☕️ Rakuten Trade is bullish on KLCI & Ringgit

Express bus fares to have 10% hike during Raya. 2023 was one of the safest years to take a flight. Adidas posts first loss in over 30 years. Apple's Vision Pro used in surgeries.


Information as of 0720 UTC+8 on Mar 14, 2024.


In 2023, the aviation industry achieved significant safety milestones, with several parameters reaching "best-ever" levels, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Notably, there were no hull losses or fatal accidents involving passenger jet aircraft throughout the year. The fatality risk for air travel decreased from 0.11 in 2022 to 0.03 in 2023. This means that a person would need to travel every day for 103,239 years on average to experience a fatal accident. However, Boeing is making it tough to keep this pristine record.
Read: IATA’s 2023 Annual Safety Report.

Paris' upcoming Olympic Games are projected to have minimal long-term financial impact on France, with S&P Global estimating that 95% of its venues are either already constructed or require only minor renovations. The budget for hosting the July and August Games, nearing EUR9 bil (RM46.1 bil), is notably lower than previous host cities like Tokyo, Rio, and London and significantly less than the record-setting expenditure of USD52.7 bil for Beijing's 2008 Olympics. However, the risk of cost overruns looms, as demonstrated by London's 2012 Olympics, which exceeded their budget by over USD5 bil, and Tokyo's recent Games, which faced nearly USD26 bil in overruns due to pandemic-related delays. Despite this, the Cabinet will be discussing whether to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games next week.

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Finance and technology professionals in Hong Kong generally command higher salaries than their counterparts in Singapore, according to a report from Bloomberg Intelligence (BI). Investment banking analysts, for example, earn 46% more in Hong Kong, with an average annual salary of USD92,149 (RM431k), compared to USD63,305 (RM296.1k) in Singapore. This is despite Singapore being the more expensive city to live in than Hong Kong, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Worldwide Cost of Living Survey.


School canteen fiasco
PAS ulama council chief Ahmad Yahaya said the Education Ministry’s directive that school canteens remain open during Ramadan is controversial and “excessive.” Yahaya added that closing school canteens during Ramadan was a societal norm to respect Muslims who are fasting. He suggested that non-Muslim students could bring meals to school to eat instead. I grew up in the 90’s and I don’t recall this being the “norm” in government schools. It is people like these who are igniting the public discord, not the directives.

Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek said students should be able to eat in the comfort of school canteens instead of in areas like storerooms during the month of Ramadan. We don't have to be like the United States, where the government needs to police one’s choice.

During a parliamentary session, Fadhlina spoke up in support of vernacular schools, stating that it is not an issue for them to teach a different syllabus. In response to Salamiah Mohd Nor's criticism, Fadhlina defended the right of vernacular schools to exist. The Minister also noted that the existence of such schools is recognised under the Education Act and was recently upheld by a court ruling.

“Dato Malik” denies ties with Jaffer Sadiq
Abdul Malik Dasthigeer, CEO of Malik Group of Companies, has refuted any connections between himself and Jaffer Sadiq, an alleged Indian drug kingpin. This denial comes in response to an exposé by a senior Indian investigative journalist suggesting that the kingpin in Tamil Nadu has a Malaysian boss. On July 26 last year, Malik was arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) under various acts, including the MACC Act 2009, the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorist Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (Amlatfpuaa) 2001, Income Tax Act 1967, and Customs Act 1967.

No evidence of USD120 mil has been returned by Najib Razak
In the Commercial High Court, an offshore asset recovery specialist, Angela Barkhouse, testified that she found no evidence indicating that the USD120 mil funds directed into former Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s bank account had been returned to Tanore Finance Corp, owned by an associate of Malaysian fugitive Jho Low. Barkhouse's testimony came as the second witness in SRC International Sdn Bhd’s USD1.18 bil (RM5.58 bil) civil suit against Najib. She stated that there was no evidence indicating that the USD120 mil was involved in the USD620 mil that was allegedly returned to Tanore in 2013.


  1. KWAP bargain buys CTOS?
    Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) emerged as a substantial shareholder in CTOS Digital Bhd (CTOS) following an unfavourable outcome towards the group in a legal dispute, resulting in a heavy sell-down on Tuesday with the share price of CDB dropping as low as RM1.06 during intraday trading. Stock exchange filings showed KWAP increased its holdings to 135.51 mil shares, equivalent to a 5.87% stake in CTOS.

  2. Rakuten Trade is bullish on KLCI and Ringgit
    Rakuten Trade is optimistic for the banking, construction, telecommunications (telco), and semiconductor industries for the rest of 2024. The banking sector is said to be supported by robust earnings resilience, while major infrastructure projects (e.g. MRT3, flood mitigation) are powering the construction counters. On the other hand, the ongoing AI frenzy could also result in higher earnings across the semiconductor industry. The company predicts that the benchmark index FBM KLCI will recover to 1,660 points by the end of the year. Rakuten also expects Ringgit to strengthen to a range of 4.50-4.55 by the end of the year due to interest rate cuts in the US and Europe, as well as an improving domestic investment climate.


  1. No plans to designate Kampung Baru as Unesco heritage site
    The government has no plans to designate the 125-year-old Kampung Baru as a Unesco World Heritage site, according to the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Federal Territories) Zaliha Mustafa. This is to ensure the planned controversial redevelopment of the area can proceed without hindrance. Mustafa mentioned that there is a Kampong Bharu 2040 Development Master Plan as the guiding framework for redevelopment plans.
    Learn: The criteria for selection to be included on the World Heritage list.

  2. Economy express bus fares become 10% more expensive during Raya
    During the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration, the Land Public Transport Agency (APAD) announced a 10% increase in express bus fares in the economy service category from April 4 to 17. Additionally, APAD has opened the Temporary Operator Licence (LPS) application for express bus services during Hari Raya, which falls on April 10 and 11. Eligible bus operators are urged to apply from March 11 until April 2, with the licence validity for all approved applications set from April 4 to 17. The Cabinet approved this surcharge of RM0.009/km, increasing fares from RM0.093/km to RM0.102/km.


Conflict Updates
Palestinian medical staff recounted to BBC their treatment at the hands of Israeli troops during and after the Nasser Hospital raid, where they were “blindfolded, detained, forced to strip and repeatedly beaten.” They also told of “being humiliated, doused with cold water, and forced to kneel in uncomfortable positions for hours” and being detained for days after the raid before being released. The Israel Defense Forces did not respond directly to questions about the accounts provided but denied that medical staff were harmed during their operation, saying “any abuse of detainees is contrary to IDF orders and is strictly prohibited”. Watch the incident here (warning - disturbing).

“America managed to airdrop food around a blockade that Israel built with weapons America gave them. That’s good, but wouldn’t it be better if the US just told Israel to just move out the way - we gave you that, we’re trying to help people, get out the way”.

Ronnie Cheng, Malaysian comedian and The Daily Show host on the ridiculousness of the US airdropping aid in Gaza Watch it here.

The UK has called for a probe into the matter, with Foreign Secretary David Cameron calling the reports “very disturbing”. Across the pond, US President Joe Biden is being urged by US senators to push for more accountability from Israel and to send an ultimatum that Israel has to allow humanitarian access to continue receiving aid. However, this is offset by US officials preparing to make permanent a pause on funding the main UN agency for Palestinians, which was first initiated after Israel accused 12 of the agency’s 13,000 employees in Gaza of participating in the October 7 Hamas attack.

Over on the Ukrainian front, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave an interview days before the election on March 15. This interview included Putin responding that Russia is ready for nuclear war, though he did mention it is an unlikely scenario. He also slammed the decision of Finland and Sweden to join NATO, stating that there will now be Russian troops and “systems of destruction” posted along the Finnish border in response. Meanwhile, the US has stepped up with another care package to Ukraine in the form of weapons worth a cool USD300 mil, representing the first aid supply in months since additional funds for Kyiv were blocked by Republican leaders in Congress. The old joke that the opposite of progress is Congress comes to mind every time I see the word.

Big Name Issues

  1. Adidas posts first loss in over 30 years, warns of US slump for sportswear retailers

    German giant Adidas posted its first annual loss since 1992, a total of USD63.48 mil, and warned that North America will slump again as sportswear retailers in the US struggle with high inventories. The sportswear giant expects sales in North America to fall by 5% this year as overall demand drops, having dropped 16% over the past year and 21% in the fourth quarter alone. Globally, however, Adidas expects its business to improve in 2024, with a growth of at least 10% in the second half. 

  2. Boeing again - “Technical event” on Boeing plane causes 50 injuries in LATAM flight

    A LATAM Boeing 787 on a flight to Auckland saw a “technical event” that caused a “mid-air drop” where the plane “just stopped”, with a passenger on board saying, “people flew through the cabin”, with 50 passengers and crew seriously injured. The plane landed on schedule at Auckland International Airport, where medical responders stood ready to help. Boeing stated that it is “working to gather more information about the flight and will provide any support needed by our customer”. This also comes as a reminder that passengers are supposed to be buckled in during a flight.

Explosive Matters

  1. Yangon bomb attacks raise tensions in Myanmar

    Multiple explosions targetting military-linked companies in Yangon, Myanmar, have raised tensions in the nation’s largest city. While there were no injuries or deaths, this attack is the latest in an escalation of attacks by ethnic minority militias against the military, with a ship handling military fuel blown up and a bomb exploding in front of the headquarters of a military-affiliated telco being the most recent incidents.

  2. Blast kills 2, injures 26, in Hebei, China

    A suspected gas leak led to a blast in a restaurant in Hebei, China, which killed two and injured 26 in a blast that damaged vehicles and scattered debris. 36 vehicles and 154 responders were dispatched to carry out rescue work. This event comes a year after the Chinese government issued detailed guidelines on the use of gas appliances and cookers to avert safety risks. Watch the incident here (warning - graphic).


  1. Survey finds half of Americans willing to take pay cut for remote work
    A survey in the US that surveyed 4,000 workers showed that 75% of workers would prefer remote work, with 50% of respondents willing to take a pay cut if their prospective employer offered the policy. 20% even stated they were willing to increase their working hours, while 15% would even give up their vacation days. View the survey here.

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  1. Japan PM grilled over exotic dancers at party meet
    Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida saw backlash after footage was leaked of a gathering of members from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, which showed women in swimsuits dancing and sitting on participants’ laps, with the women “obligated to receive banknotes using their mouths”, with the banknotes hanging from the lips of the participants. Their defence? The ladies from a troupe called Glamor Dancers were invited to “ensure diversity.”

  2. Indonesia wants to collaborate with Singapore to host big concerts, world events
    Indonesian Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno intends to “explore potential bilateral cooperation” with Singapore to host major concerts and other international events after a recent visit to the city-state. Singapore had signed an exclusive deal with Taylor Swift, who is currently on tour there, to be the only Southeast Asian stop in her Eras tour. Sandiaga revealed that the Indonesian government is preparing a special reserve called the Indonesia Tourism Fund to help local organisers bring in big concerts and other events. Madani, your move or we gonna keep pandering to unrealistic parties?


  1. If you’re deciding what to berbuka for tonight, fried chicken is not a bad idea. The team at Mr Money TV has made a comparison video comparing five fast food restaurants’ fried chicken. Check it out tonight before you berbuka, not now!

  1. While the Oscar fever is still running high, the infographic below shows the global box office sales of Academy Award Best Picture winners since the 1980s.

Credits: Chartr.co

  1. Exploding rockets always seem entertaining — only when there’s no casualty. A rocket made by a Japanese company exploded a few seconds after taking off, a major set back in its attempt to become Japan’s first private firm to put up a satellite in orbit. The rocket was carrying a small government test satellite. Here’s a collection of explosions of Elon Musk’s SpaceX rockets.