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Saturday, October 31, 2020

Covid-19: Jabatan Pendidikan Negeri Sembilan ditutup hingga 12 Nov

 

Kementerian Pendidikan berkata, segala urusan melibatkan orang awam di premis Jabatan Pendidikan Negeri Sembilan dihentikan sepanjang tempoh penutupan bermula semalam hingga 12 Nov depan.

PUTRAJAYA: Premis Jabatan Pendidikan Negeri Sembilan ditutup bermula semalam hingga 12 Nov berikutan terdapat kes jangkitan Covid-19 melibatkan beberapa orang pegawai dan kakitangan jabatan tersebut.

Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia (KPM) dalam kenyataan hari ini memaklumkan premis yang ditutup adalah sektor pembelajaran dan unit hal ehwal murid di Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Rahang dan unit pembangunan bakat murid dan sektor pendidikan Islam di Kompleks Ko-Kurikulum di Seremban.

Arahan penutupan itu turut melibatkan Pusat Ko-Kurikulum Kem Hassan Basir di Batu Kikir, Kuala Pilah.

Sehubungan itu, segala urusan melibatkan orang awam dihentikan sepanjang tempoh penutupan itu. - FMT

Partial lockdown at health ministry training institute in Johor

 

An administrative EMCO is in place at the health ministry training institute in Kempas, Johor Bahru.

BATU PAHAT: The Health Ministry Training Institute in Kempas, Johor Bahru district, has been placed under an administrative enhanced movement control order from yesterday, health minister Dr Adham Baba said today.

He said the administrative EMCO would be enforced for 14 days after taking into account the high number of Covid-19 cases in the area.

“We are enforcing the Targeted EMCO or administrative EMCO in the Kempas ILKKM as it has recorded a high number of cases.

“The administrative EMCO will allow us to enforce MCO in certain localities only, not throughout Johor Bahru,” he said. Adham said that as of today, 56 active Covid-19 cases were recorded in Johor Bahru, with 42 from the Kempas Cluster which also comprises the training institute.

The rest were from the Meldrum Cluster(six cases) and Bayu Cluster (eight), he said.

In a related development,  Adham said there were signs of a reduction in Covid-19 cases in Sabah, with the infectivity rate or R-naught at almost 1.0 for the time being.

“The R-naught shows the possibility of cases increasing or reducing, and we already have the projection, which is almost 1.0.

“The 1.0 means that the infectivity rate is only from one patient to another and we are trying to reduce the R-naught to below one by enforcing EMCO in some other areas, such as in Tawau, Sandakan and Kepayan Prison,” he said. - FMT

Tamrin sends legal letter to Zuraida over claims on direct tender project

 


Former Batu Berendam MP Tamrin Abdul Ghafar said he has sent a notice of demand via his lawyer to Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin over her remarks tying him to the direct tender of a solid waste transfer station project.

“A notice of demand dated Oct 13, 2020 has been sent by my lawyer Ramkarpal Singh to Zuraida and was accepted by her political secretary on Oct 14, 2020,” Tamrin said in a statement today.

He said he also sent similar notices of demand to Umno supreme council member Mohd Puad Zarkashi, “bloggers" and others who he claimed have cast aspersions against him including Bersatu supreme council member Aziz Yassin.

“I will continue to pursue legal action against them if they fail to fulfil my demands.

“I am ready to cooperate with the police and the MACC if necessary,” Tamrin said.

Previously, Zuraida had claimed that Tamrin, as an adviser to Bumi Segar Indah, had approached then finance minister Lim Guan Eng to directly negotiate the solid waste transfer station project in Taman Beringin, Jinjang Utara on Nov 26, 2018.

The Ampang MP claimed Lim had advised Bumi Segar Indah to present her ministry with a formal proposal and that he eventually approved the project through a letter dated Feb 20, 2019.

Tamrin later denied this and said the project was actually awarded through direct negotiations under BN in 2017 and that the minister in charge at the time was Mohd Noh Omar.

The solid waste transfer project was among 101 direct negotiation contracts which Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz claimed was approved by the Pakatan Harapan government.

However, most of the projects on the list were approved during BN’s tenure in Putrajaya. - Mkini

ERC man moots 3 ways to have polls, avoid emergency

 


Electoral Reform Committee (ERC) member and political scientist Wong Chin Huat has suggested three ways elections can be held without the executive resorting to an emergency proclamation.

This follows Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin's televised address to explain his logic for seeking an emergency proclamation to avoid by-elections and the Sarawak election due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"If Bersatu stays out of the Batu Sapi by-election, like how Pakatan Harapan stayed out of the Chini by-election, then even if some minor parties or independent candidates take part, the by-election will be a non-event," said Wong.

The Batu Sapi by-election is slated for Dec 5. So far, Harapan, BN and Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) have vowed to stay out of the by-election in hope that Warisan, which won the seat in 2018, would be given a walkover.

The Batu Sapi constituency is part of the Sandakan district, which as of noon yesterday, registered 875 new Covid-19 cases over a 14-day period.

Secondly, Wong said that an emergency proclamation need not be sought now to prevent the Sarawak state elections since legally the election can be delayed up until Aug 5.

"If Gabungan Parti Sarawak serves a full term, why do we need an emergency for 10 months?" asked Wong.

Article 21(4) of the Constitution of Sarawak stipulates that an election for the Sarawak legislative assembly must be held within sixty days of the date of the dissolution.

The Sarawak legislative assembly will automatically dissolve on June 7 next year.

Lastly, Wong argued that some countries such as South Korea, Singapore and New Zealand have shown that there are mechanisms to prevent a surge in Covid-19 cases.

Wong said that there can be extensive facilities for absentee voting to reduce crowds at polling stations and prevent inter-state or inter-district travel.

"There can be televised debates between party leaders and free airtime for all candidates in all constituencies to replace rallies and door-to-door canvassing.

"And have rigorous enforcement of Covid-19 SOPs for VVIPs," said Wong.

Wong is a member of the ERC that was set up by the previous prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The ERC had submitted 49 recommendations to the current prime minister to overhaul the election system, which includes a closed-list proportional representation system to replace the current first-past-the-post system.

By late November, the ERC will disbanded. - Mkini

A framework for all MPs to pass the budget, promises PM

 

PETALING JAYA: A form of understanding can be shaped between both ruling and opposition MPs to ensure that Budget 2021 will be passed, promises Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

In a live telecast on Saturday (Oct 31), Muhyiddin urged all MPs to put aside political differences to pass the Budget 2021 for the sake of the people and the country.

"A form of understanding can be created among members of parliament to enable Budget 2021 to be passed with the support of government and opposition MPs.

"I hope all MPs can put aside their political differences to ensure Budget 2021 is passed for the sake of the people and the country.

"I give my word that the Perikatan Nasional government will continue to find the best way to manage this big crisis that we are facing now. Our goal is only one, that is to win in our fight against Covid-19 and ensure the safety and welfare of the people.

"In In managing the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, the government is trying its best to avoid the worst effects on the country's economy which can affect the people's economy negatively.

"I know many are suffering due to retrenchment and loss of income caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Many businesses had to be shut down. More than 800,000 people have lost their jobs. I hear your pleas.

"The government will present Budget 2021 in Dewan Rakyat on Nov 6, with various allocations for the government agencies, aid for the people and incentives for the corporate sector to assist them to face the pandemic and restore the economy.

"God willing, in the Budget to be presented, the government will announce initiatives which will lighten the burden of the people during this difficult time," said Muhyiddin. - Star

MetMalaysia keluar amaran cuaca peringkat waspada di Sabah hingga 2 Nov

 

Hujan lebat dijangka berlaku di Sabah, iaitu di pedalaman Sipitang, Tenom, Kuala Penyu, Beaufort, Keningau dan Tambunan, Sandakan dan Kudat serta Labuan sehingga 2 Nov ini. (Gambar Bernama)

KUALA LUMPUR: Jabatan Meteorologi Malaysia (MetMalaysia) mengeluarkan amaran cuaca peringkat waspada dengan hujan lebat dijangka berlaku di Sabah, sehingga Isnin (2 Nov).

MetMalaysia dalam kenyataan hari ini memaklumkan keadaan itu diramal melanda kawasan pedalaman pantai barat, Sandakan, Kudat dan Labuan.

“Hujan lebat dijangka berlaku di Sabah, iaitu di pedalaman (Sipitang, Tenom, Kuala Penyu, Beaufort, Keningau dan Tambunan), pantai barat, Sandakan (Telupid dan Beluran) dan Kudat serta Labuan sehingga Isnin, 2 Nov,” menurut kenyataan itu, hari ini,

Sementara itu, dalam kenyataan berasingan, MetMalaysia hari ini mengeluarkan notis nasihat Taufan Goni yang berada di kedudukan kira-kira 668km ke tenggara Luzon, Filipina.

MetMalaysia dalam kenyataan memaklumkan Taufan Goni isedang bergerak ke arah barat daya dengan kelajuan 25km sejam (km/j) dan boleh mencapai kelajuan maksimum 213km/j.

Kenyataan itu turut menyebut jarak taufan dari bandar terdekat adalah kira-kira 1,368 km ke timur laut Sandakan, namun tiada kesan signifikan terhadap Malaysia. - FMT

Another potential water disruption averted, this time from factory fire

 

Enforcement officers placing 43 activated carbon bags along Sungai Kundang. (LUAS Facebook pic)

SHAH ALAM: The Selangor Water Management Board (LUAS) and Pengurusan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Air Selangor) swung into action by taking early precautionary measures after a level three threshold odour number (TON) pollution incident was detected upstream of Sungai Kuang following a factory fire in Gombak yesterday.

State Environment, Green Technology, Science, Technology and Innovation and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman Hee Loy Sian said, currently, LUAS, Air Selangor and Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) had placed 43 activated carbon bags at Sungai Kundang, which receives the inflow of water from Sungai Kuang, which is one of the main tributaries in the Sungai Selangor basin.

“This move is to prevent the smell from the plastic processing factory fire, which is located 33km from the Rantau Panjang Water Treatment Plant (LRA) that flows into Sungai Sembah and then to Sungai Selangor.

“Until now, LUAS, Air Selangor and MPS are working to stop the waste resulting from the fire from flowing into the river by constructing an earth bund at the site,” Hee said in a statement here today.

Black burnt components from the factory had flowed into the upper streams of Sungai Kuang. (LUAS Facebook pic)

Following the incident, the factory has been issued a water protection order under Section 122 of the Selangor Water Management Authority (LUAS) Enactment 1999 regarding the risks and threats posed by the incident to the quality of water sources.

“Thus far, the LRA is still operating and no water disruptions are reported. The mitigative follow-ups and surveillance efforts have been stepped up and will be carried out by LUAS and other involved parties from time to time,” Hee said.

He said the odour pollution was detected at 10pm yesterday and the investigation found that remnants from the fire were on the water surface. Black burnt components had flowed into the upper streams of Sungai Kuang. - FMT

RM3 mil allocated to help low-income groups in Labuan hit by CMCO

 

Tenants of public housing, owned by Labuan Corporation, will benefit from rental deferment for three months from October to December this year, says FT Minister Annuar Musa.

LABUAN: The Federal Territories ministry has approved an allocation of RM3.01 million to help ease the financial burden of low-income groups in Labuan following the implementation of the conditional movement control order (CMCO).

Federal Territories Minister Annuar Musa said that assistance through the Wilayah Cakna Initiative 4.0 (IWC 4.0), which started in October and which will last until Dec 31, 2020, was also for athletes who are homeless.

“This is due to the government’s concern to help individuals from the B40 and those in need in the Federal Territory of Labuan, including athletes, sports coaches and homeless individuals who have been adversely affected by Covid-19 and CMCO,” he said in a statement to Bernama today.

He said that 772 licensed hawkers and small traders in Labuan were exempted from paying rent for business premises owned by Labuan Corporation. This involved revenue amounting to RM518,055.

“A total of 468 small traders and public market traders, are also exempted from paying for their respective licence renewals from October to December 2020, involving a reduction of revenue of RM25,275 for Labuan Corporation,” he said.

Annuar also said that 617 tenants of public housing owned by Labuan Corporation also benefited from rental deferment for the same period, involving a total amount of RM519,045.

Meanwhile, 108 landowners, involving 85 companies, will enjoy a discount of 30% for the monthly rate for their land lease, with a total reduction in revenue amounting to RM592,380.

“A total of 2,000 students from poor families in Labuan will receive a school exercise book aid voucher worth RM100 as one-off assistance from the Federal Territory Foundation (YWP), involving an allocation of RM200,000.

“These vouchers can be used in their respective school cooperatives for the purchase of exercise books and stationery for next year’s school session,” he said.

The Federal Territory Sports Council (MSWP) will also continue to provide training allowances to 700 athletes and 103 coaches of the Federal Territory Sukma team with an allocation of RM937,515, although no training and sports activities are being implemented during this CMCO period.

An estimated 300 homeless individuals will also be receiving special incentives from the government, he added.

Programmes, including human capital development; industrial training at the Kuala Lumpur homeless transit centre (PTGKL) and semi-skilled job search/matching in the private sector, have also been designed for those who need help and moral support from all parties. - FMT

128 contract nurses join Sabah’s Covid-19 battle

 

Some of the new nurses who will be serving in Sabah. (Facebook pic)

KOTA KINABALU: A total of 128 contract nurses have reported for duty to the Sabah health department to help in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, said local government and housing minister Masidi Manjun.

He said this was due to the efforts of the health ministry, adding the nurses are undergoing training before starting their duties.

“At the same time, nine medical officers from the health departments of Kelantan and Terengganu have also arrived in Sabah today,” he said, in a statement here today.

He said the surgical hall at Semporna hospital has also been reopened starting yesterday thanks to funds from the health ministry. Specialists from Tawau hospital had carried out a caesarean section and bilateral tubal ligation operations.

Two ambulances have also been placed at the Semporna hospital to beef up logistical support to help address the disease.

Meanwhile, Masidi said a big rise in the number of cases in the Rumah Merah cluster came about from screenings at two blocks of the detention centre for undocumented migrants.

He said there were 111 cases recorded today (compared to 57 yesterday).

“The number of cases is expected to rise in the coming days because the detention centre has 10 blocks, housing 1,706 detainees,” he said. - FMT

James Bond actor Sean Connery dies at 90

 

Sean Connery was the original actor who played James Bond, and appeared in seven of the spy thrillers. (Instagram pic)

LONDON: Legendary British actor Sean Connery, best known for playing fictional spy James Bond in seven films, has died aged 90, his family told the BBC on Saturday.

The Scottish actor, who was knighted in 2000, won numerous awards during his decades-spanning career, including an Oscar, three Golden Globes and two Bafta awards.

Connery as superspy James Bond.

Tributes immediately began pouring in for Connery who was considered one of the greatest movie stars of his generation.

“How infinitely sad to hear the news Sir Sean Connery has passed away,” stated a message on the Twitter account maintained for fellow Bond actor Roger Moore who died in 2017.

“He and Roger were friends for many decades and Roger always maintained Sean was the best ever James Bond. RIP.”

Connery claimed his Oscar in 1988 for best supporting actor for his role as an Irish cop in “The Untouchables”.

He also starred in “The Hunt for Red October”, “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” and “The Rock”.

But it is his smooth, Scottish-accented portrayal of the suave spy 007 that he will be best remembered for.

The first actor to utter the unforgettable “Bond, James Bond”, Connery made seven official films as novelist Ian Fleming’s creation, giving what many still consider as the definitive portrayal. - FMT

This, too, will pass, Noor Hisham assures the Klang Valley

 

Restrictions and other measures in the Klang Valley will reduce the Covid-19 infection rate, says Noor Hisham Abdullah.

PETALING JAYA: Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has allayed fears about the high number of cases in the Klang Valley, saying that the public health interventions in place would bring down the infection rate.

“Right now, there are no vaccines or medicine (to kill the virus), but we do have public health methods,” he said.

He said Kedah had similarly gone through a spate of high case numbers, with many active clusters, such as the Sivagangga, Tawar, Salak, Telaga and Sungai clusters. But now few cases have been reported in Kedah.

Noor Hisham said the number of cases had come down after public health interventions such as targeted screenings at suspected zones and restrictions of the targeted enhanced movement control order.

“Selangor and Klang Valley, too, we can control and reduce the number of cases,” he said.

He added that based on the number of cases yesterday and today, the R0 (R-naught, or infection rate) in the country was between 0.3 and 1.0.

He said the figure showed that public health activities and partial lockdowns in areas under the conditional movement control order in certain states were showing results.

Stay home for only 2 more weeks, says DG

He urged the public to continue staying home “for only another two weeks”, unless it is absolutely necessary to leave the house.

Noor Hisham has previously stated that the CMCO over Sabah, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan could only be lifted if the infection rate was lower than 0.3.

When asked about a case of a Sarawakian woman who had tested positive 18 days after returning home from Labuan, Noor Hisham said the woman showed symptoms on the 11th day, but did not report them.

The woman was tested a second time on day 10 of her mandatory quarantine, and was released on day 14.

He added that, at times, people who requested to be released from quarantine earlier may be tested a second time before day 13. He said this was because results may take longer than one day.

“That’s why one of the reasons (for the earlier second test) might be that if they get tested on day 10 then maybe they can get the results on day 13 or day 14, because results can take a few days.”

He said there have been no cases in Malaysia of a patient showing symptoms and testing positive beyond the 14-day virus incubation period. -FMT

Keep vital transport projects going, urges works minister

 

The Pan Borneo Highway is among several projects that need Budget funds, says the works minister.

PETALING JAYA: Works Minister Fadillah Yusof hopes there will be enough funds in the 2021 Budget to keep major road and rail transport projects on track next year.

Fadillah said he hoped the construction industry would continue to be given attention and serve as the core of the government’s economic recovery and growth in 2021.

“We need to ensure that major construction projects such as Mass Rapid Transit Line 3, East Coast Rail Line, High Speed Rail, Pan Borneo Highway, and several other highway projects run smoothly and serve as a catalyst for positive growth for the construction industry,” he said.

He hoped attention would be given to certain high priority projects such as the balance of the project packages for the Central Spine Road and the Jalan Kota Bharu-Kuala Krai project that have not yet been approved.

Fadillah Yusof.

He said this includes the road from Kuala Krai to Gua Musang and also the line connecting Bentong to Karak.

In East Malaysia, among the high priority projects yet to get off the ground are the 5km “missing link” from Kuala Baram, Miri, to the Brunei border at the Sungai Tujuh immigration checkpoint.

Funds were also needed for road maintenance, government buildings and quarters.

“The economic multiplier effect obtained through such small projects will be felt more quickly and can be enjoyed by more industry players in the various layers of the construction sector,” he said.

There were also 20 new projects to upgrade existing roads or build new roads.

The 2021 Budget is scheduled to be tabled at the Dewan Rakyat on Nov 6. - FMT

How Malaysia almost fell into the abyss

 


It started with rumours that a cabinet reshuffle was on the cards. Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s support was shaky at best, after reports that Umno was considering to pull away support from his Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.

Umno made certain demands, details of which were not made public, and if those demands were not met, Umno MPs would no longer support the prime minister.

As such, when it was reported that a special cabinet meeting was to take place on Friday, Oct 23, many assumed that this meeting was to discuss a cabinet reshuffle in order to acquiescence to Umno's demands.

Yet, while the meeting was taking place, several mainstream media outlets began to publish an opinion by academic professor Shamrahayu Ab Aziz on what a proclamation of emergency would entail. This caught many by surprise, as no one expected the cabinet meeting to be about advising the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to proclaim an emergency under Article 150 of the Federal Constitution.

Yet by the end of the special cabinet meeting, reports began to surface that the cabinet had agreed to take this course of action. The reports quoted sources from within Putrajaya, even though no official confirmation came from the government.

On the same day itself, it was reported that the prime minister, along with an entourage of ministers and senior civil servants, had met with the Agong to propose the imposition of the Article 150 proclamation. However, His Royal Highness saw fit to first confer with the nine Malay rulers on the issue, and did not immediately agree to the prime minister’s request.

Meanwhile, the mainstream media began to set the narrative in favour of the emergency. It was a ‘political emergency’, they said. Things will be as they are, only ‘political activities’ would be halted. They also claimed that this would be a ‘medical emergency’, because of the rising Covid-19 numbers which saw new cases in this third wave soar beyond the cumulative cases in the first and second waves of the pandemic in Malaysia.

The mainstream media also portrayed as if there were only two choices left to the government; proclaim an emergency or face a general election at the height of the coronavirus wave. Several outlets published polls with only these two choices, in a less-than-subtle attempt to sway public opinion in favour of the emergency.

Legal eagles argued that current laws were sufficient to deal with the pandemic, and opined that from a constitutional point of view, the circumstances that would allow the government to proclaim an emergency was simply not present.

Others spoke up against the emergency too. Civil society warned against the effect that an emergency would have on civil liberties. Academics argued that an emergency was not needed, while the Malaysian Medical Association came out with a statement that what Malaysia needed was more aid to Sabah, instead of an emergency. Economists also warned of the devastating effect an emergency would have on the fragile economy.

Political parties from across the divide also made it known that they did not support a proclamation of emergency. Top Pakatan Harapan leaders, Pejuang, Muda, and even several Umno leaders went on record to say they did not support an emergency.

It was clear that by the time the rulers met on Sunday, Oct 25, by and large the public did not buy into the need for an emergency.

Thankfully, the rulers were in consonance with the prevailing public opinion. After the meeting, the Agong, through the comptroller of the royal household, opined that an emergency was not needed at that point in time and therefore did not agree with the prime minister’s proposal to proclaim one.

The keeper of the royal seal also issued a statement, representing the Malay rulers.

"The rulers were of the view that it was important to respect the mechanism of check and balance between all branches of the government and also the Agong's role to balance various demands in ensuring justice and curtailing (membatasi) any elements of abuse of power," he said.

The word "membatasi" was the only one to be highlighted in red in the statement. The other words were printed in black.

This statement is significant as it suggests that the rulers were of the view that there could be elements of abuse of power in an emergency, and that the Agong's role is to ensure that executive powers are not abused.

The country breathed a collective sigh of relief. At a time when checks and balance of executive action is of the utmost importance, the country had dodged a nuclear missile in the form of an emergency.

If this was any other head of executive, it would be politically untenable for them to continue with their position. Such a major political gambit in order ensure that the prime minister continues to hold onto power by way of pushing the emergency button had failed. The responsible thing to do would be for the prime minister to resign.

However, Muhyiddin is still the prime minister, and business proceeded as usual in the days that followed. It was as if we did not come close to the point of no return and nearly fell into the abyss of emergency rule.


SYAHREDZAN JOHAN is a civil liberties lawyer and political secretary to Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang. - Mkini

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of MMKtT.

Woman released from quarantine, only to be tested positive 4 days later

 


COVID-19 | A woman who failed to notify authorities that she had developed symptoms of Covid-19 while undergoing quarantine ended up being released only to be tested positive four days later.

According to the health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, investigations revealed the woman had completed a 14-day quarantine as required by authorities in Sarawak after she returned from Labuan earlier this month.

Both swab tests conducted on her to detect the coronavirus on the first day and 10th day of quarantine had returned negative results.

"As per the usual procedures, a test would be conducted on the first day (of the quarantine). And a second test was then done on the 10th day.

"Because both tests returned negative, she was released from quarantine on the 14th day. However, on the 18th day (after returning from Labuan), she got tested again after showing symptoms of the virus.

"Investigations revealed that the woman had actually started having symptoms since the 11th day, but she did not notify the authorities. She only came in when the symptoms worsened on the 18th day and got tested and she was confirmed positive," Noor Hisham told a press conference in Putrajaya today.

He was asked about the case after the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee yesterday classified it as an imported case, rather than a local infection in the state.

According to a statement by the committee on Friday, the housewife had arrived in Miri from Labuan on Oct 10 when she was given a swab test and ordered to undergo isolation which she had duly completed.

She was tested for the third time on Oct 27, for which the result came back positive on Oct 29.

Noor Hisham added that in most cases of travellers found positive, they were tested for the virus on the first day of quarantine.

However, 25 percent were only found positive when they got tested on the 13th day, which is the usual practice to ensure that every person under quarantine is free of Covid-19 before they can be released.

"If we look at the case of travellers, as of today, there are 1,181 positive cases involving this group in total.

"From this number, 75 percent were found positive on the first day, while 25 percent were found positive on the 13th day," he said.

When asked why the woman was tested on the 10th day instead of 13th, Noor Hisham said that there were cases where swab tests were done in advance due to time needed for the result to come back in time for the last day of quarantine. - Mkini

Covid-19 clusters prove need to upgrade prison conditions: Nurul Izzah

 


Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah said the rising number of Covid-19 cases from prison clusters in Malaysia has shown the importance of upgrading the conditions of detention centres.

She said she had been told previously that the upcoming 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) would include an upgrade of all immigration depots across the country.

“However, in light of recent events, such plans may have fallen by the wayside.

“It remains to be seen whether it will reappear in the next Parliament sitting but I think events have clearly shown the importance of upgrading detention centres,” said Nurul Izzah.

She was speaking in a Zoom webinar entitled "Speaking for the Unspoken: The Vulnerable Population and Covid-19" hosted by the Medico-Legal Society of Malaysia (MLSM) today.

She said human rights group have long bemoaned the substandard sanitation and related conditions in detention centres in Malaysia and also warned that if such places were not improved, they would become an easy place for diseases to spread.

“Prisons have been ticking health time bombs for years now. It is completely unsurprising how quickly we see the spread (of Covid-19) behind bars,” Nurul Izzah said.

She pointed out that there has now been a “frightening surge” in the infection that has spread like wildfire in prisons such as through the Tembok cluster, the Penang remand prison cluster and the Kepayan prison cluster.

On Oct 27, half of all those tested in the Kepayan prison in Sabah turned out to be positive, she said.

By Oct 28, there were 1,566 cases from the Kepayan prison cluster, she said.

In the last parliamentary sitting in July, she said several parliamentarians had asked Home Minister Hamzah Zainuddin to ensure that prisons were adequately protected from the virus spread.

“We were assured multiple times that necessary standard operating procedures (SOPs) were in place, yet look where we are now,” she said.

By neglecting the healthcare of prisoners, she said the country has failed them as prison should not be a death sentence.

“Exposure to a deadly virus was never meant to be part of their sentence,” she said.

She also urged that those who violated MCO orders should not be imprisoned under the current situation.

Advocate and solicitor Abdul Rashid Ismail, meanwhile, said these issues have been long-standing problems plaguing the prison system but the government has taken a “very slow approach” in dealing with them.

He also pointed out that those in prison usually consist of unconvicted prisoners on remand awaiting trial on top of convicted prisoners and death-row prisoners.

Unconvicted prisoners who are being remanded are usually those who have committed serious crimes or those who cannot afford to pay their bail.

Abdul Rashid said this is partly how the issues facing Malaysian prisons affect the poor of society.

“Prisoners also have rights, under Article 5(1) of the Federal Constitution which states no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty save in accordance with the law.

“Prisoners are also human, they are not subhuman, so we still have to treat them with dignity,” he said. - Mkini