Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Sultan Sulu heirs seek to seize Petronas' assets, again
DSAI plans to contest in constituency "occupied by traitors". Carsome announced mass layoffs, Grab opts for selective hiring. Myanmar woman sentenced to 6-year jail for being an OnlyFans creator.
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1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
There are 200 apps created by 93 different government agencies, as disclosed by the PM’s Department. Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming evaluated these apps and found that half of them are pointless. He found that 97 of these apps have been downloaded less than 1,000 times. See the list of government apps here. There’s even an app to keep track of all these apps.
“Avatar” was re-released ahead of its long-awaited sequel, “Avatar: The Way of Water”, in December and is still raking it in at the cinemas. This 13-year-old movie grossed USD30.5 mil globally, of which USD10 mil was from North America. “Avatar” is the highest-grossing movie of all time with USD2.878 bil at the worldwide box office. if you haven’t had the chance to watch the trailer, here it is.
Singapore’s ageing population is increasing with 18.4% of its population, or nearly 1 in 5 people aged 65 and above in 2022. This is a spike from 11.1% in 2012. An ageing population could stress the economy with high healthcare and social spending, lower tax receipts and consumer spending. One measure to mitigate it — allow for more
Malaysians immigration to the country. In 2021, 21,537 individuals were granted citizenship and 33,435 individuals were granted permanent residency.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Putrajaya is not the only one milking the country’s cash cow
Heirs of the late Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram II, represented by their lawyers, were in the process of submitting an application to courts in the Netherlands in order to seize Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas)’s assets. This is not the first time heirs of the late Sulu Sultan are putting a target on Petronas’s back. Last July, they seized Petronas’s holdings in Azerbaijan and Luxembourg to satisfy a RM66.4bil award by the Spanish arbitrator Gonzalo Stampa.
Petronas has three holdings in the Netherlands, namely, Petronas Carigali Canada BV, Petronas International Power Corporation BV and PLI (Netherlands), that collectively own billions of Ringgit worth of assets worldwide (including in Canada and Indonesia). Below are among the assets owned by Petronas via Dutch companies:
Assets in Canada — 52 trillion cu ft of gas and oil reserves in North Montney;
Assets in Indonesia — Exploration-related assets;
Assets in Europe — Lubricant assets.
According to the Edge, both Petronas and the Malaysian government are aware of this planned move by the heirs of the late Sulu Sultan. Let’s hope they can outsmart the Sulu Sultan and not get their tails between their legs.
In Najib Razak’s misappropriation of RM2.3bil 1MDB funds, it was revealed by an Ambank’s executive, Yap Wai Keat, that the former PM’s bank account’s transaction could affect the Ringgit, if the entire incoming and outgoing transactions of his bank account were being done in one-go, equate to US$600mil plus in a single transaction. Due to this, Najib’s account was flagged ‘sensitive’ by the bank, other than the fact that he was a politically-exposed person (PEP).
The prosecutor thought that the one-month jail imposed on Lokman Noor Adam for being guilty of intimidating a key witness in Najib Razak’s 1MDB trial was insufficient. Thus, the prosecution had submitted an application to extend the jail term to at least three months in order to show the seriousness of the offence by Lokman.
MBSA officer among the individuals nabbed in relation to the flood mitigation project probe
MACC had so far arrested nine individuals, including a Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) officer, in its probe into alleged corruption of the multi-million Ringgit Shah Alam Sustainable Urban Drainage Master Plan (SASud) project. SASud is a project announced by the Selangor government in response to the apocalyptic flood that hit Taman Sri Muda last year. SASud is a project that costs RM115.3mil comprising 37 projects that will be rolled out in two phases between 2022 until 2024.
After Port Dickson and Tambun, now Anwar Ibrahim may contest in Gombak
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said that he may contest in Gombak, but any final decision has not been made yet. Anwar told the press that any seat that he chooses, in the end, will be the one occupied by ‘traitors’, as it will give his party an added advantage. The current incumbent for the Gombak seat is Azmin Ali, once a Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR)’s member, who jumped ship to Bersatu after the Sheraton Move. Azmin has chaired the Gombak seat since he first won it in 2008.
After the Great Resignation, now comes the start of the major layoff season -
Malaysian unicorn Carsome announced a group-wide layoff that may affect 10% of the 4,000-strong workforce that is scattered across Southeast Asian countries. The major layoff was due to various factors such as the group’s accelerated profitability plan to achieve positive EBITDA and negative macroeconomic challenges.
This comes after the company announced its results for 2021 - revenue doubled to USD65 mil year-on-year, but losses widened by 7x to USD138.6 mil.
E-commerce giant Shopee has announced its retrenchment exercise for Malaysia. The layoff for the Malaysia operation was delayed previously due to the massive scale of the exercise, however, only a low single-digit percentage of the employees in Malaysia will be let go.
Grab will not follow the path of its peers in the tech industry to institute a major layoff in light of rising borrowing costs and economic uncertainty, but instead, Grab will resort to selectively hiring new personnel in order to conserve its capital.
Major layoff is a big indicator that the economy will enter the worst part of the recessionary phase. So, buckle up as the ride will not get any smoother.
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Pavilion is looking to snap a prime property across the road from Pavilion KL
Pavilion’s Desmond Lim was is rumoured to purchase a 3.56 acres of prime land right across Pavilion KL, where the famous Hakka Restaurant is situated. If the land purchase is materialised, the deal is predicted to be worth at least RM620.6mil or more than RM4,000 psf. According to the Edge, in March this year, Menang Lebar Sdn Bhd, a company that has the same address as Jendela Mayang Sdn Bhd - the developer of Pavilion Damansara Heights, secured interest in the said land.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Social media troubles in Myanmar
Jailed for being an OnlyFans creator
6 years in jail - the price to pay for Nang Mwe San, a Myanmar woman that runs an OnlyFans account. The model and former doctor was charged with “harming culture and dignity” by distributing nude photos and videos on OnlyFans for a fee under Section 33(A) of the country’s Electronics Transactions Law. according to military authorities. As she lived in Yangon’s North Dagon Township, which is under martial law, those charged with crimes are tried in a military court where they are denied rights like access to a lawyer.
Rohingya seeks reparation from Facebook
Prominent human rights group Amnesty International has called for Facebook parent Meta to pay reparations for the platform’s significant role in fuelling violence against the Muslim minority in Myanmar. Despite years of warning that Facebook’s algorithms were intensifying hatred against the Rohingya in the months leading to the atrocities, the tech giant failed to act. Mass killings and rape forced more than 700,000 Rohingya to flee the country. UN investigators said that Facebook played a “determining role” in fuelling violence against the Rohingya. Back in December 2021, Rohingya refugees sued Facebook for USD150 bil over claims that it failed to prevent hate speech on its platform that led to violence against Rohingya.
Telco Optus hacked — one of Australia’s worst data breaches.
Optus, Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (Singtel) Australian mobile phone business, revealed hackers accessed to personal information of as many as 9.8 mil customers — over ⅓ of Australia’s population. About 2.8 mil of them lost details such as passports, medical cards and driver's licenses, raising concerns about large-scale identity frauds.
A cybersecurity expert estimated that an average cost incurred by a hacked company for each customer data lost is USD150-200, including compensation, legal bills and PR campaigns. Applying this amount just to the 2.8 mil of Optus’ worst-affected customers, SingTel will take a hit of at least USD420 mil on its bottom line. Optus has already offered its worst-affected customers a 12-month free subscription to Equifax, a credit monitoring and identity protection service that would cost an estimated USD326 mil. Replacing identification documents — that’s another heavy one. The most expensive is the passport costing at least AUD193.
Why aren’t we Malaysians seeking compensation for our data that got breached left, right, front and especially from the back? These spam calls ain’t good for my mental health.
Singapore builds its soft power using food
Urban Hawker, a Singapore-style hawker centre, has opened in New York, bringing in flavours from the island. The hawker centre features 17 vendors, serving food ranging from chilli crab, oyster omelettes, Hainanese chicken rice to nasi lemak (?!). KF Seetoh, the food hall’s curator, hopes that this hawker centre will be the first of many in the country.
Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), the powerful 37-year-old Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia has been named the Prime Minister, a post traditionally held by the king, formalising the power he held as the kingdom’s de factor ruler for years. Good to see a young leader taking over the helm of a nation that desperately needs to shift its dependence away from fossil fuel, but he’s not without controversies - at home and on the global stage. Read a recent profile of MBS here by The Atlantic.
Bloomberg reported that Apple has asked its manufacturing partners to scale back production of iPhone 14 by 6 mil units, as it expects slower demand, but it is seeing higher demand for the Pro models and making more production available for the higher-end models.
Traveloka, the travel startup from Indonesia, has raised a new USD300 mil financing round from giant asset manager BlackRock, Allianz Global Investors and Indonesia’s sovereign wealth fund Indonesia investment Authority. Valuation was not disclosed. The travel sector coming to a halt has forced the company to diversify into financial services during the pandemic. Its app has been downloaded more than 100 mil times.
Weekend read: The Last, Painful Days of Anthony Bourdain (New York Times).
The article chronicles the few findings from Charles Leerhsen’s unauthorised biography of the late Anthony Bourdain, titled “Down and Out in Paradise: The Life of Anthony Bourdain.”
5. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
NASA’s DART mission successfully slammed into its targeted asteroid 6.8 mil miles away in its experimental attempt to deflect the asteroid’s trajectory.
Singapore is revamping its education system - less focus on marks and competition amongst students, and focus on life-long learning and adapting to the ever-changing complex world we are living in.
A short animation of the life most of us (might) are living in by Steve Cutts, a UK-based illustrator and animator. Check out his Instagram page - thought-provoking artwork.