- The Coffee Break
- ☕️ UMNO's Lokman Adam thanks PM Anwar for fast-tracking Najib's pardon
☕️ UMNO's Lokman Adam thanks PM Anwar for fast-tracking Najib's pardon
Malaysians bought record number of vehicles in 2023. AI deepfake tech scam cost a MNC RM159 mil. ‘Palestinian Mandela’ at the centre of Hamas-Israel ceasefire talks.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
Information as of 0730 UTC+8 on Feb 6, 2024.
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
39% of workers do not want to be promoted as they like their current jobs and about the same number, 34%, never want to become managers, according to a new study from the world’s largest staffing agency, Randstad. Its annual Workmonitor report included 27,000 people in 34 markets across Europe, Asia Pacific and the Americas and shows people’s motivation at work is not necessarily just driven by promotions. For employers looking to retain talent, they have to rethink what ambition means, putting work-life balance, flexibility, equity and skills at the heart of career decisions.
Compared to its peers, Apple seems to be taking it slow in the AI space. M&A data shows otherwise, as since 2017, Apple has acquired 21 AI startups, more than any of its rivals, according to data from Pitchbook. Various analyses suggest that Apple primarily focuses on running AI on iPhones instead of relying on massive data centres and the cloud like OpenAI’s ChatGPT. In the first half of last year, Apple spent USD22.61 bil (RM107.5 bil) in research and development (R&D), an increase its CEO Tim Cook said partly attributed to Apple’s focus on generative AI.
A new record of 799,731 vehicles were sold in 2023, an 11% increase year-on-year. Dominating the market is Perodua, crossing the 300,000 mark with 330,325 deliveries last year or 41.3% of the market share. Proton also recorded healthy growth of 11%, taking its total sales to 150,975 units and combined with Perodue, both national carmakers captured a 66.9% market share. Check out below the breakdown of vehicles sold by brands compiled by Paultan.org.
Malaysian car sales by brand - 2023 vs 2022
Perodua basically conquered the market with over 40% market share, up from 2022. Don't sleep on the currently discounted $MBMR share price haha
— Paul Tan 🚦 199 (@paultantk)
Feb 2, 2024
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Najib’s Pardon Saga: Anwar urges respect for decision, Lokman Adam thanks PMX over fast-tracking Najib’s pardon application
During the PM’s Department monthly assembly (watch here), PM Anwar Ibrahim urged an end to criticism regarding this issue, emphasising respect for the Pardons Board's decision and highlighting the compassionate considerations of the former Yang di-Pertuan Agong. Anwar clarifies the Pardons Board's process and underscores that decisions rest with the Malay rulers. He encourages the submission of memoranda to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for explanations. A convenient way for him to tai-chi the responsibility away as though the PM had no hand in this whole saga — UMNO supreme council member Lokman Adam, in a press conference, thanked the PM for fast-tracking Najib’s pardon application.
G25, a civil society organisation consisting of influential Malays (view the members here), has called for the Pardons Board to rescind its decision to reduce Najib’s prison term and questioned why Najib’s pardon application was expedited following Lokman Adam’s revelation.
Tony Pua said he was questioned for more than an hour over his remarks regarding the Pardons Board’s decision, answering 60 questions and his laptop will also be seized. He must have provided a roaring statement — see the shirt he wore during the questioning.
Solidarity with mentor, @tonypua who sacrifice & risked much in shaping the Msia we now have. He was always there whenever I called & supported me as I navigate this dog-eat-dog political world. Being there at Bukit Aman was returning his goodwill & really - the least I could do.
— Michelle Ng Mei Sze | 黄美诗 (@michellengms)
Feb 5, 2024
Another Tun Drama
Unlike Tun Daim and Tun M’s run-ins with the law, former Sarawak governor Tun Taib Mahmud’s issue is more domestic. Sarawak police are investigating a report filed against his second wife, Raghad Kurdi Taib, for removing him from a private hospital against doctors’ advice.
Raghad refuted allegations of removing her husband from the hospital against medical advice, sharing on Instagram a nurse's note as evidence. The note, dated Feb 2 and signed by a nurse named Benedette Tommy, though mostly illegible, suggests Taib's ongoing hospital care. Taib served three terms as governor until January this year. Last year, Taib's health condition was reported to be improving after being taken ill abroad. In a separate development, there’s more drama between Taibs’ sons and their stepmother — Taib's sons contested the transfer of shares to Raghad in a private company. Taib married Raghad, a former air hostess and niece to his brother-in-law, in 2011 when he was 75 and she was just 29.
Age is just a number, money is the number.
EPF enhances i-Lindung: More protection for members' families 👨👩👧👦💼
The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has launched i-Lindung Phase 2, enabling members to utilise funds from Account 2 for purchasing insurance and takaful products, offering comprehensive life and critical illness protection for immediate family members. Since its inception in July 2022, over 102,301 members have purchased 118,166 policies covering life and critical illness, with enhancements allowing extended coverage beyond one year. Members can access i-Lindung via the EPF i-Akaun mobile app. Eligibility criteria include being below 55, having sufficient balance in Account 2, and being a registered i-Akaun user. Members aged 55 and above can also participate if they meet certain conditions. Participating companies include FWD Takaful, Prudential, and Etiqa.
Swift Haulage Bhd, Malaysia's largest container haulage company, saw its major shareholder, Persada Bina Sdn Bhd, selling 11.16% of the company's shares to Singapore's JWD Asian Holding Pte Ltd for RM61.9 mil. The sale, set at 63 sen per share, represents a 3.3% premium over Swift Haulage's recent closing price. JWD Asian, a part of the Thailand-based JWD Group, is acquiring the stake as part of its regional expansion strategy. Post-transaction, Persada Bina will retain a 24% stake, while JWD Asian will emerge as a significant shareholder with an 11.16% interest. View Swift’s financials here.
It’s easier now to be a ‘sophisticated investor’. The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) has announced the expansion of sophisticated investor categories with the introduction of the "Guidelines on Categories of Sophisticated Investors." Key highlights include the addition of a "Knowledge and Experience" category, accommodating individuals with financial expertise. This expansion also offers flexibility in financial thresholds for high-net-worth individuals and considers primary residence value in assessing qualification. Additionally, joint account definitions are broadened to include family members, reflecting a more accurate financial status.
Read: SC’s updated definition of a sophisticated investor.
Maxis Bhd investigates suspected cybersecurity breaches involving third-party vendor access to data. While the company found no issues with its internal systems, it is collaborating with the vendor and informing relevant authorities. Reports surfaced regarding access to Maxis Communications' data by the "R00TK1T ISC Team." Maxis assures customers of ongoing efforts to bolster system defence and prioritises privacy and security. The company pledges to provide updates as the situation unfolds.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
AI deepfake technology takes scam to the next level, costing a MNC HKD200 mil
An unnamed multinational company (MNC) lost HKD200 mil (RM159.5 mil) after one of its employees at its Hong Kong branch was fooled by deepfake technology. An employee in the branch’s finance department received what appeared to be a phishing message in mid-January, apparently from the company’s UK-based chief financial officer (CFO) requesting for a secret transaction to be carried out. The employee had a “moment of doubt” but fell for the ploy after being invited to a group video conference and finding the company’s CFO present along with other staff — or rather, they were digitally recreated using deepfake technology based on publicly available video and audio footage of the individual. Not only were the appearances recreated, but their voices were imitated as well.
Convinced by the call, the employee took the instructions during the meeting and made 15 transfers totalling HKD200 mil to five HK bank accounts. The entire episode took a week to play out from the employee being contacted to the point the person realised it was a scam. HK police said the case was the first of its kind in HK. In previous cases, scam victims were tricked in one-on-one video calls and in this case, everyone in the multi-person call was fake. The case is still under investigation and no one has been arrested so far.
In a separate Hong Kong news, which saw football fans feeling cheated, Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami played a friendly match against a local team. As the game neared the end, spectators chanted “refund” as Messi stayed on the bench and did not play, disappointing a nearly soldout crowd of more than 38,000 people. Club owner David Beckham (who was in KL last week) was drowned out by boos as he tried to thank the crowd for their support.
‘Palestinian Mandela’ at the centre of Hamas-Israel ceasefire talks
Hamas is demanding Israel to release the 64-year-old high-profile Palestinian prisoner Marwan Barghouti, who is now at the centre of ceasefire negotiations between Hamas and Israel. He was arrested in 2002 and is serving five life sentences in an Israeli prison for his part in a deadly suicide bombing attack on Israeli targets. He refused to enter into defence as he did not recognise the authority of the Israeli court.
Barghouti is often described by Palestinians as the ‘Palestinian Mandela’ and is seen as a potential president of Palestine. He is perceived to be a candidate who could unite political rivals, Hamas, Fatah and other Palestinian factions and a wartime opinion poll published in December showed Barghouti to be the most popular politician among Palestinians, ahead of Fatah party’s Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas’ leader Ismail Haniyeh.
Meanwhile, the US continues to fund Israel’s hostility towards Palestine — the Senate unveiled USD14.1 bil in military aid for Israel, which is part of a USD118 bil bipartisan deal proposal to boost security and provide wartime aid for both Ukraine and Israel.
A comprehensive study on the lifespans of various dog breeds
Man’s best friend — everyone wants their dogs to live forever. Scientists now may have an answer to choose your next best friend with a longer life span. A giant study by the canine welfare organisation Dog’s Trust UK estimated the lifespans of 155 different dog breeds through analysis of data from over half a mil dogs in the UK to investigate how breed, body size, sex and face shape impact their life expectancy.
Some highlights from the study:
The median life expectancy of all dogs is 12.5 years
Large dogs are at 20% greater risk of early death compared to small dogs
Male dogs live on average 0.3 years less than females
Face shape also influences longevity — flat-faced dogs (e.g. pugs) have a 40% increased risk of early death compared to medium-length-faced dogs (e.g. labradors, golden retrievers) as the former tend to experience breathing problems and heart problems.
Purebreds’ median lifespan is 0.7 years longer compared to crossbreeds.
Read the study here.
Source: Dogs Trust UK
66th Annual Grammy Awards in a nutshell
An eventful Grammys we must say: Taylor Swift continues winning, setting a new record in history and announcing her 11th studio album on stage, rapper KIller Mike won 3 Grammy Awards and got arrested and handcuffed shortly after winning (watch the arrest here) and Jay-Z called out Grammys for snubbing Beyonce. Full list of awards and winners here.
Lab-cultivated meat is halal in Singapore
The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore said Muslims are allowed to consume lab-cultivated meat, provided that the cells are from animals that are halal or permissible in Islam. This move makes Singapore one of the first countries in the world to produce cultivated meat and ensure it is halal for Muslims. Generative AI was also a topic of discussion to boost fatwa research and outreach.
USD86.3 mil - the cost of Donald Trump who just couldn’t shut up and speaks too much
A federal jury found former US President Donald Trump had sexually abused writer E. Jean Caroll in the 1990s and ordered him to compensate her USD2 mil. The bill didn’t stop there. Trump is ordered to cough out an additional USD86.3 mil in damages for defaming her after he spent years rattling off defamatory remarks and attacks against her.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
Today’s section is dedicated towards innovation in equipment as old as time
The wheelbarrow was invented in China in 100 A.D. Today, a company filed a patent for a better wheelbarrow.
A chair that you can kneel, squat and cross-leg. Pretty cool, though it has its own flaws.
We missed a link to the Najib Razak story yesterday on his disappointment with the Pardons Board’s decision. Here is the link to the full article.