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Thursday, April 30, 2020

MUHYIDDIN TO RETURN TO PAKATAN? BUT FOR THAT, HE WOULD HAVE TO DUMP ‘MOTHER OF BETRAYERS’ AZMIN CARTEL: SNAP POLLS ALREADY OPENLY DISCUSSED IN JOHOR – WITH POWERFUL AGAIN UMNO NOW CALLING THE SHOTS & BERSATU GROVELLING FOR CRUMBS

 
PUTRAJAYA, April 25 -- Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin during special interview at his office at Perdana Putra today. --fotoBERNAMA (2020) COPY RIGHTS RESERVED
The tension between Umno and Bersatu could lead to a snap polls in the southern state, according to a high ranking Johor Umno source.
Speaking to Malaysiakini this afternoon, he said this would be an option if Bersatu did not desist from pressuring Umno over political appointments.
“Bersatu has been trying to pressure for positions but Umno has countered back with the threat of state elections,” he added on condition of anonymity.
Johor Bersatu has been complaining that political appointments, including to state GLCs, were not done in an equitable manner and accused Umno of sidelining it.
The source believes that when faced with a possible snap polls, Bersatu would back down.
“Johor Umno is much stronger, we can win the polls on our own.
“We hold all the cards. Who are they (Bersatu) going to turn to, Harapan? Obviously that is not going to happen,” he added.
The Johor state legislative assembly has 56 seats, out of which both Umno and DAP have 14 each. The remaining seats are held by Bersatu (11), Amanah (9), PKR (4), MIC (2), PAS (1) and one independent.
Photo: Osman Sapian
Former MB: Sultan, not state government’s call
Former Johor menteri besar Osman Sapian, however, said dissolving the state assembly is not within the jurisdiction of the state government.
“That is the sultan’s prerogative,” he told Malaysiakini.
Section 7(2)(b) of the Johor Constitution states the monarch has the discretion to “withhold consent” on a request to dissolve the state assembly.
Osman said as partners in PN, Johor Umno must also discuss the matter of dissolution with the coalition’s top leadership, including incumbent Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin.
“If they don’t discuss this (with the PN leadership), then they are disrespecting Bersatu as a PN member,” he added.
Likewise, Osman said political appointments must also be discussed with the PN leadership.
“They must discuss it with the top leadership, only then we will know if this matter can be resolved.
“We Johor Bersatu division leaders have so far not been invited to such discussions,” he added.
Photo: Mazlan Bujang
Meanwhile, Johor Bersatu chief Mazlan Bujang was more optimistic that a win-win solution could be found.
“I have confidence in the leadership of Menteri Besar Hasni Mohammed. He is a competent menteri besar.
“I have met the menteri besar and he is now looking into the matter. Soon, there may be a win-win situation,” he added.

Top dog to underdog in Johor comeuppance for Bersatu, say Harapan reps

Two months after seizing power through a political coup, cracks have appeared in the nascent Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition with Bersatu and Umno locking horns in Johor.
As far as Pakatan Harapan assemblypersons like Jimmy Puah (above) are concerned, Bersatu is getting what it deserves for turning its back on former allies and the people’s mandate in the last general election.
Johor Umno, much to the chagrin of Bersatu leaders, is allegedly dominating the political resources in the state government.
Johor Bersatu secretary Solihan Badri, commenting on the appointment of “coordinators” for opposition constituencies, noted how Bersatu coordinators were assigned to the seats of Maharani, Mahkota, Johor Jaya, Kota Iskandar, Pekan Nanas, Jementah and Bukit Batu.
Observers opined that the difficult constituencies placed under Bersatu’s watch demonstrated that the party founded by former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his successor Muhyiddin Yassin, who are now on opposite sides of the political divide, does not have clout in PN.
Weighing into the internal friction, Puah claimed that Bersatu has no say in this matter since Umno, by virtue of being the strongest party in Johor PN, will prioritise its winnable seats.
“Umno used to be number one. They would not want to be the second. So I think Johor Umno has decided which seat they are comfortable with and left all the ‘tough assignments’ to Bersatu.
“What is there to be unhappy about? This is their own choice.
“They could have remained in government under Harapan similar to Kedah and defend the rakyat’s mandate. But they chose Umno and lost their political capital and MB post,” he told Malaysiakini.
As for the constituencies assigned to Bersatu, Puah believes that Bersatu would need to depend on BN for electoral support.
“Most of their seats such as Kempas, Bukit Permai, Larkin would not have been won if not for Harapan’s collective strength. I think deep down they know this.
“For example in Bukit Batu, 58 percent of the voters are Chinese. Is Bersatu confident in contesting this seat without the backing of Harapan?” he asked.
From top dog in Harapan to underdog in PN
Kota Iskandar assemblyperson Dzulkefly Ahmad said he believes it is Umno and not Bersatu which calls the shots in Johor.
He pointed out that Bersatu only gained 11 seats (including three former Umno assemblypersons) in Johor compared to BN’s 16 – Umno 14 and MIC 2.
Moreover, he noted that since Bersatu has been assigned to only seven of the 27 Harapan seats in the state, it implied that the party might be only contesting 18 seats in the next polls.
Dzulkefly (photo) argued that it would be an uphill task for Bersatu, Umno or PAS to win any of DAP’s 14 seats, therefore reducing their winnable target to the 13 seats held by PKR and Amanah.
“From these 13 seats, Bersatu only gets three – Maharani, Mahkota and Kota Iskandar. The rest are supposedly allocated to Umno and PAS.
“So Umno will still be the dominant party in Johor PN as Bersatu can only win a maximum of 14 seats. This is the real arrangement of Umno,” he told Malaysiakini.
Meanwhile, DAP Jementah assemblyperson Tan Chen Choon said he does not know the reason for Bersatu adopting his seat.
“Perhaps, Bersatu thinks it has a higher chance of winning in Jementah,” the former state exco quipped.
However, he did not discount the possibility of Umno deliberately passing difficult seats to its new ally.
“It could be the case. Coupled with the fact that they have lost their MB position, Bersatu is an underdog now,” he added.
Furthermore, Tan said since there is an overlap in terms of seats between the three Malay-based parties of Bersatu, Umno and PAS, seat negotiations in PN would be an arduous task.
On the same note, he pointed out that Jementah was MCA’s traditional seat in the past.
“Bersatu has a coordinator here. Does this mean MCA has given up the seat to Bersatu?” he asked.
Amamah rep tells Bersatu to return to Harapan
Sharing her thoughts on the political quagmire in PN, Amanah’s Maharani assemblyperson Norhayati Bachok (photo) urged Bersatu to return to Harapan to form a strong coalition since PN is fragile.
“This is the best moment for Bersatu and Harapan to reunite and rebuild the relationship,” she added.
Earlier today, DAP’s Paloh assemblyperson Sheikh Umar Bagharib Ali and Amanah’s Pulai Sebatang assemblyperson Taquiddin Cheman said if Johor Bersatu had remained neutral on the formation of PN, the party would have stronger bargaining power.
“If they followed (Kedah MB) Mukhriz Mahathir’s example in Kedah, this would have given Bersatu significant bargaining power in PN, which was previously described as a ‘fragile’ political cooperation and does not have a clear path forward,” the pair said in a joint statement.
Johor Bersatu has also complained that the Umno-led state government is not making political appointments such as in GLCs in an equitable manner.
Malaysiakini quoted a high-ranking Johor Umno source claiming that if Bersatu does not back down, snap polls could be held in the state.
MKINI

AS HIS POLITICAL COWARDICE THREATENS TO DESTROY THE ECONOMY, MUHYIDDIN FINALLY FORCED BY PUBLIC UPROAR TO ANNOUNCE LOOSENING OF MCO – MOST LIKELY IN HIS MAY DAY SPEECH – EVEN AS PAKATAN INSISTS ON FULL-DAY PARLIAMENT SITTING TO FASTRACK MEASURES TO EASE THE PAIN ON BUSINESSES, WORKFORCE

 Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin pauses during the launching of ASEAN SME Showcase and Conference (ASSC) 2015 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre in Kuala Lumpur on May 25, 2015. The Malaysian Insider/Najjua Zulkefli
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is expected to announce the loosening of movement control order (MCO) restrictions during his May Day speech at 11am.
According to a report by China Press, Muhyiddin is expected to announce loosening of restrictions for businesses and that more businesses will be allowed to resume operations by Monday.
These businesses will have to adhere to Health Ministry guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19, which includes recording temperature of staff, checking for symptoms and social distancing requirements.
Failure to comply will result in closure, read the report.
“Recreational areas such as cinemas, pubs and nightclubs will not be allowed to resume operations,” said the source.
School still closed
The source said the government would not be bringing forward the expiry date of Phase 4 of the MCO, which ends on May 12.
Instead, the source said the cabinet will study the developments of the outbreak and loosen restrictions accordingly.
“The government wants to see more areas resuming work. It was both upstream and downstream players, including those who supply parts, to help restore the economy,” said the source.
However, the source said that schools will remain closed for now.
“This still needs detailed discussions. The government wants to monitor the situation for another two weeks.
“They will listen to all stakeholders and formulate guidelines. Therefore, the schools will likely reopen only in early or mid-June,” said the source.
The MCO began on March 18, mandating schools and most businesses to close to slow the spread of the deadly Covid-19 virus which has claimed 102 lives and infected 6,002 people.
In recent weeks, the number of new Covid-19 infections has steadily declined and the recovery rate has risen to 69.5 percent. MKINI

Pakatan insists on full Parliament meeting, says crucial to discuss easing curbs on businesses under MCO

KUALA LUMPUR— The Pakatan Harapan presidential council pressed the government today for a two-week meeting of Parliament starting May 18 to examine economic and public welfare matters under the Covid-19 pandemic.
The first meeting of the year, which was delayed from March, has been truncated to a one-day sitting on May 18.
“Covid-19’s effect on the country’s economy is significant and many companies have lost their source of income and there are many who may also lose their jobs.
“Problems faced by the rakyat also need attention specifically from Parliament which includes welfare issues, employment as well as check and balance on the government to ensure transparency in the management and the responsibility of the executive,” the council said in a statement.
The statement was signed by PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Amanah president Mohamad Sabu and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.
It added that procedures set by the Dewan Rakyat previously could facilitate the sitting for the aforementioned period.
The council also urged for several amendments to be made to the Standing Orders to allow Parliament to continue meeting, including through an online medium and with fewer MPs present without affecting the quorum or the proportional representation of each party.
This comes as Dewan Rakyat secretary Riduan Rahmat issued a circular to all MPs informing them of the one-day sitting, where only government Bills and matters would be discussed, with no oral and written questions or motions allowed in line with the movement control order (MCO).
Parliament was supposed to have convened for 15 days from May 18 after the initial sitting was postponed from March 9 following a week-long political impasse that saw Perikatan Nasional emerge as the new government.

Man hangs himself after stabbing wife, father-in-law in Bangi

The man rushed into his home to arm himself with a knife after a visit to a police station regarding a fight earlier with his wife.
KUALA LUMPUR: A man hanged himself after stabbing his wife and father-in-law in a house in Bangi near here last night.
Kajang police chief Mohd Zaid Hassan said prior to the incident, at 12.03am, police had received a report regarding a fight between the husband and wife, both in their early 40s.
He said it was understood that the incident was due to financial problems.
“According to the report, the wife was hit with a stick in the back by the suspect. All three had turned up when lodging a police report.
“Thereafter, she, her father and the suspect went home by car to retrieve some documents for the purpose of going to the hospital. The couple were trying to settle the matter peacefully,” he said in a statement.
Zaid said throughout the trip, the suspect did not show any aggressive behaviour.
However, when they reached home, he immediately ran inside, took a knife and stabbed her and her father.
Both victims were sent to the Serdang Hospital for treatment and were in stable condition, he said.
“A team from the Criminal Investigation Department of Kajang district police headquarters rushed to the location.
“They had to break in to get into the house and found the suspect hanging, with a folded bedsheet around his neck from the ceiling fan in a room on the ground floor,” he said. - FMT

Have emergency employment rules to safeguard jobs, MTUC tells govt

MTUC secretary-general J Solomon says many associations representing corporate leaders are predicting that hundreds of thousands of workers will lose their jobs. (Bernama pic)
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) today urged the government to impose the Emergency Employment Regulations, which bar employers from retrenching their staff for a specific period, following the Covid-19 pandemic.
MTUC secretary-general J Solomon said the government should come up with a comprehensive plan to protect workers from being retrenched or have their pay cut by irresponsible employers.
“Many associations representing corporate leaders are predicting that hundreds of thousands of workers are expected to lose their jobs.
“Among those who made this projection are the Malaysian Employers Federation and the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers,” he said in a statement issued in conjunction with Labour Day tomorrow.
MTUC secretary-general J Solomon.
Solomon said that those adversely affected included Malaysians and migrant workers, most of whom have families and are from the hardcore poverty category.
“We urge the government to give priority to the workers’ welfare, not only during this movement control order (MCO) period, but also beyond.
“They must be guaranteed of their income and job security at all times after the various economic sectors start reopening in stages,” he said.
Meanwhile, Development of Human Resources For Rural Areas Malaysia (DHRRA) president Saravanan M Sinapan said “workers will continue to play a crucial role as we move forward as a nation in battling Covid-19 and uplifting our country post-Covid-19 containment period”.
“Let’s celebrate them and ensure each one of them is provided with the protection and recognition that they deserve as we work together to survive and emerge victorious from this crisis,” he said. - FMT

Criminals using food delivery services to transport drugs during lockdown - Interpol

Malaysiakini

CORONAVIRUS | Criminals are using food delivery services as a cover to transport drugs and other illegal goods during the coronavirus crisis, which has seen countries around the world go into lockdown, said the Interpol police organisation on Thursday.
Interpol said it had received reports from police in Ireland, Malaysia, Spain and Britain identifying delivery drivers transporting drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, ketamine and ecstasy.
The lockdowns and limits to people's movements, imposed by governments around the world in a bid to thwart the spread of the virus, have led to increased demand for delivery drivers.
Earlier this month, the Spanish National Police identified and arrested seven people dressed as food delivery drivers in Alicante and Valencia, said Interpol.
It added that those involved in the Spanish case were caught delivering cocaine and marijuana by bicycle, motorcycle and car, with some of the drugs concealed inside home delivery backpacks.
In Ireland, police recovered 8kg of cocaine as well as two handguns hidden in pizza boxes, added Interpol.
Interpol said delivery riders may be complicit or unwitting links in drug transportation and that, in some cases brought to its attention, suspects were sometimes falsely disguised as food delivery drivers.
Senior anti-narcotics officials have also told Reuters that Latin American drug lords have sent bumper shipments of cocaine to Europe in recent weeks, including one in a cargo of squid, even though the coronavirus epidemic has stifled legitimate transatlantic trade.
- Reuters

MMA's psychological first aid service now available to the public

Malaysiakini

CORONAVIRUS | The Malaysian Medical Association's (MMA) psychological first aid service, initially provided to frontliners and healthcare workers battling Covid-19, is now also available to the public who are experiencing mental and emotional health issues due to measures under the movement control order (MCO).
MMA president Dr N Ganabaskaran said the service was a corporate social responsibility initiative by MMA for the public.
"There are many people going through extremely difficult times now. People struggling to provide for their families, business owners struggling to keep their businesses afloat as well as loneliness experienced by elderly persons living in isolation.
"MMA is concerned about the worrying increase in cases of depression, anxiety and emotional instability. People can be experiencing mental or emotional health issues and may need someone to talk to or seek professional help," he said in a statement, today.
The psychological first aid service launched in early April, is open to public from noon to 8pm, Monday to Saturday through a helpline at 03-40411140 and via e-mail Helpdoc@mma.org.my.
The service is free and all conversations will be kept strictly confidential.
- Bernama

Electrical shops among those allowed to operate five days a week in Kedah

Malaysiakini

CORONAVIRUS | The Kedah state government has allowed hardware stores and shops selling electrical and electronics products, vehicle spare parts and agriculture inputs to operate five days a week during the fourth phase of the movement control order (MCO) which began yesterday.
State Industrial and Investment, Local Government and Housing Committee chairperson Tan Kok Yew said these shops are now allowed to operate from Sundays to Thursdays, compared to just two days a week - Mondays and Thursdays - previously.
“Their operating hours are as per pre-MCO. If they operated between 9am to 5pm before then they are to operate within that period.
“The operating hours are also must be between 8am and 8pm," he said in a statement here.
Tan said the matter was agreed at the state Covid-19 special security committee chaired by Menteri Besar Mukhriz Mahathir today.
As for other sectors such as convenience stores and petrol stations, their operating hours remain from 8am to 8pm, he said.
“On economic sectors to be allowed to operate without restriction, we are still waiting for further explanation and standard operating procedure from the federal government,” he added.
Yesterday, it was reported that the Ministry of Health had recommended for the economic sectors to be reopened first before considering lifting the MCO for other services.
- Bernama

No Wesak Day gathering activities this year - Malaysian Buddhist Association

Malaysiakini

CORONAVIRUS | There will be no Wesak Day gathering activities this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, said the Malaysian Buddhist Association (MBA).
MBA in a statement today said hence, they will instead put out a video recorded by the teachers and students of Malaysian Buddhist Institute about bathing the Buddha statue and chanting scene for Wesak Day this year.
"Members of the public can join this auspicious event online simultaneously at home on Wesak Day," said the statement.
Buddhists will be celebrating Wesak Day on May 7, this year to commemorate the birth, enlightenment and death of Siddharta Gautama Buddha, the founder of the religion.
MBA said Buddhists nationwide are welcomed to watch this event at MBA's website and Facebook on Wesak Day.
"MBA hopes devotees will share the online event with the family members to celebrate the auspicious occasion together at home," the statement said.
- Bernama

Singapore may ease 'circuit breaker' and restart economy - PM Lee

Malaysiakini

CORONAVIRUS | Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said after bringing down the number of new Covid-19 cases, Singapore can ease the circuit breaker measures, and progressively restart its economy.
“This will not be straightforward. We need to step up Covid-19 testing and speed up contact tracing. And we must proceed cautiously, with safeguards, so (that) infections do not flare up again,” he said in his May Day Message 2020 which was televised live today.
Singapore kicked in its strict circuit breaker measures on April 7 and scheduled it to end on June 1.
“We have kept essential services going. But the rest of the economy will have to open up step by step, and not all at once. Some industries will open up earlier than others, and recover sooner.
“For example, those critical to keeping our economy going domestically. And those that keep us connected to the world and to global supply chains,” he said.
Other sectors will have to wait, especially those which attract crowds or involve close contacts with other people, such as entertainment outlets and large-scale sporting events.
Lee noted that all these industries must be kept intact, ready to resume business when conditions allow, thus, “this demands close cooperation between companies, workers and the government”.
“Most likely, tourism and aviation will take much longer to recover than other sectors because international travel will remain restricted as long as Covid-19 is still a problem around the world,” he said.
Lee acknowledged that the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the global economy with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects the steepest decline of global gross domestic product (GDP) since the Great Depression in the 1930s.
“As an open economy, Singapore has felt the full brunt of this downturn. Trade and investment, our lifeblood, have been disrupted. Without help, good companies, big and small, will go out of business, and many workers will lose their jobs.
“Governments all over the world are spending large sums to prevent their economies from collapsing and to take care of their peoples,” he said, adding that the Singapore government has done so too, through the Unity, Resilience, and Solidarity Budgets, S$60 billion altogether.
Updating on the Covid-19 situation, Lee said: “In Singapore, it is nearly a month since we imposed our circuit breaker. We are now down to about 10-15 new community cases daily. We have made significant progress, but we have more to do.”
As at 12 noon today, Singapore reported 528 new cases of Covid-19 infections, thus, bringing the tally to 16,169 cases.
From Wednesday’s tally of 15,641, Singapore classified 1,192 as community cases, 571 imported cases, and 524 cases involving work permit holders not residing in dorms.
Foreign workers at dorms, meanwhile, dominated the tally by about 85 percent or 13,354 cases, with most cases showing mild symptoms.
- Bernama

Flat residents face difficulty maintaining social distancing in small lifts

Malaysiakini

CORONAVIRUS | Imagine being in a lift which is just five feet long and three feet wide. How is one to practice social distancing in such a small space?
That’s precisely the problem faced by residents of the Penang Island City Council’s (MBPP) Taman Free School public housing scheme here, where three 11-storey blocks of flats have only one small-sized lift each.
A resident, Nur Atirah Firdaus, 19, said the lifts were only able to accommodate about five to six people at a time.
"Even then, it already seems crowded. Sometimes, if we are in a large group, we have to wait our turn to take the lift," she told Bernama.
Nur Atirah, who works as a cashier at a supermarket in George Town, said the small size of the lifts also made it difficult for hospital staff to bring down patients because they needed to place the beds in a vertical position.
"Even when there’s a death, the deceased’s body needs to be placed vertically because of the narrow space. If the lift is damaged, we have to use the stairs," said the young woman who has lived at the flats for three years.
Meanwhile, housewife S Radha, 66, who has lived there for the past 27 years, said most of the residents there were senior citizens, some who also lived on the higher levels.
She said the lifts also broke down often, especially when some occupants used them to move heavy items.
"If some are carrying huge items with them, other occupants cannot use the lift. Residents have repeatedly complained to the management about changing the lifts, but there has been no follow-up from the relevant parties," she said.
Radha's husband, T Rajendran, 72, said the management should also add at least one lift to each block to meet the needs of the residents, with the Covid-19 situation making it an even more urgent matter.
"With such small lifts, it is difficult for us to practice social distancing. Usually, if the lift is full, I refrain from entering and wait for the next trip,” said the former MBPP staff.
Meanwhile, another resident, Chan Soo Chee, 57, said the lifts previously installed there could accommodate up to eight people at a time, however, they were later replaced with smaller-sized ones.
"I do not know why the lifts were changed to a smaller size 20 years ago. Last month, the relevant parties came to take measurements, but I did not see any repair work being done after that.
“The lifts need to be changed immediately for the safety and health of residents here," he said.
- Bernama

Norhizam thanks Johor police for arresting Rohingya who allegedly insulted him

MELAKA: Melaka exco member Datuk Norhizam Hassan Baktee has thanked Johor police for arresting a Rohingya refugee whom he claimed had ridiculed him on cyberspace.
Norhizam said the man, identifying himself as "Long Tiger" in his social media account, had poked fun at his stature and challenged him to a fight during an eight-minute video uploaded on YouTube in October 2018.
"I was really hurt by a foreigner who had the audacity to mock me even for the way I dressed.
"He failed to get the truth of what actually transpired that led to an misunderstanding between villagers and me during the incident before uploading the video," Norhizam said on Thursday (April 30).
He was referring to a dialogue session he had with the villagers from Kampung Pulau Nibong here in October 2018.
During the event, a heated argument occurred between him and the villagers over the then closure of two shortcuts connecting Jalan Pulau Nibong to Jalan Akasia 4 and Jalan Akasia 7 in Taman Akasia.
The footage of the argument went viral.
Norhizam, who chairs the state agriculture, agro-based, entrepreneur development and cooperative committee, said the video uploaded by the Muar-based foreigner was widely circulated, earning him the moniker "YB Gangster".
"Finally, the truth has prevailed. I thank the Johor police," he said.
He added that the arrest would serve as a lesson to other foreigners who used nicknames to mislead the locals.
On Thursday (April 30), the Johor police arrested a foreigner after he allegedly made a slanderous statement against a police officer from the Tangkak headquarters.
Johor police chief Comm Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said the 31-year-old suspect was detained on Tuesday (April 28) and police were probing his alleged link to a triad group. - Star