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☕️ To perform exclusively in Singapore, Taylor Swift offered USD2-3 mil per show

Your next business idea - Malaysian orchids could be a RM4 bil industry. 3 Msian NGO leaders on FBI Terrorist Screening Centre list. Qatari PM: Israel-Palestine: ceasefire talks not promising


Information as of 0730 UTC+8 on Feb 19, 2024.


THB100 mil (RM13.4 mil) per show — the price paid by the Singapore government to ensure that Taylor Swift ONLY performs in Singapore for her upcoming Era tour in South East Asia, according to Thailand Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin. Thavisin got the insight from global concert promoter Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG). Is it worth the investment of SGD22.6 mil? Well, an associate professor in Singapore estimated that the Coldplay concert brought in SGD96 mil to the country in tourism dollars based on 30% of the 200,000 concert-goers spending about SGD1,600 during their three days stay on the island. If we apply the same logic to Taylor Swift’s 330,000 tickets over 6 days in Singapore, that’s easily SGD158.4 mil in additional revenue. Worth it.

Have you ever wondered how many people does it take to keep a conspiracy alive? Just over 400,000 people, according to Oxford University physicist and cancer biologist David Robert Grimes. Grimes created a formula to estimate the lifespan of conspiracy theories based on the number of conspirators, time, and likelihood of a whistle-blower. How was the figure derived? Grimes took the Apollo 11 moon landing as an example. For the moon landing conspiracy to remain a secret, an estimated 411,000 people — the number of NASA employees in 1965 — would need to keep quiet. Moreover, Grimes estimates that the “hoax” should have been exposed within 3.68 years.

Exporting Malaysian orchids has the potential to contribute up to RM4 bil per year to Malaysia's floriculture industry, thanks to the high demand from other countries, according to Mohamad Nizam Malik, the head of the Department of Agriculture Floriculture Industry Unit. To meet this demand, Malaysia needs to cultivate at least 120 hectares of orchids. Meeting Dubai’s demand alone requires sending at least 50 containers of orchids every day. The floriculture industry earned RM417.3 mil through exports in 2021, up from RM403 mil in 2020, according to the Department’s previous statement. Looking for a new career? An orchid farm could be your next bet!

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Transportation news

  1. Transport Minister Anthony Loke told the media that Prasarana Malaysia Berhad will be demanding RM38 mil in compensation from the project developer responsible for the damages to the structures of the Bandaraya LRT station. The RM38 mil price tag would include the cost of repairing the damages and the cost to mitigate the operation disruption. Loke stated that previously, the ministry instructed Prasarana to adopt the pay-and-claim method — to repair the damages first before proceeding with the legal measures against the relevant party.
    The RM38 mil is a relatively small price tag if we take into consideration that the stretch of the railway alignment from Bandaraya LRT to Masjid Jamek LRT was closed for about a year and the number of people it affected. According to Prasarana, for the first three quarters of 2023, about 36.82 mil passengers used the Ampang Line, which houses the damaged stretch of the railway.

Credits: Prasarana Malaysia Berhad

  1. The Italy-based manufacturer, Blackshape Aircraft, stated that the all-carbon fibre body, two-seater BK160 Gabriel aircraft, the same model that was involved in the aircraft crash in Kapar, was under a ‘no-fly order’. Blackshape issued the no-fly order on October 25, 2023, based on the grounds of the ‘impossibility of verifying the condition of use and maintenance of the aircraft’ and had sent multiple reminders to its distributors. In response to the statement by the aircraft manufacturer, the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) said that it did not receive such an order from Blackshape as reported.
    CAAM CEO Norazman Mahmud also defended the Transport Ministry’s statement that the plane was airworthy when it was flying on the day. Norazman added that if such a no-fly order was issued for safety reasons, the manufacturer would need to inform the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) - and the agency would instruct all States of Register who have the aircraft in their respective registry, including Malaysia.

Three NGO leaders are in hot waters
According to a leaked letter from the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the ministry banned three individuals from three separate Islamic non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Malaysia from taking part in Op Ihsan, which oversees all humanitarian aid from Malaysia to Gaza. The ban was enforced as the three individuals were listed on the United States' Terrorist Screening Centre (TSC) by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The recipient of the leaked letter, Op Ihsan secretariat chairman Jismi Johari, confirmed that he received the letter dated February 15, 2024. The recently prosecuted Aman Palestin Bhd CEO Awang Suffian Awang Piut was one of the three individuals banned from Op Ihsan.

Hot weather spell over the weekend
Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) announced that 10 locations in Malaysia recorded alert-level hot weather on Saturday. The ten areas were Langkawi Island, Kota Setar, Yan, Pendang, Pokok Sena, Sik, Baling in Kedah; Seberang Perai Utara in Penang and Kuala Kangsar, Perak and Beaufort, Sabah. MetMalaysia claimed that this phenomenon may be caused by the final phase of the northeast monsoon, which led to the absence of rain in most places, as no rain = sweating hot weather. The alert level refers to a daily maximum temperature of 35 to 37 degrees Celsius for at least three consecutive days.

Not so fun and steamy fact — a small town in Perlis called Chuping recorded the hottest ever recorded temperature in Malaysia on April 9, 1998, registering an insane 40.1 degrees Celcius, no thanks to the 1997 - 1998 El Nino phenomenon.

Business News

  1. Shah Alam Stadium’s demolition to cost RM35 mil
    Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB) confirmed that the company has been appointed by Menteri Besar Selangor Inc (MBI) to demolish the dilapidated Shah Alam Stadium at a provisional price tag of RM35 mil. MRCB is also the company chosen to redevelop the new Shah Alam Stadium. The demolition will constitute about 5% of the mooted RM787 mil cost to redevelop the stadium, albeit the demolition and redevelopment works are two separate contracts.

  2. JCorp wants health tourism to contribute 40% of KPJ’s revenue
    Johor Corp (JCorp), the major shareholder of KPJ Healthcare Bhd, has set a 40% revenue contribution target for the group's health tourism segment within the next four years. In 2023, the health tourism business only contributed 8.5% to KPJ Healthcare’s total hospital business revenue. The country’s health tourism sector is expected to contribute over RM2 bil in revenue in 2024.

  3. KWAP to invest RM100 mil in two local startups and two VCs
    Retirement Fund (Inc) (KWAP) announced an RM100 mil investment, under its Dana Perintis strategy, into two local startups and two venture capital (VC) fund commitments. The two startups are Bateriku (M) Sdn Bhd and Lapasar Sdn Bhd, while the two VCs are Vynn Capital and Antler. Dana Perintis was launched last year to accelerate the development of the Malaysian early-stage ecosystem with a target of RM500 mil in total deployment.


The end of last week saw interesting political developments across the world.

The US: Trump fined USD355 mil for decade-long fraud
In a scathing 92-page verdict (read here), a New York court has fined former US President Donald Trump, his two sons and former CFO USD364 mil (trump personally on the hook for USD355 mil) in a civil fraud case and temporarily stripped Trump and his sons of the ability to lead their own businesses and apply for financing. Judge Arthur Engoron said, “the frauds here leap off the page and shock the conscience”. Plus interest, this amount will climb to USD450 mil. Trump was found guilty of inflating his assets to receive favourable and cheaper financing from banks and insurers - a summary of his case here. Yet. despite all the controversies and court cases, Donald Trump is the Republican presidential nominee for the US election this year. 

A day after the verdict, Trump quickly capitalised on the PR and launched his official sneakers called “Never Surrender” at Sneaker Con, an event popular among kicks and streetwear collectors. The limited edition gold-coloured shoe is priced at USD399 (RM1.91k). The shoes were sold out at the event and are going for USD5K on eBay. Slowly but surely, Trump supporters will fund his USD355 mil fine. 

Source: eBay

Russia: Putin’s biggest nemesis mysteriously died in prison
Putin’s biggest political nemesis, Alexei Navalny, died suddenly in prison at the age of 47, officials said. He was serving a 19-year sentence 40 miles north of the Arctic Circle, which many saw as punishment for his opposition to the Russian president. Navalny has long been a thorn in the sides of Putin and his inner circles as he kept exposing their corruption. This wasn’t the first attempt on Navalny’s life - in 2020, Navalny was poisoned by a chemical nerve agent but survived and was taken care of in Germany. After his recovery, he returned to Russia despite knowing that he would be punished. In the 2020 Oscar-winning documentary about his life, “Navalny”, he appeared to have predicted his death. Watch the trailer here. Here’s a list of prominent Russians who had mysteriously died after crossing paths with Putin. The list keeps getting longer.
Read: Inside the hellhole Russian prison where Alexei Navalny lived his final days.

Pakistan: Senior officials confesses to election rigging
A senior official in Pakistan admitted to election rigging amid protests all over the country, claiming that its recent Feb 8 general elections results were unfair. The official, Rawalpindi Liaqat Ali Chatta, has accused the chief election commissioner and chief justice of Pakistan of their roles in the rigging, adding further pressure on the election commission and Pakistan’s powerful military, which many political parties have accused of rigging the election in favour of former PM Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s Pakistan People’s party. He has been arrested after making the statement and initially contemplated suicide due to the pressure. 

Israel-Palestine: Ceasefire talks not promising
No surprises here, as mediator Qatar said the recent ceasefire negotiations were “not very promising”. Talks are ongoing in Cairo, Egypt, as senior officials from the US, Israel, Egypt and Qatar meet to broker a pause in the fighting. The issue over hostage exchange seems to be the bottleneck as a truce shouldn’t be dependent on a deal to release the hostages held by Hamas, according to Qatari PM Sheikh Mohammad Abdulrahman Al Thani. 



  1. Massive greenhouse gas methane leak in Kazakhstan
    In one of the world’s worst-ever blowouts, a methane well in Kazakhstan is estimated to have leaked 140,000 tonnes of gas into the atmosphere over 205 days. This amount of methane is equal to emissions from 791,318 gas-powered cars being driven over a year. Methane is 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide in trapping heat and accounts for 30% of the world’s rise in temperatures since the Industrial Revolution. The leak happened from June until it was plugged on Dec 25.

  2. Former Thai PM released on parole
    Up north, a Najib discount is also in play. Thailand’s 74-year-old convicted former PM Thaksin Shinawatra was released on parole yesterday from hospital detention six months into a sentence for abuse of power and conflicts of interest, which was commuted from 8 years to one by the country’s king. Thaksin was eligible for parole due to his age and health condition. The billionaire’s family’s party is now back in power in Thailand.

  3. Greece legalises same-sex marriage
    Greece has become the first Christian Orthodox-majority country to legalise same-sex marriage and will also see same-sex couples legally allowed to adopt children after Thursday’s 176-76 vote in Parliament. The bill saw fierce resistance led by the powerful Orthodox Church. 15 of the European Union’s 27 members have already legalised same-sex marriage, and a total of 35 countries worldwide.


  1. The FAQ Show takes us behind the scenes at Bursa-listed GDex’s fulfilment facility, showing how our parcels are being processed and delivered to us in under 24 hours.

  1. ChatGPT creator OpenAI announced Sora, its text-to-video generative AI. Though text-to-video AI isn’t new, Sora is very much more realistic than its competitors. The model can generate up to 1-minute video without audio. Currently, it is only opened to red teamers - experts in areas like misinformation, hateful content, and bias - to adversely stress test the model. Check out some of the videos generated by Sora below.