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  • ☕️ 1MDB & Cos. to sue Rosmah Mansor for RM1.63 bil over luxury goods

☕️ 1MDB & Cos. to sue Rosmah Mansor for RM1.63 bil over luxury goods

Unity Govt. retains KKB, PMX thanks UMNO, BN for support. KL Sentral redevelopment project to start end-2024. RIP Jim Simons, legendary hedge fund manager that made USD100 bil+ returns.


Information as of 0715 UTC+8 on May 13, 2024.


RM2,100 — the minimum living wage recommended by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)’s ‘The Living on the Edge Key Findings’. The recommendation factored in the cost of living, poverty line income, median wage and productivity. This could be the key to eradicating poverty in the country. Let’s delve into the harsh reality of poverty, as defined by the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) in their Household Income, Expenditure and Basic Amenities Survey (HIES) 2022. Bank Negara Malaysia’s 2017 Annual Report recommended a living wage of RM2,700 for an unmarried adult in urban areas. Former Human Resources Minister V. Sivakumar previously back in March 2023 said the government was identifying the best model for living wage — little progress since.

Hardcore poverty, a term that should stir our empathy, is when a household earns less than RM1,198 per month, barely enough to afford the minimum basic amount of food for a balanced and nutritious diet. Absolute poverty is when a household can't meet the minimum requirements not only for food but also for other non-food items such as clothing, education, housing, and transportation. To avoid this, a household needs to earn at least RM2,589 per month. Btw, all these figures are yet to be inflation-adjusted to reflect the reality of our weakening currency.

On the other end of the scale — you have the ultra-high-net-worth folks who splurge their money on the finer things in life. In April 2024, a portrait of a young woman by Gustav Klimt that was long believed to be lost was sold at an auction in Vienna for EUR30 mil (RM153.1 mil). It was one of Gustav Klimt’s last works, the “Portrait of Miss Liser” was painted in 1917, the year before Klimt died of a stroke. The painting was auctioned on behalf of the current owners, Austrian private citizens, and the legal heirs of Adolf and Henriette Lieser, one of whom is believed to have commissioned the painting. Who is Gustav Klimt?
Read: 21 Facts (of) Gustav Klimt. NSFW.


Unity Government retains KKB seat
PM Anwar Ibrahim-led coalition government via Pang Sock Tao from the Democratic Action Party (DAP) managed to secure a comfortable win in the Kuala Kubu Bharu by-election, which previously touted as the first domino in the purported eventual fall of the current government. In the non-Malay majority seat of 40,226 voters, although the total turnout last Saturday was lower than the turnout during the 2023 state election (61.5% vs 69.3%), Pang was still able to secure a better majority % (15.8% vs 15.1%).

And whom did PM Anwar attribute this win to? One of them is UMNO, of course. PM Anwar praised his comrades UMNO and Barisan Nasional (BN) for helping to rally the Malays to vote for the DAP candidate, which evidently led to Pang successfully securing the majority votes from six out of eight polling centres in the KKB by-election.

Credit: Wikipedia

Enough about politics, let’s hear some military news:

  • Following the delay in delivering four Sikorsky UH-60A+ Black Hawk aircraft worth RM187 mil to the Royal Malaysian Armed Forces, Defence Minister Mohamed Khalid Nordin stated that his ministry would review the lease agreement on whether to give more time to the appointed vendor Aerotree Defence & Services Sdn Bhd (and the subsequent fines to be imposed for the delay) or to terminate the contract (and appoint new vendor). The leased Black Hawk helicopters are slated to replace the suspended Sikorsky S-61A-4 Nuri and to be stationed in rural Sabah and Sarawak.

  • Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) is confident that Malaysia will add another 18 FA-50M light combat aircraft on top of the country’s current RM4 bil order for 18 FA-50M jets (RM222.2 mil per unit on average). KAI’s regional manager for Asia Park Shang-shin anticipated that negotiations for the second batch of aircraft would start in the second half of 2026 and would be completed by early 2027.

Putrajaya to consult with Canberra on the new policy on visa student
Higher Education Minister Dr Zambry Abd Kadir said that he will organise a meeting with his Australian counterpart to find out the details of the new policy on visa students. Previously, the Australian Government announced that starting from May 10, international students must show proof of having at least AUD29,710 (RM97,787) in savings to obtain a visa, the second increase in seven months.

Australia is always seen as the cheaper option for overseas studies compared to the US and the UK. Given that Malaysia is included in this list of countries affected by this new policy, the preferred overseas study destinations will probably shift back to the US and UK. Although this is not sponsored content, Malaysians who secured a university placement in the US and UK or have already commenced their studies there can apply for PETRONAS’ Education Sponsorship (Mid-Education). The deadline is this Friday and you can find more about the scholarship here.


  • Bad news for Mutiara Damansara residents as the traffic will not be getting any better as Boustead Properties Bhd CEO Khairul Azizi Ismail announced that eCurve mall will be demolished beginning in 2Q2024 to make way for a new residential project named The Lines with an estimated gross development value (GDV) of RM500-700 mil. The project will feature four towers – three with 749 units targeting the open market and one with 250 units designated under the Servis Apartment Mampu Milik (SAMM) affordable housing scheme. The tower stands at 67 storeys. We will end on this note and bid rest in peace to the traffic for all Mutiara Damansara residents.

  • Transport Minister Anthony Loke said that the physical redevelopment project for the Kuala Lumpur Sentral area to address traffic congestion and increase commuter use will start by the end of 2024. At the moment, the negotiations for the redevelopment plan of KL Sentral are still ongoing. Under the public-private partnership model, Railway Assets Corporation (RAC) will own the land and the private sector will redevelop the area.

  • InNature Bhd, the operator of The Body Shop in Malaysia (120+ stores) intends to completely takeover Blu Restaurant Sdn Bhd from Aquablu Technologies Sdn Bhd, Adventuria Sdn Bhd and Aquawalk Sdn Bhd for RM21.25mil. The planned deal by Innature is a move to diversify its business from retailing cosmetic and personal care products to other sectors, including the food and beverages (F&B) services sector. Blu Restaurant has the exclusive rights to open and operate restaurants under the ‘Burger & Lobster’ brand in Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam. However, this deal excludes its first outlet in Genting Highlands.


  1. Wife of incarcerated (or is he?) former PM Najib Razak, Rosmah Mansor, has a USD346 mil (RM1.63 bil) civil lawsuit coming her way from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), SRC International Sdn Bhd and nine subsidiaries. Details of the civil lawsuit stated that the plaintiffs argued that Rosmah had utilised the companies’ funds to purchase luxury items such as jewellery, watches and handbags.

  2. The more you know, the better you are. In today's interesting fact, apparently, the Dayak community in Sarawak can pass down shotguns from parents to their children. This provision aligns with local customs and needs but is also subject to the condition that it is re-registered and the applicant passes a health and safety screening. At the moment, there were 45,568 shotgun owners in Sarawak, literally the decent size of a small country’s army. Neighbouring country Brunei currently only has 7,200 active personnel.


OCBC to privatise Great Eastern Holdings
OCBC bank has announced a SGD1.4 bil bid to take its insurance arm Great Eastern Holdings private. The voluntary unconditional general offer is for the 11.56% stake in Great Eastern that it does not own. The offer price is SGD25.60 per share, representing a 36.9% premium over the closing price of SGD18.70 on May 9.

Analysts think that OCBC’s excess capital puts it in a good position for the deal, considering the bank’s lack of major acquisitions compared with its local peers. OCBC recently paid SGD191 mil to acquire Commonwealth Bank Australia’s banking subsidiary in Indonesia.

A little-known Bursa-listed company, Sungei Bagan Rubber Co (Malaya) Bhd, stands to be a beneficiary of this Great Eastern deal as it owns 1% of the insurer valued at RM426.88 mil based on OCBC’s offer price. Interestingly, Sg Bagan’s stake is worth more than its market cap of RM371.46 mil. Potential dividend windfall for its shareholders?

More yay and nays of the Artificial Intelligence (AI):

  1. Griefbots AI could haunt relatives from beyond the grave

    AI bots also known as “griefbots” or “deadbots” are a potential risk to haunt people beyond the grave but not in a spooky way. Designed for mourners over the loss of loved ones, these bots use generative AI to allow people to have text and voice conversations with the deceased, using their past digital footprints to conjure a likeness. Creepy much? However, a new study out of the University of Cambridge cited that this growing “digital afterlife industry” could cause serious psychological harm to those in mourning if left unchecked. AI ethicists also warn that it could also one day push ads on relatives or confuse children. To counter this, researchers are suggesting an “OFF” button to disable it, as well as visible disclaimers about risks, restrictions that bar children from using them, and an emphasis on "mutual consent" for both the deceased and users.

  2. AI cameras tested in Cannes ahead of the summer Olympics

    The annual Cannes Film Festival has begun and the local authorities have deployed state-of-the-art security using artificial intelligence as a test for potential applications at the Paris Olympics this July. As many as 17 experimental cameras equipped with AI technology are installed and are expected to "identify events or behaviours deemed suspicious" and help detect abandoned packages, weapons and people in distress. Apparently Cannes town hall has been asking to implement them since 2019. Thanks to the recent changes in surveillance laws introduced for the Olympics, the festival now has increased security surveillance in addition to its already tightly secured event.

Geomagnetic solar storms dazzle the world with aurora sightings
The biggest geomagnetic storm in two decades, occurring due to solar flares sending highly-charged plasma into space, bedazzled the world in a stunning display of aurora borealis and australis on Saturday. Many reported it visible in rare areas across the northern and southern hemispheres and even in the desert city of Mexicali in Mexico. The beauty comes with significant danger - authorities have warned that the solar storm can also hit power grids, causing outages and disrupting satellite services used for communications, global positioning, navigation, and timing services as well as high-frequency radio waves.
View: In pictures: Northern Lights dazzle around the world

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) in Australia forecasted a G4 (severe) level event, a measure of global activity that refers to fluctuations in Earth’s magnetic field and ranges from G1 (minor) to G5 (extreme). BOM issued warnings informing government and critical infrastructure operators so they can take action to mitigate potential impacts on infrastructure and essential services. The level eventually hit G5 on Saturday morning, as reported by the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center in the US.


  1. 28 dead and several missing in Indonesia flash floods and Mount Merapi cold lava flow 

    West Sumatra was hit with hours of heavy rain on Saturday that eventually triggered a flash flood and cold lava flow from the most active volcano in Sumatra, Mount Merapi. At least 28 people including several children are reported dead, and many others went missing due to the disaster. Cold lava, also known as lahar, is volcanic material like ash, sand and pebbles carried down a volcano’s slopes by rain. Mount Merapi last erupted in December 2023, spewing ash towering to 3,000 metres into the sky and killing at least 24 climbers.

  2. Not all ultra-processed food (UPF) are created equal - 4 types are linked with early death

    Processed meats, artificially or sugar-sweetened drinks, dairy-based desserts and sugary breakfast foods are linked with dying earlier with any cause, as found by a recent study published by the BMJ (British Medical Journal). Processed meat carries the highest risk of them all. Ultra-processed food is typically food that contains ingredients not found in a regular kitchen and is made using industrialised techniques. The good news is that the link between UPFs and death appears to be reduced if a person's overall diet is healthy, and eating as few UPFs as possible will likely be beneficial for long-term health. There’s a saying - don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognise as food.


  1. RIP Jim Simons, the founder of hedge fund Renaissance Technologies. A mathematician who knew nothing about finance and hired STEM professionals (engineers, astronomers, physicists etc.) built RenTech into one of the greatest hedge funds with the wildest returns ever - see its unbelievable returns here. Imagine this - during the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2007/08, its flagship fund made returns of 136.1% and 152,1% in 2007 and 2008 respectively. Simons’ net worth is estimated to be about USD31 bil according to Forbes.

  1. A man built Rome’s Colosseum using chocolate.