Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Survey: 4 out of 5 managers are "accidental managers"
MIER: Consumer sentiment, biz confidence continue to decline. Grab's digital bank GXBank launches public beta. US govt's 'creative accounting' to avoid yet another shutdown.
First, let’s party and celebrate — the Madani government is turning one year old and in conjunction with that, the government is organising a 3-day ‘programme’ from Dec 8 to Dec 10 at Bukit Jalil National Stadium (or more like a celebration) highlighting 3 components: showcasing the Madani government’s ‘One Year Achievements’, the touchpoints of services for the rakyat and its well-being initiatives for the people. Somewhat premature to celebrate just one year into power and it seems like unnecessary costs to incur (expenses of this syiok sendiri celebration is not mentioned).
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
Bursa stock market investors should be feeling good with their portfolio — benchmark index FBM KLCI rose to more than an eight-month high yesterday over anticipation the US Federal Reserve is done with its rate hiking cycle. The index was up 1.04% or 15.12 points to end the day at 1,466.84.
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
82% of individuals who assume managerial roles, according to a survey by the Chartered Management Institute in the UK, fall into the category of “accidental managers.” This term refers to those who take on management responsibilities without adequate training or qualifications — that’s 4 out of 5 managers. Shockingly, over half of managers admitted to lacking management or leadership qualifications, while a third acknowledged never receiving formal training in management and leadership. This deficiency in training also extends to 26% of senior managers and leaders.
View report: Taking Responsibility - Why UK PLC Needs Better Managers?
The average length of film productions has increased by approximately 32%, rising from one hour and 21 minutes in the 1930s to one hour and 47 minutes in 2022. The Economist conducted an analysis of over 100,000 feature films released globally since the 1930s, marking the onset of Hollywood's golden age. The data utilised for this analysis was sourced from IMDb, a comprehensive movie database. Fun fact — Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer required 18km of film stock for IMAX showings. That’s almost half a marathon!
At least 222,000 residential units have been damaged and about 40,000 completely destroyed by Israeli bombardments, all in the name of defeating Hamas. The estimated preliminary losses in the housing sector and infrastructure are estimated to be USD2 bil each. An analysis also found that 16% of all buildings in the Gaza Strip have been destroyed and in Gaza City alone, building destruction reached 28%. Other damages include 278 educational facilities, 270 healthcare facilities and 69 places of worship (mosques and churches).
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
In the court
Federal Court: PAS President remains Marang MP
PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang remains the Marang member of Parliament as a 3-member panel apex court ruled that Barisan Nasional election candidate Jasmira Othman had failed to prove his petition beyond a reasonable doubt over alleged graft during the GE15 campaign period. The Marang petition is the last appeal petition related to GE15 held on 19 Nov last year.
The rationale: The Marang case involves the same aid, i-Siswa and i-Belia, being given as the recent Kemaman and Kuala Terengganu election court decisions which nullified PAS parliamentary seats. The major differences were the aid was planned ahead even before the election was announced and the method of it being given out - Hadi Awang was not present whilst the 2 candidates were present in the other 2 election petitions.
Orang Asli group appeals to CoA to nullify Islamic status
137 plaintiffs from the Bateq Mayah ethnic group are appealing to the Court of Appeal to overturn a lower court decision and quash their Islamic status which they claimed was imposed on them through an unlawful mass conversion 30 years ago. The plaintiffs claimed that in early 1993, 2 village leaders were asked to convert and get other villages to do so. They alleged that villagers who refused to do so were threatened with being removed from their village, houses and crops would be destroyed and they would be chased down the mountains and tortured. After 2000, when the villagers learned how to speak BM, they only realised that the religion they did not profess was stated on their identity cards.
Of faulty ventilators and LSC
The Ministry of Health is seeking advice from the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) on the appropriate course of action after Pharmaniaga Logistics Sdn Bhd (PLSB) refused to comply with a letter of demand (LoD) the ministry sent over the procurement of faulty ventilators. The ministry issued a LoD seeking reimbursement of RM15.34 mil. However, PLSB responded by requesting the withdrawal of the letter and instead sought to negotiate the outstanding payment of RM1.07 mil for the ventilation upgrade project.
No surprises here — the Public Accounts Committee in its recent site visit on Oct 5 to inspect the progress of the construction of the littoral combat ships found that the project has not reached a significant level and is delayed by one month, though the contractors gave assurance the overall timeline wouldn’t be affected. Sure, let’s see. The latest PAC report can be viewed here.
Negative consumer sentiment, business confidence - MIER
Sentiment amongst Malaysian consumers and businesses has grown more pessimistic in Q3 of the year, according to studies done by the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER). Both indices — the Business Conditions Index and Consumer Sentiments Index — recorded declining trends to the lowest levels not since the pandemic outbreak. Some factors contributing to this negative sentiment (the usual suspects) — inflationary environment, rising wage costs (for businesses), income growth (for consumers). There seems to be a disconnect between the government’s optimistic outlook of the nation’s economic growth and on-ground sentiment.
Flurry of interesting business news
Telco Maxis Bhd aims to cut its workforce by 10% as part of its “cost optimisation initiative”. The company has 4,066 employees as of 2022 and 10% means that up to 400 workers will be affected. Meanwhile, the company remain profitable, posting RM937 mil net profit (up 1.95% year-on-year) on revenue of RM7.43 bil (also up by 2.8% you) for the nine months ended Sep 30 2023.
GXBank Bhd, the first of the five digital banking licenses has officially launched its beta app to the Malaysian public, available to an exclusive group of 20,000 Malaysian users, following an internal test amongst the bank’s employees and partners. GXBank is a joint venture between Grab, Singapore Telecommunications (Singtel) and Kuok Group, a company founded by Malaysia’s richest man, Robert Kuok.
From the Berjaya camp
For its Q1 FY2024 ended Sep 30 2023, Berjaya Food Bhd, which operates Starbucks and Kenny Rogers Roasters, saw its net profit decline significantly to RM19.03 mil from RM34.7 mil yoy, whilst revenue dropped marginally by 1.6% to RM278.53 mil from RM283.05 mil. Their Q2 results will be something to look forward to as its coffee chain was hit by boycotts over the Israel-Palestine conflict. The boycott seems to have its effect based on the company’s statement:
"Berjaya Starbucks is expected to return to its revenue growth momentum once the challenging market conditions brought about by the recent conflict in the Middle East are back to normality,"
View the quarterly results here.
Berjaya Corp Bhd sold 4.89% of its stake in Redtone Digital Bhd via a direct business transaction, raising RM27.59 mil. This brings down their stake to 42.57%. Another interesting substantial shareholder the telco has — the incoming Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Ibrahim, with a 17.34% stake. The company’s market cap stands at RM629.9 mil.
Learn: What is a direct business transaction?
After three straight quarters of losses, another glove player, Kossan Rubber Industries Bhd, saw its fortune turn for the better as it recorded a net profit of RM40.97 mil in Q3 FY2023, ended 30 Sep 2023, though revenue fell 28% yoy to RM403.5 mil. Last week, its peer Hartalega also announced a net profit in its latest quarter following three consecutive quarters of losses. The glove sector is not out of the woods yet, as the industry is still facing a supply glut and undergoing capacity rationalisation.
View the quarterly results here.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Israeli forces enter Al-Shifa
IDF troops have entered Al-Shifa, Gaza’s biggest hospital, in what it calls a “precise and targeted operation” to take down what it claims is “a central hub of operations” of Hamas. The Israeli military also stated that it has delivered incubators, baby food, and medical supplies brought on its tanks with “medical teams and Arabic-speaking soldiers” to ensure those supplies reach those in need. Doctors in the hospital in contact with news agencies said the Israeli forces had informed the hospital’s administration in advance that they planned to enter and search it.
However, other sources claim Israeli soldiers are interrogating 30 people in the courtyard and have blown up a warehouse of medicine and medical devices. Hamas also rejected the Israeli claim that it is using the hospital at the base and blamed the US for “giving Israel the green light” to raid Al-Shifa, with President Joe Biden “wholly responsible”. US public support for Israel has also waned, with 68% of Americans thinking Israel should call a ceasefire as the conflict has now become a “humanitarian crisis”.
China's Xi urges economic exchanges and cooperation with Taiwan ahead of Biden talks
The Chinese president called for China to “advance integrated development in all fields across the strait”. Xi Jinping also urged businesspeople to help “promote the peaceful and integrated development of cross-strait relations” to “realise China’s reunification”.
These remarks signal that China and the US are looking to cool tensions between their two nations, especially after US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Charles Q Brown Jr stated he doubted Beijing would try to take Taiwan by force. This is also ahead of Xi and US President Joe Biden’s sideline meeting at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
Rajapaksa brothers identified among 13 leaders to blame for Sri Lanka's worst financial crisis
Sri Lanka’s top court ruled ex-president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, his brother Mahinda, and 11 other former leaders responsible for the crisis through their “actions, omissions, and conduct”. Former finance minister Basil Rajapaksa and two ex-central bank governors were among the 11 other officials. While the verdict carries no penalty apart from an order to pay the legal fees of the lawsuit’s petitioners, it opens the door for other lawsuits.
The crisis in 2022 saw inflation surging as the nation’s foreign reserves were emptied, with the country running out of fuel, food, and medicine. Sri Lanka ultimately secured a USD3 bil bailout from the International Monetary Fund and is required to meet strict targets under the agreement. The country has a total foreign debt of USD46.9 bil as of November 2023, of which 52% is owed to China.
US government to avoid shutdown with questionable move
Even the government practises creative accounting. The US House of Representatives passed a temporary spending bill to avoid a government shutdown by instead setting up the possibility for multiple smaller shutdowns in future. The legislation extends government funding through mid-January to give lawmakers more time to craft the spending bills needed, with different departments now issued staggered funding cut-off dates. The bill is now headed to the Senate for a vote. The bill then needs to be signed into law by President Joe Biden before current funding for federal agencies expires at midnight on Friday. A government shutdown would lead to the disruption of “a wide array of government services” and the furlough of “hundreds of thousands of federal workers.”
Manchester City scores record revenues and profits – The football club posted a Premier League record revenue of USD886.8 mil for the financial year 2022/23, with profits almost doubling year-on-year to USD99.9 mil. Manchester City ended the season as the second English club after Manchester United to win the Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League.
Caribbean island to create world’s first sperm whale reserve – The Caribbean island of Dominica will be setting aside an area of about 800 sq km off the island’s western coast, where commercial fishing and large ships will be banned. Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said the area is a key nursing and feeding ground and called the 200 or so sperm whales “prized citizens of Dominica”. Not sure which kind of whale is this? It’s the same type of whale in Herman Melville’s 1851 novel Moby-Dick.
South Africa rugby offices burgled, World Cup not stolen – Though the burglars took whisky, five signed Springbok jerseys and eight laptops, they left every trophy in the trophy room alone, even the World Cup trophy. CCTV footage showed one of the burglars putting his gloved hand on the trophy, lifting it slightly, before moving to the cupboards beneath it. Much respect is shown - the burglar has to be a rugby fan.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
Poking fun at the corporate world
Appreciation = when there’s resignation
How many workers are needed to solve a problem?