Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Tasek Gelugor MP Wan Saiful slapped with new 18 money laundering charges involving RM5.59 mil
Kuala Kangsar MP (PN) absent from Parliament ever since supporting PMX. Spotlight on Capital A and AAX. TIME Magazine names top 200 inventions of 2023.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
The nation in numbers
RM2,358,912.61 — the savings per annum from not paying emoluments by abolishing the Federal Territories Ministry. All aspects of managing the Federal Territories are now continued under the Federal Territories Department as an agency under the PM’s Department. However, Deputy PM Ahmad Zahid Hamidi earlier this month said he hoped that the FT Ministry would be created again in the event of a cabinet reshuffle.
60 licenses — the annual money lending approval quota set by the Ministry of Local Government Development as a licensing control measure. Minister Nga Kor Ming listed some approval criteria: board members pass a police screening, board members are not declared bankrupt, board members are free of any offences under the MACC Act 2009 and the AML Act 2001, and a paid-up capital of at least RM2 mil.
14 days — the period for the citizenship application process, down from 73 days through the integrated security vetting system launched by the National Registration Department in collaboration with the Royal Malaysia Police. Application documents can be submitted online through this system, unlike previously, where the documents have to be submitted to the police physically.
Sole agency — the cabinet will establish one agency to regulate the country’s borders instead of the more than 20 agencies currently — including the Immigration Department, the Royal Malaysian Customs Department and the Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services Department.
26 MPs — the minimum number of MPs or 11.7% of the 222-seat Dewan Rakyat before proceedings can be held in Parliament as per Standing Orders 13(1). Proceedings were halted yesterday afternoon after only 18 MPs were in the House as many MPs were attending a special briefing by the Education Ministry, according to Stampin MP Chong Chieng Jen.
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3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Tasek Gelugor MP back in court to face new money laundering charges
Bersatu’s Wan Saiful Wan Jan is back in court to face 18 counts of money laundering charges involving funds totalling around RM5.59 mil. He was previously charged with corruption over the Jana Wbawa programme. The charges accused him, in his capacity as director of WSA Advisory Group Sdn Bhd, of using his company’s accounts to launder funds from alleged illegal activities. He pleaded not guilty to these charges. Wan Saiful could be the title holder for the nation’s shortest-lived discharge, not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA), even before he was charged, which lasted for 30 minutes due to a computer system malfunction.
The Curious Case of the Missing Kuala Kangsar MP
The PN MP Iskandar Dzulkarnain Abdul Khalid, who declared his support for PM Anwar on Oct 12, has been absent from Dewan Rakyat sittings to date. He was present in the House only on Oct 9, 10 and 11 and has gone MIA since. Despite declaring his support for PMX to obtain funds for his constituents, he was also absent in the House when Budget 2024 was tabled on Oct 13. PN secretary-general Hamzah Zainuddin previously claimed that Iskandar was pressured to support the unity government and was threatened with corruption charges, which Iskandar has denied. Could he be away in London or in Singapore?
Spotlight: Capital A, AirAsia X
Capital A: Let’s start with the bigger, strategic news - the Financial Times reported that Capital A Bhd, the parent of AirAsia seeks to raise more than USD1 bil in debt and equity and will list its businesses through a blank-cheque company (aka special purpose acquisition company) with Aetherium Acquisition. This New York listing with Aetherium is expected to be finalised in early 2024 and the new entity will be renamed Capital A International. The new entity will include a new business - a franchise business. Think F&B, but airlines. The company will help launch airlines riding the AirAsia brand in countries such as Bangladesh and Maldives.
Now, let’s focus on its operating metrics, which are looking rather good building up to the above potential restructuring. Capital A’s consolidated airlines recorded a strong load factor of 89% in Q3 2023 on 152 operating aircraft, carrying 14.7 mil passengers compared to 86% and 9.88 mil passengers in the same period last year. As Capital A attempts to diversify away from its core airline business, here’s how its other businesses did in Q3:
MOVE ( formerly airasia Superapp): New record of 15.4 mil average monthly active users, up 61% year-on-year (yoy). The app also achieved a record high of 8.4 mil transactions, up 65% yoy.
BigPay: 1.5 mil users, up 14%yoy. Gross transaction value (GTV) rose by 24% yoy — the actual figure was not disclosed.
Teleport: Capital A’s logistics business. Its cargo segment delivered 57,309 tonnes, up 115% yoy and its delivery segment delivered 7.4 mil parcels.
Asia Digital Engineering: The maintenance, repair and overhaul service provider saw base maintenance increase the number of checks completed by 58% and line maintenance up by 44% yoy.
Santan: The in-flight service provider recorded 5 mil units sold, up 86%. 97% of these items sold were F&B products, with the remaining 3% coming from duty-free and merchandise.
View report: Capital A Q3 2023 Operating Results
AirAsia X’’s bid to lift itself out of PN17 was rejected by Bursa Securities as the regulator set out additional requirements. According to sources, the regulator wants the airline to define what is and isn’t a one-off item, following differences in opinion. A contentious item seems to be the write-back provisions of travel vouchers if they are not redeemed before the expiry date in the next quarter. In Q4 2022, this write-back in provision of RM600 mil had resulted in a sharp increase in net profit of RM153.48 mil for the quarter, from RM25.1 mil in the preceding quarter. And with the MYAirline saga, the scrutiny would even be greater.
In other business news:
Gamuda Bhd, together with its joint venture partner, won a contract to design and build a part of Taiwan’s Kaohsiung MRT line (4.4 km out of 22.8 km) worth RM3.45 bil. This marks Gamuda’s third railway project in Taiwan following its entry in 2008 and a prior project in 2022 worth RM2.13 bil. Gamuda holds a majority state of 88% in the JV and expects this project to contribute positively to its financials for the financial year ending 31 Jul 2024.
Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) has disposed of its 11% equity in GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHAL) for USD100 mil (RM478.9 mil) cash and is expected to net a gain of USD23.7 mil. GHAL manages the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad, India, and the BIdar Airport in Karnataka, India. The reason for disposal is to unlock the value of its non-core assets as this investment made in 2008 has only paid total dividends of USD6.41 mil.
Leaders in business. For the third day in a row, Citaglobal Bhd has reported the purchase of additional shares in the infrastructure construction group by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah, bringing his stake to 9.03%, worth about RM79.9 mil. Meanwhile, Titiwangsa MP Johari Abdul Ghani has increased his stake in MyNews Holdings Bhd to 13.85%, worth about RM53.5 mil. He emerged as the retailer’s second-largest shareholder in mid-July. Johari also holds a 32.96% stake in both KUB Malaysia Bhd and CI Holdings Bhd through JAG Capital.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Israel-Hamas conflict update
UN condemns Israel, Hamas for flouting international law
Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general, condemned Israel and Hamas for “clear violations of international humanitarian law” in the Gaza conflict, stating that while the deplorable Hamas attack “did not happen in a vacuum”, it “cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people”. Guterres renewed his demand for a ceasefire in Gaza, which led to Israeli UN ambassador Gilad Erdan demanding for Guterres to resign.
Highest death toll in a single day
The deaths were due to overnight Israeli air raids in Gaza, marking the highest death toll in a day in the two weeks of Israeli bombing. The health ministry in Gaza, governed by Hamas, said the current death toll among Palestinians has reached over 5,700, including 2,360 children. The Israeli military stated it hit more than 400 “Hamas targets” and killed “dozens of Hamas fighters, including three deputy commanders” but failed to mention the innocents they killed.
Life-saving treatments to stop as fuel runs out
The healthcare system in Gaza is also “on the brink of collapse” due to the Israeli blockade on fuel, water, food, and supplies to the area. Reports are surfacing that doctors are being forced to operate with little or no anaesthesia or by the light of mobile phones. The lack of water is also forcing doctors to reuse surgical gloves and equipment as they cannot sterilise properly. While 54 trucks have brought aid into Gaza since Saturday, the aid is insufficient to meet the needs of the Gazans.
Business: Spotify’s rare quarterly profit, FTX plans to revive exchange
Spotify sees profit in Q3
The music streaming platform reported “a surprise profit” for the third quarter, which marks its first quarterly profit in a year and a half (the company has never posted a full-year profit before). The profit of USD68.9 mil was attributed to “lower marketing expenditure and lower costs”. The firm also noted a 26% growth in active users for the quarter, for a total of 574 million active users, with hopes to exceed 600 million by the end of the year. There was also a 16% increase in paying subscribers to 226 mil, despite the firm raising subscription plans earlier this year. The firm axed 800 positions this year alone, 8% of its total workforce from the start of the year.
FTX considers bids to reopen crypto exchange
The bankrupt crypto exchange is considering proposals from three bidders to restart trading on its exchange, with a decision on how to proceed to be made by mid-December, according to FTX’s investment banker Kevin Cofsky. Options currently include selling the entire exchange, including its list of over nine million customers, or bringing in a partner to restart the crypto exchange. FTX is also considering rebooting the trading platform on its own.
China and Russia on Nukes
China has launched its first nuclear-powered guided missile submarines, giving the Asian nation access to land and sea attack options, both conventional and nuclear, that were once only open to US and Russian vessels. Reports note that three of China’s new submarines will be operational by next year as part of a wider expansion of its submarine fleet. The Russian government stated it was not concerned by this development or China’s increased nuclear strike capability, stressing its “advanced strategic partnership” with China. This comes after Russia’s parliament passed a law to de-ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty to “mirror” the position of the US, which signed the treaty in 1996 but never ratified it.
TIME names top 200 inventions of 2023
Continuing its tradition of more than 20 years, TIME named its list of 200 groundbreaking inventions for 2023, including 50 special mentions. Special attention was given to emerging fields such as AI, green energy, and sustainability, with the list including the world’s most powerful supercomputer and a new shape, among others.
View the list: The Best Invention of 2023
Japan strikes down trans sterilisation law as unconstitutional
Japan’s Supreme Court has ruled that it is unconstitutional to require citizens to be sterilised before they can officially change genders, overturning the 2004 law that said people can only do so “if they have no reproductive capacity”. The new ruling also reverses a 2019 verdict by the court, which found the same law constitutional.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
Today’s section on improving ourselves
Our take on making money — personal finance meets personal development. #notfinancialadvice
How to break out of the busy trap