☕️ Former PM Najib Razak seeking retrial for his SRC International case, claiming High Court judge's conflict of interest
FBI agent revealed amount each of Najib, Jho Low & Co took from 1MDB bond sales. McD's zebra-fries crossing in KL, museum in Alor Setar. GoTo (Gojek+Tokopedia) plans USD1.3 bil IPO.
1. MARKET SUMMARY
Brent crude and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell as low as USD97.44 and USD93.54, respectively, their lowest since Feb 25. Supply disruption fears have been overplayed and surging COVID-19 cases in China spurred demand concerns.
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
Tsingshan Holding Group has two ways out of its nickel-trading crisis — realise USD8 bil worth of losses or prove it has sufficient deliverable nickel to repay in kind. Beijing could step in to rescue Tsingshan by swapping some of its high-grade nickel reserves for low-grade nickel pig iron (NPI) produced by Tsingshan to help it meet LME quality standards.
Bunker manufacturer Minus Energie received 500 customer inquiries since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. That is 10x the number of bomb shelters the company has built in the last two decades.
10,783 residential units in Selangor were affected by the floods late last year, according to the Selangor government. Most of the houses suffered moderate damage (not more than RM15,000).
3. COVID-19 SUMMARY
iPhone users with iOS 15.4 can add MySejahtera Covid-19 vaccine record to your iPhone’s Apple Health.
Researchers at the University of Hong Kong determined that about 3.6 million Hong Kongers caught Covid-19 through Mar 14, more than half of its population.
China posted a steep jump in daily Covid-19 infections yesterday — 3,602 new cases. It’s still tiny by global standards but spooked markets.
4. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
The 19th Johor Menteri Besar has officially been officially sworn in - Onn Hafiz Ghazi, 44, the UMNO Machap assemblyman, has been appointed to this position, instead of Hasni Mohammad, the former Menteri Besar before the election, whom many thought would resume his position.
If the name ‘Onn’ rings any bell, the new MB is the great-grandson of UMNO founder Onn Jaafar and grandson of Malaysia’s 3rd PM Tun Hussein Onn, making him related to Hishammuddin Hussein (son of Tun Hussein Onn) and Najib Razak (Hishamuddin’s cousin). See the Razak-Hussein family tree below.
Eric Van Dorn, FBI agent and forensic accountant, took the stand in the 1MDB trial of ex-Goldman banker Roger Ng. He told the jury that his investigation involved reviewing 59,000 bank records to determine where 1MDB’s money raised from the three bonds Goldman Sachs arranged totalling USD6.5 bil went to:
Jho Low, the alleged 1MDB scandal mastermind: USD1.42 bil
Former PM Najib Razak: USD756 mil
Riza Aziz, Najib’s stepson: USD238 mil, of which USD60 mil was invested to produce The Wolf of Wall Street
Khadem al-Qubaisi, former managing director of Abu Dhabi’s state-owned company: USD472.8 mil (sentenced to a 15-year jail term and ordered to repay USD336 mil)
Another undisclosed Abu Dhabi official: USD76.6 mil
Roger Ng, the only Goldman banker on trial for the 1MDB scandal: USD35.1 mil
Tim Leissner: USD73.4 mil
The above six individuals combined took a staggering USD3.07 bil or close to 50% of the total 1MDB’s funds raised.
Investigators previously established Najib received USD681 mil from 1MDB’s third bond raising exercise, which Najib claimed he returned USD620 mil to his “Arab donors”, but investigators found instead it was returned to accounts controlled by Jho Low.
Next, closer to home, we move on to Najib’s SRC International trial appeal against the dismissal of the Court of Appeal in relation to his attempt to adduce new evidence. Updates are as follows:
The new evidence Najib attempts to adduce is the recovery of 1MDB’s funds of USD15.4 mil from a Singapore company belonging to Tawfiq Ayman, the husband of former governor Zeti Akthar Aziz.
Prosecutor V. Sithambaram contended that the funds allegedly received by Zeti’s family happened in 2008 and 2009, whilst Najib’s SRC crimes took place from 2011 to 2015 and have no bearing on the SRC case. He noted that SRC was only formed in 2011.
Zeti was offered as a defence witness during the trial at the High Court, but the defence team chose not to call her.
Najib is seeking a retrial of his SRC International case as the judge that presided over his case in the High Court, Judge Nazlan Mohd Ghazali, was found to have a conflict of interest. Before being a judge, Judge Nazlan was the group general counsel for Maybank that took part in the decision to give 1MDB a loan of RM4.17 bil as he “would have formed certain opinions, especially when the company failed to pay”. Alternatively, they will ask for an acquittal if a retrial is not possible.
Former Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli has announced his return to politics via a long statement released on Twitter and he will seek for election for the No.2 position in PKR, to be its deputy president. He described PH’s strategies in recent years as “madness” such as contemplating a pact with PN for upcoming GE and brokering a confidence-and-supply agreement with PM Sabri.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has acknowledged that there is “chronic underinvestment” in the nation’s public healthcare system. Drawing comparison to other middle-income countries similar to Malaysia, those countries spent an average of 4% of GDP on their public healthcare system, whereas Malaysia only spent 2.58% of its GDP in 2020.
A white paper for healthcare reforms will be tabled in Parliament in November, with KJ adding that it will be “future-proof” so that the reforms will continue regardless of who is in power.
Meanwhile, health authorities in Negri Sembilan are investigating a video clip that has gone viral of a rat running around a hospital ward. If this hospital and others really do lack a budget for pest control, then the nation is truly in dire need of healthcare reforms.
5. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called on Russian soldiers to surrender, assuring them they would be treated decently in his nightly TV address. The prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovenia are visiting Kyiv to show support, the first foreign leaders to do so since the invasion started last month.
Russia’s foreign ministry has imposed sanctions on US President Joe Biden and 12 other US officials “on the basis of reciprocity”. They will be denied entry into Russia and any assets held in the country will be frozen. Former US President Donald Trump wasn’t on that list.
Indonesia’s most prominent start-up, GoTo, plans to raise up to USD1.3 bil in an initial public offering (IPO). The listing would value the group at USD29 bil. The group was formed following a USD18 bil merger of Gojek and Tokopedia. GoTo claims to have 100 mil monthly users. Will it follow a similar fate of tech groups in the region such as Grab and Bukalapak, where shares have shed more than 70% of their value since listing?
This week’s meltdown in Chinese stocks is drawing comparisons with the rout seen during the global financial crisis, as all major Chinese equity gauges were in the red again yesterday. Global investors offloaded a net 16 billion yuan (USD2.5 billion) yesterday, extending their selling streak to seven days.
Toyota Motor Corp announced additional production cuts in March due to a shortage of semiconductor chips, just days after the Japanese automaker reduced its domestic production target by as much as 20% for the April-June quarter. However, Toyota is still confident of meeting the 8.5 million vehicle production target for the year.
In a bizarre move, movie theatre AMC Entertainment bought a 22% stake in Hycroft Mining, a Nevada gold mine, to diversify in a bizarre move. AMC paid USD27.9 mil for the stake. The pandemic almost brought the business to its knees as movie-goers could not go to the theatres. The massive short squeeze last year allowed AMC managed to raise USD1.8 bil in cash.
Volvo Cars and Starbucks have partnered to study the usage and potential scalability of electric vehicle chargers at the coffee giant’s stores in the US. Volvo will install as many as 60 Volvo-branded ChargePoint DC fast chargers at up to 15 Starbucks locations. Not viable in Malaysia — the Starbucks will be jam-packed with cars because of the drive-through.
6. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
McDonald’s zebra, or rather, fries crossing, in front of its Bukit Bintang outlet, which it opened 40 years ago. Fun fact — there’s a McDonald’s museum up north in Alor Setar that collects all McD’s products in Malaysia since Day 1?
The panoramic view of Gale Crater, Mars, taken by Curiosity rover on Oct 25, 2017. Surreal — feels like Earth. Elon Musk replied to the tweet below saying, “One day …”
Side by side - Gen 1 and Gen 2 food delivery by Lisa Kamal