• Based on the Department of Statistics Malaysia’s 2020 estimates, there are approximately 29.8 million Malaysian citizens and 8.2 million households in the country.
  • In a recent lawsuit, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor is accused of spending US$346 million (approximately RM1.6 billion) of 1MDB funds on luxury goods between 2010 and 2014.
  • This sum could have given 38,095 needy families in Penang a low-cost flat worth RM42,000 for life.

GEORGE TOWN, June 14 — 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and its subsidiaries, including SRC International Sdn Bhd, are suing Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor over the US$346 million (approximately RM1.6 billion) of their funds that she allegedly spent on jewellery, handbags, watches, and more.

The scale of the numbers involved in the 1MDB global corruption scandal is such that they can be difficult to picture.

For example, it hits different when you realise it would take a Malaysian earning the 2023 median salary of RM6,590 over 20,000 years to amass that sum. With the average Malaysian now living 76 years, that person would need over 260 lifetimes to earn the amount Rosmah allegedly used on luxury goods.

To further illustrate the extent of the alleged excess involved, Malay Mail has interpreted the sum 1MDB and the others are claiming from Rosmah, into terms more relatable to everyday Malaysians.

Here is a list of what RM1.6 billion could have bought, based on the Department of Statistics Malaysia’s 2020 estimates of 29.8 million Malaysian citizens and 8.2 million households.


1. Rice

Based on the estimated RM2.60/kg for local white rice, RM1.6 billion can buy 123 million bags of 5kg packs. This translates to 15 bags per household that, based on the average rice consumption of 80kg per year, would be enough to feed the entire country for three months.

2. Poultry

Using the price for standard processed chicken of RM9.40 per kg with an average size of 2kg per bird, RM1.6 billion would buy over 85 million whole chickens, or enough to give every family 10 birds each.

3. Maggi instant noodles

The average price for a five-pack of Maggi instant noodles is RM4. RM1.6 billion would mean 400 million packs, or enough for every Malaysian to get 13 packs. Assuming they ate a pack each day, this would be enough to feed the entire country a Maggi meal daily for over a month.

4. Roti canai and teh tarik

Assuming an average price of RM5 for the iconic Malaysian breakfast combination of two roti canai and a cup of teh tarik, RM1.6 billion would buy every Malaysian nearly 11 days of this breakfast.

5. Nasi lemak

RM1.6 billion would buy nearly 1.1 billion packs of nasi lemak based on an average price of RM1.50 each. This translates to about 36 packs of nasi lemak per Malaysian.

6. KFC

If you were to go for fried chicken, KFC’s two-piece chicken meal at RM16.99 would mean 94 million plates for RM1.6 billion, enough for each Malaysian to get three.


1. Daycare

For those with children, daycare fees is an unavoidable monthly expense. Using an estimate of RM1,000 per month, the sum Rosmah allegedly spent on luxury items would be enough to pay for an entire month’s care for 1.6 million children.

2. Infant formula

Assuming parents spend RM120 for two tins of formula for each infant, RM1.6 billion would be able to feed over 13 million babies for a whole month.

3. Diapers

Another expense new parents would be painfully familiar with is disposable diapers. At an estimate of RM35 per pack of diapers, RM1.6 billion would buy 45 million packs of diapers, or enough for around a month’s supply of three packs each for more than 15 million babies.

Smartphones and internet access

1. Internet

The average postpaid mobile data plan is about RM30 per month now. So RM1.6 billion will be able to provide each Malaysian with almost two months of free data or free access to the internet for four million Malaysians for one year.

2. Smartphones

The price of Samsung’s latest smartphone model, Galaxy S24, is RM4,599 so RM1.6 billion will buy 347,901 units. As for competitor, Apple, this amount can buy 363,719 units of its latest model, the iPhone 15.


Using the basic selling price of RM34,800 for the Proton Saga as a gauge, RM1.6 billion would be enough to buy 45,977 units of the model. Alternately, the same amount could also buy 41,450 units of the Perodua Axia 1.L G priced at RM38,600.

If we were to take the much-hyped Tesla into consideration, on the other hand, the Model 3 has a price tag of about RM181,000 so RM1.6 billion will buy 8,839 units.


In Penang, where a low-cost flat is priced at RM42,000, RM1.6 billion would be enough to give 38,095 families a free home for the rest of their lives. Even for the Residensi Madani homes priced at RM200,000 each, RM1.6 billion would be enough for 8,000 units.


If the whole sum were to simply be given out to every Malaysian citizen, it would translate to RM53.69 per person or RM195.12 per household.

  • Rosmah was accused of buying jewellery, handbags, and other luxury items using funds from 1MDB and SRC International across 14 countries between 2010 and 2014
  • 1MDB and SRC International have since filed an injunction to prevent Rosmah from removing or disposing her assets

To know more about this developing story, read Malay Mail’s wrap-up of the issue: All you need to know about: 1MDB suing Rosmah over alleged RM1.6b luxury shopping spree