☕️ 'What's there to be proud of winning the Oscars?' - celebrity preacher PU Syed Mohd Bakri
Clearer guidelines published on foreign concerts, live shows in MY. Oppstar Bhd's +286% pop on IPO day. Player upgraded: ChatGPT-4 - how powerful is it?
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
102.5% - the inflation rate of Argentina recorded in Feb 2023, the first time it past 100% since 1991, according to the government’s latest consumer price index. Food and drinks saw the most dramatic increase, with prices rising by 9.8% in February compared to January. Argentina’s hyperinflation crisis peaked in 1989, with rates reaching more than 3,000%. Hyperinflation is defined as prices rising more than 50% month-on-month.
Read: A short history of hyperinflation in Argentina (1975-1991)
7-0 - Manchester City annihilated RB Leipzig in the second leg of the last-16 match of the Champions League to reach the quarter-finals. Man City’s 22-year-old Erling Haalnd became the youngest player to score five times in a single Champions League game, joining Lionel Messi and Brazilian Luiz Adriano as the only players to have done so. Haaland also became the fastest and youngest player to reach 30 goals in the English Premier League, bringing his total haul to 39 goals for the season in all competitions. Watch the highlights of the match.
222 deaths of children due to abuse cases were recorded between 2018 to 2022, according to Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution. 133 of these deaths involved boys and 89 cases for girls. 154 (69.4%) of the cases have been resolved so far. Data from the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry revealed there were 1,055 child abuse cases in the first of 2022.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
How’s winning an Oscar something to be proud of? - Celebrity Muslim preacher PU Syed Mohd Bakri Syed Ishak
The celebrity preacher is getting brickbats thrown at him for his social media posts on Michelle Yeoh’s historic achievement at the Oscars. He said Muslims cannot be proud of it as it doesn’t benefit Islam. By this line of logic, does this mean former national shuttler Lee Chong Wei’s Olympic achievements should not be celebrated by Muslims? It can be a national celebration for Malaysians of diverse backgrounds. See his Instagram post here.
Just not too long ago, he made a controversial remark — praying for floods to ruin popular K-pop girl group Blackpink’s concert here in Malaysia as he was unhappy the concert proceeded even though certain states were struck by floods. In 2019, he received backlash for calling BTS demonic and said their music would only lead Malaysians astray.
New guidelines on foreign concerts and live shows in Malaysia
New guidelines have been released by the Central Agency for Application for Filming and Performance by Foreign Artists (Puspal) on international concerts and live shows. The Communications and Digital Ministry said the new rules are to ease conditions. Some of the changes:
Male foreign artists cannot cross-dress or dress up like women when performing in Malaysia.
Male and female foreign acts cannot remove any clothing during their performance.
Large-scale concerts and live performances by international acts are not allowed to be held on the night before Islamic public holidays and the actual date of such occasions unless authorised by the respective Islamic authorities. The previous 2019 guidelines did not have restrictions on the eve of such occasions.
These events could not be held from Aug 30-31 (Merdeka Day) and Sept 15-16 (Malaysia Day). Some leeway here — previous guidelines had “blackout dates” - these events could not be held from Aug 25 to Sep 16.
Foreign filming in Malaysia must not negatively depict any security or enforcement agency in Malaysia. Scripts must be reviewed by Puspal for approval before filming can commence.
For better or worse, a second phase of updates will be introduced to the guidelines by the end of the year. Read the full Puspal guidelines here.
The ongoing story of misappropriation and abuse in Malaysiaku
MACC has arrested four individuals, including the company’s director and chief financial officer, in relation to alleged misappropriation involving a sukuk agreement worth RM596 mil to implement a project related to the registration, hiring and recording of foreign workers’ biometric data at a ministry (not specified). The government entered into a concession agreement with the appointed company for the implementation of the project in July 2011 for a period of 12 years, with the sukuk to reach maturity this May 2023. The scheme allegedly funnelled funds from the project to another bank account to avoid repaying principal and profits to sukuk holders — the music has to come to a stop as the sukuk matures this May 2023.
An audit will be carried out on the RM4 mil spent to print the ‘Mari Kenali Sawit’ flipbooks on palm oil that were distributed to students in January last year. 210,060 copies were printed for primary schools at the cost of RM2.79 mil (RM13.28 per copy) and 62,475 copies for secondary schools at the cost of RM1.2 mil (RM19.20 per copy). Teresa Kok, who served as the primary industries minister from 2018 to early 2020, claimed that several printers she checked with told her the cost of printing was about RM3 per copy - that’s a markup of between 4.4x to 6.4x!
Newly ACE-listed Oppstar Bhd, an integrated circuits and turnkey solutions provider, surged as much as 360% from its IPO price of 63 sen before ending its maiden trading day at RM2.43 - a 286% premium, giving the company a market cap of RM1.55 bil and making it the best-performing IPO in 2023 so far (2nd place goes to TT Vision Holdings Bhd, up +276.5%). It raised RM104.25 mil from its IPO. Did you make a killing from this IPO? If so, kindly please contribute to our Jana Kopi Wibawa to ‘memperkasakan’ our newsletter - we can assure you it’s clean and legal and has no money trail involving of Ber1.
The company generated RM50.56 mil revenue and profit after tax of RM16.63 mil in FY2022. At the current market cap, that’s a 93x price-to-earnings (PE) ratio - overpriced? Not so, if management provided rosy profit guidance in the upcoming quarters, which could explain its price performance or simply, it got goreng-ed by speculators and operators.
Note: PE ratio is one of the common methods used to value a company - the higher the ratio, the more ‘expensive’ the valuation of the company is. That said, this is overly simplified, but that is generally the idea. A low PE company, though cheap in price, can be expensive in lesson. Learn more about the PE ratio here.
Table: IPO performance on Bursa Malaysia for 2023
Another major IPO in the making — Eco-Shop Marketing Sdn Bhd, a budget retail chain, is seeking an IPO to raise as much as RM800 mil and could take place as early as September, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The company has more than 200 outlets across Malaysia and is backed by the renowned private equity firm, Creador in 2019.
If this IPO goes through, this would be the third successful IPO of Creador after MR DIY Group Bhd in 2020 and CTOS Digital Bhd in 2021. Interestingly, Creador backed Eco-Shop, which competes with Mr Dollar, a retail chain owned by MR DIY. SSM search showed the company generated RM1.55 bil of revenue and a sweet RM104.1 mil profit after tax in FY2021.
Read: Short profile of Brahmal Vasudevan, the founder of Creador
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Player upgraded: ChatGPT successor GPT-4 is now here
Popular artificial intelligence chatbot Chat-GPT has seen millions of users since its launch in November 2022. The new version, GPT-4, is touted to being able to process and respond to images, can process up to 25,000 words, about 8 times more than ChatGPT, and will be about “40% more likely” to generate factual responses. OpenAI also spent six months on further safety features and training GPT-4 on human feedback but warns that it may still be prone to sharing disinformation. The new version will initially be available to ChatGPT Plus users (meaning, paid users only). Also, ChatGPT-4 is already powering Microsoft’s Bing search engine, following the USD10 billion investment Microsoft has made into OpenAI.
While concerns remain that ChatGPT would one day take over many jobs currently manned by humans, there are also companies that have embraced the technology, such as Tokyo-based LayerX Inc., which has made it mandatory for prospective hires to be able to use ChatGPT, to the point of testing applicants on its use as part of the interview process.
Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) fallout continues
Rating agency Moody’s downgrades entire US banking system to “negative”
Moody’s cited the rapid deterioration of the landscape due to bank runs and the collapse of SVB, Signature Bank, and Silvergate Bank as the reason for the downgrade. The high-interest-rate environment due to the Fed’s rate hikes has also made things worse for banks. With further rate hikes predicted, the profitability of the banking system is likely to be dragged down.
Credit Suisse leads European bank decline following SVB collapse
European bank stocks plunged, with Credit Suisse reaching a new low, due to renewed investor concerns about stresses on the European banking sector due to the SVB collapse, dragging the European banking index down over 6%. Credit Suisse shares dropped over 20% after its largest investor, Saudi National Bank, said it could not provide the Swiss bank with any further financial assistance. The bank owns 9.9% stake in Credit Suisse following a USD4.2 bil capital injection last year — it said any further assistance would push its stake above 10%, making it a regulatory issue. The collapse of SVB has caused investors to act on concerns about European banks for fear of a repeat in Europe.
TikTok mulls split from Chinese parent, even as UAE spy chief buys into Bytedance
China’s TikTok is considering a separation from its parent, Bytedance, to help address US concerns about national security risks from the use of the app. Such a move, which could result in a sale or initial public offering, is considered a last resort and depends on whether TikTok’s latest proposal with US national security officials gets approved. The proposal is part of a national security review, with TikTok agreeing last year to implement a number of measures as part of the review. However, officials have been unwilling to accept the proposal.
On another note, Abu Dhabi AI firm G42, controlled by United Arab Emirates royal Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan – also known as UAE’s spymaster – has acquired a stake in Bytedance for over USD100 million through its 42XFund, with a private market valuation of about USD220 billion for the company, a significant drop from the company’s self-valuation of USD300 billion during a recent share buyback programme. The fluctuating valuation of Bytedance is also a reflection of the uncertainty the company has faced since national security concerns were raised by the US over its TikTok app.
Japan’s Youtuber MP first to be kicked out without entering parliament – Yoshikazu “GaaSyy” Higashitani, a celebrity gossip Youtuber, will be the first lawmaker expelled in this fashion due to his never attending a single session of parliament since his election seven months ago. Expulsion is the most severe punishment a lawmaker can receive, having only happened twice since 1950, with this being the first where the MP was expelled due to continued absence. Seems like there’s someone worse than a certain party leader when it comes to parliament attendance. IYKYK.
Ex-Meta employee confirms Meta “hoarded employees like Pokemon cards” – The former employee confirmed Meta paid employees to do “fake work”, with employees fighting to find work to do. The ex-employee also revealed they could speak about this due to not signing Meta’s severance agreement. This follows Meta’s second round of major layoffs, with 10,000 axed, with the first round of layoffs last year affecting 11,000.
Fully-electric aircraft sees pre-orders – The CX300, designed by US company Beta Technologies, now has pre-orders, with clients including names like Air New Zealand and United Therapeutics, which plans to use the 5-seater aircraft to transport medical supplies and organs. The company hopes to get the fixed-wing aircraft certified by 2025, while the vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) version, the ALIA-250, may have a tougher path due to different regulations.
Not gonna lie, the planes look really nice. Check out the planes in action here.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
Today, we go to the skies and space!
China’s new space station Tiangong vs the International Space Station (ISS)
How SpaceX sends astronauts to space and transfers them to the ISS
Singapore Airlines crew was named “world’s best cabin staff” in 2022 by Skytrax. Take a tour of its massive flight attendant training facility, where the airlines put its candidates through gruelling training that takes four months - the longest worldwide.
On another note, it’s Malaysia’s turn to the ballot for free return tickets to Hong Kong from Cathay Pacific — starts at 12pm today!