☕️ Negri Sembilan PH govt to allow all leasehold residential properties to convert to freehold, fulfilling one of its GE14 pledges
Najib Razak - out from jail, back to court for 1MBD-Tanore trial. KJ: govt will not allowed recreational marijuana. Thai PM suspended by court over term limit.
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1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
Six suspects believed to be human traffickers offering fake jobs overseas have been arrested by the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) after Bukit Aman’s special operation conducted with the Labour Department of Peninsular Malaysia, the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Council (Mapo) and the Home Ministry.
The police have received 182 reports on Malaysians duped by fake jobs overseas from 2021 until Aug 18 — 238 victims. 70 have been successfully saved, while 168 are still overseas. The police are working with Foreign Ministry, Aseanpol and Interpol to get them back.
18 roads in the KL city centre will be closed from 6 am to noon on Aug 31 to give way for the National Day celebration. Take public transport if you want to participate in the Merdeka parade on Aug 31.
USD469 mil (RM2.1 bil) worth of classic cars was auctioned in Monterey last weekend, smashing the previous sales record of USD395 mil set in 2015. Over 790 cars were sold — an average price of UDS590,700 per car. The most expensive car sold at the Monterey auction was a 1955 Ferrari 410 Sport Spider — USD22 mil.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Najib Razak gets to leave Kajang prison — only for the 1MDB-Tanore trial. His name continues to dominate the headlines.
The 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB)-Tanore trial is expected to resume in the High Court today. Typically in criminal trials, the accused person needs to be present during proceedings. An order to produce (OTP) would be issued by the court to the Prisons Department to release the accused, in this case, Najib Razak. Najib is charged with four counts of abuse of power and 21 counts of money laundering of RM2.28 billion of 1MDB funds.
Muhammad Shafee Abdullah filed an appeal against the High Court’s decision to dismiss an application by Queen’s Counsel (QC) Jonathan Laidlaw to represent Najib Razak in his final appeal against SRC International Sdn Bhd conviction. A little too late, no?
To the surprise of many, the Prison Department clarified Najib Razak does not get special treatment in prison. Maybe only a constant supply of Super Rings.
After less than 24 hours in jail, Najib Razak already has hundreds of supporters asking for royal intervention to pardon the former prime minister’s corruption conviction. The group by the name “Pertubuhan Jalinan Perpaduan Negara Malaysia” submitted a memorandum to palace officials. Did they have a permit for this gathering? Will the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) bring in these guys for questioning?
On the other hand, Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) started a petition (sign it here)appealing to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah to reject any pardon request for incarcerated former prime minister Najib Razak.
On the RM210 mil fine, Najib can pay it anytime during the 12-year imprisonment. Failure to pay, he will have to serve an additional five years of jail time.
Sorry stoners, no recreational use of cannabis in Malaysia.
However, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin seems to be warming up to the idea of the use of cannabis for medical purposes — which is great news for those who need it most — but he said the government will not allow cannabis for recreational use. He is currently in Bangkok to better understand the clinical evidence and regulatory framework of cannabis use. He assured the government is willing to draw up a robust regulatory framework and clinical practice guidelines.
What year is it?
It isn’t 2017 anymore, but Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad did not rule out a coalition with Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. Covid-19 was bad enough, we do not want to live through the turbulent times of Langkah Sheraton. No, thank you.
Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) raked in a net profit of RM378.06 mil for the second quarter ended June 30, 2022, its highest quarterly net profit in 10 years, mainly contributed by increased revenue from data and Internet services. The telecommunication giant also declared an interim dividend of nine sen per share.
Keep an eye out for O&G counters during this earnings season. Hibiscus Petroleum Bhd posted a four-fold spike YoY in its net profit — RM215.51 mil for 4QFY22 ended June 30, 2022, thanks to strong oil price environment and contributions from its newly acquired assets. Hibiscus expects Brent crude oil to be between USD95 to USD110 per barrel in 2023.
Public Service Announcement (PSA)
Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) said the country might experience thunderstorms from Aug 27 to 30, especially in the evening. Be mindful before heading out this coming weekend.
Mentri Besar of Negri Sembilan, Aminuddin Harun, said all residential property owners in Negri Sembilan whose properties fall under the leasehold category can now apply to convert them to freehold. Janji ditepati! It was one of the pledges made by the state of Pakatan Harapan in its manifesto before the last general election.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Ukraine’s independence day, the six-month anniversary of Russia’s invasion.
24 August marks Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and the 6-month mark since Russia’s initiated its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. In conjunction with its independence day, the White House announced a USD2.98 bil military aid package to acquire weapons and equipment for Ukraine, making it the US’ “biggest tranche of security assistance to date”. This aid came less than a week after another military assistance worth USD775 mil. All in, in a short span of 6 months, the US has contributed USD13.58 bil to Ukraine’s defence against Russia.
Wonder what the world would be like if the US shows the same resolve and urgency towards humanitarian and environmental causes?
Thai PM suspended over term limit.
Thailand’s Constitutional Court has suspended PM Prayut Chan-O-Cha whilst it considers a legal challenge brought on by opposition parties arguing that the PM has reached his 8-year term limit.
The crux of the matter is at what point he started becoming the PM. His supporters argue the clock only starts ticking in 2017 when the new constitution took effect, or even from 2019 election when he officially became the PM. However, opposition parties argued that his time should start in 2014, when the junta overthrew the elected government and Prayut’s time as junta chief should count towards his term.
The Constitutional Court has played an important role in Thai politics — it cancelled the results of the general election twice in 2006 and 2014.
Peru suing Spanish oil giant Repsol for USD4.5 bil over oil spill
An underwater oil pipeline owned by the company caused a spill on 15 Jan, leaking more than 10,000 barrels of oil into the Pacific Ocean, making it the worst ecological disaster around Lima in recent memory. The company denied responsibility and blamed the volcanic eruption in Tonga that caused “anomalous waves”. Apart from the civil lawsuit, prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation against the company.
In May, Repsol said it would cost USD150 mil the firm on clean-up, a fraction of its EUR2.5 bil net income last year. Apart from environmental damage, economic damage inflicted is high, with hundreds of fishermen and hospitality workers losing their livelihood.
Elon Musk’s case against Twitter got stronger thanks to a Twitter whistleblower.
Twitter’s former security chief Peiter Zatko filed an 84-page complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), accusing the company of its failure to maintain stringent security practices and “lying about bots to Elon Musk”. The report highlights quite a number of serious security issues Twitter did not address effectively.
The Washington Post, which broke the news, is in the view that the report “provides little hard evidence”. Worth noting that Zatko is a well-known figure in computer security circles. Some critics say the timing seems opportunistic as Musk is facing a legal battle with Twitter over the same matter. However, Zatko’s lawyer told CNN that his client’s whistleblowing process started even before Musk’s takeover bid became public, and he had not made any contact with Musk.
Endings: death and an altered happy ending
Hedge fund pioneer billionaire Julian Robertson died at age 90 due to cardiac complications. He co-founded Tiger Management in 1980, starting with USD8.8 mil and growing it to more than USD22 bil by the late 1990s and shuttered the firm in 2000. He averaged an annual return of 31.5% for two decades. Apart from his successful performance, he’s well-known for training several generations of prominent fund managers known as Tiger Cubs.
China controls everything — even the ending of a movie. In the new Despicable Me movie “Minions: The Rise of Gru”, Chinese film censors altered the ending showing the villain getting caught and imprisoned rather than escaping in the original cut and that Gru becomes a good guy.
The edits reflect the Chinese government’s push to display moral behaviour in pop culture by its own definition. See the two endings below.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
Disney’s money-making machines
Find it hard to side-park? Watch this tutorial!