MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Sunday, May 31, 2020

Majikan diberi subsidi Perkeso RM150 setiap saringan Covid-19

Majikan boleh menghantar pekerja menjalani saringan di klinik atau hospital yang diluluskan KKM.
KUALA LUMPUR: Kementerian Sumber Manusia menerusi Pertubuhan Keselamatan Sosial (Perkeso) bersetuju menyediakan subsidi kepada majikan yang menjalankan ujian Covid-19 terhadap pekerja menerusi perluasan skop Program Saringan Prihatin (PSP) berkuat kuasa esok.
Menteri Sumber Manusia M Saravanan dalam kenyataan hari ini memaklumkan majikan dibenarkan membuat tuntutan subsidi bagi saringan Covid-19 sebanyak RM150 bagi setiap saringan yang dijalankan ke atas pekerja mereka yang mencarum dengan Perkeso.
“Program subsidi ini akan menggunakan peruntukan dana sebanyak RM200 juta yang diluluskan Perkeso sebelum ini.
“Kementerian Sumber Manusia serta Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM) dan Kementerian Kerja Raya bersetuju supaya skop PSP Perkeso diperluaskan dengan menambah bilangan penyedia perkhidmatan saringan Covid-19,” menurut kenyataan itu.
Menurutnya, majikan boleh menghantar pekerja menjalani saringan di mana-mana klinik atau hospital yang diluluskan oleh KKM.
“Di bawah program subsidi ini, pekerja asing dalam sektor pembinaan dan perkhidmatan kawalan keselamatan di Selangor dan Kuala Lumpur akan diberi keutamaan untuk menjalani ujian saringan Covid-19.
” … (ini) selaras dengan matlamat kerajaan untuk menjalankan saringan secara bersasar supaya rantaian penularan wabak Covid-19 dapat diputuskan,” katanya.
Saravanan berkata bagi pekerja yang tidak termasuk dalam golongan sasar tersebut, kos saringan perlu ditanggung majikan sebagai kesinambungan kepada usaha pencegahan jangkitan Covid-19 dalam kalangan semua pekerja di negara ini.
Beliau berkata, prosedur program subsidi tersebut akan dimaklumkan dari semasa ke semasa melalui Portal Prihatin https://prihatin.perkeso.gov.my yang disediakan Perkeso. - FMT

Najib: Dr M can’t fight PPBM because of his own past

Dr Mahathir Mohamad in the PPBM chairman’s office on Friday. He insists he is still party chairman.
PETALING JAYA: Dr Mahathir Mohamad will be unable to challenge PPBM’s decision to terminate his membership because of a law that Mahathir himself caused to be amended at the height of an Umno power struggle in the late 1980s, Najib Razak said today.
Najib, a former Umno president, said Mahathir had caused Section 18c of the Societies Act 1966 to be amended, allowing him to form Umno (BARU) after Umno had been ordered to be deregistered.
The amendment stipulated that a party’s decision is final and could not be challenged in court.
Umno was declared illegal after the result of the party elections in 1987, when Mahathir’s presidency was challenged by his rival Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.
Najib said Mahathir was making an excuse when he said he did not want to drag his membership problem to court because he did not trust the judiciary under the Perikatan Nasional government.
Mahathir’s excuse was a lie, he said. “The seventh PM (Mahathir) cannot challenge the decision at court due to the past actions of the fourth PM (also Mahathir). That is correct,” he said in a Facebook post referring to Mahathir’s two separate tenures as prime minister.
Mahathir’s membership in PPBM was terminated by the party on Thursday, together with four other MPs who had sat with opposition members at the Dewan Rakyat sitting of May 18.
The other four were Mahathir’s son Mukhriz, Amiruddin Hamzah, Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman and Maszlee Malik.
Mahathir has insisted he remains the party’s chairman. However, PPBM president Muhyiddin Yassin has declared himself as acting chairman as Mahathir had resigned the chairmanship on Feb 24.
Najib said that should Mahathir bring the membership issue to court, his membership would be automatically terminated, as stipulated in the law and the party’s constitution.
“And this is what Mahathir did not reveal,” Najib said. “If the seventh PM wants to blame anyone, he should blame the fourth PM. Don’t give the excuse that you do not trust the courts.” - FMT

From Johor MB to pineapples: Sahruddin gets a gov't-linked appointment


Former Johor menteri besar Sahruddin Jamal has been appointed as the new Malaysian Pineapple Industry Board (LPNM) chairperson.
LPNM, in a Facebook post, congratulated Sahruddin (above) on the appointment.
"Heartiest congratulations to Sahruddin Jamal on his appointment as the new LPNM chairperson," it said.
Sahruddin was the shortest-serving Johor menteri besar after the Pakatan Harapan-led Johor government collapsed in late February.
This was after Bersatu pulled out of Harapan to form a new coalition government with BN and PAS.
Even though Sahruddin is Bersatu's Bukit Kepong assemblyperson, he had to step down as menteri besar as his party had agreed to surrender the top job to Umno.
Sahruddin became menteri besar on April 14 last year after his predecessor Osman Sapian, who is also from Bersatu, had a falling out with central leaders.
Umno's Benut assemblyperson Hasni Mohammad was sworn in as the new Johor menteri besar on Feb 28. - Mkini


A meeting at Mahathir’s house on the afternoon of Feb 23 has become a point of interest after a photo of it emerged on social media yesterday.
The photo shows Mahathir sitting with Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, GPS chief Abang Johari Openg and chief whip Fadillah Yusof, Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin, Warisan president Shafie Apdal, then PKR deputy president Azmin Ali and PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang.
Perikatan Nasional supporters claimed this is proof that the former prime minister was in support of pulling Bersatu out of Pakatan Harapan to form a new coalition government.
“After the (Bersatu) meeting, Muhyiddin then surprised Mahathir informing him that leaders of Malay parties were waiting for Mahathir at his home.
“I understand that after six hours of meetings at the Bersatu HQ where he failed to convince Mahathir to leave Harapan, Muhyiddin with Zahid, Hadi and others failed again to convince Mahathir at his home even after almost two hours of discussions.
“They only left as they had presumed they would succeed and had set an appointment to meet the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. We do not know what they informed the Agong,” Akhramsyah told Malaysiakini.
He said that Muhyiddin and the others then proceeded with the “Sheraton Move” despite not having Mahathir on their side.
He claimed that the nonagenarian went to bed early at around 10pm that night, which he found out while trying to reassure Harapan leaders that Mahathir was not part of the plot.
He said the former prime minister decided to resign the next day, as he saw the Sheraton move as Muhyiddin and other Bersatu leaders betraying the trust given to him to decide whether the party should exit Harapan.
“Mahathir didn’t plan this. Mahathir didn’t give his blessing. Mahathir has been opposing this idea of leaving Harapan without instigation from the start,” Akhramsyah said.
The disputed Bersatu chairperson had previously said that he saw no reason for the party to leave Harapan after the coalition decided to entrust him with deciding when he would step down at a meeting on Feb 21.
Bersatu leaders aligned to Muhyiddin, however, insist that the party’s supreme council agreed to quit Harapan on Feb 23 and that this was Mahathir’s wish.
The Sheraton Move triggered a week-long crisis which ended with Muhyiddin being sworn-in as prime minister.
On Thursday, Mahathir and four others had their party membership nullified terminated for not sitting with PN during the May 18 Parliament sitting.
They dispute the termination. MKINI

Aide tells what Zahid said to Dr M on day of Sheraton move

PETALING JAYA: A press secretary to Dr Mahathir Mohamad has shed some light on a meeting the former prime minister had with several political leaders on the day of the “Sheraton Move” that led to the fall of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.
The aide, Adam Mukhriz Mohd Muhayeedin, posted some remarks about a photograph that has been circulating, which shows Mahathir at a meeting on Feb 23 attended by leaders of six Malay-based political parties.
Those seen in the photo are PPBM president Muhyiddin Yassin, Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) chairman Abang Johari Openg, Warisan president Shafie Apdal, PKR’s then deputy president, Mohamed Azmin Ali, and GPS chief whip Fadillah Yusof.
Adam Mukhriz said the party leaders had gathered after a meeting of the PPBM Supreme Council, at which the party’s leaders had agreed to give Mahathir a week to decide on the party’s direction.
Adam said Mahathir had also told the various party leaders that there was no need to seek an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, and that he did not want to join their meeting at Sheraton that night.
The following day, Mahathir resigned as prime minister.
The picture has been circulating online with a claim that Mahathir had wanted Malay political leaders to be reunited, and that Mahathir had never mentioned not wanting to work en bloc with Umno. -FMT

EC moots online election nomination, more flexible time frame


The Election Commission (EC) is reviewing the proposal not to limit the nomination for any election to one day only and for the process to be implemented online.
EC chairperson Azhar Azizan Harun (above) said the proposal, however, would take time to be realised as it would involve amendments to existing electoral laws and regulations.
"We want to do that but the problem is that the current legal framework for nomination is only one day and one hour from 9am to 10am, then the announcement is expected at 11am.
"The nomination cannot be carried out via online because under the existing legal framework the candidate or proposer or seconder must bring a hard copy of the nomination form.
"Therefore, we are reviewing the proposal and taking some time as we have to amend these laws and regulations," he said in an exclusive interview with Bernama at his office recently. 
The proposal to extend the nomination day and timeframe of submitting the nomination forms was voiced by various parties following the Covid-19 outbreak, which saw Malaysia moving towards a new normal in facing the impact of the virus infection.
Azhar said that in several by-elections before, the EC had allowed candidates to obtain the nomination form in advance to facilitate the process.
"We encourage candidates to go to the state election office to fill out the forms and pay the deposit in advance and check the forms to ensure everything is correct.
"So, on nomination day it would be just for formality, the candidate would just come and submit the form to the returning officer for checking and the candidate would then be declared eligible for contest,” he said.
The Chini state by-election in Pahang will be the first to be held when the country is facing the Covid-19 pandemic. The EC has set the nomination on June 20, with early voting on June 30 and polling on July 4.
The by-election is being called after the incumbent, Abu Bakar Harun, died of a heart attack at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital on May 6.

Submit asset declaration forms or face disciplinary action, Johor reps warned


Johor assemblypersons are required to formally inform the state assembly in writing if they need more time to submit their asset declaration forms or risk facing disciplinary action.
State assembly speaker Suhaizan Kaiat (above) said those who would like to apply for more time to submit the forms should send their letters to him.
“Some have asked for a postponement but they just called on the phone, so I’ve asked for a letter and if there is a valid reason, we’ll consider. With restrictions due to the movement control order (MCO) to curb the spread of Covid-19, send your letter first, then we’ll consider.
“If an assemblyperson does not send any notice (form), it will be as if he has disobeyed the assembly’s decision and so leave himself open to disciplinary action,” he said after receiving the asset declaration forms from Johor opposition chief Aminolhuda Hassan, who is also the state Pakatan Harapan head.
Suhaizan said that apart from Harapan assemblypersons, he had also received forms from Perikatan Nasional representatives.
Meanwhile, Aminolhuda, who is also Parit Yaani assemblyperson, said all 27 Harapan assemblypersons - comprising 14 from DAP, nine from Amanah and four from PKR - had submitted their forms.
He said it was mandatory for the asset declaration forms to be submitted as the Johor state assembly had passed a motion on Dec 1, 2019, with the final day of submission being before June 1.
There are 56 seats in the Johor state assembly, with PN holding 29 seats and Harapan 27.

Smoke in cabin forces MASwings aircraft to turn around


A MASwings-owned ATR aircraft carrying 29 passengers on a flight from Miri International Airport to Labuan has to turn around when smoke emanated from the cabin this afternoon.
A Sarawak Fire and Rescue operations centre spokesperson said based on information received from airport firefighters, the pilot had contacted Miri International Airport on the incident. There were 25 passengers, two pilots and two flight attendants on board.
He said seven personnel and two fire engines from Miri International Airport Fire and Rescue team were dispatched to prepare the runway as soon as the distress call was received at 4.32pm.
"The plane departed from Miri for Labuan at 4.05pm but turned around and landed safely at 4.24pm. All passengers and crew were safe," he added.
He said Miri International Airport authorities confirmed no fire occurred but the flight was cancelled. - Mkini

'Asymptomatic Covid-19 patients don't have potential to infect others'


CORONAVIRUS | COVID-19 positive individuals who are asymptomatic do not have the potential to infect others because they have a low “virus load” compared to those who are symptomatic, said Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
He, however, said that infectivity could occur two days before the affected individual showed symptoms.
“So, we need to differentiate that the ones without symptoms do not have any problems as there’s no infectivity. But we found that those with symptoms and two days before having those symptoms they could infect others,” he said at the daily press conference on Covid-19 today.
Norr Hisham said that the first week of being symptomatic was when the virus was active enough to infect others, but if the individual was isolated for between eight and 10 days, or 14 days as is being done by the government now, the infectivity rate can be reduced to almost zero.
“As for those who are asymptomatic, perhaps they won’t be able to infect others within 14 days. But the infection can happen two days before the symptomatic period. So, if we can isolate them we can break the Covid-19 chain of transmission,” he said.
Meanwhile, Noor Hisham (photo) said that tomorrow the Health Ministry (MOH) would share its model regarding the projection for Covid-19 cases in the last one month, today and in the future.
“So for cases involving Malaysians, we found there was adherence to the standard operating procedure (SOP) and when we comply with the SOP, it means the R-nought (RO) is less than 0.3 percent. (RO refers to the infectivity rate).
“But for non-Malaysians, if we minus the immigration detention depot and import cases, we find the RO is still about 0.3 percent and we are still monitoring daily the development among Malaysians and non-Malaysians,” he said.
Norr Hisham said what was important was for the MOH to focus on non-Malaysians so that they too complied with the SOP.
However, he said several constraints needed to be focused on, such as accommodation and environment of the foreigners, while employers also needed to play their role in ensuring the foreign workers complied with government directives as well as to take preventive measures and maintain cleanliness.


Amanah deputy president Salahuddin Ayub implied that Pakatan Harapan may be able to wrest back control of Putrajaya from the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government before the next Parliament sitting expected to start in July.
This comes after PKR president Anwar Ibrahim said in a Facebook posting that he had chaired a Harapan meeting in Petaling Jaya this afternoon.
“We discussed a few agendas of our way to Putrajaya, we still have a good chance to go back to Putrajaya.
“(We can) wait until Parliament is called sometime in July or we can do it before that.
He said Harapan already had the numbers to form a new government which is why they have had several meetings before today as well.
“We have the numbers already. I think we will just mention our position to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. I think we can make it,” he said.
When asked whether they have 129 MPs on their side, a number which has been touted on social media the past few days, he laughed and said that was merely a “rumour”.
Salahuddin said he is a practical man and that Harapan needed to finalise the numbers they had in hand now and how to move forward.
Istana Negara
Pressed on whether this means they will meet with the Agong soon, he gave a coy answer.
“Wait and see, okay. We need time,” he said.
Anwar had yesterday said that it was not finalised yet whether Pakatan Harapan had 129 MPs on its side.
He had also said that it was not discussed during the PKR MPs meeting the day before which did not focus on getting the numbers to take over power.
Speculation has been rife that Harapan together with former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Warisan have allegedly secured 129 MPs to come to their side to reclaim Putrajaya from PN.
Mahathir’s aide, however, denied on Thursday that the former prime minister had secured an audience with the Agong.
The Harapan government had collapsed in February after Muhyiddin Yassin took Bersatu out of Harapan, while Azmin Ali and 10 others quit PKR. Together they sided with Umno, BN and PAS to form PN.
In a Facebook live dialogue earlier tonight, Salahuddin said the wave of change would likely start in Johor.
“Why not we start with Johor as a state where there will be a 7.3 Richter scale quake to shakeup Malaysian politics.
“Anything can happen in Johor and we are headed in that direction, wait and see […] from the Tebrau Strait there will be a wave of change to Putrajaya,” he said without going into detail
PN has just 29 state seats in Johor against 27 from Harapan meaning a single defection from PN would cause a hung assembly.

Is Malaysia losing the battle to uphold integrity?

Cartoon by Zunar
It is excruciating to watch a government systematically dismantle any semblance of integrity and accountability, Prema Devaraj writes.
In recent months, several things have happened which suggest the level of integrity in Malaysia is steadily eroding.
In late February, the infamous Sheraton Move brought down the Pakatan Harapan government (PH), leaving many Malaysians stunned. Politicians who had at the last general election pledged to follow a reform agenda for the country, including getting rid of kleptocrats, made their move after months of planning. Many observed that even the Game of Thrones plot could not light a candle to the plotting, manoeuvring and backstabbing that finally toppled the PH government.
We were then told to stop referring to the new unelected-without-a-manifesto Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition as a backdoor government because nothing illegal had happened. But surely the integrity of those involved in the change of government must be questioned?
Over the following few months, PH lost a string of state governments as several state PH assembly members deserted their parties or the PH coalition for greener pastures, moving to where the rewards lay – Johor by the end of February, Perak and Malacca in March, and Kedah in May. PH now governs only Penang, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan, with Warisan leading Sabah.
This has been a breathtaking leap year with the amount of ‘leaping’ going around. This behaviour we have all seen before under previous federal and state governments. Sadly, such defections are not against the law in Malaysia. But they do leave little doubt about the level of hypocrisy and self-interest of the defectors, especially if they join a party or a coalition they have vehemently spoken out against in the 2018 general election.
As the fight for power among the political elite brews, this type of leaping behaviour will probably continue. Just think about what PN and PH have done or are having to do to ensure they “have the numbers” especially if the margins are narrow.
With the focus on gaining and keeping power, where is the time and effort required for ensuring the people’s wellbeing?
We then witnessed how the unelected PN government rewarded their MPs – through appointments to positions in the cabinet (70 posts in the PN cabinet compared to 55 posts under PH), government agencies, port authorities, government-linked companies, governing bodies and special diplomatic positions.
It is disturbing when such appointments are made as rewards and not based on merit and competency. Irrespective of which government is in power, does such a practice actually uphold professionalism and good corporate governance?
Next came the one-day Parliament sitting on 18 May, ostensibly due to the Covid-10 situation. This amounted to an even further erosion of integrity. One constitutional law expert reportedly said such a short sitting of Parliament was “regrettable” even though it complied with the Federal Constitution.
Well, over 75,000 people echoed this regret as they protested over the one-day sitting through an Aliran-initiated online petition. They must have felt it mind-numbing to witness a two-hour Parliament sitting which did not allow MPs any opportunity for debate or discussion.
What sort of government hides behind a Covid-19 excuse? How are other countries around the world able to have their parliaments in session with social distancing in place? With all the proven skills of planning, why couldn’t the PN government manage this? Or were there other reasons why an unelected government did not want to be confronted in Parliament?
Next up: the discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) of Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz, former Prime Minister Najib Razak’s stepson, who was being prosecuted for alleged money laundering offences.
(Riza Aziz was facing five charges under Section 4(1) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 (Act 613). It was alleged that he had received funds totalling US$248m linked to 1MDB between April 2011 and December 2012. He pleaded not guilty to the charges. If convicted of any of the five charges, he could have been jailed for up to five years or fined up to RM5m, or both).
Under the current ‘DNAA deal’ it would seem that Riza would be ‘paying back’ far less than the amount he was alleged to have laundered.
Shocked at the news, many individuals, including ex-bar chiefs, raised their voices in protest against the DNAA decision and called for clarification. An application by a senior lawyer to review the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court’s decision to grant the DNAA was made and has since been dismissed.
Aliran recently launched another online petition, this time calling on the attorney general to review the decision granting Riza Aziz a DNAA. The petition also calls for a royal commission of inquiry to probe the mysterious circumstances of this case, especially as it could set a precedent for other similar high-profile public interest cases.
The perception that arises among lay people would seem to be that a person accused of a crime can buy himself or herself out of the offence. Surely this cannot be the case, for what then would it mean for the justice system in our country?
On the subject of justice, we are also reminded of the convictions and sentencing in cases related to the violation of the movement control order since 18 March – which in some instances were harsh and in others lenient, seemingly depending on the identity of the offender.
Meanwhile, the authorities have raided vulnerable communities of migrants and refugees, detaining many of them. A social media campaign of untruths, vitriol and xenophobia also unfolded.
Altogether, some 2,000 undocumented migrants and refugees were rounded up from areas under lockdown in May and sent to detention centres purportedly to contain Covid-19 transmission – despite an earlier promise not to take action against those without valid documents. These detentions made international news.
Aliran and other groups, including the Malaysian BarSuhakamPeople’s Health ForumSuaram, the UN and Amnesty International, protested over this action by the PN government, warning that overcrowding and the difficulty of social distancing in detention centres could heighten exposure to Covid-19.
Worse, communities fearful of arrests and detention would evade authorities or not seek treatment, thus allowing the coronavirus to transmit elsewhere, unchecked, with serious consequences for both locals and migrants. It wasn’t long before the expected cluster of Covid-19 infections broke out at immigration detention centres.
Around the same time, shameful hate-ridden sentiments on this issue flooded social media. Other groups, however, put forward alternative and more humane views of the situation.
few crucial questions have to be answered. Why are there so many undocumented migrants in our cities in the first place? Who actually is responsible for this? And who is making money from this situation?
These concerns are also echoed in the call for justice for Wang Kelian victims on the fifth anniversary of the ‘discovery’ of the human trafficking camps. Not a single Malaysian has been charged, and the royal commission report has not yet been seen.
On all these issues raised, many recommendations have been made over the years to protect integrity, accountability and democracy in our country. But what has been lacking is a government courageous and committed enough to implement these recommendations.
As if the pain of Covid-19 has not been enough, it is excruciating to watch a government systematically dismantle any semblance of integrity and accountability. We must find a way to stop this.
“Ultimately, the source of our problems lies at the level of the individual. If people lack moral values and integrity, no system of laws and regulations will be adequate. So long as people give priority to material values, then injustice, corruption, inequity, intolerance, and greed – all the outward manifestations of neglect of inner values – will persist.” – Dalai Lama XIV, Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World

Prema Devaraj
Co-editor, Aliran newsletter
31 May 2020