Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Public Bank shares ROI since 2000 - 3,456%
Electricity tariff hike only for MNCs. YDPA did not take royal salary since pandemic began, donated it instead. Major energy breakthrough, positive fusion reaction created - why it matters?
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1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
50 million — the number of light LED bulbs requested by Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky in a bid to significantly reduce the power shortfall as the nation’s energy infrastructure has been destroyed by Russia. LED bulbs use, on average, 75% less energy and have a longer life span of up to 10x compared to traditional bulbs.
RM30 million budget has been allocated by the government for body cameras on police offers of the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), according to Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail. Inspector General of Police Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani said the body-worn cameras would improve the quality and efficiency of PDRM’s service to the public. Which company got the contract? Better not markup crazily.
Retired teacher Lum Kien Seng donated blood for the 356th time last week, his final donation, as he has passed the age threshold of 70 years. Lum said he started donating blood in 1988 when he was 36. Find out where you can donate your blood at the official website of the National Blood Centre.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Five states at risk of flash floods within 24 hours
The Irrigation and Drainage Department’s (JPS) National Flood Forecasting and Warning Center (PRABN) said several areas in Johor, Kedah, Pahang, Perak and Penang are at risk of flash floods. The notice was issued at 4pm yesterday. PRABN advised the public to comply with the instructions of the authorities or flood disaster management agencies. Please be careful and stay safe during these times.
Electricity traffic hike only for MNCs
PM Anwar Ibrahim said the early suggestions to increase the electricity tariff will not be continued as it will burden the people. The increase for MNCs will be introduced gradually and reasonably so that operations will not be affected. Domestic consumers, including home users and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), can take it easy as they will be spared from the tariff hike.
Just early this year, former Energy and Natural Resources Minister Takiyuddin Hassan said the new electricity tariff for this year until 2024 will not burden the people.
YDPA hasn’t taken allowance since the Covid-19 pandemic began
During a press conference, PM Anwar Ibrahim said Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, has not taken his royal allowance since the Covid-19 pandemic began. His majesty has instead donated the funds given the country’s economic situation and the people’s struggles during the pandemic. Not sure why this was brought up.
On another note, Batu Puteh is back on the table again.
PM Anwar Ibrahim has asked the Attorney General (AG) to review matters pertaining to the Batu Puteh claims so that negotiations with Singapore on the issue will be more fruitful. The Malaysian Government filed an application in 2017 for a review of the ICJ decision to award legal jurisdiction of Batu Puteh to Singapore — the decision was awarded back in 2008. The application to review lapsed in 2018.
Actions to be taken against funfair organisers and lorry operator
Local Government Development (KPKT) minister Nga Kor Ming said his ministry had informed the local authority to take action against the organiser of the funfair at Eco Grandeur Puncak Alam for operating without a licence. Three visitors were injured at the funfair last Monday (Dec 12) after falling from the ‘Sotong Ride’.
Watch the incident here (warning - graphic).
The Transport Ministry will temporarily suspend the permit of a lorry operator following an accident that killed a 34-month-old baby at KM69 of the East-West Highway near Gerik on Oct 29. The relevant agencies will carry out an audit on the company’s fleet of lorries.
Watch the accident here (warning - graphic).
A small win handed to six Malaysian mothers and NGO Family Frontiers
The Federal Court has granted leave to the group’s application to appeal against the Malaysian government, Home Minister and the National Registration Department (NRD) director-general. The appeal follows the Court of Appeal reversing, on Aug 5, a High Court’s landmark decision last year that allows children born overseas to Malaysian mothers to receive citizenship in this country.
Top Glove Corp Bhd posted its second straight quarterly loss in the first quarter that ended Nov 30, 2022 (1QFY2023). Just how bad is business? Plant utilisation rate stands at only 30%. The group reported a net loss of RM168.24 mil due to lower sales and normalisation of average selling prices (ASPs). No dividend was declared for the quarter under review. The largest glovemaker in the world by volume expects at least another loss-making quarter ahead before it can return to profitability. Its founder, Lim Wee Chai, said Lim nitrile gloves are now selling for as low as USD14 (RM61.48) per 1,000 pieces. At the height of the pandemic, ASP was five times more, at USD70.
Capital A Bhd’s logistics venture Teleport raised USD50 million (RM220 million) from large institutional credit investors. Teleport chief executive officer Pete Chareonwongsak said the funds to induct additional freighters and build critical hubs in Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia. Despite being relatively new in the business, Teleport currently serves three of the largest marketplaces in Southeast Asia, namely Shopee, Lazada and Zalora.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Major energy breakthrough
Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California have successfully created a fusion reaction that produced more energy than needed to create it at about 120%. Attempts since the 1950s have produced less energy than went in, with the closest net energy gain being 70%.
Why is this a big deal? Although it’s far from commercialisation, this experiment has proven that fusion reaction, which naturally happens in stars, can be replicated on Earth and takes the world one step closer to clean energy production. Current nuclear energy runs on fission energy, which requires rare elements like uranium and plutonium that produces radioactive waste, whilst fusion relies on hydrogen, an element found abundantly. Fusion generates 4x the energy than fission and 4 mil times more than burning oil and coal.
Historically, fusion research has been funded by publicly funded laboratories, but in recent years, private companies have been participating in this race. In the 12 months to end June, fusion companies raised USD2.83 bil in investment.
Note: In The Dark Knight Rises movie, the nuclear reactor that The Wayne Enterprise funded is a nuclear fusion reactor meant to provide Gotham City with clean energy, which Bane attempted to weaponise and turn it a nuclear bomb.
Meta, Netherlands vs The World
Facebook parent Meta Platforms is sued for over USD2 bil for enabling violent and hateful posts in Ethiopia, inflaming the country’s bloody civil war that has caused thousands to die and millions more displaced. The plaintiffs are seeking for the court to order Meta to take emergency steps to demote such inflammatory content, increase moderation staff and set up a USD2 bil restitution funds for victims of violence incited on Facebook.
Facebook has also faced legal cases on similar accusations, including in Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Cambodia.
The Netherlands is set to face its dark colonial past - the Dutch government is expected to issue a formal apology for the Netherland’s role in 250 years of slavery that involved the exploitation of about 550,000-600,000 Africans between 1612-1872, according to a study. It was one of the last to abolish slavery in 1863. The Dutch empire colonised a large part of South America and the Caribbean and bought enslaved people from Africa to work in its colonies. It started enslaving people in Asia in the 17th century.
The Dutch government will announce a EUR200 mil (USD212.8 mil) fund to promote awareness about Netherland’s role in slavery and another EUR27 mil (USD28.7 mil) to open a slavery museum. No mention of the amount it will spend on reparations if any.
News from the banking and finance world:
HSBC: The banking giant is going on the offensive with recruitment. As global banks such as Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs are preparing for a wave of job cuts, HSBC has been sending recruitment emails to bankers and employees at these firms that are facing job losses. HSBC also announced it will stop funding new oil and gas fields to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Money laundering fines: Denmark’s largest bank, Danske Bank, has pleaded guilty and will be fined USD2 bil for defrauding US banks in relation to anti-money laundering (AML) measures., allowing “high-risk customers” to access the US financial system. Santander UK is slapped with a USD132 mil fine by the UK financial watchdog, Financial Conduct Authority, over repeated money laundering failures. Fernego’s 2021 Global AML Fines Research Report found that an estimated USD52 bil in enforcement actions have been levied to financial institutions for non-compliance with AML and other violations, a drop in the ocean compared to the estimated USD2.4 tril in illicit cash that flows through the financial system each year. The best way to launder money isn’t through cryptocurrencies but through banks.
Fintech fundraising: Akulaku, an Indonesian online lender backed by Jack Ma’s Ant Group Co., is in talks to raise USD200 mil at a valuation of USD1.5 bil from Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), Japan’s biggest lender.
PT GoTo Gojek Tokopedia announced that it had sold its minority stake in Indonesia’s second-largest convenience store operator Alfamart worth IDR1.5 tril (USD96.03 mil), making a “significant gain”, though no figures were given. This came days after the tech firm announced its strategy to focus on accelerating its path to profitability.
To avoid a London jail whilst fighting extradition to the US over bribery charges, Chinese property tycoon Zhang Li and his lawyers are proposing a rather creative way to a London court, which only money can buy - locking himself in a ‘home-made’ prison in his luxury tower block. On top of the highest bail that Britain’s courts have accepted of GBP15 mil, the billionaire will confine himself to a penthouse apartment in a building by the River Thames owned by his company, guarded by ex-military personnel at the cost of GBP200,000 a month. Chump change for him — Forbes estimates his net worth at USD2.2 bil.
Apple CEO Tim Cook shared that Apple had invested more than USD100 bil in its Japanese supply network in the past five years during his visit to Kumamoto prefecture, the epicentre of Japan’s semiconductor industry. Apple has boosted spending by 30% since 2019 across nearly 1,000 companies, spanning from multinationals to family-run businesses.
Although Malaysia is a large semiconductor exporter, we can only capture such a huge pie from big tech by moving up the value chain. Unfortunately, we have been stuck in the mid to lower end of the value chain. Partly, this is due to the lack of emphasis and structural development of STEM (science, technology, education, maths) education and career and reliance on cheap, foreign labour, reducing the urgency to automate and innovate. An interesting infographic by The Edge explains the semiconductor value chain and where Malaysian players are in the value chain.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
100,000 shares (RM72,000) of Public Bank shares bought at the start of 2000 will be worth RM2.56 mil today — a return of 3,456%, only if you HODL. This translates to a compound annual growth rate of 16.8% per annum. This EXCLUDES dividends.
Traffic lights installed on the ground to alert “phone-obsessed zombies” in Seoul. 1,200 of these in-ground traffic lights will be installed in Seoul by January.