race, religion and royal institution
TM Unifi Mobile data breach affecting 250k customers. Second Jho Low associate arrested. SoftBank-backed unicorn IRL closes shop after discovering 95% of its users are fake.
1. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
The first week of July broke temperature records globally, reaching the highest average temperature on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Data shows that last Thursday’s daily global average temperature peaked at 17.08 degrees Celsius. Additionally, a recent study published in the science journal Nature highlights the significant impact of heatwaves in Europe, with over 61,000 heat-related deaths recorded last summer. Italy, Greece, Spain, and Portugal were among the most affected countries. What’s behind this heatwave? El Nino.
>38,500 — the number of members in the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) as of June 2023, far behind the 60,000 target by 2020 set in 2010. The nation is facing a shortage of accountants relative to our population size. Malaysia’s accountant-to-population ratio is 1:871 as compared to other developed countries (referencing data in 2014), such as Australia (1:119), Singapore (1:184), New Zealand (1:136) and Hong Kong (1:195). We need more accountants - but we need more talent in STEM.
14,977 travellers to Malaysia between January to June this year were issued not-to-land (NTL) status out of a total of 3.98 mil travellers. Typical reasons: failure to show return ticket and address for their stay in the country. Travellers from Bangladesh, Pakistan and India were the top 3 nationals who were turned away at Malaysia’s entry points.
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3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Sanusi The Confused
With the state elections coming, it’s the season to convince everyone and everything under the sky that we should vote for Perikatan Nasional (PN). PN election director and Kedah’s caretaker menteri besar Sanusi Md Nor made a guest appearance on Khairy Jamaluddin’s Keluar Sekejap podcast, giving him a loudspeaker to convince voters. To that end, Sanusi Md Nor assured non-Muslims that their lifestyles would not change under the PN government, which includes PAS.
Just as the non-Muslims who listened to the podcast were convinced (just kidding), Sanusi asserted that he agreed with PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang that non-Muslims are the most involved in corruption, which he said was “true” and “based on facts” (this study, however, paints a different picture as compared to Sanusi’s allegations).
Very complex strategy the PN election director is devising to convince voters.
J-Kom: A family of 4 can survive on RM400 a month on groceries
Now, it’s the government’s turn to go wrong in its communications to convince voters in Musim PRN. The Community Communications Department (aka J-Kom) published an infographic showing that a family of 4 living on a minimum wage of RM1,500 a month could make do with RM397.80 worth of groceries per month. The controversial infographic drew brickbats for posting an “illogical” infographic.
The infographic made the assumption (a very bad one) of constant living costs regardless of urban or non-urban areas, and notably missing in the infographic are fruits and vegetables. The infographic was amended 12 hours after it was published, with some changes but still with the same logic of fantasy that RM400 a month on groceries is enough for a family of 4.
Second Jho Low associate arrested
Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution announced that Jasmine Loo, a known close associate of fugitive Jho Low, was arrested last Friday, without elaborating further on the circumstances surrounding her arrest. Loo was 1MDB’s former executive director of group strategy and was alleged to receive a total of USD15 mil (RM69.8 mil) from misappropriated 1MDB funds. Since 2015, she was already a “Wanted” person by BNM to assist in the 1MDB investigation.
Loo is the second associate of Jho Low to be arrested in the recent two months. On 3 May, Kee Kok Thiam was arrested after being deported from Macau and was interrogated by MACC. On 29 May, he died due to a “sudden massive stroke”. Putting on our tinfoil hat, we hope Loo’s fate doesn’t follow the path of Kee’s.
Continuing our Episode N of Corruption, the MACC has arrested a former special officer who worked for a minister during PH’s past administration for soliciting a bribe of RM25,000 in exchange for an approval letter on a citizenship application.
Enough is enough - PM Anwar issued a “final warning” to all parties not to stir up issues touching the 3Rs - race, religion and the royal institution. Without naming names, the final warning seems to be directed towards VIPs. PM Anwar said certain parties think they are invincible as they are too high up and great. Definitely these VIPs will undermine the warning and when it happens, let’s hope this final warning will have some teeth to it.
Some 56,000 public university students will see their inflation index improved as they will enjoy an RM300 subsidy for their travel flights between Peninsular and East Malaysia, Transport Minister Anthony Loke announced. This would cost an estimated RM16.8 mil.
Telekom Malaysia (TM) announced that it had suffered a data breach affecting 250,248 Unifi Mobile customers. The customers’ personal information, including names, MyKad/passport numbers, and contact details, were leaked in the hack. Late last year in Australia, Australian Telco Optus (owned by Singapore’s Singtel) suffered a massive data breach affecting 10 mil customers and has earmarked AUD140 mil (RM442.5 mil) to manage the aftermath of the breach.
PN17 ain’t stopping Pharmaniaga from winning more contracts, despite its independent auditor PwC had raised material uncertainty on the company’s ability to continue as a going concern. The financially troubled company has won a 7-year concession agreement to provide medical supply logistics services to the Ministry of Health, effective from 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2030. The value of the contract was not disclosed. Pharmaniaga is 52% owned by recently delisted Boustead Holdings, which in turn is owned by Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera.
Malaysian art and animation company, Lemon Sky Studios, is said to plan to list on the local stock exchange sometime at year-end or early 2024. The studio was involved in video games such as Final Fantasy XVI, Spider-Man game titles, and Diablo II. The IPO size and valuation could not be ascertained. In 2021, Australia-listed iCandy Interactive acquired Lemon Sky for AUD44.5 mil (RM139.5 mil). The company currently employs over 500 artists. Check out its portfolio of games and animation here.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Corruption: Over 50 Vietnamese officials on trial over alleged Covid flight bribes, while Singaporean minister forced to take leave due to investigation
The trials of the Vietnamese officials, scheduled to last one month, are for alleged corruption over repatriation flights during the Covid-19 pandemic, with the total amount of bribery money reaching USD9.5 mil. The allegations are part of an anti-corruption purge in the country, with a number of deals done during Vietnam’s pandemic response already involved, including a scandal involving the distribution of Covid-19 testing kits that saw at least 100 officials and businesspeople arrested.
Meanwhile, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has ordered Transport Minister S. Iswaran to go on leave, as Iswaran “is currently assisting” in a corruption probe launched by the nation’s anti-graft body, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB). However, no details were available because the case is still under investigation.
Seems like Vietnam is sifting through the effects of a lack of due diligence, while Singapore is holding firm to its no-nonsense policy regarding graft.
Still, speaking of due diligence..…
Softbank-backed messaging app startup shuts down as 95% of users were fake
Back in June, messaging app startup IRL (In Real Life) announced it was shutting down following allegations – later proven – that most of its users were fake. Abraham Shafi, CEO of the startup, had said last year that the app had 20 million monthly active users. An investigation by the board of directors found that 95% of the users were automated or from bots. Two years ago, IRL was valued at USD1.2 bil after it finished a USD170 mil Series C funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2.
Think this case is unique? Banking giant JP Morgan experienced a similar case early in the year - the majority 4 mil customers of fintech startup Frank it acquired for USD175 mil turned out to be fabricated.
The Nato summit currently being held in Vilnius, Lithuania, saw no invitation to Ukraine to join the alliance. Nato needed Ukraine to fulfil certain conditions and for the alliance members to unanimously agree. For reference, Nato had previously agreed that Ukraine “will be a member at some point” back in 2008. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky criticised the “absurd delay” of the invitation, though he was mollified by the UK pushing for the invite to be fast-tracked and by the Baltic states and Eastern European nations wanting Nato to make clear what further conditions Ukraine needs to meet.
Still, Ukraine was also promised support and resources on its road to joining Nato, with a series of military packages announced for Ukraine, along with training for its pilots to fly US-made F-16 fighter jets to begin in August. France will also be supplying Ukraine with long-range cruise missiles.
However, Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev warned that the increased assistance for Ukraine from Nato members actually brings the threat of a World War III closer. Medvedev said the pledges of military aid to Ukraine would not stop Russia from achieving its goals in Ukraine, with Russia’s foreign minister giving similar warnings that Moscow does not intend to end the war in the face of the aid to Ukraine.
Of Hospital and Luxury Watches
Hospital purchase marks largest healthcare deal in Vietnam
Singapore’s Thomson Medical Group controlled by billionaire Peter Lim will be purchasing FV Hospital, located in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City. The initial deal is for USD359.6 mil to be paid upfront, with an additional USD21.8 mil paid out should FV Hospital reach certain milestones. This marks the largest healthcare deal in Vietnam so far. Thomson Medical sees the purchase as gaining a strategic foothold in Vietnam to grow and invest there.
Angel investor Cristiano Ronaldo backs global luxury watch resale marketplace Chrono24
Cristiano Ronaldo, an angel investor who also plays football, is now an investor in Chrono24 and is “thrilled” to be a shareholder of the platform he frequently uses. However, there are no details as to the size of his stake in the company due to an agreement between Chrono24 and Ronaldo to keep it secret. However, CEO Tim Stracke shared that it was a “significant” stake, both for the company and for the footballer. Ronaldo, who is also the world’s highest-paid athlete, has a personal watch collection valued at USD6.5 mil. Chrono24 turned into a unicorn in Aug 2021 when it raised USD118 mil in its Series C funding, valuing it more than USD1 bil.
Fun fact: Cristiano Ronaldo sold his image rights in 2015 to Peter Lim’s Mint Media. Peter Lim also owns Spanish La Liga’s Valencia.
Six dead in helicopter crash near Everest – Contact was lost with the tourist helicopter 8 minutes after taking off from Lukla, the gateway for climbing expeditions to Mt Everest. The bodies of the five Mexican travellers and the Nepali pilot have been recovered. A Malaysian climber at Everest lost his life back in May.
Barbie film to be allowed in the Philippines with blurred South China Sea map – The reason for the blurred map is because it originally depicts China’s nine-dash line, the country’s claim over the South China Sea. The movie was only allowed in the Philippines after the film was reviewed twice by the government’s Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, which included consulting legal experts and foreign affairs officials. For a movie like Barbie, it turned out to be more political than Oppenheimer, a true story of the making of the atomic bomb.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
Summer season means blockbuster movie season
Deadpool x Wolverine - Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman at work filming Deadpool 3.
Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One is out. Check out the trailer below. It is said to be the best-reviewed Mission: Impossible of all-time and is expected to rake in USD250 mil in the first five days of release globally.
Director Christopher Nolan (Dark Knight, Inception, Tenet) is known for using practical effects instead of CGI to create scenes like a plane crashing into a building in Tenet and the rotating hallway fight in Inception. He takes it to the next level in Oppenheimer — creating a real nuclear explosion.