Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Shouting match in Dewan Rakyat after PM's snarky remarks against Radzi Jidin
Gov mulling "Fitnah Apa Hari Ini" on RTM to fight slander. Google integrates its AI chatbot Bard into its services-YT, Docs, Maps & Flights. The iPhone 15 Index - how much salary to buy the phone.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
Myanmar is currently ranked as the least affordable country in the world to purchase an iPhone 15. To buy the base model iPhone 15 with 128GB of storage, a Burmese citizen would need to allocate 89.97% of their annual salary. This is approximately 1,871.28 hours or 233.91 days of work. Meanwhile, an average Malaysian would need to work 277.2 hours (13.33% of annual salary) to buy the same base model. Check out The iPhone 15 Index here.
The National Mental Health Crisis Line, also known as HEAL Line 15555 (Help with Empathy and Love), has received a total of 24,346 calls as of August this year. Health Director-General Muhammad Radzi Abu Hassan reported that out of this total, 15,907 callers (65%) received emotional support and assistance, while 8,479 callers (35%) were provided with specific intervention and help for their mental health issues. This hotline is handled by Health Ministry psychology (counselling) officers and operates from 8 a.m. to midnight daily, including public holidays.
Over the past 20 years, the number of students enrolling in doctoral programs in Japan has decreased by 21%, with 14,382 students enrolling in fiscal 2022 compared to a peak of 18,232 in fiscal 2003. This decline is attributed to several factors, including a lack of appealing job opportunities for Ph.D. graduates. Japan's ratio of new doctoral degree recipients per million people in fiscal 2020 was 123, significantly lower than Germany's 315, the U.K.'s 313, and the U.S.'s 285 (in fiscal 2019).
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3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
PM Anwar Ibrahim served the bait and Radzi Jidin took it
When Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim was explaining the issue of Deputy PM Ahmad Zahid Hamid’s case, he took a swipe at Putrajaya MP Radzi Jidin by saying, “You can laugh because you did it before.” Then a shouting match erupted, with Radzi Jidin asking the PM to retract his statement. With no signs of the decibels lowering, the Opposition bloc staged a walkout in protest of the verbal tiff.
PM explained that the discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) decision was made by the attorney general (AG) to defend the allegations against him by the Opposition bloc. The PM denied he had a hand in the matter. Anwar noted many were unhappy over the matter, including his allies. He clarified the former AG Tan Sri Idrus Harun has given strong reasons for the decision.
The winner of this match — the Speaker, with the fierce “Are you challenging me?”
You can watch the shouting match below in Section 5.
PM to Opposition MPs: You want allocations? Negotiate first before demanding it
PM Anwar Ibrahim said he has tasked DPM Fadillah Yusof to represent the government to hold proper discussions with the Opposition to seek allocations from the government when this issue was brought up by Ketereh MP (PN). PM said the allocations are not an MP’s right and reminded Dewan Rakyat that there is a difference between allocations for constituencies and allocations for MPs.
Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil said the Opposition had yet to bring forward the proposal of equal allocations for Opposition lawmakers with Fadillah since the process started in May, in response to Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman’s claims of unequal allocations for Government and Opposition lawmakers. Fahmi asked Syed to refer to Opposition leader Hamzah Zainuddin about this.
Mercury Securities Group Bhd saw a stellar closing on its maiden day of trading, with the share price closing at 30 sen, a 20% premium over its initial public offering (IPO) of 25 sen. Mercury Securities is the first local stockbroker to float its shares in two decades. The group intends to add more offerings to its trading platforms to cater to market needs.
MyEG Services Bhd has indicated that it is in the process of finalising the terms of a concession related to immigration services with the government. While confirming this, the company also noted that it has temporarily ceased accepting applications from customers through its portal. MyEG’s three-year concession for immigration-related services was scheduled to end on May 22 this year, following an extension from May 2020.
Deputy Defence Minister Adly Zahari, the sole Amanah vice-president who won GE15, is believed to be the replacement for the late Salahuddin Ayub. The Deputy Defence Minister seat won’t remain vacant for long as Pakatan Harapan’s Shah Alam MP Azli Yusof is rumoured to be the replacement.
RTM may be used to counter fake news
Minister of Communications and Digital Fahmi Fadzil has proposed to use Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) to create “Fitnah Apa Hari Ini” to address and repel slander and accusations against the government. The idea seems solid, but it may be targeting the wrong crowd. The slander news are on social media, not on TV channels.
Former PM Muhyiddin Yassin was charged with abuse of power and violation under Section 4(1) of AMLATFPUAA in Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court and in Shah Alam. The two charges were for allegedly receiving proceeds of RM195 mil from Bukhary Equity which was transferred to Bersatu’s bank account between Feb 25, 2021 and July 8 last year and the remaining was for one count of receiving RM5 mil from an illegal activity.
In Najib Razak’s RM2.28 bil 1MBD trial, the 47th prosecution witness testified that Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners transferred USD30 mil to the former prime minister in 2012 based on the latter’s infamous 694 AmPrivate Banking-MR account at AmBank. Blackstone is allegedly controlled by Jho Low.
At the point in time, the USD30 mil is approximately RM90,899,927.28 — the same amount in USD today would be worth RM140.88 mil based on the latest exchange rate (1USD = RM4.70). Comical.
We kid you not — we saved the best for last. Langkawi MP Suhaimi Abdullah brought up the issue of the frequency of ferries (only three trips daily) and suggested a brilliant idea in Dewan Rakyat (still can’t beat flying cars though) to build MRT from Alor Setar to Kuah. Transport Minister Anthony Loke tried his best to be professional and asked politely, “Saya tak pasti saya dengar betul atau tidak.” Watch the interaction here.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Azerbaijan launches military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh, truce broken
Defence officials in the ethnic-Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh accused the Azerbaijani military of violating the ceasefire agreement made after the war in 2020 with a large-scale military offensive. However, the Azerbaijani defence ministry stated it was responding to a “systematic shelling” of its army positions by Armenian forces with “local, anti-terrorist activities”.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan denied this and accused Azerbaijan of launching a “ground operation aimed at ethnic cleansing of Karabakh Armenians”. Russia’s foreign ministry and the EU’s regional special representative have urged the two countries to call a ceasefire. Interesting talk of a ceasefire coming from the Russian foreign ministry. Then again, they brokered the ceasefire in 2020.
Canada-India tensions rise as Trudeau accuses India of involvement in death of Canadian Sikh separatist leader
The rocky relations between the two nations deteriorated further after Canadian PM Justin Trudeau said there were “credible allegations” that India may be linked to the killing of Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar outside a Sikh temple in British Columbia in June. Nijjar was the temple’s president and a prominent leader who publicly campaigned for the creation of Khalistan, an independent Sikh homeland in the Punjab region of India. However, India denied the accusation, calling it “absurd” and “unsubstantiated”. The tensions have led to the expelling of Indian diplomat Pavan Kumar Rai from Canada, with India responding in kind by expelling a senior Canadian diplomat. A tit for tat.
EU holds back food aid in Somalia after UN reports widespread theft
The EU has temporarily suspended funding for the World Food Programme (WFP) in Somalia following a UN investigation which found widespread theft and misuse of aid meant to avert famine. The investigation concluded that landowners, local authorities, members of the security forces, and humanitarian workers were all involved in the theft. The WFP’s operations in Somalia received donations of more than USD1 bil in 2022 alone, of which the EU gave more than USD7 mil, not counting the amounts given individually by EU member states.
Google pulls ahead in AI race with Bard AI integration to services, while a last-ditch attempt is made to overthrow USD2.6 bil EU antitrust fine
The tech giant is giving its in-house AI access to the firm’s most popular apps, which should make Bard “significantly more useful” and pushing Google ahead in the AI race against rivals such as OpenAI. Google also offered assurances that none of the material generated by users, such as company documents, will be seen by human reviewers or used to serve ads. Bard AI can now retrieve information from YouTube, Maps, and Google’s Flights and Shopping search features, and even summarise documents across Gmail, Docs, and Drive.
Meanwhile, Google is making a last-ditch effort at the Court of Justice of the European Union, appealing to have a USD2.6 bil antitrust fine overturned. The firm was fined for market abuse related to its shopping service, but Google is saying that regulators failed to show that the firm’s practices were anti-competitive. The firm is accused of using its algorithms to unfairly favour its price comparison shopping service in breach of EU antitrust laws.
US airline United latest to find dubious parts from supplier AOG Technics
United is the latest to join the list of other airlines worldwide that have found dubious parts from AOG and discovered the parts in the engines of two aircraft based on new information from its suppliers. The engines will be replaced before the planes are returned to service. According to aviation regulators, AOG supplied an unknown number of jet engine spare parts backed by falsified airworthiness documents. The aviation industry is now on the hunt for more of said components.
The home of Mayor Abdulmenam al-Ghaithi was burned down as hundreds of protesters demanded answers over the flood that destroyed Derna, Libya, last week. Derna authorities have also asked journalists to leave, in an attempt to “create better conditions for rescue teams to carry out work more smoothly and effectively”.
The Tesla CEO stated the social media platform is “moving to having a small monthly payment for use of the system” during a conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The billionaire believes a payment system was the only way to counter bots on the platform.
Rolling Stone magazine co-founder Jann Wenner removed from Rock & Roll Hall of Fame board for racist, sexist comments
Wenner made disparaging comments towards Black and female artists when he was being interviewed about his new book, stating that he should have interviewed one female and one Black artist for his book for the public’s sake and to avert criticism “despite them not measuring up to the standard”.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
The world’s 50 most valuable sports teams are now worth a combined USD256 bil (an average of USD5.12 bil), 15% more than a year ago. The majority of the top 50 are from the NFL (National Football League) in the US.
Shouting match by Putrajaya (PN) in the Parliament yesterday. PS — you might want to lower down the volume. NFSW.
By the way, we are also not condoning Tambun’s (PH) behaviour in throwing the accusation against Putrajaya (PN) while he was explaining the DNAA matter. It was still
painfullyfunny to watch, though. That’s our lawmakers.