Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Putrajaya to review Sedition Act, to only use to protect royalty from provocations
MCMC approves Elon Musk's Starlink exemption, 100% foreign-owned. Twitter rebranding - not so easy, legally. Spider-Man creator Stan Lee's NFTs sold out "nearly instantaneously".
1. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
An options trader made a USD40 mil bet that Meta Platforms, Inc’s impressive 158% rally this year will continue. The trader executed a spread trade, buying over 26,000 call options allowing the purchase of shares at US$320 each by January 17, 2025, while simultaneously selling about 52,000 USD600 calls expiring in December 2023. The shares would need to increase by approximately 8% for the options trader to break even on the trade. Meta Platforms is slated to release its earnings this week.
Since the Nobel Prize was first awarded in 1901, there have been 989 Nobel laureates — 959 individuals and 30 organisations. There are six main categories of prizes: physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, peace and economic sciences. 31 scientists with ties to the Manhattan Project were awarded the Nobel Prizes, but not J. Robert Oppenheimer, the “father of the atomic bomb” who led the Manhattan Project. The Nobel Prize is named after Alfred Nobel, the creator of dynamite. More fun facts on the Nobel Prize here.
A&W Malaysia opened its 100th outlet at Sierra Fresco, Puchong, in conjunction with its 60th anniversary. A&W made history in 1963 when it became the country’s first fast-food restaurant, with its first outlet in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman. Once a tired, forgotten brand, A&W started turning around after it was acquired by Inter Mark Resources Sdn Bhd (IMRSB) in 2018 for RM34 mil (read the turnaround story here). The man behind it is George Ang, a well-known restaurateur and one of the founders of the Manhattan First Market. In 2021, Bursa-listed Pan Malaysia Corp Bhd (PMCB) acquired a 51% stake in A&W in 2021 from IMRSB for RM21.04 mil. You can own a slice of A&W indirectly by buying shares in PMCB. #notfinancialadvice
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3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Putrajaya agrees to review the Sedition Act
Law Minister Azalina Othman stated that the Cabinet agreed to review the archaic Sedition Act 1948 so that the legislation would only be used to protect the royalty from any provocations. As for the remaining two parts of the three greatest provocations dubbed the 3R (Race, Religion and Royalty), Azalina did not rule out the possibility of drafting a new law in order to maintain the country’s harmony and unity. The Sedition Act was first introduced in Malaysia in 1948 by the British, who used it as part of a set of legal restrictions designed to silence dissent against colonialism and British rule.
Combustible materials found in bombs strapped to Siti Kassim’s car
Deputy Inspector-General of Police Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said that based on the initial report of the alleged homemade bomb found in the rear tyre of lawyer Siti Kasim, the bomb contained inflammable substances. Ayob Khan also stated that making the bomb, known as an improvised explosive device (IED), is not tricky and can be learned by any Tom, Dick or Harry from the Internet.
However, the police are still finalising the full report on the incident. The term IED comes from the British army in the 1970s after the Irish republican army (IRA) used bombs made from agricultural fertiliser and SEMTEX smuggled from Libya to create highly effective booby trap devices or remote-controlled bombs.
Talking about Siti Kassim, we turned to the families of seven Orang Asli children who went missing from their school hostel in Gua Musang, Kelantan. The families, which were represented by Siti Kassim, received RM1.2 mil as a full settlement from the Government as a result of the former’s negligence suits against the latter. A bit of backstory, in 2015, seven kids aged seven to 12 years old ran away from their school hostels for fear of punishment after going for a swim in a river without permission. Unfortunately, the children went missing afterwards and only two of them were found alive even after 47 days of searching. Following this incident, the affected families filed negligence suits in 2018.
Dato Malik was arrested
Abdul Malik Dasthigeer, the famous entertainment broker who is well known for bringing artists from India to perform in Malaysia, was arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) under the Anti Money Laundering, Anti Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLA). According to a credible source, Dato Malik will be released by today.
Real Estate Investment Trust (Sentral REIT) struck an RM450 mil deal to purchase Menara CelcomDigi from Puncak Wangi Sdn Bhd (PWSB), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Malaysian Resources Corporation Bhd (MRCB). This deal will increase the Sentral REIT’s total assets by 21% to RM2.60 bil. Sentral REIT currently has nine commercial properties in its portfolio - view here.
Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) said that Starlink Internet Services Malaysia Sdn Bhd (Starlink Malaysia) has been given the foreign ownership exemption by the Government. According to the law, companies that hold Network Facility Provider (I) and Network Service Provider (I) licences cannot have more than 49% foreign equity. However, this foreign ownership threshold can only be exempted upon the directive by the Minister under certain special circumstances. Apparently, Starlink Malaysia has these special circumstances in order for them to be 100% foreign-owned. The ultimate owner of Starlink, Elon Musk, is well known for abusing the gravy train of government subsidies and notorious for keeping local government hostage in return for preferable treatment.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
In China: CCP to pump the economy, foreign minister replaced
A weak economy is starting to turn into reality after the early boost from post-Covid-19 reopening. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) 24-member politburo - its top decision-making body led by President Xi Jinping - has promised a “counter-cyclical” policy to boost the economy in a statement it published. China’s top leaders signalled more support for the troubled real estate sector, pledges to boost consumption and resolve local government debt, but the statement was light on details. There was also no mention of any large-scale stimulus.
China’s foreign minister Qin Gang has been removed from office less than seven months into the job since his appointment in December. His quick rise, even overtaking more experienced candidates, was attributed to the trust President Xi placed in him directly. He will be replaced by his boss, China’s foreign affairs chief Wang Yi. Qin has not been seen in public for a month, which the ministry briefly said was due to unspecified health problems. However, rumour mills suggest that his extra-marital affair with a famous TV host could have resulted in his dismissal.
Twitter rebranding - not so easy, legally
Elon Musk doesn’t care if Twitter users dislike the rebranding. The more significant issue here is on the legal front, which will get complicated. Companies such as Meta and Microsoft already have intellectual property rights to the same letter - Microsoft owned an X trademark related to its Xbox videogame system and Meta owns the trademark related to “online social networking services” and “social networking services in the fields of entertainment, gaming and application development”.
Owners of trademark can claim infringement if other branding could cause consumer confusion. Though Meta’s X is distinct from Musk’s X, the problem arises when it wants to use X for social networking purposes, similar to what was stated in Meta’s filing. More fights, be it legal or cage fights, await for both Zuck and Musk.
Stan Lee NFTs, L’Occitane privatisation
A batch of 8,294 Stan Lee non-fungible tokens (NFT) or digital collectables sold out “nearly instantaneously”. If you have been in a cave, the late Stan Lee is the famous creator of superheroes, including Spider-Man, the Hulk and Iron Man. Each NFT sold for USD15, raising about USD124k. In the secondary market, the cheapest one had risen by at least 500%, while the most expensive was USD749. Check out some of the collection here.
The controlling shareholder of L’Occitane International SA, the skin-care company, is considering buying out minority shareholders and taking the company private. The company, listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, has a market cap of HKD30 bil (RM18.04 bil). It chose HK to IPO in 2010 to boost its exposure in the fast-growing consumer market in China. L’Occitane is controlled by its billionaire chairman Reinold Geiger whose vehicle owns more than 70% L’Occitane.
Watch: How to pronounce 20 French brands
Spotify is increasing prices for its premium plans for the first time ever since its founding in 2018, affecting users in 50 countries. Fortunately, Malaysian subscribers are spared from these price hikes - for now. The company also announced that it added a record net 36 mil new monthly active users in the quarter of April - June, its highest quarterly gain in history. This takes its total users to 551 mil, of which 220 mil are paying subscribers.
Thailand’s cabinet approved an additional public holiday on 31 July to set a 6-day break in a bid to boost domestic tourism and private consumption. Thailand will have 20 public holidays this year. Now we are curious whether Malaysia or Thailand has more public holidays. It has been two months since its election and Thailand has yet to decide on its PM. The Parliament yesterday postponed the third round of voting to select the PM by the 2 Hosue of Legislatures.
If you have watched Oppenheimer, here’s a read on what the movie got right or wrong, explained by a nuclear historian.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
A satisfying video of watching someone building their mini hydropower plant.
How shuttlecocks are made.