Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Troubles in Putrajaya: Health Ministry sued, MACC probes NRD, Immigration Dept staff, non-payment salary allegation
Survey: Majority of MYsians not welcoming of refugees. Rumours of Titiwangsa MP taking a stake in MyNews. Tesla, BYD record sales quarter - EVerything looks good.
1. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
72% of Malaysian respondents said Malaysia should turn away refugees entirely as 73% believed they came here for economic reasons and welfare services, according to international market research firm Ipsos’ latest report (view here) titled “Global attitude towards refugees”. Ipsos Malaysia mentioned that Malaysians, in general, view refugees as “economic opportunists who do not contribute to the nation’s development”.
If one is more aware of what is happening globally, a lot of these refugees were forced to leave due to repression and, in some instances, genocide (i.e. Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar). Given a choice, we humans would prefer staying in the comfort of our home and familiar environment. Given that we cover such news, we wonder if The Coffee Break readers would have a more balanced and considerate view of this refugee matter and have answered this Ipsos survey differently.
Legendary investor Warren Buffett has made another USD5 bil donation to philanthropic groups, bringing his total charitable giving to more than USD50 bil in the past 17 years or about 54% of his total Berkshire Hathaway shares. The majority of this donation went to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The donated shares are worth USD132 bil today, and adding it to Buffett’s current net worth of USD113 bil will bring his net worth to close to USD250 bil, dwarfing the world’s richest man, Elon Musk’s net worth of US234 bil.
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“Refugees are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, with the same hopes and ambitions as us; except that a twist of fate has bound their lives to a global refugee crisis on an unprecedented scale.”
- Khaled Hosseini, Afghan-American novelist, UNHCR goodwill ambassador, a former physician
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Luring Kelantan away from the Green, bit by bit
Kelantan PKR Chief cum Natural Resources Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad believed that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) & Barisan Nasional (BN) alliance can methodically weaken PAS control over Kelantan by focusing on the young voters and Kelantan diaspora. Kelantan voters living outside the state are quite sizeable, believed to be around 20% of the total voters in the northeast state.
How better to make the rakyat vote for you other than offering them economic and social development? Kelantan State Development Action Council Joint Chairman, who is also Nik Nazmi, told the media that the Federal Government had approved RM1.44 bil of allocation for 47 projects. The projects are catered towards rural road programs that will bridge the infrastructure gap between rural and regional roads in an effort to reduce poverty. A 1% increase in road investment can lead to a 0.3% drop in poverty. It is simple maths, so basically, better roads can enable goods and services to be transported faster equates to improved productivity.
Apart from that, Nik Nazmi also revealed that the RM440 mil project to upgrade the Sultan Ismail Petra Airport (LTSIP) in Pengkalan Chepa, Kota Bharu, is expected to suffer a 143 days delay due to a shortage of skilled workers, among other reasons. Both Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) and the Ministry of Transport (MOT) are working together to resolve this issue.
On another note, the Election Commission (EC) is meeting today, 4 July, to discuss the nomination and polling dates.
Troubles in Putrajaya
Heath Ministry is sued over amendments to the Poisons Act — A group consisting of the Malaysian Council for Tobacco Control, Malaysian Green Lung Association and Voice of the Children Sdn Bhd had filed a judicial review application against the Health Ministry’s decision to remove nicotine from the Poisons Act. The group stated that the Government only prioritised tax revenue over public health protection. Before the decision was made to remove nicotine from the poison’s list, the Poisons Board unanimously rejected the proposal to exempt nicotine from control under the Poisons Act.
JPA to investigate the non-payment of press secretaries allegation — The public services department (JPA) Director-General Zulkapli Mohamed told the media that a probe will be initiated to investigate the allegation that some press secretaries are not being paid for months. The said press secretaries, that spoke on condition of anonymity, revealed that they still do not get their salaries because their letters of appointment have not yet been signed by PM Anwar Ibrahim.
National Registration Department (JPN) and the Immigration Department to be investigated - PM Anwar Ibrahim announced in front of his fellow public servants that both JPN and the Immigration Department will be probed by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for corruption and power abuse. The investigation into the Immigration Department is unsurprising following the exposѐ by Tourism Minister Tiong King Sing.
Step aside petrol cars; now is the time for electric vehicles -
Transport Minister Anthony Loke said that his ministry is finalising the proposal to mandate electric vehicles (EVs) to use special number plates. These special plates will have a built-in RFID, and the plates will start with the prefix ‘EV’. Why do EVs need special plates? As per Loke, it is for safety reasons. EV-related fires cannot be extinguished by using conventional methods, so these special plates will assist the Fire and Rescue Services Department to act accordingly. The most common solution (at present) to effectively put out an EV fire is to use lots of water to cool down the battery material and starve it of oxygen by smothering it from atmospheric air. Several new methods are also experimented with, including using a tool called Cobra.
EV owners can now cross-access charging points after Gentari announced the activation of a new roaming network. Now, EV owners can cross-use more than 600 charging points operated by Gentari, JomCharge operator EV Connection Sdn and chargEV operator Green EV Charge Sdn Bhd. This new collaboration will enable users to charge their cars at the selected charging points and pay from any of the partner platforms.
The poster boy of the EV industry, Tesla, will officially launch in Malaysia on July 20. However, it is unclear which Tesla model will be chosen to debut in the Malaysian market. Its official Malaysia IG page is up.
MyNews Holdings Bhd’s shares spiked by 10.71% during the morning trade on Monday following the news that Titiwangsa MP Johari Abdul Ghani might acquire a stake in the convenience store chain. Previously, MyNews announced that the company intend to raise RM29.33 mil via a private placement to finance the opening of 48 new outlets over the next 12 months.
Johari Abdul Ghani is quite an accomplished businessman. Back in 2011, Johari, through CI Holdings Bhd (CIH), sold Permanis, Malaysia’s second-largest soft drink maker, to Japan’s Asahi Group Holdings for RM820 mil. CIH acquired Permanis in 2004 for RM72 mil and, in 7 years, flipped it for a real good 11.4x return. Johari owns about 30% of CIH, so at least his source of wealth isn’t that grey.
Malaysia Airlines Bhd and Brahim's Holdings Bhd decided to ‘rujuk balik’ from their bitter divorce for at least until the end of August. So, Brahim will continue to provide in-flight meals and beverages to Malaysia Airlines’ customers departing from KLIA Terminal 1 until further notice.
Proton Holdings Bhd decided to divest a 60% stake in its auto part-producing subsidiary, Advanced Vehicle Engineering Global Sdn Bhd, to Thailand-based Aapico Hitech PCL for RM41 mil. The subsidiary will be renamed Aapico Avee Sdn Bhd and Aapico Hitech will immediately inject RM40 mil of fresh capital. Another RM100 mill will be channelled into the new company in 2024, by both Aapico Hitech and Proton, on a 60:40 basis.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Russia 1 - 0 EU Sanctions
The global food supply crisis has forced the EU to consider reconnecting a sanctioned Russian bank to SWIFT system that runs the global financial in return to remove Russian blockade on certain key shipping routes on the Black Sea that will allow food and fertiliser out of 3 key Ukrainian ports to pass through (Ukraine is a significant exporter of grains). An earlier deal was struck in July 2022 that will expire this coming 18 July. This deal was initiated by Moscow, brokered by the UN and is said to be “the least of worst option” to secure an extension of the earlier deal.
Read: What is the SWIFT banking system?
EVerything is good
Major electric vehicle (EV) makers Tesla and BYD achieved sales records in the second quarter.
Tesla: Delivered a record 466,140 cars worldwide, up 83% from a year ago. Tesla doesn’t break down delivery numbers by models or regions. Model 3 and Y accounted for 96% of sales in the most recent quarter. Musk’s price cuts in the first quarter have proven to be effective in driving up demand.
BYD: China’s top-selling brand posted its best-ever quarter, selling 700,244 full EV and plug-in hybrid vehicles, up 98% from a year ago. Its EV sales nearly doubled to 352,163 units, catching up to Tesla. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway holds a roughly 6% stake in the company.
Whilst the sun shines on EV-land, it’s looking gloomy for the property industry globally. Australia’s second-largest pension fund, the Australian Retirement Trust (AUD240 bil AUM), has slashed the value of its local office assets by as much as 20%.
China’s second-largest property developer China Vanke said the nation’s home market is currently “worse than expected”, backtracking on its neutral assessment in March.
$ingapore: On crypto, banking succession
Temasek Holdings wants to avoid another FTX debacle after having lost USD275 mil in the new bankrupt crypto exchange. To ensure no such nonsense in its own market, Singapore's regulator, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), unveiled new measures requiring customers’ assets to be ringfenced and held in a trust. Commingling of funds, in the case of FTX, led to the misuse of customers’ assets to buy luxury properties in the Bahamas, making political donations and bribes and overpriced investments.
After more than 13 years at the helm, the question is growing louder who will replace Piyush Gupta, the CEO of Southeast Asia’s largest bank DBS. A leadership reorg in February might give some clues to his potential successors, though an outsider isn’t ruled out yet.
Gupta joined DBS in 2009 in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis and turned around the bank into what it is today. DBS is present in 19 markets and employs about 36,000 people. DBS stands for Development Bank of Singapore and was founded in 1968, 3 years after Singapore left Malaysia.
Giant Goldman Sachs is in talks to offload its Apple credit card and savings account products to American Express. This could be the reason: Goldman’s consumer banking initiatives have suffered USD3 bil in losses, the Wall Street Journal reported back in January.
Read: Timeline of the messy partnership that might soon fall apart.
France is seeing some calm as riots cooled down on Sunday night. The family of Nahel M, the teenager whose death was caused by police shooting him at point-blank range that sparked the unrest in France, has called for the end of the violence and accused the rioters of using Nahel’s death as an excuse to riot. To add salt to injury, a crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe for the family of the police officer who shot Nahel had raised more than EUR1.1 mil (RM5.6 mil).