MORNING MINUTES: What will make headlines today, May 19, 2015

Good morning! Morning Minutes is a round-up of stories that will break today and which we think you'd be interested in.

It appears on weekdays, available by 7am.

City Harvest Trial: Singer Sun Ho takes the stand

Singer Sun Ho is expected to take the stand for the first time since the City Harvest trial started in May 2013. City Harvest Church's former investment manager Chew Eng Han is calling her as a witness. Chew is among a group of six church leaders, including Ms Ho's husband and church founder Kong Hee, accused of misusing church money to bankroll her secular music career. - AMIR HUSSAIN

SMEs leaning on technology to drive productivity

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Minister S. Iswaran will be visiting FOSTA's office to observe how this local small and medium enterprise (SME) has embraced technology to obtain productivity driven growth and improved its operations. He will unveil an enhanced version of A*Star's technology to help more construction companies achieve productivity growth as well as elaborate on the range of schemes and support that the Government is offering to SMEs. - ARIEL LIM

Malaysia's parliamentary panel to begin investigations into 1MDB

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Malaysia's bipartisan parliamentary panel, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is set to begin hearings on the controversial state investor 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) today at 11am in the federal parliament, beginning with Finance Ministry' secretary-general Tan Sri Irwan Serigar Abdullah, who like Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, sits on the debt-laden firm's advisory board.

The Finance Ministry-owned 1MDB was set up in 2009 and has racked up more than RM42 billion (S$15.5 billion) in debt in the past few years. Economic Planning Unit director-general Datuk Seri Dr Rahamat Bivi Yusoff will also be present to give his statement to the PAC and both sessions will be conducted behind closed doors.

The National Audit Department has already initiated its investigations into 1MDB's accounts and said it will present the interim report of the audit to the PAC by the end of next month. 1MDB yesterday released a statement that it would only respond to queries by the PAC, Auditor-General and relevant regulatory authorities to avoid "trial by media". - ASRUL HADI ABDULLAH SANI

Indian PM Modi to meet top execs from South Korean conglomerates

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who views South Korea as an important partner in his "Make in India" initiative to boost his country's weak manufacturing sector, will be meeting top executives from South Korea's biggest conglomerates today. This includes Hyundai Motor and Samsung Electronics, which both operate factories in India.

Mr Modi will also deliver the opening address at the 6th Asian Leadership Conference in Seoul and visit Hyundai Heavy Industries' main shipyard in the southern city of Ulsan. Today marks the end of his six-day East Asian tour aimed at boosting foreign investments. He had earlier visited China and Mongolia. - CHANG MAY CHOON

Thailand's former PM Yingluck to appear in court over rice subsidy scheme

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Thailand's former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra is due to appear in court today at the start of a negligence trial which could see her jailed for a decade and deliver a hammer blow to the political dominance of her family. Yingluck - whose administration was toppled in a military coup nearly a year ago - is accused of criminal negligence over a populist but economically disastrous rice subsidy scheme, which paid farmers in the rural Shinawatra heartland twice the market rate for their crops. She is not accused of corruption but of failing to prevent alleged graft within the programme, which cost billions of dollars and galvanised the protests that eventually felled her elected government leading to last May's coup.

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