Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ What PM Anwar said at UN General Assembly
Radzi Jidin’s former polsec, businessman nabbed by MACC. Uni of Melbourne to organise 3-day "Swiftposium" to study Taylor Swift's impact. Iran averted a major terrorist attack - 30 explosions foiled.
Little less than 100 days until 2024. Never too late to achieve your 2023 resolutions.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
2% — Malaysia’s inflation rate in August 2023, remained unchanged from July 2023, according to the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM). Core inflation moderated to 2.5% in August 2023 vs. 2.8% in July. The difference between headline (2%) vs. core (2.5%) inflation is Core inflation refers to all commodities, services, and goods in the economy, excluding food and fuel. Headline inflation, on the other hand, includes these, too, and refers to all the changes in the values of things.
Workplace stress-related disorders have been on the rise, becoming a significant cause of employee absenteeism. Nearly six in 10 employees are quiet quitting. Gallup estimates the low engagement of employees costs the global economy USD8.8 trillion or 9% of global GDP. Additionally, the Gallup report revealed that 44% of global employees experience work-related stress on a daily basis. You can read the summary of the report here — State of the Global Workplace: 2023 Report.
The cane toad is among over 37,000 alien species that have been introduced into environments worldwide, either intentionally or accidentally, by humans, according to a recent United Nations report. Of these, more than 3,500 species were considered harmful. This landmark report from the UN Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is the first assessment of its kind since 2019. It highlights that the number of invasive alien species is increasing at an
”unprecedented” rate, with over 3,500 of these species having harmful effects on ecosystems. Invasive alien species have been a major factor in 60% of the world’s animal and plant extinctions.
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3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Highlights of PM Anwar Ibrahim’s trip to UNGA
Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Anwar Ibrahim, in his first appearance as the PM at the gathering, urged developed nations to fulfil their commitment of mobilising USD100 bil a year to support climate action endeavours. The PM took the opportunity to promote the country’s direction into developing low-carbon and renewable energy roadmaps in a bid to attract investors. The National Energy Transition Roadmap is mentioned as the country’s guiding light to achieving net-zero aspirations.
The PM branded islamophobia as a new form of racism characterised by xenophobia, negative profiling and stereotyping of Muslims. The PM mentioned the inaction by the world community when it came to the Quran burnings was irresponsible and sent a dangerous message to humanity. Nobody shouted “Tarik Balik”.
During the 78th UNGA address, the PM also took the opportunity to ask world leaders to end Myanmar’s brutality and bring resolution to the protracted crisis in Ukraine.
Watch how Anwar Ibrahim stuttered during an interview with CNN on the issue of LGBTQ+. It was a touchy topic. The PM’s comment on the subject was to “respect” the consensus of the public. Public displays of LGBTQ+ support are said to violate consensus. Wearing a rainbow watch? Come on.
Radzi Jidin’s former polsec & businessman nabbed by MACC
The two individuals - one in his twenties who is the former political secretary of former Education Minister Radzi Jidin and the other a business owner in his late fifties — were detained at 11 pm last Friday after they were summoned to provide their statements at the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya. The arrest is believed to be in relation to a RM80 mil project involving the printing of books via direct negotiations.
Radzi admitted it was his polsec that was arrested in relation to the printing of J-Qaf books for preschools. While there were viral social media postings accusing the involvement of him and his wife, he maintained the accusations are not true. MACC chief Azam Baki has confirmed that Radzi may be called to assist in the investigation.
The Sultan of Johor is ready to fulfil his national duty
Sultan Ibrahim Almarhum Sultan Iskandar explained in an exclusive interview that he is prepared to undertake on behalf of the Rulers. His Majesty is slated to be the next in line to be the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. Sultan Ibrahim emphasised that the welfare of the people will be his top priority.
Three-cornered fight in Pelangai state election on Oct 7
On top of BN’s Amizar Abu Adam and PN’s Kasim Samat, another candidate (former UMNO member), Haslihelmy DM Zulhasli, will be joining in on the fun. The Pelangai seat in Pahang is considered a UMNO stronghold, but will PN’s momentum be able to take the seat? The by-election is being held following the death of Umno assemblyman and Pahang exco member Johari Harun in the plane crash.
Ipoh Timor MP in hot water after allegedly using Quranic verses to get support
Perak police chief Yusri Hassan Basri said a report had been lodged against Ipoh Timor MP Howard Lee over a TikTok video. The latter allegedly used Quranic verses to ask Muslims to support the unity government. The case is now with Bukit Aman.
JPJ to have special ops against commercial vehicles this week
Following last week’s fatal accident in Putrajaya, the Road Transport Department (JPJ) will carry out a large-scale special operation against commercial vehicles, especially lorries ferrying sand. Perhaps what the authorities can do next time is to pre-empt road users of such activities (e.g. training, roadworks) — either by distance (e.g. signs beginning 1 km away or time (e.g. 3 days prior).
Wee Ka Siong successfully defended his presidential post at MCA
Former Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong has successfully defended his post as MCA (Malaysia Chinese Association) president in the party elections.
Supermax’s headache in the US is over
The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced it had modified the withhold release order (WRO) issued on Oct 21, 2021, to Supermax and its wholly-owned subsidiaries. The import ban on Supermax Corp Bhd’s disposable gloves in the US has finally been lifted following the remediation of forced labour indicators in the company’s supply chain. Now it can focus on its issues back home as earlier in April, Cecile Thai, the daughter of Supermax executive chairman and major shareholder, alleged in her resignation letter that she was bullied and silenced by other board members when she tried to uphold her fiduciary duties.
YTL and YTLPower could be added into 30-stock FBM KLCI
Hong Leong Investment Bank (HLIB) opined that the recent appreciation in the market capitalisation of YTL Corp Bhd and its 49%-owned YTL Power International Bhd could increase the chances of two companies being included in the 30-stock FBM KLCI in the November review. Based on last Friday’s closing, YTL Corp and YTL Power have a market cap of RM16.8 bil and RM17.2 bil, respectively. The index is reviewed every semi-annually in June and December based on two main eligibility criteria: free float and liquidity — learn more here on the review guidelines.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
It’s a Taylor Swift world
Record after record, Taylor Swift has broken. Her wild success and influence will become a subject of academia. The University of Melbourne will host the inaugural international academic symposium dubbed “Swiftposium” in Feb 2024 to study the global cultural and economic (Swiftonomics) impact of Swift. The 3-day Swiftposium from 11 to 13 Feb 2024 will take place before Swift’s tour in Australia, which kicks off on 16 Feb.
Even US politics could not escape the influence of Swift. Last Tuesday, in conjunction with National Voter Registration Day, Swift posted an Instagram Story encouraging her 272 mil followers to register to vote. Her message, together with a link to Vote.org to register, generated 35,252 new registrations, the most since 2020 and 23% higher than last year, and the number of 18-year-olds registered was more than double in 2022.
Iran averted a major terrorist attack as it foiled 30 explosions that were planned to go off simultaneously in its capital, Tehran. According to the Ministry of Intelligence, the explosions were targeted at crowded city centres but were all prevented and 28 individuals were arrested, adding that they were all linked with ISIS.
22 years following the 9/11 attack, five individuals will go on trial in the military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay. The Guantanamo camp in Cuba was set up in 2002 to hold foreign terrorism suspects following the 9/11 attack. A military judge ruled that 1 of the 5 defendants, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, is mentally unfit to stand trial as he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to 4 years of torture and solitary confinement during his CIA custody.
He was captured a year after the attack and was accused of aiding a group of hijackers in Hamburg, Germany, to carry out the attacks. His defence lawyer argued that the torture drove Ramzi insane. Some of the torture methods used: solitary confinement, sleep deprivation, forcing him to stand up while chained and wearing diapers for days at a time.
The state of Singapore’s favourite tech unicorn — Carousell
CEO of Carousell Quek Siu Rui told reporters at the launch of its new HQ that the online classifieds operator is “so well-capitalised” and going for an initial public offering (IPO) is not the only option for it to fundraise. Founded in 2012, the Carousell is one of Singapore’s highest-profile tech unicorns. It was last valued at USD1.1 bil after raising USD123.5 mil in 2021 and August this year.
11 years since its founding, the company remains unprofitable, making it difficult for a public listing. Last year, revenue grew 66.9% to USD82.5 mil, but losses widened to USD63.1 mil from USD41.9 mil the previous year, though Quek expects to narrow losses this year. The company laid off 110 staff last December, or about 10% of its workforce. Carousell has expanded by diving deep into niches by acquiring companies — second-hand fashion retailer Refash, sneaker marketplace Ox Street and Laku6, a second-hand mobile phone AI inspection company.
Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan envision a future free of disease by 2100. To this end, their philanthropic arm, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, announced plans to fund and develop one of the largest computing systems consisting of more than 1,000+ GPUS to run AI, which researchers and non-profit organisations can use to conduct their research
Michael Bloomberg, the owner of one of the most profitable and enviable monopoly businesses, Bloomberg LP, has outlined his succession plan. There will be no trust fund babies/adults involved — Bloomberg said that his foundation Bloomberg Philanthropies will inherit it and then sell it. There is no mention of whether his two daughters will inherit a small slice of his empire. Forbes estimates Bloomberg’s wealth to be USD96.3 bil. Ironically, Bloomberg (the man) is not being tracked on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which easily would place him in the top 15. A fascinating look into the business here by the FT.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
The 19th Asian Games is now happening in Hangzhou, China, following a year of delay due to the earlier Covid-19 lockdowns. Check out the opening ceremony. The spectacular light show starts at 13:40, featuring digital fireworks and a giant torchbearer — here’s how it’s done.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salma’s historic, first-ever all-English interview with Fox News on the future of the nation.
A seal playing a saxophone to kickstart your week. It’s a 4-day workweek this week as Thursday will be a national public holiday to observe Prophet Muhammad’s birthday.