- The Coffee Break
- ☕️ UMNO Sec-Gen: RM100 mil penalty if BN MPs defect
☕️ UMNO Sec-Gen: RM100 mil penalty if BN MPs defect
Man in Terengganu sentenced to 6 months jail, fined RM500 for flying Israeli flag. Forbes publishes “Hall of Shame” of its 30 Under 30 lists. Elon Musk says "go f*ck yourself" to advertisers.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
Malaysia's total trade from January to October 2023 surpassed the RM2 trillion mark. However, in October 2023, the country’s trade continued downward for the eighth consecutive month since March 2023, influenced by slowing global demand and lower commodity prices. The Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) reported a 2.4% decline in total trade to RM239.5 bil in October 2023. This was driven by a 4.4% year-on-year decrease in exports to RM126.2 bil and a 0.2% year-on-year decline in imports to RM113.3 bil.
Ukraine’s new enemy — the West’s war fatigue. Since Russia's invasion, the United States has offered approximately USD75 bil in overall aid to Ukraine, while European countries collectively, have contributed over USD100 bil, based on American calculations. Significantly, the United States remains the primary provider of military aid, with its contribution valued at around USD44 bil. Dysfunction in Congress is blocking new assistance — the Republicans want stricter measures to curb migration across the US’s border with Mexico.
The world's largest iceberg, spanning approximately 3,885 square kilometres and standing at 400 meters tall, is currently in motion. Known as A23a, this massive iceberg has been grounded in the Weddell Sea since the 1980s. It was formerly part of the Filchner ice shelf and has a storied history, having hosted various research stations, including the Soviet Union's Druzhnaya 1, during the 20th century. A23a is now drifting and is expected to depart from the Weddell Sea.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Dewan Rakyat passed the Anti-smoking BillAfter two days of debate, the Lower House of Parliament finally passed the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health 2023 or the Anti-smoking Bill yesterday. Unfortunately, the Bill did not include the revolutionary Generational End Game (GEG), which, if included, will prohibit the sale of tobacco-related products to those born after 2007. This GEG provision was first coined by then Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin when he first tabled the legislation last year. Previously, New Zealand’s new coalition government also retracted its smoking laws that banned cigarettes and other tobacco products for future generations born from 2009. Malaysia's previous version of the Anti-smoking Bill that included the GEG took inspiration from the New Zealand law, which has now been abolished.
After the passing of the Bill, the Health Minister stated that enforcement officers would be equipped with body cameras to catch anyone who defies the anti-smoking laws and to protect the officers from any challenges during their operations, including being accused with allegations.
Putrajaya to experiment with the progressive wage policyIn the Progressive Wage White Paper released by Putrajaya, the Federal Government is committed to initiating the progressive wage pilot project that involves around 1,000 companies starting between June and September next year. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are encouraged to participate. However, multinational companies (MNC) and government-linked companies (GLC) are exempted from this project as they are deemed to offer competitive wages already.
The pilot project is targeting those earning RM1,500 to RM4,999, which is limited to Malaysians only. The proposed annual increment under this pilot project will be based on economic sectors and occupation categories according to the Malaysian Standard Classification of Occupations, which will be made available next year and reviewed annually. This progressive wage experiment is voluntary, but employers will receive cash incentives if they participate.View table: 3-scenario modelling of first-year implementation of PWP
RM100 mil penalty if BN MPs defectIn a ceramah ahead of the Kemaman by-election this Saturday, Dec 2 , UMNO secretary-general Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki told the audience that any UMNO MPs who defected to other parties or went against the party’s directive would either lose their seat or they need to pay an RM100 mil penalty to compensate the party. Talking about the latter, Asyraf said that the penalty will likely stand given that recently, the High Court has instructed former MP Zuraidah Kamaruddin to pay RM10 mil to PKR for defecting from the party.
The Israel-Palestinian issue but in the Malaysian universe
Former PM Tun Dr Mahathir said that the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) should unfreeze some of the funds frozen by the anti-graft body in its investigation against Aman Palestin Bhd. Mahathir added that Gazans are facing a harsh winter soon and RM10 mil out of the RM15 mil frozen by MACC should be granted special permission to be channled to the Palestinians. Previously, Aman Palestin tried to brush itself from any alleged wrongdoing by stating that the investigation by MACC was prompted mainly by Aman Palestin’s policy of not channelling monies through the Palestinian Embassy in Malaysia but directly to the people. Need to be reminded that according to Aman Palestin’s latest annual report, the organisation took a staggering 30% of the donations collected or RM34.3 mil for management fees. As a comparison, international bodies such as the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) only allocated 10% of its funds towards fundraising costs and administration costs. Politicians should stop playing the pity card and let the authority do its work.
A man in Terengganu, Harma Zulfika Deraman, was sentenced to six months and fined RM500 for flying the Israeli flag in October. Apparently, there is a law in Malaysia dubbed the National Emblems (Control of Display) Act 1949, where Section 3(1) of the Act states that ‘no person shall display in public, or at, or within any school, any national emblem’. However, it is unclear whether this law only applies to Israeli flags or also includes any other national flags. For your information, since the independence of this country, Malaysia does not have diplomatic ties with Israel.
Gamuda Bhd’s property arm, Gamuda Land, had set aside RM150 mil to develop a lifestyle hotel at Gamuda Cove that will be officiated in 1Q2026. Gamuda Land CEO Chu Wai Lune said that the 280-room hotel will be managed by Thailand-based Dusit International’s property division, Dusit Hotels and Resorts, under its locally focused lifestyle brand, ASAI Hotels.
Dialog Group Bhd and Westports Holdings will make way for YTL Corp Bhd and YTL Power International Bhd to be the newest constituents of the FBM KLCI Index following the latest December 2023 semi-annual review. As the FBM KLCI is reviewed every six months, the next review will take place in June 2024. The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index, commonly known as FBM KLCI Index, is an index comprised of the largest 30 companies by full market capitalisation on Bursa Malaysia's Main Board.View list: Current 30 constituents of FBM KLCI index
After three quarters in the black, Capital A Bhd slid back into the red in its third quarter ended Sept 30, 2023, recording a net loss of RM178.82 mil. The company attributed the loss mainly to a one-off gain generated from the consolidation of Asia Aviation Public Company Ltd Group of RM1.37 bil in the previous quarter. View earnings results here. In a related matter, Capital A stated that the company is in the ‘final stretch’ of finalising its PN17 regularisation plan after being given the third extension by Bursa Malaysia. The light at the end of the tunnel may be true for the company as its sister company, AirAsia X Bhd, exited its PN17 status last Wednesday.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Forbes publishes “Hall of Shame” of its 30 Under 30 listsEvery year, Forbes publishes its Forbes 30 Under 30 list to celebrate the achievements of young people making an impact in various sectors. Unfortunately, over the years, quite a number of them who made it onto the list had turned out to commit crimes (mostly white-collar) on a large scale. One of the most recognisable alumni is ‘crypto king’ Sam Bankman-Fried, who was recently convicted in the multi-billion dollar collapse of crypto exchange FTX. Acknowledging their knack for picking criminals, Forbes published its “Hall of Shame”, listing the top 10 most dubious people that got onto its list. Getting onto this list doesn’t seem to be an achievement to be proud of anymore. Instead of being an indicator of potential future success, this list could foretell a criminal in the making.
Google to compensate local publishers in CanadaCanada earlier imposed a law forcing digital platforms to pay local publishers for featuring news content on their platforms in an attempt to boost an industry that has been suffering from loss in advertising revenue. Following this, Facebook parent has blocked all links to news content in Canada since August to avoid making payments, and Google threatened to remove news from its search results before the law comes into effect this Dec 19.
Now, Google has decided to contribute CAD100 mil (USD73.6 mil) annually, indexed to inflation, to a wide range of news businesses in Canada. It’s not disclosed what led to the change of mind by Google, as it was earlier in strong opposition against the new law. In fact, Google argued that they are actually benefitting the media outlets by driving traffic to their sites. In Malaysia, Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil mooted a similar idea as more than half of the RM4.5 bil expenditure on ads had gone to the giant platforms, forcing the layoffs of journalists.
LGBT rights - progress or regress, depending on which camp you are from
Nepal: The Himalayan nation registered its first same-sex marriage, which activists hailed as a victory for LGBT rights. This came five months after the Supreme Court issued an interim order allowing same-sex couples to register their marriages. Taiwan is the only place in Asia that has legalised same-sex marriage.
Russia: Its Supreme Court has declared what it calls "the international LGBT public movement" an extremist organisation and banned its activities across the country. Weirdly, there were no defendants in this case. Russia's constitution was changed three years ago to make it clear that marriage means a union between a man and a woman. Same-sex unions are not recognised here. According to a government official, this would have an effect on anyone the state considers an LGBT activist and could face a prison sentence for ‘participating in an extremist organisation’.
In separate news also in Russia, detainees in one of Russia’s harshest detention centres where they are locked up before trial are forced to listen to Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life” and “One Wild Night” and AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck“ on repeat every morning for months as the songs are blasted through a loudspeaker, according to a prisoner being held there.
Henry Kissinger, former US secretary of state, died at 100 at his home. He was a highly controversial individual in the world of international politics and was even labelled as ‘warmonger’ who had won the Nobel Peace Prize ironically. Though in China, he is highly revered and so well-loved that Xi Jinping called him an “old friend”. 4 hours after his death was announced, topics on Kissinger hit a whopping 660 mil combined views on Weibo, China’s Twitter. His efforts re-established relations between China and the US during the Cold War era that paved the way for then-President Richard Nixon to meet Mao Zedong in 1972.
Minutes before the truce between Israel and Hamas was about to expire, it was announced that the truce had been extended for a seventh day under the same terms as in the past where Hamas will have to release 10 Israeli hostages per day, according to Qatar that has been mediating between the both sides.
Elon Musk did not hold back during an interview and told companies who pulled advertisements from his social media platform X to “go f*ck yourself” repeatedly when Musk was asked about his antisemitic comments on X recently. Had X remained a listed entity, its share price might have tanked big time upon this comment. Watch it below.
Weekend read: Why are married people happier than the rest of us?
It could boil down to a couple of reasons:
Happy people tend to be the ones to get married — A 15-year study involving over 24,000 Germans revealed that individuals who got married and remained in marriage were initially happier than their unmarried counterparts. However, any increase in happiness resulting from the marriage was temporary.
Believing that getting married makes one happy — Research fellow Lyman Stone reanalysed the General Social Survey (GSS) data and discovered that getting married does enhance happiness, sustaining a positive impact for at least two years after the wedding. This effect remains significant even when accounting for the individual's baseline level of happiness before marriage. It is the close, supportive, long-term relationships that make one happy.
In some ways, this indicates that correlation is not equivalent to causation.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
A survey of approximately 2,000 US adults across all age groups on how much money is required to “buy happiness.” It’s no wonder many of us are miserable. By the way, happiness isn’t something you own — it is something you feel. It is a journey. You need to be present to feel it. You can’t keep happiness.
There will be more Gen Zs in the workforce than baby boomers for the first time. Honestly, it's nothing surprising anyway because baby boomers are supposed to be retiring!
The next time someone asks you if it is a good time to buy Bitcoin, you can consider Jason Leong’s response - hilarious AF. Non-Financial Advice (NFA) — Time in the market beats timing the market. Dollar-cost average your investment purchases.