☕️ Of PM Anwar's RM170 bil investment from China and Najib Razak's SRC Int'l 4-1 verdict against review
Najib Razak: SRC Int'l chapter ends, IPIC trial starts today. Major conflict of interest of Energy Commission's new chairman. Donald Trump - first former US president to be indicted.
Please accept our apologies for an error in the 31 March 2023 issue where we labelled Nik Nazmi as Youth and Sports Minister. Nik Nazmi is the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of the current government.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
After PM Anwar Ibrahim’s three-day visit to China, the country has managed to secure RM170 billion worth of investment commitments from China from a total of 19 memoranda of understanding (MOU) sealed between businesses of the two countries. China is also Malaysia’s largest trading partner for 14 consecutive years. In 2022, the trade between the two countries registered at USD110.6 billion (RM488 billion). PM Anwar was given a red-carpet treatment. The optics are also played really well — including a round-table meeting with high-profile Chinese investors, which the PM claimed was unprecedented.
An Australian found a 4.6kg rock containing gold worth AUD240,000 while walking around with a budget metal detector in Victoria's goldfields — which were the heart of Australia's gold rush in the 1800s. The 4.6kg rock contained 83 ounces - or about 2.6kg - of gold. Australia is estimated to have the world's largest gold reserves, and many of the world's biggest nuggets were found in Australia. Time to book your ticket to Down Under. If you’re a Malaysian, good luck with the visa application.
Bank Negara Malaysia governor Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus assured that Malaysian banks are well-capitalised and she does not foresee any similar banking crisis brewing in Malaysia. Additional Tier 1 (AT1) bonds issued by Malaysian banks are also ranked higher than equity holdings in the case of resolution. Malaysian entities hold a total of USD176.26 million worth of AT1 bonds, according to Bloomberg data.
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3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
All about Najib Razak and 1Malaysia Development Bhd
4-1 verdict by a five-person Federal Court bench ends former PM Najib Abdul Razak’s plea to review the Federal Court’s decision last year to uphold the guilty verdict. He will continue to serve his 12 years jail term in the RM42 million SRC International corruption case. Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Abdul Rahman Sebli was the only one who dissented. Sebli thought Najib had been deprived of a fair hearing as he had no legal representation when the appeal was heard and dismissed last year. Furthermore, it could not be proven that Najib’s 11th-hour change of counsel was not done in good faith (i.e. it was a ploy).
What’s left that Najib can do? He can still submit another review. Najib’s lead counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said the dissenting judgement opens another avenue for a second review application to be filed. Another one — a royal pardon, but this process isn’t easy. AskLegal.my explains how royal pardon works.
The final score? 13-1. 1 High Court, 3 Court of Appeal and 9 Federal Court judges had found Najib guilty.
Najib’s daughter Nooryana Najwa is still relenting — she shared an article from Malaysia Gazette that revealed an unverified letter from the MACC which allegedly found judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali in breach of the Judge’s Code of Ethics.
While the dust of one has finally settled — another trial begins for the former PM. In this new trial — relating to Abu Dhabi-based International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) — he is facing six charges of criminal breach of trust (CBT) involving the misappropriation of RM6.64 billion of government funds for the repayment of 1MDB debts. Former Treasury secretary-general Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah is also facing similar charges.
An apparent conflict of interest ignored by the government
The appointment of Rashdan Yusof as Energy Commission chief last month has frustrated industry players and businesses as it is said to be a conflict of interest. Yusof is the deputy group managing director of Gamuda Bhd, which is also involved in renewable energy. As recently as December 2022, the company said it was spending RM2 bil on growing its renewable energy business. That’s akin to asking a CEO of local banks also to become the Governor of BNM. How did such an obvious conflict of interest got approved by the appointment committee?
DRB-Hicom Bhd to strengthen its ties with Geely
DRB-Hicom Bhd and its automotive partner, China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (Geely), have signed a heads of agreement (HOA) to reinforce the next phase of their collaboration for the development of the Automotive High-Tech Valley (AHTV) in Tanjong Malim as Malaysia’s next-generation vehicle hub. The AHTV is expected to bring in RM32 billion worth of investments over the next 10 years. Proton will also be moving its manufacturing facilities to Tanjong Malim. This is one of the MoUs witnessed by PM Anwar in China.
Local manufacturers who produce liquid or gel products containing nicotine are now given until April 30 this year to register their manufacturing activities with the Customs Department. Otherwise, they will be charged a compound for the offence of late registration. The registration is to ensure smooth tax collection by May 2023 on the RM2 billion industry.
Despite the legitimisation of fireworks and firecrackers, the Home Ministry prohibits the sale of these items online. Only authorised vendors are allowed to sell them, provided they’ve followed the guidelines fixed by the ministry.
The new LEAP market transfer framework takes effect on April 1, according to regulator Bursa Malaysia. Under the new framework, a public listed company (PLC) must have been listed on the LEAP Market for at least two years, assessed and considered by a sponsor and undertaking a public issue of shares on the ACE market to qualify for a transfer of listing.
The Health Ministry shared a post via Facebook reminding people that civil servants are banned from “illegal gatherings” yesterday. Contract doctors are expected to walk out between today to Wednesday in protest of shitty terms they have been given. Expect longer waiting times at public healthcare services.
If you’re looking to see panda cubs Yi Yi and Sheng Yi at Zoo Negara, you better make a trip to the national zoo soon, as they will be sent back to China in May. Zoo Negara deputy director Rosly@Rahmat Ahmat Lana said the Chinese government has given the green light for Malaysia to return the two panda cubs in the middle of May. In case you didn’t know, these pandas cost RM2.25 mil per annum to maintain. They may or may not have contributed to Zoo Negara’s financial crisis.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Donald Trump indicted, first former US president charged with crime
The former US president has been indicted over a USD130,000 “hush money” payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election in exchange for her silence on Trump and Daniel’s sexual encounter. The affair took place in 2006 when Trump’s wife at the time, Melania, had just given birth.
It’s not illegal to pay someone compensation in exchange for a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). In the case of Trump, as this payment was made a month before the presidential election, the payment could amount to a campaign violation.
Playing the same card as Muhyiddin Yassin, Republicans and Trump’s camp have slammed this as “political prosecution”. This action did benefit Trump in certain ways — Trump’s digital trading card NFT spiked in value (see Trump NFT collection here) and boosted his leading position by 26 points in the Republican presidential primary. Trump is attempting to run for the presidency again in 2024.
Read: What is an indictment and the difference with being charged
Business of Sports
Football clubs avoiding taxes like avoiding tackles
Football clubs in England’s top division have been accused of avoiding tax on an industrial scale, with the Premier League alone accounting for GBP470 mil (USD580.2 mil) in lost taxes since 2015. The clubs created artificial contracts to avoid employment taxes and value-added tax (VAT) on the large commissions paid to football agents.
Manchester United’s ~GBP1 bil debt (USD1.23 bil)
Man U just released its second-quarter results to 31 Dec. The football club owe GBP969.6 mil through a combination of debt, bank borrowings and outstanding transfer fees. Revenue for the quarter came in at GBP167.3 mil with a measly net profit of GBP6.3 mil. Despite its financials, the club’s majority owner, the Glazers family, will not accept fewer than GBP6 bil to sell the club.
View: Man U’s Q2 FY2023 quarterly results summary
NBA star Stephen Curry x Under Armour (UA)
The NBA superstar and sports brand announced a new long-term partnership that last long past Curry’s playing career. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Curry, 35, will take on the role of president of UA’s Curry Brand and will work across categories such as basketball, golf, women etc. Curry first signed with UA in 2013 in a deal worth USD4 mil a year. Curry is amongst NBA’s top players, known for his 3-pointer scoring shots.
Curry is making big bucks — apart from this branding deal, in 2021, he extended his contract with the Golden State Warriors for four seasons in a deal worth USD215 mil. That’s an average of USD53.8 mil just from his basketball career. UA is banking on Curry to replicate’s Nike’s success with Michael Jordan. The Jordan brand alone generated approximately USD5 bil for Nike in 2022. UA as a whole did USD5.7 bil in revenue in its financial year 2022.
Watch: Stephen Curry’s Best Plays of the Decade
Barcelona in talks with Lionel Messi to return to Nou Camp
If the stars are aligned, Messi will make a return to Barcelona. He’s currently on a 2-year contract with Paris St Germain, expiring this summer. In 2021, Messi agreed to stay in Barcelona with a pay cut of 50% but was dependent on the club selling players following new financial rules, but the deal did not happen in time and the club blamed La Liga.
Read: Why did Lionel Messi leave Barcelona?
Plants do make ultrasonic sounds that humans can’t hear
Scientists have just confirmed the premise in Roald Dahl’s “The Sound Machine” that we learned back in high school. A new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Cell found that plants emit high-pitched clicks when they are stressed by droughts, infections or cuts. It is yet to be determined how plants make these sounds and whether plants feel any pain. You can hear the sound here in a human audible range.
Read study: Sounds emitted by plants under stress are airborne and informative
Twitter released to the public parts of its source code, shedding light on the variables that drive content recommendation on the social media platform. See the tweet here to take a peak at the source code and the variables to boost your tweet.
Finland, for decades being neutral on NATO, will be joining the alliance in a few days’ time, driven by concern over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The nordic country shares more than 800 miles of land border with Russia.
Lemon8, a video and photo-sharing social media app, is quickly rising in popularity in the US. The app has been described as if “Instagram and Pinterest had a baby”. Eventually, the US Congress will seek to grill Lemon8 as well - the app is owned by ByteDance, the same owner of TikTok.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
PM Anwar’s tweet back in 2018.Pelaburan China di Malaysia di bawah Najib.komen anda? (@zunarkartunis) pelaburan yes.Jajah ekonomi NO(adm)
2. “Quarter year crisis” by themokumentaryA post shared by Mokumentary (@themokumentary)
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