28 August 2019: Najib’s biggest 1MDB trial today; South Korea group to invest in Labuan

Najib’s biggest 1MDB trial to begin today
Malaysian ex-leader Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s most significant 1MDB trial begins today, centring on allegations that hundreds of millions of dollars linked to the state fund ended up in his bank account. He is expected to face several trials, with the first having started in April. Today’s will be the biggest, with Najib facing 21 counts of money-laundering and four of abuse of power, including allegations that RM2.28 billion was funnelled to his account in transfers from overseas banks. The 66-year-old, who is free on bail, has denied all the charges. The case relates to a crucial part of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) saga. Prosecutors plan to call about 60 witnesses in a trial that is likely to be lengthy and complex. Najib’s first trial is over claims that money was stolen from a former 1MDB unit, but the complex proceedings have moved slowly. (Malay Mail)

South Korea’s Silla plans to invest in Labuan
South Korea’s Silla Group, controlled by a wealthy family in the country, has set its sights on making Labuan its first overseas venture. The firm, which owns seven subsidiaries involved in construction, property development and hospitality, has a budget of more than a billion ringgit for a potential investment in the island city. Silla chairman Lee Jun Yong, Silla’s subsidiary, Dragon Hills Resorts chief executive officer HS Kim and a member of South Korean Parliament Kim Musong had travelled to the city last month to complete its first due diligence. Labuan Corp chairman Datuk Seri Amir Hussien said Silla Group intended to build a duty free factory outlet, resort and hotels as well refurbish a golf course in the island. He said the project could involve over RM1 billion in investment. Kim said Silla Group hope the federal government would support Labuan’s transportation needs such as the RM4 billion bridge connecting Labuan and Sabah as well as better sea transports with the use of high speed ferries and speedboats. (NST Online)

Selangor Dredging has sold up to 97% of property inventory
Selangor Dredging Bhd has sold up to 97% of its property inventory on the back of greater take-up of its developments. Managing director Teh Lip Kim said the group had sold 95% to 97% of its inventory. She added that Selangor Dredging’s unsold inventory only is valued at RM111 million and that its unbilled sales account for RM250 million. When the group sells its unsold stock, proceeds will go to its top line. When queried if Selangor Dredging was looking to acquire more land, Teh said the group was not in a rush to purchase more pieces of land, and it wants to be prudent and selective when it comes to future developments. In Malaysia, Selangor Dredging would be looking at properties below RM700,000 and high-rise apartments up to RM500,000 as potential new developments. She noted that the group currently does not have any launches planned. (The Edge)

Al-‘Aqar Healthcare REIT acquires KPJ Batu Pahat Specialist Hospital for RM78m
Al-‘Aqar Healthcare REIT is acquiring another hospital — KPJ Batu Pahat Specialist Hospital — for RM78 million cash, to add to its list of properties under management. KPJ Batu Pahat Specialist Hospital is a seven-multi-storey purpose-built hospital building with built up area of 157,500 sq ft, comprising structures, landscaping, installation, facilities and infrastructure, together with car parks. Al-‘Aqar is the world’s first listed Islamic REIT, having listed on the Main Market on Aug 10, 2006, and has since grown its portfolio to 22 properties, comprising 19 hospitals and three healthcare-related properties in Malaysia and Australia, valued at RM1.48 billion. (The Edge)

A Gojek driver pillions a customer as he rides his motorcycle through a business district street in Jakarta, June 9, 2015. (REUTERS/BEAWIHARTA)

Loke: Motorcycle e-hailing laws to include goods delivery
A regulatory framework being prepared by the Transport Ministry to govern motorcycle e-hailing service providers will also cover those using two-wheelers to deliver goods and other services, said minister Anthony Loke. He said this was necessary as there was no law governing those who provided such services. Loke said his ministry would include those providing such services together with the motorcycle e-hailing service to ensure they adhered to all safety rules. This was necessary due to the high number of road fatalities involving motorcyclists. Apart from a legal framework, the proposal would include other aspects such as road safety, insurance coverage, enforcement and cultural sensitivities. The Cabinet has agreed to allow motorcycle e-hailing service as it promotes entrepreneurship, enterprise and other micro businesses. (The Star Online)

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