- The Coffee Break
- ☕️ Throwback 1997 - MACC investigating a Tan Sri and a former senior minister over a RM2.3 bil case
☕️ Throwback 1997 - MACC investigating a Tan Sri and a former senior minister over a RM2.3 bil case
Harimau Malaya vs Coldplay (Jay Chou 2.0). Griefbot - AI chatbot to 'revive' deceased loved ones. The key ingredients in human that attracts mosquitos
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
Hari Raya holidays, lower commodity prices, and dimmer global growth prospects caused Malaysia’s gross export to drop by 17.4% YoY. The latest export output has also resulted in a year-to-date export contraction of 2.6% for the first four months of 2023 — compared with the 21.7% increase in the same period last year. UOB trimmed its 2023 full-year export projection to a 7% contraction.
Literally, the monkey business is really lucrative and China is dominating. Laboratory monkeys in the US have jumped around 15x from pre-Covid levels, with prices of species commonly used in lab testing, such as long-tailed macaques and rhesus monkeys, ranging between USD55,000 to USD60,000 in April. The pre-virus level of around USD4,000 to USD7,000. This wasn’t due to red-hot inflation, but China having blocked exports and a new stable source yet to be found. The US imported 20,270 lab monkeys from China in 2019, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
1,419 — the number of nuclear warheads the US has in its arsenal. The US Department of State said it was releasing the information publicly as part of its commitments under the New START Treaty to pressure Russia to do the same. The US said that Moscow had not made any disclosures in March and was “not implementing other key provisions of the treaty”. Russia has about 6,000 warheads. Combined with the US, both countries account for 90% of the world’s nuclear warheads.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Hannah Yeoh / Unity Government 0 — 1 OppositionThe timing couldn’t be worse. The minister should have just admitted the performance was woeful and the ministry will work hard to improve. Instead, Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh decided to drag politics into sports. Yeoh said political instability over the last few years is one of the reasons why Malaysia saw its worst-ever performance at the SEA Games. Yeoh claimed the instability resulted in an inability to execute necessary planning and strategies for sports development. While it may be true, it just seems lazy and convenient to blame others.
Nevertheless, kudos to the athletes. 423 (62%) out of 674 athletes actually made their debut at the Games!
Harimau Malaya vs Coldplay (Jay Chou 2.0)The Coldplay concert on Nov 22 may limit the seats available for Harimau Malaya’s 2027 Asia Cup qualifying match if the team decides to have the match at the same venue a day before (Nov 21). The draw for the Asia Cup qualifiers will take place in July. The qualifiers are expected to take place on Nov 16 and 21. Hannah Yeoh said she had discussed the matter to ensure both events will run smoothly.
On the whole fracas about Coldplay coming to perform in Malaysia by certain parties, the frontman of Coldplay, Chris Martin, sends his regards in the interview below.
Loke at it againTransport Minister Anthony Loke announced that Kuala Lumpur will have three new contra flow roads from July 3 to ease traffic congestion. They are:
From the Sungai Besi toll to the Sungai Besi Expressway (Besraya) junction.
Extension of contra flow from Jalan Maharajalela to Taman Connaught for private vehicles only.
From Ampang Point to Jalan Tun Razak for public transport only.
Fun fact — there are two million vehicles entering KL in the mornings.
MACC digging old dirtA former senior minister and a businessman are being investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for the alleged misappropriation of the country’s funds amounting to RM2.3 bil. The probe focuses on the purchase and ownership of shares of a listed company by a giant corporation, which apparently led to the economic decline and weakening of the ringgit at the end of the 1990s. MACC chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki confirmed that investigations under the MACC Act and money laundering laws are ongoing.
Twitter user FreeMalaysian shared an article with a similar headline figure of RM2.3 billion — United Engineers Malaysia Bhd’s (UEM) purchase of Renong Bhd. Based on the Department of Statistics Malaysia’s inflation calculator, the amount in today’s ringgit would be approximately RM4.04 billion.
T20 to pay more for petrol and diesel next yearT20 won’t be able to enjoy fuel subsidies for RON95 petrol and diesel next year, said Deputy Finance Minister II Ahmad Maslan. Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Minister Salahuddin Ayub said his ministry, alongside Finance Ministry, Transport Ministry and Investment, Trade, and Industry Ministry, will coordinate the database to ensure the effectiveness of the implementation of the targeted subsidies to the M40 and B40 groups.
The Central Database Hub (Padu) has until the end of the year to streamline the data. It was reported last year that fuel subsidies were disproportionately enjoyed by the T20 whilst only 15% of it reached the B40.
Rafizi’s looking for CEOs — do you have what it takes? The Economy Ministry is opening the positions of CEO at Bumiputera Agenda Steering Unit (Teraju) and Yayasan Peneraju Pendidikan Bumiputera (Yayasan Peneraju) to all qualified candidates.
Cyprus revokes the citizenship of fugitive Low Taek Jho, a.k.a. Jho Low. The decision was based on the recommendation of Interior Minister Nicos Nouris. Low got his citizenship via the island’s citizenship-by-investment programme – referred to as the ‘golden passports’ scheme, which came under scrutiny in 2019. What happens if a Malaysian has dual nationality? For a start, one wouldn’t automatically lose their Malaysian citizenship. Learn more here.
Edelteq Holdings Bhd has postponed its listing on the ACE Market of Bursa Malaysia to June 7 from May 30 after its CEO Chin Yong Keong was sued by his former employer Mi Technovation Bhd for alleged breach of employment contracts and abuse of legal process. UOB Kay Hian Securities (M) Sdn Bhd said investors who wish to withdraw their applications for the initial public offering (IPO) shares may submit their applications to do so from May 20 to 5pm on May 26. The balloting and allotment for the shares will take place on May 30 and June 6, respectively.
DXN Holdings Bhd, a health-oriented and wellness direct-selling company (read multilevel marketing), saw a lacklustre debut on its relisting to the Bursa Main Market. DXN closed lower than its initial public offering (IPO) price on its maiden trading day, as it settled at 66.5 sen compared with the IPO price of 70 sen. It became the worst-performing IPO of 2023.
Maxis Bhd reported a net profit of RM320 million for 1QFY23 ended March 31, 2023, driven by higher service revenue and stable recurring resource costs. Maxis declared a first interim dividend of four sen per share, to be paid on June 28.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Real estate titan Sam Zell dies at 81Billionaire Sam Zell, known for his bets on distressed assets and popularising the real estate investment trust (REIT) structure in the 1990s, has died at 81 due to complications from a recent illness. He has invested in a wide range of industries but is most well-known for the sale of Equity Office Properties (EOP) to private equity giant for USD39 bil.
EOP was the largest US publicly held office building owner and manager with a total office portfolio of 580 buildings comprising 108.6 mil sq feet. Just how much office space is that? 24x of Mid Valley Megamall, which has a total floor area of 4.5 mil sq feet. Zell negotiated hard in this deal, bringing in a competing bidder that led to him scoring an all-cash transaction by Blackstone - the timing of EOP’s sale was prescient as it occurred months before the 2007 global financial crisis. Forbes estimated his net worth to be USD5.2 bil. A summary of his profile here.
AI makes the world go round
The G7 leaders have agreed on the need for governance in accordance with G7 values in the field of generative AI, raising concerns about the disruptive potential of the technology. Calling it the “Hiroshima Process”, the governments are set to hold cabinet-level discussions on the issue and present their results by the end of the year. Why Hiroshima? Japan hosted this round of the G7 meeting, held in Hiroshima. The other G7 members are the US, UK, Canada, Italy, Germany and France.
If you are invested in S&P 500 index fund this year, you have AI to thank. According to DataTrek Research, nearly all of the S& 500’s 9% rally this year has been driven by the AI frenzy. Just five stocks - Microsoft, Google parent Alphabet, Nvidia, Apple and Meta Platforms — drove the S&P 500’s entire return so far this year. An exchange-traded fund (ETF) invested in AI, Global X Robotics & Artificial Intelligence ETF has jumped nearly 30% this year.
There’s a chatbot, and there’s a griefbot — if you want to speak with your deceased loved ones. Chinese state-owned magazine Sixth Tone covered a story of a young Chinese software engineer in Hangzhou that ‘re-created’ his grandfather by feeding letters he found from his grandfather into his AI model. Another Chinese man used ChatGPT to train a chatbot to mimic his grandmother. In this South Korean documentary, a young mother tearfully reunited with her deceased 7-year-old daughter in virtual reality. This poses a problem, not just for dead academics warn - identity fraud and also potential abuse by mediums who communicates with spirits.
OpenAI is making ChatGPT access easier with the release of an iPhone app last Thursday, though it is only limited to the US. An Android version will be delivered in the future, though no timeline was provided.
The key ingredients in human that attracts mosquitosIn a recent study (read it here) by John Hopkins Malaria Research Institute and the School of Medicine with Macha Research Institute in Zambia, the researchers identified the traits in various human body odours that attract mosquitos. They found that mosquitos gravitated to body odour that is high in carboxylic acids, including butyric acids. Butyric acid is naturally occurring in butter, “hard cheeses” such as parmesan, milk, yoghurts and cream and also in fermented foods such as pickled cucumber.
But if you are low on carboxylic acids and “enriched with monoterpenoid eucalyptol”, found in tea tree oil and cannabis, mosquitos will be less likely to swipe right on you. The researchers said these findings could be used to develop lures/traps and repellants to control malaria vectors in regions where the disease is endemic. With growing dengue cases, another ‘medical’ grounds for the use of cannabis as a mosquito repellant?
Adidas has finally decided what it will do with its USD1.3 bil unsold Yeezy sneakers after severing ties with its creator Ye (fka Kanye West) over anti-semitic remarks. In its statement, Adidas said it will sell these sneakers, which include new designs and older stock and will donate the proceeds to charity. The sports giant earlier warned that this unsold inventory could hurt its operating profit by EUR700 mil (USD757 mil).
Saudi Arabia will send its first-ever batch of astronauts to the International Space Station. The two astronauts, a female Arab astronaut and breast cancer researcher and a fighter pilot, will arrive at the ISS today, riding on SpaceX’s rocket and will conduct 14 experiments there. In 2019, Hazzaa al-Mansoori from UAE became the first Arab to reach the ISS.
Meta is building a Twitter competitor, according to leaked slides showing images of the unnamed app. The app is currently being tested by celebrities and influencers and is expected to be released as soon as next month.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
What helps with improving your sleep quality? Thanks to a Redditor, you now have the answer. It seems like a good investment is a separate duvet or blanket.
Influencer and entrepreneur Khairul Amin of Samba Nyet Berapi shared an indirect recruitment ad - a video of his company trip. He closed his factory for five days and brought his workforce of 60 people on a holiday to Langkawi. 5-star hotel + yacht rides + pocket money for shopping — all paid for!
If you got a mouldy bread, just dump it all and avoid eating even the ‘non-mouldy’ part of the bread. No mould to the eyes doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Here’s why.