Election give-aways are the oldest political trick in the book.

But in Malaysia the prime minister, Najib Razak, is taking them to a new level with the distribution of cash handouts to low-income workers as he prepares to fight a tight election with the country’s opposition.

With the opposition making its own splurge pledges, the voters face some tempting offers. But investors may be less enthralled by the potential pressure on future budgets. Read more

Christmas has arrived early for China and Malaysia. On Friday, Canadian regulators approved the proposed $18bn acquisition of Toronto-listed Nexen, a global oil and gas company, by China’s Cnooc, a state-owned oil group.

Concurrently, the government also reversed an earlier plan to block the $5.2bn bid for Progress Energy Resources, another Calgary-based oil and gas company, by Petronas of Malaysia.

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It’s not often that the cities of Kuala Lumpur and Ottawa are mentioned in the same sentence. Yet the Malaysian and Canadian capitals, respectively, are at the centre of an intriguing dilemma for emerging market watchers.

Petronas, the state-owned Malaysian oil and gas group, is waiting to see whether its C$5.5bn ($5.5bn) bid for Progress Energy, a Canadian operator of huge shale gas fields, will pass muster with the Canadian authorities. Read more