MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku



Saturday, April 30, 2022

All restrictions on sports and recreation lifted from tomorrow


Group activities such as aerobics, Zumba, taekwondo training and similar exercises can be carried out without restrictions from May 1. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: All sports and recreational activities can be carried out without restrictions from tomorrow (May 1), the sports ministry announced.

Group activities such as aerobics, Zumba, taekwondo training and the like are also allowed without any limit or maximum capacity for participation.

Capacity limits and physical distancing rules have been lifted for spectators and supporters at sports and recreational venues.

However, spectators are still encouraged to observe the physical distancing rule if they do not wear face masks, Bernama reported.

Face masks are not compulsory in open areas and in sports activities indoors, but are required when not doing any sporting activities in enclosed areas.

The ministry said check-in via MySejahtera is not required when entering sports and recreational venues. However, the management is required to check the risk status of their patrons so that those with “high risk” status and those under home surveillance are not allowed to enter.

Tournaments, competitions as well as sports and recreational events at the domestic and international levels are also allowed. - FMT

PM to hold Hari Raya open house in Putrajaya on May 8

 Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob speaks during the launch of the Social Entrepreneurship Action Framework 2030 in Kuala Lumpur April 23, 2022. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob speaks during the launch of the Social Entrepreneurship Action Framework 2030 in Kuala Lumpur April 23, 2022. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, April 30 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and his Cabinet members will host a Hari Raya Aidilfitri 2022 open house in Putrajaya on May 8.

In a Facebook post, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said the open house will be at Laman Sari, Seri Perdana Complex from 10am to 4pm.

“All attendees must comply with the latest standard operating procedures (SOP) set for the transition to the endemic phase and are encouraged to use face masks and maintain physical distancing,” according to PMO.

The post also carried dress-code guidelines and information on free bus services for the event.

Based on the poster, clothing allowed includes attire with sleeves, long pants, skirts below the knees and shoes.

Meanwhile, attire not permissible includes shorts, short skirts, sleeveless clothing, torn jeans and slippers.

“The public should dress neatly and decently. Failure to comply with the dress code may result in being denied entry into the Seri Perdana Complex,” according to the poster.

For more information, the public can browse the PMO portal and social media from time to time. — Bernama

IPT tidak dibenar naik yuran, kata KPT


IPT tidak dibenarkan menaikkan yuran pengajian kerana berikutan penetapan moratorium ke atas kenaikan yuran sejak semester kedua sesi akademik 2019/2020.

PETALING JAYA: Institut Pengajian Tinggi (IPT) tidak dibenarkan menaikkan yuran masing-masing berikutan penetapan moratorium ke atas kenaikan yuran sejak semester kedua sesi akademik 2019/2020.

Kementerian Pengajian Tinggi (KPT) berkata, pihaknya menetapkan moratorium ke atas kenaikan yuran susulan penularan pandemik Covid-19 ketika itu.

Ia atas dasar keprihatinan dan cakna kebajikan rakyat khususnya para pelajar ketika negara baru sahaja memasuki fasa peralihan ke endemik.

KPT turut memaklumkan kerajaan masih mampu menanggung sepenuhnya kos operasi bagi universiti awam (UA) ketika.

“Sumber kewangan yang disediakan oleh kerajaan masih mampu untuk membolehkan UA melaksanakan tanggungjawab dalam memberikan pendidikan kepada warganegara,” menurut laporan Bernama. - FMT

Those rejected for BKM aid can put in an appeal from May 2


Finance minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz called on those whose applications for Bantuan Keluarga Malaysia were rejected to appeal through the Inland Revenue Board. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Those whose applications for the Bantuan Keluarga Malaysia (BKM) aid were not approved will have one month to submit their appeals from May 2.

Finance minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz said the government was aware that there may be applicants eligible for the BKM aid but who have yet to be registered in the government database.

“Applicants can submit an appeal with relevant documents for a review by the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN).

“This appeal process is also to ensure that the assistance will reach those who really need it,” he said in a statement today.

He said appeal applications could be submitted either online via the LHDN BKM 2022 official portal from May 2 at https://bkm.hasil.gov.my or by delivering the BKM 2022 appeal form manually.

The appeal forms can be delivered manually from May 9 to the nearest IRB branches, satellite offices (PS), revenue service centres (PKH) or Urban Transformation Centres (UTC).

“Once the BKM database is updated, BKM payments to applicants whose appeals are successful will be channelled during Phase 3 and Phase 4, scheduled for September and December,” he said.

He said these applicants can refer to the frequently asked questions (FAQ) which have been uploaded on BKM’s official portal for more information.

“The government remains committed to ensuring this assistance reaches those targeted to ensure the well-being of the Keluarga Malaysia (Malaysian Family),” he said.

Tengku Zafrul said the government had updated data of the B40 group eligible to receive the BKM and, so far, nearly RM2 billion had been paid out under Phase 1 to almost nine million B40 recipients nationwide in March while a payout of RM1.1 billion under Phase 2 will be made in June. - FMT

Shafie mocks millions spent on signage while millions suffer


A night view of the ‘Sabah Maju Jaya’ signage at Likas Bay, which was put up in March last year. (Facebook pic)

PETALING JAYA: Millions spent on “Sabah Maju Jaya” signboards could have been better used to improve basic infrastructure in the state that remains lacking, says Warisan president Shafie Apdal.

He said the slogan “Sabah Maju Jaya” made a mockery of the inferior living conditions endured by the people of Sabah.

“The state government needs to listen to the problems voiced by the people and make a serious effort to help them. Simply sweeping the problem under the carpet is not the way. The people’s suffering is real. They need help,” said Shafie, a former chief

“Sabah Maju Jaya” (Let Sabah Prosper) is Sabah’s official motto, found on the state’s coat-of-arms. Last month, the state government adopted the motto for the title of the Sabah development plan for 2021-2025.

Shafie Apdal.

Shafie said the money spent on signboards could have been used to patch up the treacherous Telupid Road which he said was riddled with deep potholes, endangering lives, or to overcome water supply shortages even in urban areas like Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan.

“The money could have been also spent to prevent the frequent power cuts in the state, such as the recent case at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital,” he said.

He said there was no sign of progress in the state and that Sabah was instead regressing.

He said rising food prices laid an increasing burden on the rakyat who were already burdened by the economic downturn from the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said a 500g pack of cooking oil was now above RM5, and almost RM30 for a 3kg pack. However, the Sabah-produced brand Bess, was priced at RM29.70 for a 5kg pack, he said.

Shafie said Warisan had taken the initiative to manufacture cooking oil locally to ensure a more affordable alternative for consumers. - FMT

Frustration grows as Raya exodus picks up pace


Congestion was reported on major stretches of the North-South Expressway, the East Coast Expressway and on ring roads around Kuala Lumpur. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The massive traffic jams earlier reported, due to travellers headed back to their hometowns for Aidilfitri, only worsened throughout the day.

Congestion and slow-moving traffic jams were reported on several major highways across the country, with many stretches slowing to multi-kilometre crawls.

Exasperated netizens stuck in traffic took to social media to express their frustration.

One netizen tweeted: “The traffic jam this Raya is horrible, imagine if we had a better public transportation system.”

While another expressed fear to embark on his journey back to Penang after hearing “horror stories” about the traffic.

Another netizen recounted having left Kuala Lumpur at midnight only to arrive in Kota Bharu at 9.30am.

However, others maintained a more joyful outlook with one Twitter user saying: “After two years of being unable to head back for Raya, there is no need to grumble about traffic jams.”

“What is Raya without a little bit of traffic?” another tweeted.

Heavy congestion was reported on major stretches of the northbound and southbound lanes of the North-South Expressway.

Northbound: slow-moving traffic was reported on an 8km stretch from Bukit Tambun to Jawi, 35km from Tapah to Gopeng; 12km from the Menora Tunnel to Sungai Perak; 8km from Kuala Kangsar to Changkat Jering; and 6km from Slim River to Sungkai.

Southbound: there was slow-moving traffic for 9km from Senawang to Pedas Linggi; and 2km from Kulai to Senai. Traffic was also slow moving from Pedas Linggi to Simpang Ampat.

On the East Coast expressway, Astro’s traffic reports warned drivers to expect an 11km jam from Chalok to Permaisuri. Congestion on more than 17km was reported on the Kuala Lumpur-Karak Highway.

On the Duta-Ulu Kelang Highway in Kuala Lumpur, traffic was heavy after Sentul Pasar, heading to Greenwood and the Kuala Lumpur-Karak Highway; as well as on the Middle Ring Road 2 heading to the Gombak toll plaza and Genting Sempah; and Bukit Tinggi to Lentang.

Traffic information is available from Plus by phone at 1800-88-0000 and Twitter, or the Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM) at 1800-887752 or Twitter. - FMT

Political Funding Act only way to ensure clean polls, says ex-EC man


Former Election Commission deputy chairman Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said a Political Funding Act would make the election process more clean, dignified and trusted by the rakyat. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Corruption and the “buying and selling” of elected representatives will continue to be an issue at elections unless the government enacts a Political Funding Act, says former Election Commission (EC) deputy chairman Wan Ahmad Wan Omar.

In an interview with Utusan Malaysia, Wan Ahmad said the 15th general election (GE15), as with the other state and general elections before this, would continue to be plagued by such issues as there were no specific laws for the EC to act on.

“Every time there is a general election, the EC will try to ensure it is clean and fair.

“But because there are certain things that are lacking, especially a Political Funding Act, there are issues beyond the EC’s control,” said Wan Ahmad.

“Through such an Act, our election process will be more clean, dignified and trusted by the rakyat.”

Wan Ahmad also said the enactment of a Political Funding Act and an Anti-Party Hopping Act would ensure political stability in the country, noting that their absence had led to financial leakages and the country’s political integrity to be tarnished.

“Without a Political Funding Act, parties are able to abuse the government’s position and gain large financial contributions from undeclared sources. This not only leads to inequality in politics, but also corruption and malpractices.

“If the prime minister is considering dissolving Parliament after July, there are many electoral and political reforms that need to be carried out over the next three months so that we can have a better GE15.”

Last October, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) head Azam Baki said although there was no specific law on political funding, the Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption Centre (GIACC) was preparing a draft to be tabled to the Special Committee on Corruption.

Wan Ahmad said while he was part of a technical committee under the Barisan Nasional administration to draft a Political Funding Act, he said these efforts failed once BN lost GE14 in 2018.

In October 2019, then law minister Liew Vui Keong said the government would table the Political Funding Bill, focusing on the regulatory aspects of political contributions, in 2020.

The late minister had said this was fundamental in efforts to eliminate corruption and create a corruption-free ecosystem among future generations, based on the principles of transparency, accountability and integrity.

However, Wan Ahmad said Pakatan Harapan’s struggle with internal problems meant it was “too busy” to implement a Political Funding Act. This was despite this being part of its pre-election manifesto.

Wan Ahmad said the Perikatan Nasional administration should have continued working towards passing a political funding bill, but said it had its hands full dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic and political issues. - FMT

Unvaccinated Ipoh teacher hopes to return to school, says lawyer


The teacher said he had produced a letter from doctors stating he was suffering from a severe allergy due to food and medicines and therefore did not want to be vaccinated.

PETALING JAYA: An Ipoh teacher — who was previously isolated in a storeroom for refusing the Covid-19 vaccine — has welcomed the government’s decision to allow unvaccinated teachers to return to school.

His lawyer, Amin Anuar, told FMT that although the teacher had yet to be officially informed about the new directive by the Kinta Utara district education office, he remained optimistic.

“Based on the education ministry’s announcement, my client can now return to work as usual.”

Amin said they also remained hopeful that the Shah Alam High Court would rule in their favour on their request for a judicial review application filed earlier to set aside an Oct 18, 2021 education ministry circular that they claimed discriminated against civil servants who refused vaccination.

Earlier this week, education minister Radzi Jidin said unvaccinated teachers would be allowed to return to school.

However, he said those in the classrooms and enclosed spaces at school were required to keep wearing their face masks.

The unvaccinated teacher, with 15 years’ teaching experience, claimed he was “treated unfairly” by his school’s headmaster and district education office after he refused to be inoculated.

This was despite the fact that he had produced a letter from doctors stating he was suffering from a severe allergy due to food and medicines.

He added that taking the Covid-19 vaccine could put his health at risk.

The teacher was subsequently placed in a storeroom before being moved to a Teachers’ Activities Centre (PKG) by the education department.

He was allowed to conduct his classes online. He was not allowed to return to school in March when the government allowed students to return for physical classes.

Amin said they had issued a letter of demand to the school head for alleged discrimination.

He added they were still in discussions on whether to pursue legal action against the head. - FMT

Zii Jia powers his way into BAC singles final in Manila


Lee Zii Jia was in devastating form when defeating rising Chinese star Weng Hong Yang 21-11, 21-19. (BAM Facebook pic)

PETALING JAYA: National badminton ace Lee Zii Jia smashed his way into the Badminton Asia Championships (BAC) singles final in Manila, defeating rising Chinese star Weng Hong Yang in straight games 21-11, 21-19.

The 24-year-old Zii Jia, who demolished Kanta Tsuneyama of Japan 21-13, 21-11 in just 36 minutes in the semi-final yesterday, raced his way to 14-5 in less than 10 minutes.

The world number 7 then dropped a few points before taking a commanding lead after 17 minutes at 18-9, and going on to wrap up the first game against the world number 81 at 21-11 in less than 20 minutes.

It was a slow start in the second game for Zii Jia when he trailed 4-2 after a few minutes, but he took control of the game soon after and led 11-10 during the changeover.

But it was a ding-dong battle after this. Zii Jia finally wrapped up the match in 40 minutes by winning the second game 21-19 to set up a final with Indonesian Jonathan Christie.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian pair of Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik booked a spot in the men’s doubles final after defeating compatriots Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani in straight matches 21-13-21-15, taking just 33 minutes.

Aaron-Wooi Yik, the world number nine pair and Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist, were too good for their opponents winning easily in the first set after leading all the way.

Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin, the world number 16 and winners of the German Open recently, went all out in the second match trying to force a rubber but succumbed to the experienced countrymen after the changeover. - FMT

Kapal Selam Dan Altantuya: Pembohongan Pakatan Harapan


PI Bala in London before going to Paris

Nampaknya ramai yang marah dengan pendedahan terbaru saya berkait dengan pembelian kapal selam Scorpene dan pembunuhan Altantuya Shaariibuu (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YP0Wx-zZkJE&t=5s). Okaylah, macam Anwar Ibrahim berkata, biar saya ulang.

After so many decades, is skateboarding still a 'crime'?

It was 6am in the morning on a weekend, and my father shook me awake from my peaceful slumber. I was only eight or nine, and the reason he woke me up was to expose to me the wonderful sport of golf.

He brought me along for a round of golf with his friends at the club. We walked along the course, and I listened to my father and his friends chat. I hated it.

That evening, I made it a point to get my BMX bike out and went off riding with my friends. Bicycle motocross (BMX) was the sport that I was interested in. It appealed to me because there weren't any rules, you didn't have to wear a certain outfit, and it was so free form. Basically, it was just us kids learning to do different tricks on a bike.

This was in the early 1980s, and BMX wasn't really seen as a legit sport. It was in the same category as skateboarding and the likes of other street sports. Of course, it was just seen as a kid's sport at the time, and people didn't really pay attention to it. It was just a bunch of little kids riding little kid bikes.

As I got older, I continued to ride my little kid's bike. But the tricks I did started to get a bit more complicated. I was a teenager, and the BMX gave me the opportunity to hang out with friends.

But the sport still wasn't seen as legit and for the most part, the teenagers who did it were considered just playing the fool and wasting time. We were ruffians and bums who just hung out on the streets with nothing better to do.

BMX and skateboarding have a lot of kinship. So, the recent debacle which has been reported in the media where a secondary school textbook apparently portrayed skateboarding as an activity that was indulged in by youth who had no aim in life really offended me. In fact, the entire skateboarding community in Malaysia (and I'm sure the BMX community also) found it offensive.

It seemed the textbook had a picture of several youths sitting around holding skateboards, and the accompanying caption read: "Situasi di bawah menunjukkan perlakuan remaja yang tiada penghayatan agama atau kepercayaan dalam hidup (the situation below shows youths that lack religious aware and belief in life)."

If this is true, then our education system is really teaching the wrong things to our Malaysian youth.

I wasn't really that good at BMX. I did try to compete in a couple of local competitions, but I was definitely far from being a champion. But I love it as a hobby.

A legit sport

Over the years, the sport has grown so much, from having its own sanctioned competitions on the global stage, such as the BMX World Championships and the X-Games to even now being included in the Olympics, Asian Games and SEA Games.

This has been so for skateboarding as well. We have our Malaysian skateboarders and BMXers representing our country and flag, most recently at the 2019 SEA Games in the Philippines. Our national athletes even medaled in a few categories of both skateboarding and BMX. We are definitely proud of them!

Skateboarding and BMX are very much a legit sport where athletes can build a decent career for themselves. Aside from being national athletes, skateboarders and BMXers can also turn pro and make a decent living. International pros like Tony Hawk, Nyjah Huston, Matthias Dandois, Mat Hoffman, Dennis McCoy earn millions of dollars for what they do.

Locally, we have many skateboarders and BMXers who have turned professional and receive sponsorships and endorsements. Many also have opened up skateboarding and BMX shops. Some have even created their own brands and products.

It's a whole industry that supports itself and takes care of itself. I don't think this is a community where its members lack aim in life. Actually, it's the total opposite of it.

Fun, relaxing and healthy

Now back to the early part of this article where I mentioned how I hated being dragged by my father for golf. Let me make it clear that I am not knocking golf as a sport. It's a great sport, but it just isn't for me.

I'll be frank and say that I don't enjoy it, but I wouldn't say that my father and his friends lead aimless and faithless lives. Neither will I say that about any of the big-time golf pros like Seve Ballesteros, Jack Nicklaus or Tiger Woods.

Any form of sport, be it golf, skateboarding, BMX, football, basketball or whatever, teaches those who partake in it very valuable and important lessons to lead a meaningful life. Sport teaches us commitment, dedication, hard work, discipline, pride, integrity and of course, sportsmanship. And for me, it even taught me friendship, kinship and brotherhood.

I'm in my forties now, and I still ride my BMX bike (although not as regularly or as vigorously as before!). It keeps me fit and healthy, and I still keep in touch with many of my old BMX friends. But the most important part of it is that it's fun, relaxing and healthy.

I was hoping my kids would take it up as a sport, but my daughters seem to be more inclined towards inline skating. So be it. Same-same but different.

One of the more popular skateboarding communities in Malaysia which exist on social media, Skate Malaysia (@sk8msia on Instagram), was one of the first to call out what they saw. I stand in support of them, and if this is true, I would like to kindly request the Education Ministry and the Youth and Sports Ministry to rectify this. Let's be less judgmental and more inclusive.

ZAN AZLEE is a writer, documentary filmmaker, journalist and academic. He had waited so long for a change in the system and he is not willing to settle for a half-past-six change. And then the Sheraton Move happened. Visit fatbidin.com to view his work. - Mkini