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☕️ State Elections in Numbers: 12 Aug, 6 states, 9.77 mil voters, RM420 mil
EPF: Only 18% of EPF members have "basic savings" for 20-year retirement. White power (ie. cocaine) found in the White House. Fancy getting paid RM7.16k as domestic helper in South Korea?
1. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
1.31 bil people are estimated to suffer from diabetes worldwide by 2050, with 95% of the cases being type 2 diabetes (lifestyle to blame primarily), in a new research by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). No country will be spared from this debilitating trend, according to the prediction. Currently, 529 mil people (6.6% of the global population of 8 bil people) are estimated to be living with diabetes and it is one of the top 10 causes of death and disability. With or without this prediction, diabetes is a serious health issue in Malaysia to tackle right now, with a prevalence rate of 18.3% in 2019 - in other words, 1 in 5 Malaysians suffers from diabetes.
Read study: Diabetes: a defining disease of the 21st century.
Selangor recorded the highest number of criminal cases involving child pornography (i.e. creating, viewing, downloading and sharing such material), involving 1,114 cases (23.1%) out of 4,832 cases opened by police from 2018 until now. This is followed by Johor (492), KL (476) and Sabah (375). 33% of the suspects are unemployed. This is a disturbing figure - 90% of these perpetrators are people the children already know, such as family members and neighbours.
171.6 mil domestic visitors were recorded in 2022, up 160.1% from 66 mil in 2021, according to the Statistics Department (DoSM). These domestic visitors spent RM64.1 bil in this period, averaging RM373 per visitor. DoSM defines domestic visitor as a resident who makes a trip outside their usual environment for business, leisure or personal purposes. With MYR going down the drain, let’s Cuti Cuti Malaysia more and support the local economy.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
State Elections - the countdown begins
The game is on for these 6 states - Penang, Negeri Sembilan, Selangor, Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah. The Election Commission (EC) has set 12 Aug for polling and nomination day on 29 July, leaving candidates three weeks to campaign. 245 state assembly seats are up for grabs, to be decided by a total of 9.77 million voters. The cost to taxpayers is estimated at RM420 mil (Elon Musk meme?).
View infographic: State election statistics
BN component parties MCA and MIC have decided to sit out in this round of state elections and will instead assist candidates from their coalition. MCA is thinking ahead, way way ahead - it said it will focus more on preparing for GE16 in a statement on its FB page.
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Tun M: buddying with Muhyiddin, fighting with Syed Saddiq
Despite being betrayed by one of Langkah Sheraton’s masterminds, Tun Mahathir has welcomed Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin to his house — the first time the duo met face-to-face since Langkah Sheraton. Muhyiddin, via his FB post, said both agreed in principle to strengthen the unity of Malays and increase support for PN in the state elections. Apart from both being PMs before, another thing they have in common - both are in the crosshairs with PM Anwar.
Tun Mahathir fired back at Syed Saddiq in a Twitter thread (below) following the latter’s criticism of Tun M’s comment that promoting Malaysia as multiracial is unconstitutional. How about a cage match between them both, like Musk vs Zuck? Never underestimate the old man, given how much damage he has done.
EPF CEO Amir Hamzah Azizan gave a speech at the International Social Wellbeing Conference 2023 yesterday. Some highlights:
Only 18% or 2.84 mil of EPF’s total members of 15.8 mil have basic savings as of May 2023 by age, enabling them to have at least RM1,000 a month over a 20-year retirement age. Basic savings is defined as heaving RM240,000 by the retirement age of 55. Muhyiddin’s brilliant EPF withdrawal schemes, persistent inflation, and increasing lifespan are making the country's retirement crisis look worse day by day.
EPF is considering a basic income drawdown option, which involves retirees drawing down their savings periodically instead of in a lump sum. This would allow the savings to continue earning dividends and compounding its growth. This practice is similar to Singapore’s Central Provident Fund (CPF).
EPF did not change its investment approach despite the depreciation of ringgit and will remain guided by its Strategic Asset Allocation (SAA) framework. Currently, 64% of total assets are invested locally and foreign currency exchange comes to play when it realises global investments - in the current environment, means more ringgit if foreign assets are sold (and more dividends, perhaps?). Check out EPF’s investment portfolio by asset classes in 2022 here.
MACC: Airport case updates, high-profile cases
Between 2020 to 8 June this year, more than 60% of the 156 investigation papers opened by the MACC involved high-profile and public interest cases, which resulted in the arrest of 211 individuals. During this period, MACC confiscated RM51.13 mil in cash, forfeited property and cash amounting to RM10.46 mil and issued a compound amounting to RM128.97 mil.
MACC Special Operations Division, set up to investigate high-profile and public interest cases, said such cases are difficult as it involves financial transactions between banks and foreign institutions which makes it challenging to investigate the money trail.
The MACC suspects that “setting counter” activities are occurring in the airport following its investigation into allegations by a Chinese tourist that she was asked to pay RM18,000 to resolve her entry issues into Malaysia. Setting counters is a modus operandi where “problematic” foreigners would be informed which immigration counters they should queue up at.
Rahmah Economic Policy WIP for the betterment of B40, hardcore poor
Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Minister Salahuddin Ayub said the ministry is currently drafting the Rahmah Economic Policy to improve the living standards of the B40 group and hardcore poor. It’s expected to be completed by September and presented to PM Anwar and the Cabinet. Based on what the minister said, the interesting aspect of this policy is its holistic, comprehensive approach to solving poverty instead of the typical piecemeal approach the government always takes.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
World's hottest day recorded, as study warns of major crop failures due to climate change
3 July is now officially the world’s hottest day on record, exceeding the average daily air temperature on the planet’s surface of 17°C for the first time with a measurement of 17.01°C. The previous record was 16.92°C set on 24 July last year. However, as summer begins for the northern hemisphere, this figure is expected to rise further, as average global temperature typically continues to rise until the end of July or the beginning of August.
Meanwhile, a new study warns of the possibility of major harvest failures caused by climate change in multiple food-producing regions should no immediate action be taken. Should such harvest failures occur simultaneously across food-producing regions, it could lead to price spikes, food insecurity, and even civil unrest. Should current policy trends continue, the planet will be 2.8°C warmer by the end of the century, with the increase in temperature described as “catastrophic” for the planet and its inhabitants.
More than just the House is White
Secret Service agents found a suspicious white powder in a publicly accessible area of the West Wing of the White House ahead of Independence Day. The discovery led to the evacuation of the complex, with emergency response teams conducting rapid tests on the white powder. President Joe Biden was not in the White House at the time.
While the Secret Service had not disclosed the nature of the substance, multiple media outlets have identified the substance as cocaine, citing emergency responder communications, where a hazardous materials team had radioed in preliminary results from rapid tests. The Secret Service is investigating the cause and manner of how the white powder made it into the White House.
This calls to mind a different white powder scare from 2001. Anthrax killed five and infected 17 after letters containing the bioweapon were mailed to news offices and senators mere days after the events of September 11.
South Korea mulls domestic foreign worker pilot program
In a bid to raise the country’s low birth rates, South Korea is looking to attract foreign domestic helpers from Southeast Asia to help families with childcare and housework. A pilot programme of 100 domestic helpers is expected to begin later this year, with a possible full-scale expansion modelled similarly to the domestic helper programmes of Hong Kong and Singapore.
The pilot will see foreign domestic workers earning a minimum wage of USD7.41 per hour, plus overtime and allowances. The expected monthly salary of USD1,540 (RM7.16k) will also be up to three times higher than what is offered in Hong Kong and Singapore. Separate dormitory accommodation will also be provided so that domestic helpers are no longer required to live with their employers. Labour experts believe South Korea’s programme could make it the destination of choice for domestic helpers if salaries and conditions are set properly.
Managed exits for middle management in Reddit's future as firm chases profitability
Social media platform Reddit is looking to flatten its management structure, which could mean managers leaving through managed exits à la Meta and Shopify. This follows Reddit executives suggesting the consolidation of teams with managers overseeing fewer than six employees.
The move is but the latest in Reddit’s chase towards profitability, as it works towards an IPO by the end of 2023. In early June, the tech firm laid off 90 employees amid reports of slowed revenue growth. A recent controversy revolves around Reddit charging for access to its API, which allows developers to build tools to connect to Reddit. The firm argues that it could not support third-party apps that use Reddit’s content but don’t provide money in return.
Taiwan presidential favourite claims he can keep the peace with China if elected – Presidential frontrunner William Lai, who consistently leads the majority of opinion polls ahead of Taiwan’s elections in January, said he can keep the peace with China if elected. Lai aims to continue President Tsai Ing-wen’s plan to boost Taiwan’s defences, along with her stance of being open to talks with China. Lai is expected to visit the United States, Taiwan’s most important international backer and arms supplier, next month to discuss his policy agenda.
China accused of harassment at sea by Phillippines near disputed reef – The Philippines accused China’s coast guard of harassment, obstruction, and “dangerous manoeuvres” against its vessels, with the event taking place near the Second Thomas Shoal, a submerged reef over which the Philippines stakes a claim to sovereignty. The shoal is located inside the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.
Singer Coco Lee Man commits suicide – The 48-year-old Chinese-American singer-songwriter committed suicide at her home on Sunday before passing away on Wednesday after remaining in a coma in a hospital for three days. The news was shared by Lee’s sisters, who also stated Lee had suffered from depression in recent years. This year would have been Lee’s 30th debut anniversary.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
Today’s section is produced in-house
When and when not to invest in properties. #notfinancialadvice
Do you know what IKEA, Adidas, IOI, BBC (you dirty-minded) etc. stands for?
The wildly profitable (that if you cashed out in time) days of the rubber glove madness in 2020.