☕️ The World's 100 Most Valuable Brands in 2021

Interstate travel finally allowed. PM's brother started new party - Kuasa. Saudi's PIF acquired football club Newcastle United for GBP300 mil. Luxury brand, Balenciaga x The Simpsons



544,933 tonnes — the amount of avocado exported by Colombia in 2020, according to official government figures. Back in 2014, the country’s farmers only exported a mere 1,408 tonnes. The lucrative “green gold” is replacing coffee in the country.

3,750 — the number of nuclear warheads owned by the US. Federation of American Scientists, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, estimates over 90% of global nuclear warheads are owned by the US and Russia.


  • SOP Updates: Interstate travels are allowed today as 90% of Malaysia’s adults have been vaccinated, except for areas placed under Enhanced MCO (EMCO)! Only fully vaccinated would be allowed to cross states.

    Fully vaccinated Malaysians can travel abroad without MyTravelPass effective today, and travellers upon returning to Malaysia must also undergo mandatory quarantine.

    Sabah state government will wait until Wednesday to decide on interstate travel despite the PM’s announcement yesterday.

  • Covid-19 vaccination certificates can now be printed out in the latest MySejahtera update. You can now export the PDF and print it for travel purposes.

While we’re all excited to travel interstate — to islands, to hometowns, to great food — we need to take precautions. So get tested before you travel and adhere to SOP!

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Politics and Local

  1. Last week, Danesh Raj Nagarajan, a 26-year-old performing arts graduate, was appointed to Universiti Malaya’s board of directors. Some alleged that Nagarajan got the post because he was an aide to former Deputy Speaker Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said. She rebuked the allegations.

    Universiti Malaya Students’ Union (KMUM) was not happy with the appointment, stating that public universities have no spots for political appointees. Nagarajan held youth positions in MIC.

    Can we really fault Nagarajan when some think it is okay to pay RM1,200 (minimum wage) to fresh graduates?

  2. Over the weekend, national diving queen Pandelela Rinong was awarded ‘Panglima Setia Bintang Sarawak’ (PSBS), which carries the title ‘Datuk’ in conjunction with the 85th birthday of the Yang Dipertua Negeri, Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud. Congratulations Datuk Pandelela Rinong!

  3. The Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) has clarified the fleet of luxury vehicles consisting of BMW M3, two units of BMW X3 and two units of Volkswagen Tiguan was only for the evaluation process to see if they are suitable for official police duties. PDRM did not purchase the vehicles (yet). The latest BMW M3 begins from RM665k in Malaysia. Quite an expensive escort.

  4. Kamarazaman Yaakob, the elder brother of Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, has started a new political party — Parti Kuasa Rakyat (Kuasa). The party vows to struggle for the plight of the common person, in other words — returning the power to the rakyat.

    Will Kuasa go through what MUDA is facing, or will the PM give the brother a free pass?

  5. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob could be the ‘Bapa Task Force’ of Malaysia. The Cabinet has agreed to set up a task force to look into the allegations of former attorney-general (AG) Tan Sri Tommy Thomas in his book 'My Story: Justice in the Wilderness' before any further action is taken.

  6. Before the start of the Uber cup over the weekend, national shuttler Kisona Selvaduray has finally spoken up on the racist insult she received. She said she is only human and needs the people’s support.

    Has any action been taken against the person who hurled those remarks? Deputy National Unity Minister Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker has called on the nation to forgive the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia leader but is an apology sufficient?


  1. The Employees Provident Fund’s (EPF) outsourced RM155.18 bil, approximately 15.55% of EPF’s total investment assets, to external fund managers as at Dec 31, 2020. The figure grew from RM132.41 bil or 14.12% of EPF’s total investment assets at the end of 2019.

  2. The Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) said the country is doing well in the development of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) with 52% available indicators in 2019 compared with 41% in 2018. Moving forward, DOSM will continue producing more granular and timely statistics to achieve the 2030 global agenda.

  3. Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said the country needs more technology-savvy companies that are willing to roll out highly innovative ideas, solutions, and disruptive technologies to address global challenges.

    In his speech at the launch of the Science Outlook 2020 Report, the minister said 10 science, technology, innovation and economy (STIE) leap programmes had been formulated as part of the efforts to transform Malaysia from technology users to technology developers.

    Malaysia has the human capital to create such companies, but the unfriendly policy changes deter potential companies from starting up. What if the government decides to impose 51% bumiputra ownership on these companies suddenly?

  4. Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) chairman Datuk Syed Zaid said there has been a significant jump in the number of illegal investment scheme- or scam-related complaints and enquiries as of September 2021. With over 2,000 cases reported, it is more than double the total figure reported in 2020.

    To prevent yourself from becoming a victim, check out our guide to spot an investment scam. Don’t be part of the statistic!

  5. Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) is selling its entire 15.5% stake in the Shah Deniz natural gas project in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea to Russian oil and gas company LUKOIL for USD2.25 bil, pending approval by SOCAR, the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan and fulfilment of conditions precedent.

    Petronas paid the same price of USD2.25 bil to Norway-based Statoil, which is now known as Equinor ASA, in 2014 when it bought into the project.


  1. A Saudi consortium led by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, Public Investment Fund, which has USD430 bil in assets, has successfully purchased England’s Newcastle United soccer team after 18 months of protracted disputes. The purchase, for a reported GBP300 mil (USD409 mil) from billionaire businessman Mike Ashley, will give the Saudi consortium 80% ownership, 10% to property developers Simon and David Reuben and the remaining 10% to British investor PCP Capital Partners. 

    Earlier, PIF faced a major obstacle as concern over the Saudi state’s involvement in the team affairs, but it was overcome when the football club received legally binding assurances from the Saudi kingdom guaranteeing “separation” and that it will not control the 128-year-old club. 

  2. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world’s largest contract chipmaker, and Sony Group plans to build a JPY800 bil (USD7.14 bil) semiconductor factory in western Japan on land owned by Sony and adjacent to Sony’s image sensor factory. The factory is slated to go online by around 2023 or 2024. The Japanese government will subsidise up to half of the cost of the plant.

    Despite being at the forefront of the tech industry, Japan had dropped out of the race for large-scale chip development by the 2010s and instead contracted the production to companies like TSMC. With the recent global chip shortage signalling the importance of owning the chip supply chain, Japan hopes to revive the production in the country. The US and Europe are also racing to bring semiconductor production onshore for national security reasons. The Biden administration passed a USD52 bill to support the R&D and manufacturing of semiconductors. 

  3. Elon Musk’s SpaceX saw its valuation jump to USD100 bil in the secondary market, where some investors agreed to sell up to USD755 mil worth of shares. This marks a 33% increase from its fundraising round in February when it was valued at USD74 bil. This transaction makes SpaceX the second most valuable private company globally after TikTok parent Bytedance, which is worth USD140 bil.

  4. Singapore is moving ahead to reopen its borders and offering quarantine-free travel to visitors from 9 more countries. The countries that qualify are the US, UK, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and South Korea. Guess which country is missing from the list? Singapore will start with up to 2,500 daily arrivals across these nine countries. These travellers must travel on designated flights. Currently, Singapore allows for quarantine-free travel from China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, though most places haven’t reciprocated. 

    News in Brief:

  5. Mukesh Ambani, the chairman of India’s Reliance Industries, has joined the exclusive 4-comma club that includes the likes of Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. According to Bloomberg Billionaires Index, he’s now worth USD100.6 bil.

  6. China authorities levied USD533 mil on Meituan after completing its months-long probe on the Chinese food delivery giant for violating anti-monopoly regulations. The fine accounts for 3% of its 2020 domestic revenue. 

  7. A bomb detonated at a crowded mosque in northern Afghanistan last Friday, targeting Shiite Muslim worshippers. At least 46 people were killed and over 140 were wounded. The Islamic State’s Khorasan branch claimed responsibility for this attack. 


  1. A shocking image of a dead 39-foot (11.89 m) whale wedged on the bow of a Japanese tanker in the port of Mizushima, Japan.

  2. Luxury fashion brand Balenciaga’s collaboration with The Simpsons

  3. The World’s 100 Most Valuable Brands in 2021