☕️ Injunction order issued against former PM Najib Razak - to freeze assets, max RM100k bank withdrawal a month
EC announced Johor election on 12 Mar. Former PM Muhyddin tested Covid-19 +ve. Carousell in talks to acquire property marketplace 99.co for USD150 mil. USD3.6 bil of Bitcoin recovered from 2016 hack.
For the coming weeks, you will notice that we will be featuring quite a number of up-and-coming brands, services, causes etc. in our newsletter. It’s a community-driven effort together NextUp Asia, the brain behind the popular Facebook group - Entrepreneurs and Startups in Malaysia, to help SMEs and these smaller (but to be big) players to gain unique exposure. Show them some love and check them out as we feature them! If you would like to get featured as well, just us an email!
Now, let’s get started with today’s issue.
1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
USD3.6 bil worth of stolen cryptocurrency has been seized by the US Justice Department. The two suspects allegedly conspired to launder nearly 120,000 bitcoin stolen from Bitfinex’s platform in 2016. It is the department’s largest financial seizure ever. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco added this shows that cryptocurrency is not a safe haven for criminals. Technically, the US government now holds bitcoin. One crazy fact — the suspects have diamond hands.
887 superyachts were sold in 2021, a 77% jump from the year before, according to a report from maritime data firm VesselsValue. Superyachts usually depreciate in value, but supply-chain disruptions and worker shortages have turned the situation around. The tight market meant that values jumped from 5% to 8% in 2021 alone.
3. COVID-19 SUMMARY
Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday. We wish a swift recovery for the former PM.
Israeli scientists found low levels of vitamin D prior to catching COVID-19 were linked to worse illness. The study suggested Vitamin D helped bolster the immune system to deal with viruses that attack the respiratory system.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) is asking richer nations to donate USD16 bil to a program aimed at getting out of the pandemic. The program entails providing access to Covid-19 vaccines, treatments and tests in low- and middle-income countries.
In collaboration with
4. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
The Election Commission has set Johor state elections on Mar 12, with 14 days of campaigning. Nomination day takes place on 26 Feb whilst early voting is on 8 Mar.
MUDA, together with DAP and Parti Amanah Negara, have agreed to ensure to avoid seat clashes among their candidates in this Johor state election, to work together in focusing efforts and manpower to ensure the victory of their candidates and also to agree to form the state government together, if they manage to win the election. Negotiations are still ongoing between MUDA and PKR.
Former PM Najib Razak has received a Mareva injunction order to freeze Najib’s assets and limit his monthly bank withdrawals to RM100,000 to meet his living expenses. The injunction was granted to 1MDB and 4 of its subsidiaries on Tuesday in relation to their claim of USD681 mil that was misappropriated and transferred to Najib’s accounts. Should he need more, he has to apply to 1MDB’s solicitors.
A Mareva injunction is a court order that effectively freezes the assets of a person pending the outcome or completion of legal action before the Court to prevent the transfer of assets.
MACC is seeking the cooperation of US authorities to share the names of those who allegedly received bribes from former banker Goldman Sachs Tim Leissner, who pleaded guilty in 2018 after admitting he had bribed officials of the government and 1MDB. The US authorities have responded but did not reveal the names.
Former PM Tun Mahathir said in a video posted via his Facebook page that his bout with his recent illness “was one of the worst experiences” he ever had and there were times he thought he would not recover from it. Tun M was admitted to IJN last month after undergoing an elective procedure on Jan 7 and was allowed to return home on Feb 4. He’s turning 97 this July and is still going strong.
Menara TM, the HQ of Telekom Malaysia Bhd, is put on the market for sale at an undisclosed price according to an advertisement in StarBiz and is seeking bids. Despite being named Menara TM, the 55-storey building is not owned by Telekom Malaysia. Instead, it is owned by Menara ABS Bhd - a trust-owned special-purpose entity incorporated solely for a sale-and-leaseback transaction involving four properties (Menara TM, Menara TM Semarak Wisma TM Taman Desa and TM Cyberjaya Complex) in 2008 via the RM1 bil issuance of Sukuk.
TM said it is in the process of relocating the majority of its corporate offices into its own properties for greater efficiency and accommodating hybrid working conditions. Will Stark Industry be a potential buyer? Having a close resemblance with the Stark Tower, In 2018, TM and Marvel Malaysia collaborated to turn Menara TM into the Stark Tower by projecting the Avengers’ logo onto the building in conjunction with the release of ‘Avengers: Infinity War’.
Why do companies enter into a sales-and-leaseback transaction instead of outright owning the property that it currently is in? Short answer - to unlock and release capital into its core business. Learn more here.
The country’s apex court, the Federal Court has upheld the RM9.64 mil fine imposed on MYEG Commerce Sdn Bhd and MYEG Services Sdn Bhd by the Malaysian Competition Commission (MyCC) for violating competition law and exploiting its dominant position in the market. This is in relation to the sale of mandatory insurance for online applications of Temporary Employment Visit Pass for foreign workers. The fine was first imposed by MyCC on 24 June 2016.
Revenue Group Bhd, the electronic payments firm, is slated to transfer to the Main Market of Bursa Malaysia from the ACE Market on 14 Feb. It first proposed the listing transfer on 5 Nov 2020. The company’s current market cap stands at RM769.3 mil.
A company is allowed to upgrade to the Main Market should it meet the minimum profit track record set by Bursa:
5. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Carousell is in talks to acquire Singapore-based property marketplace operator 99 Group for a cool USD150 million. The acquisition is likely to give a boost to Carousell’s monetisation strategy ahead of its SPAC deal as the tech unicorn is eyeing a Nasdaq listing.
China Evergrande Group’s chief executive officer Xia Jaijun pared his exposure to the embattled developer’s bonds before the company’s default. He sold as much as USD128 mil worth of bonds at prices ranging from about 36 cents on the dollar to 52 cents in late July and early August. Some of the notes he sold now trade at about 10 cents.
Japanese motor industry giant Toyota reported lower operating profit for its 3QFY22 ended Dec 31, 2021, at USD6.8 bil. The carmaker wasn’t spared by the global chip shortage, which affected production. As a result, the world's best-selling carmaker cut its annual production target by 500,000 vehicles to 8.5 mil.
Sri Lanka’s central bank assured the country is committed to honouring all forthcoming debt obligations, despite its foreign exchange reserves having fallen to USD2.36 bil. Sri Lanka has total outstanding sovereign bonds amounting to USD12.55 bil, with USD1 bil of the bonds maturing in July 2022.
Last Friday, during its Independence Day, the president appealed to the country’s expatriates to send money home. The country is facing its worst economic crisis in decades because of Covid-19, with the government estimating a loss of USD14 bil over the last two years.
European scientists claim to have made a major breakthrough on nuclear fusion energy — the energy process that powers the stars. The experiments at the UK-based JET laboratory-produced 59 megajoules of energy over five seconds (11 megawatts of power) — enough to boil about 60 kettles' worth of water!
The power plants of the future based on fusion would produce no greenhouse gases and only very small amounts of short-lived radioactive waste, should nuclear fusion technology become viable. All nuclear plants now are using nuclear fission.
Understand the difference between fusion and fission:
The Russian government has decided to regulate cryptocurrencies after publishing a document setting the principles for the regulation of cryptocurrencies. Just a few weeks ago, the country’s central bank called cryptocurrencies a threat to Russia's financial stability and rife with fraud and asked for a ban on crypto mining and trading. Nekminit — Russia accepts bitcoin for oil.
On another note, JPMorgan’s strategists think the current fair value of bitcoin is USD38,000 based on bitcoin being roughly four times as volatile as gold. The long-term theoretical target for bitcoin is USD150,000. NFA!
6. FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE 👁👁
Samsung has launched its latest Galaxy S smartphones — the S22 Ultra, S22 Plus and S22. On the Samsung Malaysia website, the S22 Ultra starts at RM5,099 while the S22+ and S22 start at RM4,099 and RM3,499, respectively.
Lord of The Rings - without all the visual effects (VFX)
The Church of St George, Lalibela, Ethiopia, carved out of limestone in the 12th century