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Thursday, September 30, 2021

9 districts miss out on Sabah’s zonal travel system

 

Masidi Manjun had said that the zonal travel system would be reinstated when 60% of the state’s adult population have been fully vaccinated. (Bernama pic)

KOTA KINABALU: Nine districts will not be able to take part in Sabah’s zonal travel system, which allows people to cross districts within the same zones, when it resumes tomorrow.

Sabah local government and housing minister Masidi Manjun said Kinabatangan, Telupid, Tongod, Sandakan, Kalabakan, Tawau, Papar, Semporna and Nabawan will miss out for now as the vaccination rate of the adult population in those districts was still below 60%.

The districts where zonal travel system is allowed are:

Zone 1 – Kota Kinabalu, Penampang, Putatan, Tuaran, Ranau and Kota Belud;
Zone 2 – Beaufort, Sipitang and Kuala Penyu;
Zone 3 – Kudat, Kota Marudu, Pitas and Beluran;
Zone 4 – Lahad Datu and Kunak; and
Zone 5 – Keningau, Tambunan and Tenom.

Previously, there were six zones but Kinabatangan, Telupid, Tongod and Sandakan, which are all under one zone, still do not qualify due to their low vaccination rate.

Masidi had previously said the state government would reinstate the zonal travel system when 60% of the state’s adult population has been fully vaccinated.

He said districts that had yet to achieve the same vaccination rate would be considered as standalone districts.

This means people there will not be allowed to cross to other districts in their zones until 60% of the adult population are vaccinated. - FMT

MPs with ongoing court cases may be barred from Parliament

 

Dewan Negara president Rais Yatim said the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara are also looking at a special code of ethics for MPs.

KUALA LUMPUR: Amendments to the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952 are being reviewed to allow the Houses to prohibit any Dewan Rakyat or Dewan Negara member facing ongoing court charges from attending Parliament proceedings.

Dewan Negara president Rais Yatim said the matter was discussed in a special meeting on Parliament Transformation today with law minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar that he chaired on behalf of the Dewan Negara and Dewan Rakyat.

“Both Houses are also looking into drafting a special code of ethics for MPs,” he said in a statement.

Also present at the meeting were Dewan Negara deputy president Mohamad Ali Mohamad and deputy law minister Mas Ermieyati Samsudin, chief administrator of Parliament Nor Yahati Awang as well as the Dewan Negara and Dewan Rakyat secretaries.

Following the meeting, a draft bill and a Cabinet memorandum on the transformation of Parliament were submitted to Wan Junaidi for tabling and approval by the government, he said.

He said Wan Junaidi fully supported the move to amend and empower the 1952 Act and reinstate the Parliamentary Services Act 1963 so that the concept of separation of powers between the legislature and the executive can be manifested as enshrined in Article 44 of the Federal Constitution.

He said with the move, Parliament will no longer be subjected to executive power, in addition to allowing several new select committees with legislative powers to be established in the near future.

Rais said all the transformations are in line with the recent memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the federal government and Pakatan Harapan, which focuses on the transformation of Parliament, among others.

A special briefing on the details of Parliament transformation will be carried out for all MPs and senators soon, he said. - FMT

Threat to transfer teachers over vaccine refusal ‘autocratic’, says Zahid

 

The education ministry should persuade unvaccinated teachers to get the Covid-19 vaccine instead of making threats, says Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

PETALING JAYA: The education ministry’s “threat” to transfer teachers who refused to get themselves vaccinated against Covid-19 reeks of autocracy and is misguided, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said.

The Umno president said the matter should be handled wisely and with care, adding there were ample opportunities to persuade the teachers to get vaccinated.

The education ministry, he said, should handle teachers who refuse the vaccine on a case-by-case basis, instead of taking such a broad approach.

“Threatening teachers with a transfer would inconvenience their lives and that of their families and it is autocratic and imprudent,” he said in a Facebook post tonight, adding he was troubled by the ministry’s suggestion.

He added that such threats would incur the wrath of the people towards the government.

A few days ago, education minister Radzi Jidin said teachers who refuse to be vaccinated may be transferred elsewhere if their actions affected the teaching and learning programme.

He said this was one of the solutions being mulled in the interest of students’ safety.

Zahid said the education ministry should instead emulate the Crown Prince of Johor, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim who met with teachers in the state to find out their reasons for refusing the vaccine.

He added that in this way the ministry could clear the air over the side-effects from getting vaccinated as well as any misconception that these teachers may have of the Covid-19 vaccines.

“There needs to be a special programme to help these teachers.” - FMT

Singapore’s seniors told to stay home to avoid Covid-19

 

Senior citizens were told to minimise activities where they might remove their masks, such as eating at hawker centres. (AFP pic)

PETALING JAYA: All seniors in Singapore over the age of 60 and those living with them have been urged to stay at home, especially if they are unvaccinated.

The government made the appeal saying it was necessary until the Covid-19 situation in the republic stabilises.

Cases in Singapore have spiked this month, having gone from just 180 cases on Sept 1 to a record 2,268 yesterday.

This surge in Covid-19 cases has seen more seniors experiencing serious symptoms when infected, the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) said in a statement today.

“Seniors are at a higher risk of developing serious health complications if they are infected with Covid-19 and should take additional precautions to protect themselves,” AIC added.

According to a Straits Times report, seniors were reminded to go out only for essential activities and to avoid crowded places, as well as being advised to minimise group activities and gatherings.

AIC also encouraged seniors to minimise activities where they might remove their masks, such as eating at hawker centres, adding they should opt for takeaways instead.

“Seniors should wear surgical-grade masks properly at all times and maintain good hygiene practices such as frequent hand-washing.

“To minimise their exposure to other infections, we also urge seniors to visit hospitals only if necessary,” the AIC said, adding that those who may have Covid-19 but are asymptomatic, should self-isolate at home.

AIC also encouraged unvaccinated seniors to get their shots as soon as possible as the risk of getting seriously ill for the unvaccinated is significantly higher, and urged those who have already been jabbed to get their booster doses.

“The seniors will greatly benefit from this added protection to mitigate against waning immunity and help reduce the likelihood of severe illness if infected,” the AIC said.

“For home-bound seniors requesting home vaccination, AIC works with the relevant agencies to arrange for the eligible senior to be vaccinated at home.” - FMT

Don't use me as excuse for Seri Perdana renovations, Najib tells Muhyiddin

Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak this evening criticised Muhyiddin Yassin, also a former premier, for trying to blame him over renovations on Seri Perdana that cost the government RM38.5 million.

This comes after Muhyiddin today said that part of his decision to order the upgrading works on the official residence of the prime minister was because many of its furniture have been taken away by Najib.

“I cannot believe that I have been used as an excuse by PM8 (Muhyiddin) to approve the project to renovate and upgrade Seri Perdana,” Najib said in a Facebook post.

According to the Pekan MP, after he lost the 14th general election in 2018, his family was forced to vacate Seri Perdana in several hours and had to leave many of their personal effects, gifts and furniture.

The items, according to Najib, had remained at the official residence since, despite official requests made to the then Pakatan Harapan government to get back his belongings.

The situation remained the same until the Harapan government fell and was replaced by Perikatan Nasional, led by Muhyiddin, in March last year.

Muhyiddin Yassin

Clear belongings in 2 weeks

Najib said he only received a reply from the government in Nov last year, where they asked him to prove the items were his and ordered him to clear his belongings from the premises in two weeks, which was by December 3, 2020.

“At this juncture, my staff was puzzled why all of a sudden we were told to clear our stuff in such a short time.

“And then we learned that a new manager for Seri Perdana has been appointed, and they told us that PM8 was planning to upgrade Seri Perdana because he wanted to move there.

“That was the real story,” Najib said.

According to Najib, he was only allowed to remove items from a list that had been checked and approved by the Prime Minister’s Department.

“Do not use me as an excuse when your real intention was to spend RM38.5 million for the residence when at the same time you told the rakyat that the government has no money to help them,” he said.

The issue of Seri Perdana renovations had blown up since Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob revealed the costs involved during a Parliamentary reply to Pokok Sena MP Mahfuz Omar, who questioned the rationale for renovating the prime minister’s residence at a time when many are suffering due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Following this, Muhyiddin earlier today issued a press statement in an attempt to justify his decision. - Mkini

MACC man tells of ‘corrupt cartel’ in procurement

 

Izani Wan Ishak said the power and position of a person as well as the opportunity and space to commit corruption are among the main causes of corruption.

PETALING JAYA: Procurement officers in government departments have been found to be in cahoots with contractors or suppliers, divulging inside information about projects to the bidding company, leading to cartels that monopolise certain projects, says the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

MACC senior deputy commissioner of investigation, Izani Wan Ishak said that based on previous cases, people in procurement departments would conspire with the contractors or suppliers.

“Through the ‘win-win’ pact, bidders can go through the tender approval process easily using corrupt practices at all levels of the department.

“This cartel is a big problem we face and this has been happening for a long time and will continue to happen,” he said in a seminar entitled “Together to Fight Corruption”.

He said the power and position of a person as well as the opportunity and space to commit corruption are among the main causes of corruption.

He said the public sector recorded the highest number of corruption cases with 1,628 investigation papers opened from 2018 to August this year.

“Of that number, those involved in 255 cases have been sentenced,” he said.

Asked if there was any interference from any party during the investigation, Izani admitted to facing difficulty in terms of cooperation involving influential individuals in giving accurate and true evidence.

“No one at the investigation stage was harassed by any party during the 37 years I supervised cases, but our problem was getting cooperation from individuals in power in revealing the facts,” he said.

Another panellist, Union Network International-Malaysian Liaison Council (UNI-MLC) president Mohamed Shafie BP Mammal suggested that a Corruption Court be established so such cases could be given due attention.

“With this Corruption Court, the trial period will not take long because the people are disgusted with what is happening now. When a case goes on for too long, it is either dropped or the individuals released,” he said without referring to any specific case.- FMT

Fahmi Reza draws cops’ attention again, this time over ‘Keluarga Malaysia’ caricature

 

Fahmi Reza says he will be heading to the police station again.

PETALING JAYA: Graphic designer and activist Fahmi Reza says the authorities have launched a new investigation against him, this time over a caricature on Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s “Keluarga Malaysia” concept.

He said police informed him that they had opened an investigation paper under “#AktaSakitHati”, which is believed to be a reference to the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA).

“This is the first time I am being investigated over the prime minister’s #KeluargaMalaysia drawing,” Fahmi said on Twitter today, adding that he would be heading to the police station again.

Fahmi’s lawyer Rajsurian Pillai said the investigation is being conducted under Section 233 of CMA, Section 504 of Penal Code for intentional insult to provoke a breach of peace, and Section 14 of the Minor Offences Act.

Ismail used the “Keluarga Malaysia” (Malaysian Family) term in his maiden speech as prime minister last month to urge all MPs to set aside their differences and work together.

Also last month, police informed Fahmi that a sedition investigation over his satire featuring the Raja Permaisuri Agong’s portrait in a Spotify playlist had been classified as “no further action”.

Fahmi curated numerous songs under a Spotify playlist titled “This is dengki ke?”, which featured a picture of the Queen, Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah. The playlist was eventually taken down by Spotify, prompting the artist to move the collection to Apple Music.

The playlist appeared to mock Tunku Azizah over a comment she had made on her personal Instagram account.

Fahmi is no stranger to controversy – he was charged in 2016 under the CMA for his clown caricature of former prime minister Najib Razak. - FMT

If furniture belonged to Najib, he had the right to take them, says Muhyiddin

 

Muhyiddin Yassin said he was not sure if any inventory was taken as it was not his responsibility.

KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin said today that he had received a report from the prime minister’s department (PMD) that some of the furniture and chandeliers at Seri Perdana belonged to Najib Razak.

He said he did not stay at the residence when he was prime minister, but was told that there was furniture belonging to the sixth prime minister.

“There was furniture and chandeliers that were said to belong to the sixth prime minister.

“If they were his, as claimed, then it was up to the PMD to allow him to take them,” he told reporters.

The removal of the items was also to allow repairs to be carried out at the prime minister’s official residence, he added.

Muhyiddin said he was not sure if any inventory was taken as it was not his responsibility.

He was speaking to reporters after a three-hour, closed-door Perikatan Nasional Supreme Council meeting at the Bersatu headquarters, here.

Yesterday, Najib questioned the RM38.5 million spent by the government to carry out repair and renovation work at the sprawling complex in Putrajaya.

Earlier, it was reported that Muhyiddin had said he approved the Seri Perdana renovations after receiving a detailed report from the PMD on extensive damage to the 22-year-old complex.

He had said the damage involved leaks, old lighting systems, poor flooring conditions, and damaged roofing.

The leaking roof and old piping had also damaged the built-in cabinets, wooden flooring, wall panels and ceiling.

Muhyiddin had further said he was informed that the electrical wiring and lighting and mechanical equipment, such as the air conditioning, had to be repaired.

The size of the complex, which covers an area of more than 5,202 sq m, also made the cost of repairing the government-owned building quite high, Muhyiddin was reported to have said.

His response came after special functions minister Abd Latiff Ahmad told Parliament that plans to renovate the complex to the tune of RM38.5 million were given the green light in March, when Muhyiddin was the prime minister. - FMT

Rompin MP Hasan Arifin named as TNB chairman

 

Hasan Arifin is also chairman of Pengurusan Aset Air Berhad, a position to which he was appointed last year.

PETALING JAYA: Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) has appointed Hasan Arifin as its chairman, with the Rompin MP stepping into his new role tomorrow.

He will be the fourth TNB chairman in under 20 months.

Hasan takes over the chairmanship of the national electricity corporation from Mahdzir Khalid who resigned on Aug 29 after he was appointed rural development minister in Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s Cabinet.

Mahdzir himself was only appointed as chairman in May 2020, taking over from Ahmad Badri Mohd Zahir. Ahmad Badri had replaced long-serving chairman Leo Moggie on March 11, 2020.

Hasan is also chairman of Pengurusan Aset Air Berhad, a position to which he was appointed last year.

He has formerly chaired the boards of Lembaga Kemajuan Perusahaan Pertanian Negeri Pahang, Lembaga Pembangunan Wilayah Pahang Tenggara and the Public Accounts Committee.

He was also a board member of the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) from 1991 to 1995 and UDA Holdings Berhad from 2010-2015.

“I would like to thank the Ministry of Finance for the trust and belief in me for my appointment as the chairman of TNB. As chairman, I am responsible to all shareholders and most importantly the trustees,” said Hasan in a statement this evening.

“I hope the board and management will continue working together to achieve a better, brighter future for the company and nation.”

Welcoming the appointment, TNB president and CEO Baharin Din said that “(Hasan’s) wealth of knowledge and experience will be instrumental in TNB’s ongoing transformation initiatives and efforts to recover from the onslaught of Covid-19.” - FMT

Why was Ahmad Maslan freed of false statement charge, asks Amanah man

 

Hanipa Maidin wants to know why Ahmad Maslan was freed of the charge of giving false statements.

PETALING JAYA: Sepang MP Hanipa Maidin has demanded to know why Pontian MP Ahmad Maslan was acquitted by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on the charge of giving false statements to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Stating that this has brought MACC’s independence into question, Hanipa also called for Attorney-General Idrus Harun to resign “if he had any integrity”.

Ahmad, who is also Umno secretary-general, was acquitted yesterday on charges of money laundering and giving false statements to MACC. He had earlier claimed trial to charges of failing to declare some RM2 million allegedly received from former prime minister Najib Razak to the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN).

“I don’t want to question that (withdrawal of the money laundering charge). That’s the Attorney-General’s prerogative. I can respect that,” Hanipa told the Dewan Rakyat.

“But I want to ask why he (Ahmad) was freed of the charge of giving false statements?

“If MACC really wants to protect its integrity as an independent body and one that cannot be fooled by any party, the charge (of giving false statements) should not have been withdrawn,” the Amanah MP said.

“How can an agency like MACC, which is investigating a politician, suddenly be fooled by the politician, resulting in a charge being withdrawn?

“Don’t tell me MACC is only worth RM1.1 million? That’s embarrassing.”

According to a statement issued by his legal team yesterday, Ahmad paid a RM1.1 million compound as agreed by the prosecution and the defence.

Ahmad was alleged to have violated Section 113(1)(a) of the Income Tax Act 1967 by not stating his real income on the RM2 million allegedly received from Najib in the income tax return form for the year of assessment 2013.

He was alleged to have received the money, believed to be proceeds of illegal activities, through a cheque from AmIslamic Bank Bhd dated Nov 27, 2013, which he personally cashed the same day.

The charge, framed under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (Amla), provides for a maximum fine of RM5 million, or imprisonment for up to five years, or both, if found guilty.

Ahmad was also accused of giving false statements to MACC when questioned by investigating officer Mohd Zairi Zainal at the media conference room of the Parliament building between 2.45pm and 3.30pm on July 4, 2019.

The charge, framed under Section 32(8)(c) of Amla, provides for a maximum fine of RM3 million, or imprisonment for up to five years, or both, if found guilty. - FMT

About 28.1m residents completed census - chief statistician

A total of 28.1 million or 85.8 percent of the 32.6 million residents in Malaysia have completed the 2020 Malaysia Population and Housing Census, said 2020 Census commissioner Mohd Uzir Mahidin.

Uzir, who is also the chief statistician, said based on census data, 95.2 percent or 26.6 million of those residing in Malaysia are Malaysians while 4.8 percent or 1.4 million are foreigners.

He said several states and federal territories, namely Kelantan, Johor and Putrajaya have nearly completed the census and were in the process of verifying and confirming the information received.

During an online media conference regarding the status of the Malaysia census today, Uzir said the state with the highest census rate is Johor with 104.9 percent.

This is followed by Putrajaya (101.3 percent), Negeri Sembilan (100.4 percent), Kuala Lumpur (99.2 percent), Perlis (95 percent) and Kelantan (93.8 percent).

The remaining states are Perak (93.2 percent), Penang (92.8 percent), Selangor (91.2 percent), Malacca (88.2 percent), Terengganu (88.1 percent), Kedah (84.3 percent), Labuan (78.6 percent), Pahang (69.3 percent), Sarawak (66.6 percent) and Sabah (55.9 percent).

“Factors that might lead to states having rates of above 100 percent include receiving more census forms from our estimates and the movement or migration of residents from one area to another when the census was conducted,” he added.

Uzir said that states that have not achieved a high percentage was not due to uncooperative residents but constraints faced during the Covid-19 pandemic and natural disasters.

“The low percentage in Pahang is caused by the floods that hit the state. In Sabah and Sarawak, we had to slow down census work temporarily due to the spike in Covid-19 cases at that time.

“We have obtained the assistance of the state governments and district officers to step up census operations that will end in a month on Oct 31,” he said.

Uzir said the team is confident that the remaining 4.6 million who have not completed the census would be completed by the stipulated time before Oct 31.

“The operation duration for the 2020 Census has been longer, taking over a year than the previous census which took between three to four weeks.

“The longer duration has given the Malaysian Statistics Department to review the data in greater detail and to revisit residences or areas that have completed their census if needed,” he added.

Based on census data, Uzir said the ratio for gender in Malaysia was 104 men to every 100 women, and the male population was currently 51.3 percent compared to the female population of 48.7 percent.

Out of the 28.1 million residents who have completed their census, 25.4 percent were under 15 years old, 69.3 percent were residents of working age (15 to 64 years) and 5.4 percent were 65 years and above.

Bernama

Groups moot 'animal police' to tackle cruelty

 


The Malaysia Animal Voice Association hopes the government can set up an “Animal Police” to deal with the increasing cases of animal cruelty in the country.

Its president Nashriq Ismail Sabri said the animal protection team would act as a special agency of law enforcement to protect animals from being mistreated or abused by irresponsible individuals.

“The Animal Police will also have its own helpline to make it easier for the public to lodge complaints so that action can be taken immediately.

“Currently, although there are parties who can be contacted, it takes a long time to respond and can cause the abused or mistreated animals to die,” he told reporters after launching the Helping Stray Cats Programme in conjunction with the Animal Welfare Day 2021 campaign today.

About 100 stray cats were vaccinated and given medication as a result of the programme organised in collaboration with the Malaysia Cat Club, Malaysia Animal Voice Association, Department of Veterinary Services, Putra Nilai Veterinar and Brit Cat Food.

Malaysia Cat Club president Khalid Rashid, who was present, suggested that the local authorities (PBT) set up cat parks to ensure that public areas are free of stray cats.

“With cat parks, these cute animals can be well taken care of especially in terms of vitamins provision and daily hygiene routine.

“In fact, the public can also take care of them through the permits given besides having the potential to generate income and become a new attraction in tourism activities,” he said.

Khalid said that to date, more than 5,000 stray cats in the Klang Valley had been rescued since the implementation of the movement control order (MCO) to curb the spread of Covid-19 in March 2020.

“Of that number, more than 2,000 cats have been adopted by animal lovers while the rest were placed in shelters,” he said.

Meanwhile, the two NGOs are also ready to collaborate with Maryam Muzamir, 11, who created animal feed innovations from shrimp and snail shells to win three gold medals in the 6th Canada International Innovation and Invention Competition (iCAN 2021 ), in Toronto, Canada, last month.

They are ready to invite Maryam to participate in every programme they hold and for a start, use her innovations for stray cats.

Bernama