☕️ Family Feuds - Casino and Highway Edition

NFSW: 17 people die on Malaysian roads every day. Personal finance hack - Malaysian lives in car to save RM2k/month. Samsung investigated for radiation exposure while facing down union strike


Information as of 0720 UTC+8 on May 30, 2024.


During an engagement with media practitioners, Transport Minister Anthony Loke revealed that, on average, 17 people die on Malaysian roads every day. The event, hosted by the Road Transport Department (JPJ), aimed to raise awareness among media professionals about the importance of road safety in reducing fatalities, injuries, and other losses. In 2023, over 600,000 accidents were recorded, resulting in approximately 6,400 deaths, with around two-thirds of the fatalities involving motorcyclists, including pillion riders. Drive and ride carefully, peeps.

The napkin on which Barcelona committed to sign a 13-year-old Lionel Messi has been auctioned for GBP762,400 (RM4.56 mil). The starting price was GBP300,000 for the 16.5 x 16.5cm laminated and framed napkin. Signed in blue ink in December 2000, the napkin bears the pledge from then Barcelona director Carles Rexach to sign Messi, along with signatures from transfer adviser Josep Minguella and agent Horacio Gaggioli, who recommended Messi. London-based Bonhams conducted the online auction on behalf of Gaggioli. View the napkin here.

Messi joined Barcelona a month after the deal was agreed, becoming their record goalscorer and is often regarded as the greatest player of all time. He made his first-team debut at 16 and scored a record 672 goals in 778 games for the club. Messi won 10 La Liga titles and four Champions League trophies with Barcelona before moving to Paris St-Germain in 2021. The 36-year-old World Cup winner now plays for Inter Miami.


Family Feuds — Casino and Highway Edition

Drama ensues at NagaCorp
A dispute has emerged between the heirs of the late gaming billionaire Tan Sri Dr. Chen Lip Keong at NagaCorp Ltd, which operates the NagaWorld casino in Cambodia. Lip Keong, who passed away in Dec 2023, controlled 69.26% of NagaCorp through The Sakai Trust. NagaCorp’s market cap stood at USD2.53 bil as of last Friday. The feud involves half-brothers of the Chen family, Chen Yiy Fon and Chen Cherchi. Yiy Fon, who became NagaCorp's executive director and CEO in December 2023, replaced Cherchi, who was recently removed as CEO of Finance and Treasury. The removal hints at deeper conflicts among the heirs despite attempts to mediate. The family feud could impact these well-established operations and future plans for the legendary NagaCorp in years to come. Remember the Genting inheritance issue?

Drama coming to an end at Anih Bhd
The Kuala Lumpur-Karak Highway and the East Coast Highway Phase 1 (LPT1) are operated by Anih Bhd. Anih Bhd was 51% owned by the estate of Dr Nik Hussain Abdul Rahman, while Azmil Khalili Khalid and his wife, Nik Fuziah Nik Hussain, who is also Nik Hussain’s eldest daughter, owned the remaining 49%.

The legal battle between the late Nik Hussain and Azmil began in 2018 when Nik Hussain claimed that Azmil and Nik Fuziah held shares in Anih and junior bonds related to the highways as his trustees. Azmil and Nik Fuziah countered, alleging an “underlying partnership” with Nik Hussain dating back to when Nik Hussain and Azmil founded MTD Capital, the ultimate holding company of Metramac Corp Sdn Bhd and MTD Prime Sdn Bhd. In 2011, Anih obtained the first phase of the East Coast Expressway and KL-Karak toll concessions after acquiring Metramac Corp and MTD Prime for RM3.25 bil.

Anih’s shareholding restructuring has been approved by the government. Azmil is set to raise his ownership in Anih from 49% to 100% by the third quarter of this year. This move has the potential to resolve the legal dispute between the families.

Lagenda Properties Bhd in hot soup?
Lagenda Properties Bhd opened 12.7% lower than the previous closing following news on Tuesday about an investigation of Malay reserve land conversion. The stock hit the limit down at RM1.17, prompting Bursa Malaysia to suspend intraday short-selling on Lagenda shares. The exchange also asked the company to explain the unusual market activity (UMA) arising from the sharp fall in its share price. Then Lagenda reported that one of its senior staff members was detained by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) as part of an investigation into the subdivision of Malay reserve land in Manjung, Perak. However, the group reiterated that this MACC investigation is “isolated from Lagenda’s business operations” — aka business as usual for the group.
Learn: What is a ‘limit up’ and a ‘limit down’?

On Tuesday, a managing director of a real estate company was detained by the MACC for an investigation into the subdivision of 650 hectares of Malay reserve land to non-Malays in Mukim Manjong, Setiawan, Perak. The 44-year-old suspect’s company allegedly divided Malay reserve land into non-Malay lots, selling them as house and bungalow lots. The MACC found 317 subdivision titles from the 650 hectares with changed ownership. This detention follows the arrest of a former deputy registrar of titles at the Perak Land and Mines Office, who was charged in the Ipoh Sessions Court last month.

Quick Business Bites

  1. Capital A Bhd made more money than a year ago, but reported losses
    Capital A Bhd reported a net loss of RM91.55 mil in the first quarter ended March 31, 2024 (1QFY2024), compared to a net profit of RM57.09 mil a year ago, due to foreign exchange losses. However, its revenue surged to RM5.24 bil from RM2.53 bil, driven by a strong recovery in demand for both domestic and international travel. Fortunately, EBITDA is positive at RM1.03 mil for 1QFY2024. View earnings here.

  2. Axiata Group Bhd’s 1QFY2024 dampened by forex losses and higher net finance costs
    Axiata Group Bhd’s net profit for the first quarter ended March 31, 2024, decreased to RM60.03 mil from RM73.85 mil in the same period last year. However, revenue increased to RM5.66 bil from RM4.99 bil. The group attributed the strong revenue growth to excellent performance across all operating companies except for Link Net, while the lower net profit was due to forex losses and higher net finance costs. View earnings here.


  1. MACC has a superhero — no, really
    To raise the awareness of anti-graft among school-going children, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) decided to publish a comic book titled “Wira Anti Rasuah.” The comic book is a joint venture between MACC and the Malaysia Institute of Translation and Books (ITBM), based on Bribe Busters: A Trace Comic Book, which was originally published by Trace International, a US-based organisation that promotes international anti-corruption standards on a global scale. Wonder who is the protagonist in the book. View the new superhero that’s going to change the future of Malaysia here.

  2. Live in a car and save RM2,000
    Harian Metro reported that Mushamir Mustafa has been living in his Proton Iriz since January 2024 to save up to RM2,000 a month. The money saved was previously spent on petrol, tolls, parking fees, utility bills and other commitments. His modus operandi — sleep in the car parked near his office on weekdays and return home on weekends to be with his mother. You can have a tour of his car below.

  1. KL Tower found new owners
    LSH Best Builders Sdn Bhd and Service Master (M) Sdn Bhd have been jointly awarded a contract for Kuala Lumpur Tower (KL Tower) management ownership for the next 20 years, according to Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil. In December 2022, Fahmi announced that his ministry would examine the acquisition of KL Tower's management from Telekom Malaysia (TM) through its subsidiary Menara Kuala Lumpur Sdn Bhd (MKLSB) by Hydroshoppe Sdn Bhd. Days later, TM confirmed its decision to withdraw from its long-term concessionary operating and maintenance of KL Tower.


Gaza, Rafah, and Biden's Gaffe
The Biden administration has ruled that the current Israeli operations in the city of Rafah do not amount to a “major ground operation”. This means that the invasion of the city, including the seizing of a strategically important hill, does not cross a red line laid down by President Joe Biden, which would have triggered a change in US policy. Biden’s own rules were that he would limit weapons supplies to Israel if it entered Rafah’s “population centres”. According to White House spokesman John Kirby, a major ground operation would involve Israel moving in with “large units, large numbers of troops, in columns and formations in some sort of coordinated manoeuvre against multiple targets on the ground”. Apparently, aerial bombardment and tanks in the city now do not count. On that note, the Israeli embassy in Mexico was set ablaze when clashes broke out between police and demonstrators calling for “urgent action for Rafah”.

That there has been no change to US policy also suggests Biden will be moving forward with a USD1 bil weapons shipment to Israel, though the deal still requires the approval of Congress. The shipment is said to include USD700 mil in tank ammunition, USD500 mil in military vehicles, and USD60 mil in mortar rounds. A combination of the deal likely going through alongside Biden’s warnings or advice to Israel failing to achieve any visible result has led to pundits saying Biden will appear weak to voters, harming his chances in the upcoming election.

Uncle Sam, where’s the red line?

Samsung investigated for radiation exposure while facing down union strike
The Asian nation’s nuclear safety authorities launched the investigation after two of the tech giant’s workers were exposed to radiation at Samsung’s plant in Giheung, south of Seoul. Operations have been suspended as the exact cause is being determined. Samsung stated that the workers’ hands were accidentally exposed to X-rays, with abnormal symptoms on their fingers, though blood tests returned normal.

In another Samsung event unconnected to the investigation, the National Samsung Electronics Union will be escalating strike action next week to stage a walkout over demands for higher wages. The union, which has 28,000 members – about 20% of Samsung’s workforce – will stop work for one day on June 7 as part of broader protest measures, affecting all company sites across the country. Should this go through, it would mark the first-ever walkout by South Korean workers at Samsung.

Meanwhile, North Korea sent hundreds of balloons loaded with rubbish and faeces across the border into South Korea as a response to the latter’s propaganda campaign also using balloons. Pyongyang sent a prior warning to Seoul, who “sternly warned” North Korea to stop.

AI Affairs

  1. PwC to become OpenAI's largest enterprise customer

    PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) will be rolling out ChatGPT Enterprise to its 75,000 US and 26,000 UK employees while also providing the generative AI chatbot aimed at large companies as the product’s first reseller. However, no details were provided on the financial terms of the deal. PwC had previously stated it plans to invest USD1 bil in generative AI technology, and the agreement with OpenAI appears to build upon that plan.

  2. Ex-OpenAI board member offers first-hand account of CEO ouster

    According to former board member Helen Toner, OpenAI’s board only learned of the existence of ChatGPT when they saw it on Twitter, as she shared her first detailed account of the backstory behind the firing and rehiring of OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. The account painted Altman as a manipulative executive who fostered a toxic environment, with Toner sharing that one of the reasons behind Altman’s firing was two OpenAI executives approaching the board with reports of “psychological abuse”, complete with screenshots and documentation. She also attributed Altman’s rehiring four days after dismissal to employees being told that the company would collapse without him. OpenAI responded with a reference to a statement issued by current board chair Bret Taylor, which signalled disappointment that Toner is revisiting the issue. Here’s a bit of her account of the incident, with the whole TED AI Show podcast here.


  1. Pope Francis apologises over reported homophobic slur 
    The apology comes after reports that he used extremely derogatory language towards gay men in a conversation with bishops behind closed doors. The word used is frociaggine, which translates in English to a six-letter word that starts with ‘F’ and rhymes with ‘maggot’. This is doubly shocking since Pope Francis has often spoken publicly of being respectful towards gay people. Who outed him though?

  2. Tesla rival BYD claims new hybrid cars can go over 2,000 km without stopping
    BYD claims a new hybrid powertrain system lets its hybrids have nearly twice the range of some of its rivals in the US. The system is set to launch on two recently revealed sedans, allowing BYD to take advantage of consumers' increased interest in hybrid vehicles due to the high prices of fully electric vehicles.


  1. Malaysia has two pandas in Zoo Negara — Xing Xing and Liang Liang — which were loaned to the Malaysian government in 2014 for 10 years to mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Malaysia and China. The duo are supposed to be returned to China in 2024. It has left many memories, but most importantly, the pandas also created a famous icon.

  1. Is democracy becoming a thing of the past? According to the expert assessments of country experts, elections in countries are becoming less meaningful, free, or fair. It’s an unprecedented rate of democratic erosion.

  1. The AI frenzy is still hot as Nvidia Corp added a staggering USD470 bil to its market cap in just 3 days after its earnings announcement. Check out the table below, listing the world’s most valuable company. Nvidia is going to overtake Apple soon.