Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Syed Saddiq - guilty on all charges, 1st Malaysian politician to be sentenced to whipping
Another potential fifth Bersatu MP to support PMX. Milestone for Grab - first-ever quarter (adjusted) profitability. USD3.98 mil - probably the world’s most expensive queue jump.
A long weekend ahead and we would like to wish our Hindu readers a Happy Deepavali! We will be back on Tuesday.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
860,000 litres of subsidised diesel worth about RM2.5 mil have been seized in Negri Sembilan since the launch of a special operation on March 1. State Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Director Muhammad Zahir Mazlan said the operations were carried out based on surveillance and public feedback. Some of the lorries, which had been modified for the purpose of misappropriating subsidised diesel, were frequenting a few stations for diesel. Earlier this year, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim revealed the leakages of subsidised diesel were estimated at almost RM10 bil last year when tabling Budget 2023.
Sony has recently announced that their latest Spider-Man game release has become the fastest-selling video game in PlayStation's history. Spider-Man 2 sold more than 2.5 mil physical and digital copies within its first 24 hours of release, as confirmed by the company in a blog post. The game was developed by Insomniac Games, a company owned by PlayStation, and has received excellent reviews since its launch for the PS5. Gamers can play as either Peter Parker or Miles Morales — both alter-egos of the popular superhero.
According to a report by Allied Market Research, the global budget hotels market was valued at USD276.3 bil in 2022 and is expected to reach USD430.9 bil by 2032. The market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.1% from 2023 to 2032. The need for affordable lodging has expanded, particularly among budget-conscious tourists. The report titled "Budget Hotels Market: Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2023–2032” is available here.
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3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Defiant Syed Saddiq: Muda Presidency relinquished, but he vows to fight on
The Muar MP was convicted for abetting criminal breach of trust, misappropriation of funds, and money laundering. Syed Saddiq was sentenced to three years in prison and one stroke of the cane for the offence of abetting in CBT, along with a two-year prison term and one stroke of the cane for the charge of misappropriation of assets. Furthermore, he was sentenced to two years in prison and a fine of RM5 mil, or an alternative of two years' imprisonment, for each of the two money laundering offences.
Kuala Lumpur's High Court granted a stay of execution for Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman’s sentence while pending appeal. In total, the sentence was seven years in prison, RM10 million in fines, and two strokes of the cane. This ruling marked a significant moment in Malaysian politics, making Syed Saddiq the first Malaysian politician to be sentenced to whipping, a punishment applicable to male offenders under the age of 50, as per Section 289(c) of the Criminal Procedure Code 2007.
Despite this conviction, Syed Saddiq can continue his duties as a Member of Parliament until his legal options are exhausted. The court's decision allows him to maintain his existing bail of RM330,000. Syed Saddiq, who stepped down as Muda president, emphasised the importance of clearing his name through the legal process.
Another potential fifth Bersatu MP to support PMX
Syed Abu Hussin Hafiz Syed Abdul Fasal, the Bersatu MP from Bukit Gantang, has offered his support for Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim's government under one condition: the allocation of RM30 million in development funds for his constituency. Hussin emphasised the urgent need for these funds to improve rural infrastructure, including road repairs, surau upgrades, and public toilet facilities. The issue of unequal allocations for MPs has been contentious, leading to some MPs from Bersatu pledging their support for the government. Hussin's announcement adds to this ongoing debate, highlighting the challenges faced by opposition MPs in securing equal development funds for their constituencies.
Money politics aside, looking from a positive angle, these Bersatu MPs jumping ship without jumping ship will put to rest rumours that the Unity Government would collapse, according to political analysts. Now, the country can focus to move ahead and rebuild.
Electoral boundaries redelineation begins in Sarawak
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Ramkarpal Singh, has confirmed the initiation of the redelineation of electoral boundaries in Sarawak, with similar processes planned for Sabah in 2025 and peninsula states in 2026. The Election Commission (EC) will conduct a comprehensive two-year study, considering factors like voter distribution disparities among parliamentary seats.
This exercise aims to ensure fair representation for voters and maintain democratic integrity. Ramkarpal addressed concerns raised in the Dewan Rakyat, emphasising the necessity of redelineation to uphold democratic principles. The last redelineation occurred in 2017 before the 14th General Election, and this new initiative is a crucial step toward enhancing Malaysia's electoral system. The hope is that there will be fewer seats like Bangi (303k voters) or Damansara (239k voters), where each voter is worth a fraction of other constituencies with significantly fewer voters.
Tragic loss: Toddler dies after being left in car for over seven hours
In a heartbreaking incident, a two-year-old baby girl lost her life after being accidentally left in a parked vehicle for more than seven hours. The child's mother, in her 30s, had dropped her other children at school and intended to leave the toddler at a daycare centre. Unfortunately, amidst settling online business transactions, the mother forgot about the toddler in the car. It was only later, at around 3:35 pm, that she realised her tragic mistake.
The child was found unconscious, and despite immediate efforts by the father and subsequent medical attention at Hospital Sungai Buloh, she was pronounced dead. The authorities are conducting a post-mortem, and the case is being investigated under Section 31(1) of the Child Act 2001. The incident serves as a heartbreaking reminder for parents to remain vigilant and responsible for the safety of their children.
Malaysia Airlines is embarking on an exciting (let’s pray it would be a profitable one too) journey of expansion, revealing plans to acquire 45 new aircraft, including 35 narrowbodies and 10 twin-aisle jets. This strategic move, announced by group managing director Datuk Captain Izham Ismail, underscores the airline's optimistic vision for the future. Anticipating delivery from 2030 for the widebody planes and targeting first deliveries by 2028 for the single-aisle jets, Malaysia Airlines is positioning itself for remarkable growth, paving the way for enhanced services and an even more promising travel experience.
Malaysia's services sector soars
In a remarkable economic uptrend, Malaysia's services sector experienced a substantial 7.6% year-on-year revenue growth, reaching RM584 bil in the third quarter of 2023. Fueled by positive performances across all segments, the sector's significant expansion was particularly prominent in wholesale and retail trade, food and beverages, and accommodation, which surged by RM28.7 bil to reach RM446.6 bil. The sector employed 4.4 mil people, marking an increase of 1.8% year-on-year. Salaries and wages paid saw a notable rise, and e-commerce income demonstrated robust growth, reaching RM289.5 bil, highlighting a thriving and resilient services sector in Malaysia.
Westports Holdings Bhd reported a 29.66% increase in net profit, reaching RM195 mil in Q3 2023, ended Sept 30, 2023, attributed to higher revenue, reduced expenses, and lower finance costs. The positive trend extended over nine months, with net profit rising by 23.43% to RM573.35 mil. Despite challenges, such as increased electricity costs and global uncertainties, Westports anticipates continued growth in container throughput. The company's strategic financial management and plans for terminal expansion underline its robust performance in the face of economic fluctuations.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Israel-Palestine update: ICC lawsuit, 4-hour pause
Three Palestinian rights groups have filed a lawsuit with the International Criminal Court (ICC), urging the body to investigate Israel for “apartheid” and “genocide” and also issue arrest warrants against Israel leaders, namely President Isaac Herzog, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant. Earlier, Reporters Without Borders also filed against Israel to the ICC, alleging Israel had perpetrated war crimes against journalists in Gaza, having killed at least 39 journalists as of Thursday.
The White House announced that Israel has agreed to a daily 4-hour humanitarian pause in northern Gaza for people to flee hostilities and will announce this window at least 3 hours in advance, though a formal ceasefire is “no possibility”. A good temporary reprieve for Gazans, but this isn’t enough.
Top Indonesian judge demoted for ruling in favour of president’s son
Earlier, a ruling by the court paved the way for Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s eldest son to run for vice-president alongside Jokowi’s former rival, Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto. Turns out, one of the 9 judges who ruled in favour of the decision was Anwar Usman, the president’s brother-in-law. A 3-member judicial panel in Indonesia has demoted Anwar and reprimanded the other 8 judges for violations of the ethical code, including allowing Anwar to be part of the decision. One of the panel members wasn’t so kind — in his dissenting opinion, Bintan R Saragih said Anwar should be “dishonourably dismissed” from his position as a court justice considering the gross violation of the court’s ethics code.
Probably the world’s most expensive queue jump
The drought in the Panama Canal has caused congestion of ships waiting to pass through the important trading route (40% of US container traffic passes through the canal), with only around 25 vessels passing it through daily from about 36 on average, and is expected to last into the future. To get ahead of the queue, Japan’s Eneos Group has forked out USD3.98 mil (RM18.64 mil) in an auction on Wednesday to secure a crossing. The company’s liquified petroleum gas tanker got a slot to cross on Nov 15. This additional fee is on top of the regular transit charges, which can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The Panama Canal Authority held 140 auctions last month, with 3 of those coming in above USD1 mil. At about 80 km in length, the price Eneos paid translates to about USD50,000 per km. Here’s the Panama Canal on the map.
A milestone for Grab — first ever quarter (adjusted) profitability
The superapp announced its third quarter performance and was proud to mention that it achieved its first-ever positive “Group adjusted EBITDA*” of USD29 mil. This is not the conventionally accepted measurement of profit but in a way, it reflects that the company turned cash flow positive in that quarter. Revenue exploded by 61% to USD615 mil from USD382 mil in the same period last year. 61% is impressive but this is the lowest growth in at least the past five quarters.
View: Grab Q3 2023 results press release + presentation
Are you aware that a new movie from Marvel is out? At this point, no one bothers. The Marvels (featuring Captain Marvel & Co.) is out this week and the Marvel Cinematic Universe is showing signs of lethargy. The movie is estimated to bring in between USD60-65 mil in the US, a downward revision from USD75-80 mil. No MCU film has opened in that range since 2011 and the only film that has opened lower than USD60 mil was the debut of Antman in 2015 (USD57 mil). Watch the trailer here.
The Singapore arm of coffee startup Flash Coffee owes SGD14.9 mil to around 120 creditors. The coffee chain abruptly shut down 11 outlets in Singapore in October. Fortunately for them, their largest creditor is Digital Services SG Four, the coffee chain’s holding company, with an amount owing of SGD13.4 mil. Right pocket, left pocket kind of transaction. Former employees are owed more than SGD300,000 in compensation. The chain also operates in Indonesia, Thailand and Hong Kong and South Korea and back in May 2023, it raised USD50 mil.
Omegle, the popular live video chat website that connects random strangers to chat with one another (how would this not go wrong?), is shutting down after 14 years as its founder Leif Brooks said that operating the site was “no longer sustainable, financially nor psychologically”. The site has also been mentioned in more than 50 cases against paedophiles in the past couple of years. Brooks founded the company in 2009 when he was 18 and quite an impressive traffic — around 73 mil visitors a month.
Old but gold — this article was posted on June 13, 2014. By the way, it’s a really long read. Tim Urban compared our ego to a mammoth and how we shouldn’t let it rule our lives. Taming the mammoth allows us to live our best lives. Go chase the dream — to start the side gig, to make the world a better place. You only get to live once, as cliché as it sounds. Enjoy the long weekend.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
Some of you may already know that we’re big fans of Morgan Housel, who has recently released a new book — Same As Ever. Like what most authors do these days, they go on a podcast to talk about themselves and about their book launch. Here’s a great interview of Morgan Housel by Steven Barlett.
Once again, we powered FAQ Show’s weekly round-up video. This time around, we brought not just the content but also one of ourselves to co-host it.
Kids playing with their shadows. Enjoy the simple things in life and have a good weekend ahead, folks!