Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Record 6 Malaysian unis in T.H.E world's top 500 uni rankings
MYAirline co-founder,majority shareholder and family arrested. Thailand revives its mega plan to bypass Malacca Straits. Gaza hospital explosion, 500 killed, blaming game ongoing.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
A record number of 6 Malaysian universities made it into the top 500 of the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2024. Taking the country’s top spot is Universiti Malaya, which has improved from the 351-400 band last year to the 251-300 band in the 2024 edition of the rankings. The other five universities: Universiti Teknologi Petronas, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and Universiti Utara Malaysia. Taking the global top spot is Oxford University for the eighth consecutive year.
View rankings: THE World University Rankings 2024
A rare collection of 56 Porsches*, all in white, will be up for auction by RM Sotheby’s this December. The identity of the owner was not disclosed and the value of the auction is unknown yet. The crown jewel of the collection, the 2015 918 Spyder, is estimated to fetch between USD2.5-3 mil. Check out the entire fleet of this collection here.
*Here’s Porsche teaching you how to pronounce Porsche.
Just how dominant is Microsoft in the computing world? 1.2 bil people are estimated to use Microsoft 365 and 1.4 bil are running Windows. Microsoft 365, which has been growing by about 10% per year, now accounts for about a quarter of Microsoft’s revenue, which hit USD212 bil last year. Microsoft’s cybersecurity business is a huge one too, contributing to about USD20 bil or 10% of its total sales — this is more than the combined revenues of the 5 biggest firms that provide only cybersecurity.
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3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
MYAirline co-founder and majority shareholder arrested
Police confirmed the co-founder and majority shareholder of MYAirline Allan Goh Hwan Hua, his wife and his son were arrested and will be detained for four days. All three were detained to assist in investigation under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing, and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001. Goh is no stranger to this act — previously his infamous i-Serve saw its asset frozen by BNM under this act and fined RM50 mil by BNM last year for accepting deposits without a license.
Former PM Muhyiddin Yassin denied allegations that he is linked to the failed airline and that he was not the PM when the airline received its conditional air service approval license on 22 Dec 2021.
The cost of being a bully - RM616,634.20
The Federal Court has unanimously overturned the Court of Appeal’s decision and affirmed the Kuala Terengganu High Court’s decision to award a bully victim RM616k who suffered permanent ear damage after being bullied at a secondary school in Terengganu 8 years ago. The boy was 14 when he was bullied by 5 Form Five students of the school, leading to permanent hearing damage, severe trauma and emotional distress that required him to undergo psychiatric treatment. Following the incident, the victim’s father filed a lawsuit against the defendants.
The nine defendants, including the five students, the senior assistant (student affairs), the principal, the Education Ministry director-general and the Malaysian government, were all ordered to pay compensation. However, it’s not known what’s the breakdown for each defendant.
Once again, Thailand revives its mega plan to bypass the Malacca Straits
With a new government comes a new resolve to take on a decades-long ambition. Though this news should be under the global section, the implication (if successful) is significant towards Malaysia and our bff Singapore; hence it’s worth mentioning here. Thailand’s new PM Srettha Thavisin announced the government is assessing a massive land bridge project worth THB1 tril (RM130.15 bil) in the southern provinces of Thailand, essentially bypassing the congested Malacca Straits for shipping purposes.
The project will involve 2 deep-sea ports and 90km of road and rail connecting transport between the Indian Ocean side and the Pacific Ocean side of Thailand. Construction is expected to start in 2025, with the first phase going live in 2030.
The Malacca Straits is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, with about a quarter of the world’s traded goods passing through each year. This ambitious mega project by Thailand would cut shipping time by more than two days, trimming the travel distance by 1,200 km. Should we be worried? Perhaps, but history might repeat itself with the project getting dismissed again. This isn’t new — it has been put forward and dismissed several times over the past decades. The initial idea was to build a canal through, but it would cause too much destruction to the environment. Subsequently, a “land bridge” has been proposed as an alternative to the same end goal.
PM Anwar on new minister, PN MP support
The Domestic Trade and Cost of Living minister position has been vacant for nearly three months after the passing of the late Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub in July. PM Anwar was asked who would fill the role and he replied that only when there’s a “suitable candidate”.
Last week, following Kuala Kangsar MP Iskandar Dzulkarnain (PN) declaring his support for PM Anwar but will remain loyal to his party, opposition leader Hamzah Zainuddin alleged that the government had blackmailed the MP as he was investigated by MACC and pressured to support the government or face charges. PM Anwar has asked for proof and did not miss the opportunity to thank the MP for his support. Iskandar has denied that he was pressured to support PM Anwar. He will know his fate by this Friday, whether PN will be taking action against him or otherwise.
Spotlight on 99 Speed Mart and Tony Fernandes & Co.
The Edge Weekly has made available online its weekly printed edition on its recent coverage of the above two companies.
99SM: We shared last week that the retailer is looking to raise RM1.5 bil from IPO. With 2,463 stores now with 2,500 targeted by year-end, the retailer is said to have brought in RM8 bil of revenue in FY2022, potentially making it the biggest retailer in Malaysia. In FY2021, it is estimated that 99SM made a cool net profit of RM550 mil on RM7 bil revenue. The company was founded in 1987 by Lee Thiam Wah and his wife Ng Lee Tieng. The husband and wife owns 100% of the retailer (Lee 96%, Ng 4%), which begs the question — with the company spitting out so much cash, why want to share the pie with the public?
AAX, Capital A: Shirtless Tony was coincidentally in the midst of discussing the topic of this The Edge article, reviewing AirAsia X and Capital A’s effort to restructure and turn around their businesses and exit PN17 status. To recap, AAX has proposed to acquire Capital A’s aviation business and Capital A to house three main portfolios — aviation services (e.g. engineering, in-flight catering), digital and logistics. Maybank Investment Bank Research estimates Capital A digital assets are worth a wild RM5.66 bil.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
And it gets worse in Gaza — hospital explosion
The al-Ahli Hospital explosion, which killed 500 people, has brought condemnation on both the Iran-backed Islamic Jihad militants and the Israeli Defence Forces, as both sides are denying responsibility, engaging in a blame game. Israeli military spokespersons told reporters that rockets fired by Islamic Jihad passed by the hospital at the time of the blast and that they had intercepted a conversation in which the militants acknowledged a misfire. Islamic Jihad denied that its rockets were involved, claiming it had no activity in or around Gaza at the time.
NSFW - watch the moment the hospital was struck by rockets.
An X post has also surfaced, claiming a US Marine Corps veteran has identified Islamic Jihad as not having the capabilities for any possible weapons that could have caused the blast but noted that there can be no “final conclusions just yet”. On the other hand, the Israel Defence Forces held a press conference (watch here), presenting its evidence that the blast was caused by Hamas.
According to the UN, Israel’s complete siege of Gaza and evacuation order could well be in breach of global law. The body raised concerns that the evacuation order and the siege combined may invalidate the order as a “lawful temporary evacuation”, instead counting as a forcible transfer of civilians, which is a crime against humanity and punishable by the International Criminal Court. This is exacerbated by the lack of any effort by Israel to ensure those evacuated were provided with proper accommodation and satisfactory conditions.
Side note, a Palestinian human rights advocate has raised allegations that international justice is not equal and instead a mask “to advance imperial interests”.
Meanwhile, the UK alleges that ethnic cleansing is happening in the western Sudanese region of Darfur amid the fighting between two rival military factions. Satellite and social media data revealed that at least 68 villages in Darfur have been set on fire by armed militias since the fighting began between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces. SAF leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan promised to cooperate with the International Criminal Court, while the RSF denied involvement and called for an independent international investigation.
OpenAI touts 99% accuracy on AI to identify AI-generated images
The firm’s CTO Mira Murati claimed that the new tool by the company behind ChatGPT and image generator DALL-E is “99% reliable” at determining if a picture was produced by AI. The tool is currently being tested internally with a planned public release, though there is no timeline as to when it will be publicly available. The firm revealed it is working on ways to identify if audio is AI-generated. OpenAI has also filed an application for a GPT-5 trademark with the US Patent and Trademark Office in July. Moving forward, fact-checking isn’t sufficient anymore — one needs to AI-check any controversial images, videos or audio for authenticity, too.
Xi opens Belt and Road forum by criticising Western attempts at reducing dependence on China
Chinese President Xi Jinping opened the Belt and Road Initiative forum in Beijing by criticising Western efforts to reduce their dependence on the Chinese economy and warned against any “unilateral sanctions, economic coercion, decoupling, and supply chain disruption”. Western leaders insisted that the goal was to “de-risk”, not decouple from China, in a bid to diversify supply chains overly dependent on the world’s second-largest economy, with the attempts becoming more urgent with China’s threats to Taiwan.
China has also hit back at US President Joe Biden’s administration’s harsher restrictions on advanced chip exports, with China’s foreign ministry saying the restrictions “violate the principles of the market economy and fair competition”. The US Semiconductor Industry Association also called the measures “overly broad” and “risk harming the US semiconductor ecosystem” as overseas customers are further encouraged to look elsewhere.
India in the news: same-sex marriages, space programme
India’s top court says no to same-sex marriages
The court believes that changing the law was in the hands of the Parliament, a move that sets the petitioners’ quest for equality back. However, Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, in his verdict, said the country still had a duty to acknowledge same-sex relationships and protect those in them from discrimination. The Supreme Court has asked for a committee to be set up by the government to look into the rights and entitlements of LGBTQ people.
India aims to put man on the moon by 2040
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the goal, adding that there are also plans for a space station by 2035. Modi also shared he has asked scientists to work on missions to Venus and Mars. The Indian Space Research Organisation is also working on the Gaganyaan project, which aims to send a human crew to an orbit of 400km and bring them back safely to land in Indian waters.
New X users will have to pay USD1 a year to post
The policy started today for new users in the Philippines and New Zealand as a trial of the social media platform’s “Not A Bot” program. However, there is no news as to whether the policy will eventually roll out to other countries. Existing users will not be affected by the trial. The platform also came forward, saying the policy is not meant to be “a profit driver”.
Scotland's biggest offshore wind farm now at full capacity
The facility, called Seagreen, can now generate enough electricity to power two-thirds of Scotland’s households. The Seagreen facility, located off the Angus coast, is worth USD3.6 bil and has 114 giant turbines with the ability to displace more than two million tonnes of CO2 a year. Facility operator SSE Renewables is looking into a possible expansion of an additional 36 turbines to bring the wind farm to its original plan of 150 turbines.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
Which is the top company most Malaysians want to work for? It’s not a bank. It’s TikTok. The methodology was based on Google searches — Companies were ranked within each country based on the monthly Google search volumes of searches for each company name plus the keyword “careers.” Click on the image for the full infographic.
How to reduce credit card debt and MrMoneyTV’s experience in managing his RM50k credit card debt.
Self-parking chairs, or “intelligent parking chairs” as Nissan, the creator would call them — sound totally cool, but quite a useless invention. Old news btw — 2016.