Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Silicon Island - RM10 bil Penang South Islands mega project scaled down to 1 island from 3
Marrybrown, with 500 outlets globally, opens first Melbourne outlet.Dubai's Emirates airline reports most profitable financial year ever. When tree planting goes wrong, doing more harm than good.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
The Malaysia Autoshow 2023 that happened over the weekend brought in RM1 billion in potential sales, according to the Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and Internet of Things Institute (MARii). The four-day event saw about 2,200 vehicle bookings, 6,800 sales leads, and 190,000 visitors. One of the significant takeaways from the event was a surge in interest in electric vehicles (EVs), which generated 41% of total bookings.
How to earn 10 years’ worth of salary in one day — live stream. A kindergarten teacher in Wuhan City, China, struck gold online after videos of her teaching children a nursery rhyme on the Chinese social media platform Douyin went viral, gaining over 100 million views. As a result, many netizens encouraged the preschool educator surnamed Huang to try out livestreaming. Netizens sent her 500,000 yuan in a single day. Huang earns 3,000 yuan a month as a teacher.
2,800 female associates and vice presidents will get a share of the USD215 million compensation that the Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has agreed to pay to put an end to a long-running class-action lawsuit. The lawsuit against the Wall Street giant for systemically underpaying women. But it wasn’t an easy battle. The lawsuit was filed back in 2010.
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3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Penang to scale down the PSI project
Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said that the RM10 bil Penang South Islands (PSI) project would be scaled down by a staggering 49%, where only one of the three islands will be built. As advised by PM Anwar Ibrahim, the PSI project will be reduced from the initial plan of three islands with a total area of 4,500 acres to one 2,300-acre island. The overall development of the singular island dubbed Silicon Island will take about two decades, including the topside development. Chow also told the media that the state government would not finance the cost of the reclamation and infrastructure of the PSI project. Further details regarding the project will be announced soon.
Single mother fails to nullify the one-sided conversion of her kids to Islam
A 35-year-old single mother, Loh Siew Hong, failed to cancel the unilateral conversion of her children to Islam after the Kuala Lumpur High Court decided that the children had been validly converted to Islam and showed no intention to commit apostasy. The story started when Loh’s former husband, Muhammad Nagahswaran Muniandy, allegedly ran off with her children in 2019. Then, in 2020, Muhammad converted to Islam and then converted their children without her consent. When Loh reunited with her kids after getting custody of the children in 2021, the three teenagers, aged between 11 and 14 years old, still practising Islam even under Loh’s care.
Putrajaya will stick to the current formula for chicken subsidy
Agriculture Minister Mohamad Sabu stated that his ministry will stick to the current distribution of the 80 sen chicken subsidy, where 10 sen will go to the chicken breeders and 70 sen will direct to the suppliers. If there is a need for any changes, both the chicken breeders and supplier companies need to discuss amongst themselves and the government will not intervene as Putrajaya believes the arrangement is business-to-business. Selangor Poultry Breeders Association is crying foul with the government’s decision and stated that an equal subsidy distribution is fair as many chicken breeders are going out of business due to the increase in operating costs. Prior to this, at the end of February, the government agreed to continue the chicken and egg subsidy until June 2023 for a price tag of RM1.28 bil.
Choo-choo, make way for the trains
The operations of six Light Rail Transits (LRT) stations on the Ampang Line have been reactivated today at 6 am. The six stations are Bandaraya, Sultan Ismail, PWTC, Titiwangsa, Sentul and Sentul Timur. The rail portion between Bandaraya station and Masjid Jamek station will still be closed for repair work, which is projected to be completed by mid-October 2023. Free intermediate bus service will be provided between the two stations.
During the bilateral meeting between Malaysia and Singapore Transport Ministers in Johor Bahru, Transport Minister Anthony Loke stated that the revival of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project was being discussed. Loke said that any future proposal for the HSR project will only be considered if it is based on a private funding initiative. So far, a few private Malaysian companies have expressed interest in implementing the HSR project.
More political appointees brought to you by Madani
Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM) president Larry Sng has been appointed chairman of the Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB). MTIB is a statutory body under the Plantation and Commodities Ministry tasked with formulating policies and strategies to develop the country’s timber industry so that it is competitive in the local and international markets. Last week, former Housing and Local Government minister Reezal Merican Naina Merican was appointed chairman of the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade).
The operator of FamilyMart in Malaysia, QL Maxincome Sdn Bhd, announced that the convenience store chain will no longer sell alcoholic beverages in all its 360 stores so that Muslims can shop at its stores with ease of mind. The company’s managing director Chia Lik Khai said that alcohol sales only contributed a small portion to the business, and he believed that the food and beverages sales will cover the gap. The ‘halal’ move by FamilyMart Malaysia started in March 2023.
Warisan TC Holding Bhd’s automotive arm, WTC Automotif (M) Sdn Bhd, will invest RM60 mil to develop and distribute Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC)’s completely knocked-down (CKD) vehicles in Malaysia. GAC Motor GS3 model will be the first model to be manufactured and distributed under this investment plan.
Malaysian-owned fast food chain Marrybrown Sdn Bhd has made it all the way to Down Under by opening its first outlet in Melbourne, Australia. Marrybrown CEO Joshua Liew said that the company is planning to open up to 30 more outlets in Australia in the near future. Currently, Marrybrown has more than 500 restaurants present across 16 countries. Not bad, Malaysia boleh!
Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) is following in the footsteps of CelcomDigi Bhd by pulling out from participating in the equity of Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB). With this, TM will not subscribe to the 20% equity stake in DNB that the telco initially intended. Previously, TM, CelcomDigi Bhd and YTL Communications Sdn Bhd agreed to collectively take up a 65% stake in DNB.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
ASEAN joining hands to fight online job scams by human traffickers
Making its first declaration at the ASEAN Summit in Indonesia, Southeast Asian leaders pledged to crack down on online job scams by human traffickers preying on vulnerable job seekers and called for a regional approach to combat this problem. More than 1,000 victims have been rescued just in recent days.
Countries like Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar have become a hotbed for cyber scam operations, which civil society groups say are often linked to Chinese criminal gangs. Job seekers are lured by social media posts promising well-paid jobs in these countries but end up as hostages and forced to operate online scams and defraud strangers.
Pakistan Supreme Court orders immediate release of former PM Imran Khan
The nation’s top court has ruled that the arrest of the former PM is illegal and has ordered his immediate release. Imran Khan, 70, a cricket hero turned politician and Pakistan’s most popular leader according to polls, was earlier arrested over a corruption case that has triggered violent protests across the country and prompted the government to call out the army to help restore order. The Supreme Court has asked Khan to appeal to his supporters to remain peaceful.
Just how bad is the chaos arising from his arrest? Nearly 2,500 people were arrested and at least 11 were killed and dozens injured after Khan’s supporters clashed with police in several cities. His supporters had also attacked military establishments and set state buildings and assets on fire.
Khan was elected as PM in 2018 of the nation of 220 mil people but fell out with the nation’s powerful military. He was ousted after he lost a confidence vote in Apr 2022.
AI takes centre stage at Google’s annual I/O developer conference
Investors were happy with AI here and there, sending its stock up 5% and adding USD56 bil to Alphabet’s market cap. Some highlights from the event:
Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) is coming to Search. Google’s homepage will remain the same visually, with differences lying in the answers. Search will detect if AI can be used to answer a query and the top results page will show an AI-generated response - the traditional links will still be shown below. This technology will reduce the steps to get the answers as the AI summarises information and facts from different websites.
Searches will be in “conversational mode”, allowing for more context as it will remember users’ prior questions to allow for followups more easily,
Gmail will get a “Help Me Write” option - autocomplete on steroids. This feature will help produce lengthy replies to emails. There will be settings to adjust for a longer or shorter generated text, and it uses context from previous messages to write the copy.
“Help Me Write” will also be integrated into Google Docs too. Google Slides can generate AI images inside the app instead of searching for one.
Google introduces its first-ever folding phone, the USD1,799 Pixel Fold, and claims it is the thinnest foldable in the market. The only phone maker without a foldable phone? Apple. Check out the Pixel Fold here.
Dubai’s Emirates airline not only recovered from the pandemic but also achieved its most profitable financial year ever in 2022/23, reporting an annual profit of 10 bil dirhams (USD3 bil) group revenue of 119.8 bil dirhams (USD32.6 bil), up 81% from the previous year. The airline was hit with a loss of USD5.5 bil in 2020/21 at the height of the pandemic and USD1.1 bil loss in 2021/22.
The state-owned airline filled 79.5% of seats flown, up from 58.6% from a year earlier and now flies to 150 destinations, up from 140 last year. Read the earnings announcement here.
Disney reported USD21.8 bil in revenue in its second quarter, up 13% year-on-year and net income more than doubled to USD1.27 bil from USD470 mil you. Despite performing in line with Wall Street’s projections, its stock took a hit, down by 8% over unfavourable performance in its streaming business.
Although operating losses narrowed to USD659 mil from USD1.1 bil in the prior quarter, Disney+ total subscribers fell by about 2% or 4 mil from 161.8 mil to 157.8 mil, with most of the cancellations coming from India after it lost streaming rights to Indian Premier League cricket matches. Read the earnings announcement here.
Weekend read: China is succeeding in the Middle East because it learned from watching the US fail there for 20 years
China has the US to thank for its growing influence in the Middle East. The Americans have given the Chinese the playbook of what not to do - imposing its political will by force, choosing sides ideologically (i.e. favoring Saudi Arabia over Iran) and inflicting its moral compass onto its economic affairs. Or rather, the US is the one shooting itself in the foot.
“It may be dangerous to be America’s enemy, but to be America’s friend is fatal.”
- Henry Kissinger, former US Secretary of State
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
Rich people's logic — instead of driving a car, use it as a furniture piece instead. Adrian Portelli is one of Australia’s youngest millionaires, with an estimated net worth of AUD350 million. Portelli decided to put his McLaren Senna GTR in his AUD39 million penthouse as it’s unable to be registered to drive in Australia anyway.
Common wisdom: planting trees is good for the environment and climate. Reality: planting trees wrongly can damage the environment, doing way more harm than good to the extent of destroying the environment.