- The Coffee Break
- ☕️ RM2.28 tril - the cost of corruption to the nation over 26 years
☕️ RM2.28 tril - the cost of corruption to the nation over 26 years
PAS on Coldplay concert: no good to race, religion and country. Former US President Donald Trump guilty of sexual abuse but not rape. Wendy's to introduce AI chatbots at drive-thrus.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
RM2.28 tril — Malaysia’s total cost of corruption over the last 26 years from 1997 to 2022, according to EMIR Research, a think tank focused on strategic policy recommendations based on rigorous research. In its model, a range of 2%-4% was used as the cost of corruption, expressed as a percentage of GDP. This range was obtained from publicly available data from Najib Razak’s “Government Transformation Programme” in 2010 and Transparency International Malaysia and World Bank’s estimates separately, and it was adjusted with an annual growth factor of 26%. If one considers opportunity cost due to loss in the multiplier effect of 1, the cost of corruption becomes RM4.6 tril during for these 26 years. To put into perspective, the nation’s GDP in 2022 was RM1.78 tril. Reality could be worse — the author of this study says the estimates are “frugally conservative estimates”.
An average of 2 seconds per minute of work is lost by switching back and forth from their mouse to keyboard instead of using keyboard shortcuts, according to a study by Brainscape. Assuming an 8-hour workday and 240 workdays, this works out to 64 workhours or eight workdays gone due to this switching inefficiency. Check out Brainscape’s guide to keyboard shortcuts for Mac and Windows and not just that but also for Gmail, browser, Excel and Google Sheets.
USD145.7 mil (RM649.6 mil) — revenue generated by Netflix’s domestic DVD rental-by-mail business in 2022, just last year. For the uninitiated, Netflix started by renting out DVDs before moving into online streaming. The streaming giant recently announced that it would discontinue its DVD mailing business by Sep 2023 after 25 years. It sounds like a nice chunk of business, but it now only contributed to less than 1% of Netflix’s total revenue, essentially a rounding error. Besides a declining DVD subscriber base, physical scale is a disadvantage in this line — 1 DVD reaches out to 1 customer, whereas Netflix’s blockbuster releases now garnered billions of hours of views, requiring hundreds of millions, if not billions, of discs to fulfil.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Corruption matters: Chief stays, Datuk Seri pleads not guilty in RM15 mil bribery case
Despite his shareholding controversy, MACC chief commissioner Azam Baki’s term has been extended by one year, effective 12 May, which coincides with his 60th birthday — the mandatory retirement age. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong has consented to the extension. Azam, who has spent 39 years with the graft buster, was appointed to the position in 2020, replacing Latheefa Koya who resigned following the PH government’s collapse then.
A Datuk Seri has pleaded not guilty to charges of soliciting and accepting bribes amounting to RM15 mil. This is where it gets interesting — Datuk Seri Sim Choo Thiam allegedly solicited a bribe from Asia Coding Centre Sdn Bhd to help secure projects from the Home Ministry in 2021, with the money serving as an inducement for then Home Minister Hamzah Zainuddin (current opposition leader).
A sigh of relief for Felda settlersEU Ambassador to Malaysia Michalis Rokas told representatives of Felda settlers in an engagement session that the new law, EU Deforestation Regulation, will not impact them as Felda has not cleared any forest to open new plantations since 1990. The new law that targets eight commodities, including palm oil, was passed last month by the European Parliament and will ban the exports of these products to the EU if it was produced on land deforested after 1 Jan 2021. The other seven commodities covered: cattle, cocoa, coffee, soy, wood, rubber, charcoal and paper products.
Welcome to KL, PM Anwar says to Coldplay and PAS being PASIt’s on - Coldplay will play its maiden concert in Malaysia on 22 Nov. Their world tour, called The Music of Spheres, will be held at National Stadium Bukit Jalil (hopefully no repeat of Jay Chou drama). Coldplay is going on a green tour - the band has pledged to make their tour as sustainable and low-carbon as possible, guided by three key principles. You can get your tickets here from 17 May onwards (CIMB cardholders can buy a day earlier than the official release date).
PM Anwar even welcomed the band on Twitter. We know everything is normal for now in Malaysia, as PAS had commented on the band’s tour in Malaysia - we will be worried if PAS has said nothing about it. A PAS leader, Nasruddin Hassan, in a Facebook post, has asked Putrajaya to cancel the concert, questioning if Putrajaya is promoting “hedonism and deviant cultures” in the country. He added that the concert harms religion, race and country.
No confidence motion against AG Idrus Harun passed by Bar CouncilThe Malaysian Bar has passed a no-confidence motion against Attorney-General Idrus Harun at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) for his “abject failure” to protect the judiciary from attacks and to uphold the rule of law. The motion cited the alleged attacks against Court of Appeal Judge Nazlan Ghazali, the trial judge in Najib Razak’s SRC International case.
The motion also condemned Minister in the PM’s Department (Law & Institutional Reform) Azanlin Othman and the MACC over their handling of the trial judge’s case - the former for undermining the judiciary’s independence by discussing the MACC investigation in Parliament and through a letter to Najib’s lawyer and the latter for investigating the matter although it has no power to.
AirAsia competitor MYAirline has chosen Thailand as its first international destination, with routes to Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang international airports in Bangkok starting from 28 June. The launch will begin with a daily direct flights from KLIA Terminal 2 and eventually up to 43 daily flights to the city.
After ten consecutive quarters of losses, MyNews Holdings Bhd has turned a profit for the quarter ended 31 Oct 2022 but swung back to a loss in its latest quarter ending 31 Jan 2023. At end-Jan 2023, MyNews operated 614 outlets - 466 MyNews, 131 CU and 17 WH Smith. Its target of opening 500 CU outlets within five years of its first opening in Apr 2021 will take a backseat as the group continues to open 80 outlets per year instead of the previous target of 100. The company’s current market cap stands at RM317 mil.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Former US President Trump Guilty of Sexual Abusing, Defaming E. Jean CarrollThe guilty verdict is the first affirmation of a jury of Trump’s sexual misconduct, with over a dozen women having accused him of such over the years. Carroll successfully proved that sexual abuse happened, but the jury did not find sufficient proof for her claim of rape. While Trump has to pay Carroll USD5 million in damages for sexual abuse and defamation, Trump will not face criminal consequences as this was a civil case rather than a criminal case. Trump intends to appeal, calling the case “a hoax and a lie”.Read: Difference between rape and sexual assault
MAS, six banks to combat financial crime with a platform to share customer infoA new legislative framework, approved by the Singapore Parliament, will see the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) developing a platform called Cosmic, short for “Collaborative Sharing of Money Laundering/Terrorism Financing Information and Cases”. And isn’t that a mouthful? Cosmic will allow financial institutions to confidentially request and share targeted information to help flag, detect, and prevent financial crimes. The platform is slated for launch in the second half of 2024, with the six initial banks, Citibank, DBS, HSBC, OCBC, Standard Chartered, and UOB, co-developing the platform alongside MAS. In conclusion, it will be harder to launder money through Singapore.
On an unrelated note, Singapore-headquartered cybersecurity startup SquareX raised USD6 mil in seed funding, led by Sequoia Capital Southeast Asia, to provide a browser-based cloud service where users can open links and files in disposable browsers to guard against potential threats.
EY most exposed of the Big Four after China cracks down on US-linked auditorsErnst & Young could lose about 10% of its China revenue, marking it as the most vulnerable of the Big Four audit firms after China urged state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to switch to local auditors due to “data security concerns”. While Chinese and Hong Kong firms contributed about 2% of EY’s total revenue in 2021, the value comes from the growth potential of the Chinese and Asia Pacific markets, which outpace most major economies. Losing the Chinese SOEs, which are highly complex, also means losing revenue from auditing other companies around the world, leading to headwinds for auditing firms. The Big Four earned a combined revenue of USD2.9 billion from all Chinese firms in 2021.
Volkswagen also faces headwinds due to a China-related issue, namely its plant in Xinjiang. Activists and investors have raised concerns over the plant due to claims of human rights abuses in the region and called for an external independent audit of the plant, which is a joint venture with Chinese firm SAIC Motors.
The big business of rubbish - KKR, Macquarie potential bidders for SG's SembWasteSembwaste, the waste and recycling management arm of Singapore’s Sembcorp Industries, has US private equity group KKR & Co and Australia’s Macquarie Asset Management as likely bidders in a potential deal that could value Sembwaste at USD500 mil. The deal comes as more cities in Southeast Asia need more investment in the waste management sector due to rapid population growth and a shift towards greener and cleaner energy and environments.
The deal also follows Singapore’s Keppel consortium buying 80% of Singaporean environmental services firm 800 Super for SGD304 million (USD229.3 million) in 2022. Big money in waste management, that’s for sure. Waste Management, Inc., the largest waste management company in the US, has a market capitalisation of USD68.96 billion. Malaysia’s Alam Flora Sdn Bhd is not doing too bad too - just ask Syed Mokhtar. A right hand-to-left hand transaction was made back in 2018 that valued Alam Flora at more than RM900 mil.
Wendy’s to begin testing AI chatbot for drive-through orders – The fast food company will begin testing next month at a store near Columbus, Ohio, with the chatbot powered by Google’s Cloud AI software. The system will be as natural as talking to an employee, with the ability to understand speech and answer frequently asked questions, according to Wendy’s. AI is literally eating the lunch of workers at Wendy’s.
Robert De Niro welcomes seventh child – 79 years old and still going strong. The Hollywood star revealed that he is now the proud father of his seventh child but has not disclosed who the mother is. He revealed this during an interview about his upcoming film “About My Father”, where he stars alongside comedian Sebastian Maniscalco.
Calls, Encrypted DMs Coming to Twitter — The new features were announced by Musk in a tweet, with “encrypted DMs V1.0” rolled out today. No timeline was mentioned for the call feature. The Tesla CEO stated he would not be able to see any DMs “even if there was a gun to my head”.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
Our collaboration with The Mokumentary. White noise can be soothing and in fact could be healthy to aid our sleep, but green noise, let’s just ignore it.
Nurul Ilham Anwar, daughter of PM Anwar shares a letter she from her father when he was in prison
This is no action film, not Fast X (aka Fast & Furious 10, coming May 18) - a runaway tire sends a car flying into the air.