Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ PM Anwar: RM8 bil price tag to solve Kelantan’s water issues is too high
OIC crowns MY as the best Muslim-friendly destination. 7 of 8 scientific measures place Earth's health in "danger zone". How some people get away with doing nothing at work.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
Since the country launched the premium visa program last year on Oct 1, only two applications have been approved out of 28 applications received. The visa was announced in hopes of drawing rich investors to settle in the country — those with an offshore income of at least RM40,000 a month or RM480,000 a year are eligible. But it doesn’t stop there — applicants must also have RM1 mil in their bank and pay a one-off RM200,000 participation fee.
Sam Bankman-Fried’s trial — in which he pleaded not guilty to 13 criminal counts, including bank fraud, bribery and campaign finance violations — involves over six mil pages of evidence. The prosecutors apparently took weeks to download all of Bankman-Fried’s Slack messages. According to New York Times, 2.5 mil pages of evidence come from Bankman-Fried's phones, laptops, and Google accounts.
USD326.7 bil — the amount of dividends paid by the 1,200 largest firms by market capitalisation globally in Q1 of 2023, a 12% jump YoY. Banks, oil producers and vehicle manufacturers were the significant contributors. Janus Henderson, an asset management company, expects total dividends for 2023 to hit USD1.64 trillion.
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3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
97-year-old Tun Dr Mahathir is not retiring anytime soon from politics
After PAS, Tun Dr Mahathir is now turning to his former disciple to form a so-call Malay-based political party alliance to fight for the interest of the Malays. Mahathir stated that he is willing to work with his former brother-in-arms cum Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman Muhyiddin Yassin if an agreement can be made on mutual goals. Mahathir said that the Malay-based UMNO party is not trusted by the Malays, evidently by its performance in the previous GE15. So, the current Malay-based parties need to unite to appear stronger. How ironic, as he is one of the persons responsible for the current disfranchised state of Malay politics with the creation of the Bersatu and Parti Pejuang Tanahair that are believed to be breakaways from UMNO.
A good day as MSMEs business owners
Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli told the media that his ministry will introduce a new system in the middle of July that will trim the layers of bureaucracy for the public to get allocations for small projects. This new system will democratise the process for anyone from the public to district offices to get money to fund micro-projects such as fixing potholes and unclogging drains.
Alliance Bank Malaysia Bhd and Credit Guarantee Corporation Malaysia Bhd (CGC) are continuing their partnership in the portfolio guarantee schemes to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). The initial funding of RM2.05 bil has been taken up completely by almost 4,000 businesses. Thus, Alliance Bank and CGC are adding another RM1 bil into the scheme.
The RM8 bil price tag to solve Kelantan’s water issues is too high
PM Anwar Ibrahim stated that the RM8 bil cost quoted by the Kelantan State Government to solve the current water crisis in the state is too high. The RM8 bil proposal by the state government, which includes an extensive plant for a water reserve, is not necessary, according to the PM. However, PM concurred that the water crisis in Kelantan is more severe than the one in Sabah due to the high financial requirement and has approached the stakeholders from both state governments to solve the water issues. Putrajaya has formed a multi-agency task force (the return of task forces) to start finding solutions for the aqua problems of both Kelantan and Sabah.
Malaysia is crowned the best Muslim-friendly destination
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has handed the title of ‘Best Muslim-Friendly Destination’ to Malaysia, apart from retaining its number one position in the ‘Best Muslim-Friendly Destination’ chart in the Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2023 report. Out of the 110 mil Muslim tourist arrivals globally, Malaysia managed to get about 2% of the global share, recording 2.12 mil Muslim tourists, which in return contributed RM5.37 bil to the local economy.
Panasonic Manufacturing Malaysia Berhad has denied the earlier reports that the company is closing various of its operations across the country, which will affect hundreds of jobs for locals. However, Panasonic confirmed that it has closed down two departments in its Shah Alam 1 plants as part of its restructuring exercise.
Japan-based machinery manufacturer CKD Corporation has finalised the acquisition of an 80,000 square meters plant in the Kulim Hi-Tech Park, Kedah, that will serve as the company’s main production base in the Southeast Asia region. CKD Corporation is a listed company on the Nikkei Stock Exchange with a market capitalisation of RM4.89 bil.
Former Green Packet Bhd group managing director Puan Chan Cheong (CC Puan) has been declared bankrupt after he failed to pay a huge sum of RM30.66 mil owed to Everegion Sdn Bhd and Medinis Sdn Bhd. Prior to the bankruptcy declaration, CC Puan tried to contest the suits filed by the two companies but, unfortunately to no end.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Mother Earth is “really quite sick right now”
The international scientist group Earth Commission published a new study that measured the health of Earth across eight environmental measures or scientifically established limits: climate, air pollution, phosphorus and nitrogen contamination of water from fertiliser overuse, groundwater supplies, fresh surface water, unbuilt natural environment and overall natural and human-built environment. 7 out of 8 of these measures placed Earth in “the danger zone” and only air pollution isn’t quite at the danger point on a global scale, but nevertheless dangerous at local and regional levels.
There were previous attempts to holistically measure the health of systems on Earth. The big difference in this new study includes measurement at local and regional levels and also added the element of justice as “sustainability and justice are inseparable”, according to a scientist who is not part of the research. The justice part includes fairness between young and old generations, different nations and even different species. The one good takeaway from the study - the scientists said this is not a terminal diagnosis, and the planet can recover if it changes. IF it changes.
Read study: Safe and just Earth system boundaries.
In the Trump world
Back in August, the US Justice Department disclosed that it was investigating former President Donald Trump for illegally removing and retaining US government records, marked as top secret, after leaving office in Jan 2021. Now, CNN reported that federal prosecutors might have discovered incriminating evidence against Trump in the form of an audio recording of Trump acknowledging he kept a classified Pentagon document about a possible attack on Iran after leaving the White House and indicated he would like to share the information but was aware of his limitations on his ability to declassify such documents after leaving office.
Mike Pence, Trump’s Vice-President during his term, is expected to officially announce his presidential campaign in early June, going up against his old boss. Pence wrote in his book that he had a close working relationship with Trump during the four years, but it did not end well. He criticised Trump over the US Capitol riot in Jan 2021. Polls have shown Trump is leading by a huge margin at 53% to be the Republican’s candidate for the presidency. For unknown reasons, despite all of Trump’s long list of scandals, controversies and lies, the Republicans had no one else to pick but him.
Shopee parent Sea Ltd shutting down investment arm
Sea Ltd will be winding down its investment arm, Sea Capital, prompted by lack of deals due to fewer investment opportunities. Sea Capital was formed in Mar 2021 with an initial capital of USD1 bil after it acquired Hong Kong’s Composite Capital Management, founded by former Hillhouse Capital partner David Ma who became Sea’s chief investment officer. Sea Capital had only made three investments to date, including an unfortunate investment into collapsed cryptocurrency exchange FTX. According to Blockdata, the other two investments are also crypto-related.
BRICS meeting - common currency, adding more members
BRICS refers to the emerging countries Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Its foreign ministers had a 2-day meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, a precursor to the 22-25 Aug summit of BRICS in Johannesburg, South Africa. This meeting was joined by counterparts from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Kazakhstan. On the agenda is an expansion to include as many as 19 countries and the potential establishment of a common currency.
BRIC members represent more than 42% of the world’s population, accounting for 23% of global GDP and 18% of trade. Despite this, the BRICS is said to have failed to punch its weight as a group.
SM Entertainment Co., South Korea’s largest entertainment company, fell as much as 8.3% after members of one of its most popular bands, EXO, gave the company their notice of termination of their exclusive contract.
Lionel Messi will leave Paris Saint-Germain a the end of the season after two years at the club, as confirmed by the club’s coach Christophe Galtier. Messi’s next destination is not known. There have been talks for his return to Barcelona, to play in Major League Soccer in the US and to join Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia. Messi was earlier in talks for a monster USD400 mil a year contract in Saudi Arabia.
Many Taylor Swift fans are claiming to suffer from “post-concert” amnesia, not remembering much from the concert. Dr Michelle Philips, a senior lecturer in music psychology, said that post-concert amnesia is not as scary as it sounds. Excitement and intense immersion during the concert can cause one to feel the time to suddenly pass and not be able to process everything they have seen, heard and felt. Elaborate concert setups nowadays, unlike the older days, add further to the intensity. If you experienced the same after the upcoming Coldplay concert, don’t worry.
Weekend Read: How some people get away with doing nothing at work
”Strongly suspecting that a certain person isn’t doing much, or not nearly enough to fill up what is ostensibly an eight-hour day, seems to be a near-universal work experience. Many people have also, at some point in time, been that less-than-occupied worker. Sometimes, it’s intentional. Other times, like in Nate’s case, that’s just how the corporate cards have been dealt.”
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
TIL: The opposite of postpone is….. prepone. It’s an actual word. It is not a slang and is used in official and professional settings. This word has been in use for over 100 years and came from a distinct variety of English called Indian English (or Hinglish = Hindi + English).
This Youtube video description: “we’ll be looking at the moments where the racing franchise ignored science or logic to service the plot”. Have you watched Fast X? Are any scenes deserving to be in this top 10?