Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Putrajaya in talks with China for Jho Low to 'balik kampung' to face justice
Survey: 41.5% of Malaysian men won't seek medical help for erectile dysfunction. Time dotCOM's RM1 bil special dividend. Russian fighter jet accidentally bombs its own city.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
Argentina’s central bank hiked the benchmark interest rate a sharper-than-expected 300 basis points last Thursday to 81% after March inflation data had clocked in at 7.7%, the highest monthly level in two decades. Loco. Year-on-year, inflation is 104%. Even more loco.
2,138 contract doctors failed to make the cut for permanent positions in government service and have been placed on a waiting list. This is new, considering previously, they would have been told they were not selected instead of being placed on a waiting list. They were among a total of 9,152 contract officers under the health ministry who were called for interviews last month to fill 4,914 permanent posts.
According to a survey by A. Menarini Singapore Pte Ltd — a subsidiary of leading Italian pharmaceutical company Menarini Group, 41.5% of Malaysian men surveyed are somewhat unlikely to see a health practitioner if they are struggling with erectile dysfunction (ED). However, a consultant urologist at Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz, Prof Dr Zulkifli Md Zainuddin, said at least 50% to 55% of Malaysians have some form of ED.
Read: ED: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment
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3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Jho Low is inching closer to the chopping block of justice as Malaysia and China are hammering out his repatriation deal
Wall Street Journal reporter Bradley Hope stated that Putrajaya is working with Beijing officials to repatriate fugitive Jho Low to Malaysia. This news came right after PM Anwar’s official visit to China, where both Malaysia and China want to wipe the slate clean and start a new page in the relationship between the two countries. Previously, China had consistently denied it was harbouring Low but reports that he was laying low in the country persisted. Time for Jho Low to balik kampung (though some will argue China is his kampung).
As the GE15 2.0 (state elections edition) is looming closer, the usual political tit-for-tat attacks have started. No political truce even during the Raya celebration - below is the key GE15 2.0 news that happened over the weekend:
PM Anwar’s mega open house roadshow — In conjunction with the month of Syawal, PM Anwar Ibrahim is planning to organise the Madani Malaysia Aidilfitri Open House Tour in six states, where half of them are opposition-held.
Kedah Menteri Besar, Sanusi Nor, where his state will host one of the legs of the open house tour, stated that the open house events are mere election campaign events and Putrajaya should stick with its tradition of hosting a singular open house event at the official residence and not wasting public funds instead.
While Kedah Menteri Besar is already ‘panas bontot’ with the imminent arrival of PM Anwar to his state, on the other hand, Terengganu Menteri Besar, Ahmad Samsuri whose state is also chosen as one of the hosts for the Madani Malaysia Aidilfitri Open House, is welcoming PM Anwar with open arms and his state government will provide all the necessary support to make the event a success. Ahmad Samsuri wants to show that political differences will not be seen as an obstacle for both parties to work together. Both Kedah and Terengganu are states controlled by PAS.
Bersatu will get BN seats in Kelantan - PAS deputy president Mohd Amar Abdullah told the media that in the preliminary seat allocation discussion for Kelantan, PAS will be looking to defend all seats it won in 2018, while the remaining eight seats won by Barisan Nasional (BN) will be given to Bersatu.
Mohd Amar also added that all three states under PAS rule - Kelantan, Kedah and Terengganu — will be dissolved at the end of June. In addition, he was also informed that three other Pakatan Harapan (PH) controlled states - Negeri Sembilan, Penang and Selangor — will be dissolving their respective state governments in the same month. Thus, the state elections are expected to be conducted in July.
The new variant of Covid-19 is reported in Malaysia
Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa said 12 new cases of the new Arcturus variant, a subvariant of the Omicron, were reported in Malaysia. However, Dr Zaliha told the media that the public need not panic as the Arcturus variant has a lower infection risk and case severity compared to other previously reported variants.
The Covid-19 pandemic that started at the end of 2019 has so far claimed almost seven mil lives globally. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the international body projected that the pandemic will cost the global economy USD12.5 tril through 2024, almost three times the size of Japan’s economy in 2021.
Corruption knows no holiday - MACC arrests Malaysian officers based in Bangladesh for alleged corruption
Right before the Raya break, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) arrested two immigration officers that were posted at the Malaysian High Commission in Bangladesh for allegedly receiving bribes. As per MACC, the officers were suspected of being involved in a corruption scandal of accepting bribes in return for issuing foreign visas for Bangladeshi tourists and workers who sought to enter Malaysia. So far, MACC has seized RM3.1 mil worth of assets in frozen accounts and parcels of lands, which are linked to individuals and companies related to the case.
Raya Business Talk
The international non-profit project The Ocean Cleanup has opened its first regional office in Kuala Lumpur. Citing Kuala Lumpur’s strategic location, the organisation stated that this factor is important in ensuring Ocean Cleanup’s success in the region. So far, there are five interceptors operating in the Southeast Asia region, where Malaysia houses two of them.
TIME dotCom Bhd (TDC) said that its partnership with US-based DigitalBridge via divestment of its data centre companies (AIMS Data Centre Holding Sdn Bhd & AIMS Data Centre (Thailand) Ltd) to the latter will rapidly boost its planned expansion of data centre facilities across the Asia continent. The RM2 bil gained from the divestment transaction will be partly used to pay a special dividend of up to RM1 bil to TDC’s shareholders. Duit raya incoming.
Selangor Menteri Besar, Amirudin Shari will lead a delegation of 11 selected Malaysian technology startups to join in a series of investment and pitching events in the United States, including the SelectUSA Investment Summit that will be officiated by US President Joe Biden. Read here to see the 11 startups that are participating — for a start, Carsome is not on the list.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
More signs Russian oil price cap, sanctions are ineffective
A study by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) found that Western nations that banned Russian oil imported nearly UDS46 bil of refined Russian oil products, or 10 mil tonnes more in the year since Russia’s invasion compared to the year prior.
CREA identified a “major loophole” where it identified five countries it called ‘laundromat’, namely China, India, Turkey, UAE and Singapore, which boosted Russian oil imports and increased the exports of refined products to the EU, Australia and most of the G7. Ironically, the EU has been the biggest importer of Russian refined products. The study said this is actually a legal way of exporting oil products to countries that imposed sanctions on Russia as the product origin has been changed.
Read study: The Laundromat: How the price cap coalition whitewashes Russian oil in third countries
Russian bombing boo-boo
Russia adds another incident to its growing list of embarrassing military blunders — its fighter jet accidentally bombed the Russian city of Belgorod, a border city around 40 km away from Ukraine. 3 people were injured, and several buildings were damaged. The Russian defence ministry admitted that its fighter jet had “accidentally discharged aircraft ordinance”, a bureaucratic way of saying the jet had mistakenly fired a weapon. Watch the footage of the explosion (warning - graphic).
IKEA US expansion, McD’s China seeking new backers
IKEA owner Ingka Group is investing EUR2 bil (USD2.21 bil) in the US over the next three years, its biggest investment in a single country. The US is IKEA’s second-biggest market by sales after Germany, having generated EUR5.5 bil (USD6.07 bil) in the US in its financial year 2022, contributing to about one-fifth of its group revenue of EUR27.4 bil (USD30.3 bil). The planned expansion of 8 new big stores and nine smaller ones will expand its location by a third in the US, from 51 stores.
View: Inter IKEA Group performance - review, financial results, and balance sheet
Carlyle Group Inc, one of the largest private equity firms in the world, is seeking fresh backers for its investment in McDonald’s Corp’s Chinese operations. Carlyle, with a 28% stake in the company, controls the fast-food chain together with Trustar Capital (52%), with McDonald’s keeping the remaining stake. McDonald’s sold 80% of its China and Hong Kong operations in 2017 to Carlyle and Trustar for around USD1.7 bil, valuing the business at USD2.08 bil. Now, Carlyle is seeking a valuation between USD8-10 bil - a solid 4-5x in a span of 6 years since it invested. Since Carlyle’s entry, McDonald’s China outlets have more than doubled, with about 5,200 stores in China and 250 in Hong Kong and it plans to add another 800-1,000 outlets in 2023.
As the above two expand, the future looks bleak for another 2: Digital media company BuzzFeed will shut down its news division and lay off another 15% of its 1,200 staff. Retailer Bed, Bath & Beyond, with 360 stores, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as its turnaround efforts yielded no results and is seeking court permission to liquidate its assets. The company has USD4.4 bil in assets and USD5.2 bil in debts.
SpaceX’s explosive, successful launch of Starship
SpaceX’s Starship, the biggest and most powerful rocket ever built, successfully launched in its historic flight but exploded about 3 minutes into its journey as it failed to separate from its rocket. Elon Musk has previously hinted at a 50-50 chance that it will result in an explosion. Watch the launch to explosion here. The launch was so powerful that it kicked up soil and sand that rained down on a town 8 km away. Musk’s ultimate goal is to build 1,000 Starships to fly 100,000 people to Mars per year, 1 mil people by 2050, making humans a multi-planetary species. Rockets exploding (without fatalities) make for a spectacular sight — watch the 5 other times Starship turned into a giant flaming fireball.
Taylor Swift is not only a successful artist but a pretty good businesswoman too. She escaped the fiasco arising from the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX as she did her due diligence and avoided signing a USD100 mil sponsorship deal with FTX because she was the only celebrity to question FTX on unregistered securities, according to a lawyer that is suing celebrities that were promoting FTX in a class-action lawsuit. You can find out more about unregistered securities here.
Even if you are not a Swiftie, worth watching the documentary below - some of her achievements are jaw-dropping.
The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, Norges of Norway, with USD1.4 tril in assets, made a return of 5.9% or USD83.9 bil for the first quarter of 2023, as the value of its global stock portfolio rose. The company invest revenue from Norway’s large oil and gas industry. Since it started investing in 1996, it now owns about 1.5% of all of the world’s listed companies. One day, when I grow up, I hope Malaysia will have its own Norges that really make its mark on the global stage, not just jaguh kampung.
View ranking: Top 100 largest sovereign wealth funds by total assets — our neighbour has 2 SWFs listed in the top 10.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
A survey commissioned by Zurich Malaysia (an insurance company) in 2021 showed that one-third of Malaysians do not have any personal insurance protection. We fear what we don’t know. Hence, the team at MrMoneyTV has crafted a crash course on how to maximise your insurance for the price of only two cups of latte — RM19.90! Sign up here if you are interested!
The money-making machine that it is — the Fast & Furious franchise gets another chapter, split into two parts. Fast X is part one and Fast XI is part two.
Malaysian digital creator SofyanK made Malaysia proud as he won the Ultimate VFX Challenge organised by American internet personality ZachKing - watch it below. The 26-year-old Kelantanese made waves earlier as he collaborated with Paul Rudd, who played Scott Lang in the Ant-man series and Ryan Reynolds in his The Adam Project movie.
We propose that once Finas is done suing the hell out of the 47 individuals and production companies that misused the RM20 mil grant given to them (spent on luxury holidays and properties), please fund Sofyan with whatever they could recoup so he can produce some world-class VFX production. Watch enough of Sofyan’s videos and interactions and one can tell that he is genuine in what he does and really wants to make the nation proud.