Tesla, Timah, sugar babies: Here are Coconuts KL’s hottest stories of 2021

It was a tumultuous 2021 for Malaysia, with fluctuating COVID-19 cases, a change in prime ministers, and the terrible, devastating flood (PS: Here’s how you can help). Malaysia may have eased COVID-19 restrictions to allow more business sectors to open, but nothing beats Malaysians getting up to help each other in times of crisis. 

On the sidelines, Malaysia made headlines over an embarrassing fiasco revolving around a liquor brand before our very own Miss World Malaysia helped turn the tide on the country’s public image with her extravagant and haunting winning national costume. 

Before we wrap up 2021, here’s a look back on the second year of the pandemic, starting with an airline boss who showed off his shiny new ride to the world while owing flight ticket refunds. 

1. AirAsia boss shows off new RM230,000 Tesla – people want their money back

CEO of AirAsia Tony Fernandes takes a selfie with his new ride, at left, and a side view of a Tesla Model Y, at right. Photos: Tony Fernandes/Instagram

The most-read Coconuts KL story of the year went to AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes, after he bragged about his shiny, new Tesla Model Y, said to cost approximately $55,190 (RM229,315). He then received hundreds of angry messages demanding airline ticket refunds while disgruntled employees also asked for their salaries to be paid on time.

2. 26 liquor brands with Malay, Arabic names other than ‘Timah’

What’s in a name? The Malaysian-made Timah whiskey became a hot topic among readers in Malaysia as conservatives debated whether alcoholic beverages should avoid Malay names that may somehow confuse Muslims. Seems like this group has yet to discover the 26 other liquor brands with Malay and Arabic names. 

3. Sunway Uni in KL salty it was named #1 hotspot for finding sugar babies

Edited image of a woman cuddling a man against the backdrop of the Sunway University building.

A private university was up in arms after its students topped a ranking about sugar babies. Sunway University’s public objection to the ranking by the money-for-love dating site Sugarbook, which later landed the boss of the platform behind bars. 

4. See how different Chinese New Year looks in KL and Singapore (Interactive)

A busy street along Singapore’s Chinatown, at left, and a man walking along a nearly empty Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown, at right. Photos: Coconuts

Chinese New Year kind of sucked this year, for Malaysia at least. Across the causeway, however, it was merrier. Our interactive story with Coconuts Singapore compared the stark contrast in the festive atmosphere of both countries. 

5. Here are the night markets open in Kuala Lumpur throughout the lockdown

People mingling at the SS2 night market. Photo: SS2 Night Market/Facebook

Before clubbing, pasar malam or night markets were a huge part of Malaysian nightlife, and they still are. Once they were allowed to open again as coronavirus measures eased, locals could go about every night, walking along under the umbrellas of bustling night markets, munching on their favorite snacks. The article compiles a list of night markets open in Kuala Lumpur for every day of the week.

6. Turmeric fish could be next on the menu for Malaysian woman who cooked koi

Amanda Omeychua, at left, with a bowl of cooked koi fish (top-right) and dead koi fish on the floor. Photos: Amanda Omeychua

Japanese Koi fish may look pretty, and they taste great too, according to the Malaysian woman who raised them, accidentally killed them, and later cooked the fish in a lemongrass and tom yam soup. Amanda Omeychua then planned to cook what’s left of the dead ornamental fish in turmeric. 

7. Police detain Sugarbook CEO following report on universities being sugar baby hotspots

Sugarbook’s Darren Chan in a February 2020 photo. Photo: Darren Chan

Sugarbook CEO Darren Chan was arrested early this year after his company drew backlash over a report that ranked local universities as sugar baby hotspots. He was jailed for seven days following the arrest and was investigated for allegedly soliciting prostitution and sharing content deemed offensive.

8. These women will represent Malaysia in three international beauty pageants

From left: Malveen Kaur, Poorani Rajoo, and Lishalliny Kanaran. Photo: Miss Grand Malaysia

If there’s one thing COVID-19 can’t beat, it’s beauty pageants. Malaysia picked three gorgeous candidates this year: Miss Grand contender and architecture student Lishalliny Kanaran, 24, Miss Intercontinental Malaysia and customer advocacy executive Poorani Rajoo, 24, and Miss Malaysia Globe and model-fashion designer Malveen Kaur, 27.

9. Gordon Ramsay to open his first restaurant in Malaysia in June

Graphic of Gordon Ramsay against the interior of Gordon Ramsay Bar & Grill. Photo: Coconuts

Gordon Ramsay fans in Malaysia were super excited for the opening of his first Bar & Grill outside of the UK, but will have to wait a little longer for its launch, which has been postponed from June to early next year. Photos of the swanky Sunway City restaurant have already been released if you’d like to take another, closer look. 

10. Shoppers mourn as KL’s E-Curve mall prepares to close for redevelopment

E-Curve shopping mall.

Shoppers were terribly sad when the E-Curve shopping mall at Mutiara Damansara, Selangor, announced that it was going to close for redevelopment. Most shared fond memories of the mall, of first dates, first kisses, and watching movies.

Other stories:

K-pop fans raise over RM25,000 for Malaysia flood relief

Subscribe to The Coconuts Podcast for top trending news and pop culture from Southeast Asia and Hong Kong every Friday!



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