Malaysia Bagus News
BUTTERWORTH: A 71-year-old man who allegedly poked a 2.4m-long bamboo into the left eye of a stray dog here last October was charged with cruelty to animals at the sessions court here today.
Ng Ah Leak was charged with committing the offence at a drain outside his house at Taman Tanjung Indah, Raja Uda at 10.30pm on Oct 24.
Ng was charged under Section 29(1)(e) of the Animal Welfare Act 2015, which carries a fine of between RM20,000 and RM100,000 or a jail term of up to three years or both, upon conviction.
He pleaded not guilty to the charge read to him in Mandarin.
Lawyer Lim Jin Hong represented Ng, while deputy public prosecutor Roziman Awang Tahrin from the Penang Department of Veterinary Services prosecuted.
Judge Noor Aini Yusof fixed April 13 for mention.
PETALING JAYA: Just before Hari Raya in 2017, 13 express bus drivers tested positive for drugs. The following year, there were 10, one of them a woman. Just a few days ago, a lorry driver who brought down a pedestrian bridge in an accident which left two dead and three severely injured was also found to be on drugs.
Does that show bus and lorry drivers to be frequent drug users? No, says a bus drivers group and a former president of a hauliers association.
Association of Malaysian Hauliers immediate past president Nazari Akhbar said drugs were a problem in the community but were not just prevalent in the lorry business.
He also said low wages were not an issue as drivers could “easily” earn around RM3,000 a month, while those who worked harder could earn up to RM8,000.
“We don’t deny that there are some drivers who get involved with drugs, but based on my experience in the industry, the percentage is very small. For those who get into drugs, it’s not due to work pressure but their own attitude
“Also, since they contribute to the Social Security Organisation (Socso), they are already protected. Some companies even provide insurance schemes for their drivers.
“The haulage industry handles 24 million shipping containers a year. If the industry is plagued with drug problems, I don’t think we can deliver so much around the nation,” he told reporters.
Parti Sosialis Malaysia central committee member Sharan Raj had urged Putrajaya to improve salaries and social protection for such heavy vehicle drivers, saying many resorted to methamphetamine, an “upper” drug, to work longer and earn more.
He was speaking after the crash which killed two people at the Sungai Besi-Ulu Kelang Elevated Expressway (SUKE) site last week. The trailer driver who caused the incident later tested positive for methamphetamine.
No rise in bus fares since 2009
Pan-Malaysian Bus Operators Association president Mohamad Ashfar Ali said there should be no issue of bus drivers resorting to drugs to put in extra hours as there were fixed schedules for them.
He told reporters they were not allowed to work more than eight hours a day, adding that they could stretch their hours to 10 a day but with a two-hour break in between.
“As far as stage and express buses are concerned, the fares are fixed by the government. But the last fare increase we had was in 2009, which is a long time ago.
“Other countries usually review their fares every two years to keep up with inflation. But somehow that hasn’t happened in Malaysia and we’ve been operating under very difficult conditions.
“If we don’t increase the fares, how will we pay higher wages? Cost of operations has gone up, terminals keep increasing their fares and there are fewer passengers now too,” he lamented.
He said appeals to the government to allow flexibility in fares have fallen on deaf ears, with no response from the transport ministry other than, “we will look into the matter”.
Previously, the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government had also said it was considering increasing fares for express buses, although its administration fell before anything could be implemented.
Ashfar said the question now was how drivers were able to pass their annual medical check-ups when renewing their public service vehicles (PSV) licence if they were really hooked on drugs.
Nazari said the problem the hauliers industry was facing was a shortage of drivers, forcing some drivers to work overtime in order to meet the demand for transporters.
He urged Putrajaya to set up a training centre to coach new drivers, similar to a vocational training institute, so the industry’s need for drivers can be met.
He also admitted that there were some companies who did not pay their drivers the right wages, thus forcing them to work overtime often to earn more money. However, he maintained that this practice was not so rampant.
“The authorities need to take action against these kinds of companies. Overall, in the industry, the majority of us pay our drivers well.”
PETALING JAYA: A former official involved in the search for the Malaysia Airlines MH370 aircraft has called for a new search at a different location from the initial target area.
Peter Foley, who led the Australian government’s hunt for the aircraft seven years ago, said he agreed with new research from an independent group that the wreckage might lie 70 nautical miles either side of the target area in the southern Indian Ocean.
Flight MH370 disappeared while on route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in 2014, and an international inquiry concluded it was at the bottom of the southern Indian Ocean.
Foley called for a new inquiry based on fresh information which indicates that the plane went down about 1,200 miles west of Cape Leeuwin, Western Australia.
This new evidence also includes a piece of Boeing 777 debris believed to have belonged to MH370 that washed up on a beach in South Africa last August. An independent group of researchers has said the wreckage indicated the plane had gone down in an uncontrolled dive.
So far, 33 pieces of suspected or confirmed debris from MH370 have been found in Mauritius, Madagascar, Tanzania and South Africa.
KUALA LUMPUR: A video recording of the traffic monitoring system at the Middle Ring Road 2 (MRR2) is shedding some light into the investigation of the crash which killed two people at the Sungai Besi-Ulu Kelang Elevated Expressway (SUKE) project site.
Investigators have sourced the footage from one of the two closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance cameras installed at the overhead pedestrian bridge linking the two enclaves of Desa Tun Razak.
The CCTV is part of the Integrated Transport Information System (ITIS), a comprehensive traffic information system under Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).
From the six-minute footage, FMT understands that the probe team was able to view the moment the green scaffolding steel frame was hit at 5.54pm on Wednesday by the excavator transported on the trailer.
The metal structure collapsed and hit a van ferrying workers heading towards Bandar Tasik Selatan. Two women, both Malaysians, died while three others were injured.
“The recording shows the entire episode of the crash caused by the excavator transported by a yellow truck driven on the wet middle lane of the three-lane MRR2,” said the insider.
It is understood that the Department of Occupational, Safety and Health (DOSH) visited the crash site yesterday and measured the height of the steel frame parallel to the pedestrian link.
“This is to check whether the metal structure complies with the 5m clearance regulation,” said the source.
It is learned that investigators from the Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM) and DOSH are scrutinising the video recording to look into possible negligence by the container haulier company.
Yesterday, Kuala Lumpur Traffic Investigations and Enforcement Department chief Zulkefly Yahya said the 40-year-old truck driver was tested positive for methamphetamine.
However, an industry observer said today the investigation should not only focus on the truck driver.
“An important question is how did the trailer pass through the 5m height limit at other locations but failed to navigate through the SUKE construction site.
“Authorities such as LLM, Construction Industry Development Board, Land Public Transport Agency, Road Transport Department and DOSH should ascertain if safety codes were followed while transporting such a big item.”
He said with massive construction taking place along many road stretches in the Klang Valley, the authorities should also investigate if the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 had been breached by the contractors.
The incident was the second in the last five months occurring in the same stretch of the highway project, with the first being less than 1km away.
On Sept 19, a woman cheated death when a parapet wall slab fell from the elevated construction of the expressway and hit her vehicle.
The main contractor and sub-contractor of the project were fined a total of RM180,000 in court for failing to ensure safety at the construction site.
PETALING JAYA: Health minister Dr Adham Baba said the interstate travel ban may be lifted as early as March 18 if the Covid-19 infection numbers are reduced to manageable levels.
He said his ministry would make the recommendation to the government, but it would not be the same blanket reopening that happened last year to prevent another spike in infections.
“We learnt for a year from the movement control order, enforced movement control order, conditional movement control order and recovery movement control order.
“So, we know that the interstate travel restriction is one of the measures needed to reduce case numbers,” he told reporters.
Adham said many other countries had also restricted domestic travel to stem the spread of the virus, such as Australia, China, South Korea and even Singapore.
“So, we have decided that there will be no interstate travelling until March 18,” he said, adding that this would be reviewed regularly.
“After March 18, we will see if the data has shown improvement as we have already succeeded in bringing down the curve at the moment.”
Malaysia’s daily Covid-19 case count has come down recently, although yesterday’s 2,063 new cases had breached the 2,000 mark for the first time this month.
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah previously said the domestic travel ban might remain until at least 70% of the population had been vaccinated, at which point herd immunity was considered to have been achieved.
He said a lesson could be learnt from the decision to reopen state borders late last year as it led to Covid-19 outbreaks in “green states” such as Kedah, Terengganu and Kelantan.
Adham said Noor Hisham had used herd immunity as a “maximum measure” but there was a need to open borders earlier as a way to “balance lives and livelihood”.
He said the government was being cautious at the moment and exploring the possibility of “green bubbles” for safe domestic travel.
“We will take measures to allow interstate travel based on certain matters and this is important. We will try to develop green bubbles,” he said.
PETALING JAYA: Business groups are hoping Malaysia can take a leaf out of Indonesia’s book and allow companies to purchase Covid-19 vaccines for its employees in a bid to revive the economy.
Indonesia, which aims to inoculate 70% of its population (181.5 million) to achieve herd immunity by the end of the year, last week announced a health ministerial regulation permitting companies to buy vaccines for their staff and their families at private facilities in a scheme to run alongside its national vaccination programme.
Shaun Cheah, executive director of the Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MICCI), called on the government to consider allowing the private sector to “take the bull by the horns” and help the government speed up and expand vaccinations through a private sector vaccination initiative.
“It should not be a queue-jumping initiative, but to create a second queue with private sector industries purchasing vaccines for their workforce and families, (thus) complementing the government’s programme,” he said in a statement.
“Any prolonged conclusion of the vaccination programme will see Malaysia losing out on its desired position as an attractive destination for investment.
“With our neighbours having a head start, and an estimated quicker conclusion of their vaccination programme, they are ahead in attracting much needed domestic and foreign investment.
“They have already pulled away foreign investments from Malaysia,” he said.
Malaysia’s National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme is scheduled to be completed next February.
Speaking to reporters, Abdul Malik Abdullah, the pro tem president of the Business Survival Group, said he agreed with the idea to allow private companies to buy vaccines for their staff and families.
“When more people are vaccinated, the faster the economy can recover,” said Malik, who heads the coalition of 262 business associations and chambers of commerce comprising nearly one million companies.
Economist Shankaran Nambiar of the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research agreed with the proposal in principle but said it must not cut into the supplies that the government has negotiated or received through Covid-19 diplomacy.
He also maintained that any such initiative should not compete with the government’s priority list, which would then possibly deprive frontliners and those in the high-risk categories from getting vaccines.
“If private companies are willing to bear the costs of vaccinating their employees without burdening the government, that should be welcome,” he said.
“It should be viewed as an attempt to contribute to social welfare and to shoulder some part of the government’s cost burden.
“This would be particularly useful for companies that want to extend this facility to the foreign workers under their employ.”
Workplaces have contributed to an increasing number of Covid-19 clusters over the past few months, with construction sites and factories across the country among businesses forced to temporarily close because of workplace infections.
In a recent interview with health news portal Codeblue, science, technology and innovation minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the government would consider allowing companies to buy vaccines for their workers “later once the national immunisation process is under way”.
KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia has joined aviation and tourism experts in calling for a standardised approach to travel protocols to help kickstart the international air travel industry.
AirAsia group president (Airlines) Bo Lingam said a mutually agreed global framework approach is needed for cross-border travel to resume effectively and safely.
“Travel requirements in the region are currently complex and uncoordinated, and travel bubbles are limited and underutilised,” he said in a statement today.
“While we welcome the implementation of certain travel passes which are currently being developed or in testing phases, what is needed to stimulate international air travel again is coordination among countries.”
Lingam said the travel and tourism industry must work together with one consistent set of protocols and procedures for guests such as testing and vaccination requirements, coupled with a mutually agreed common digital health pass and with the expansion of travel bubbles to include the leisure sector.
“Resuming air travel is a collective effort. By working together, we will be in a much better position to welcome the return of international flying in the not too distant future, delivering a much needed boost to the global economy,” he said.
His comments follow a recent AirAsia review of Covid-19 procedures and protocols in regional countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, China and Australia.
The review confirms that existing travel requirements vary across Asean countries, making it challenging and difficult for travellers to understand and follow, he said.
“The different travel protocols across regional countries also pose operational difficulties to airlines and travel operators. Without common travel protocols, manual verification of health and travel documents becomes more time-consuming and is prone to error and fraud, especially with an increase in the use of fake health certification.
“Furthermore, with 40% to 50% of the regional population expected to be vaccinated by the third quarter of 2021, travel policies should be updated regularly to reflect the current situation, including the possible removal of quarantine requirements.
“A good example is in the Philippines where they have recently standardised all the travel requirements in the country and removed the ones that are no longer relevant,” he said.
AirAsia recently announced its latest innovation Scan2Fly, which enables guests to scan and upload their medical documentation during the online check-in process to confirm they are approved to fly in real time, before heading to the airport.
PETALING JAYA: The driver of the trailer which crashed into a scaffolding site along the MRR2 yesterday has tested positive for drugs.
Kuala Lumpur Traffic Investigation and Enforcement Department chief Zulkefly Yahya said the urine test of the 40-year-old man returned positive for methamphetamine.
The suspect, who was arrested yesterday, is being investigated under the Road Transport Act for driving under the influence. He is also being remanded under the Danger Drugs Act.
Zulkefly said initial investigations showed the trailer crashed into the steel frame of a pedestrian bridge that was under construction.
This led to the scaffolding and the frame to collapse onto a passing van carrying five people who were on their way to work in USJ 1.
Two women in the van, aged 42 and 47 were killed, while the others – a man and two other women – were seriously injured.
It was reported that the occupants were trapped for a few hours after the incident.
A spokesman for the Kuala Lumpur Fire Department said rescuers had arrived at the scene shortly after receiving an emergency call at 5.58pm.
They were rescued at 9.26pm.
PETALING JAYA: The head of the umbrella body for Malaysian bus operators has painted a grim picture for the industry but says he can accept the pain in the short term in hopes of a better future.
Mohamad Ashfar Ali, president of the Pan-Malaysian Bus Operators Association, said the restrictions that had been imposed over the last year had been devastating for bus companies.
“For express buses, revenue loss has basically been 100% when interstate travel is banned because they just don’t operate,” he told reporters. “The same goes for companies servicing routes to Thailand and Singapore.”
Even for stage buses operating within state borders, he said, broad restrictions had greatly reduced their collections.
“For them, it would be around 50% of normal business because people are working from home, schools haven’t been in full swing and people are still apprehensive about taking public transport.”
Most of the bus companies are not eligible for loan moratoriums because they finance their vehicles from credit companies operating under the Moneylenders Act.
Ashfar’s organisation has written to the government on a number of occasions about the struggles faced by the industry, but he said there had been only silence from Putrajaya.
“Half of the bus operators may not survive by the time interstate borders reopen,” he said.
“We have told the government we will need funds to restart full operations for things like maintenance since these vehicles have just been sitting around for so long. But we’ve heard nothing so far from the relevant ministries.”
He said he didn’t expect state borders to reopen until July but added that it would take up to a year for things to return to pre-pandemic levels since it would take some time for travellers to get comfortable with public transport again.
With “easily 60% to 70%” of workers in the industry falling under the B40 category, he said, many had already changed course to drive Grab cars, sell food or work in factories.
However, he is hoping the sacrifices will pay dividends after the suffering of the next few months.
“We can’t rush,” he said. “There needs to be some short-term pain in order to enjoy the fruits in the long run.
“Hopefully, with more people getting vaccinated, maybe in a few months’ time the virus will be under control and everything will work out.”
KUALA LUMPUR: Casino-to-hospitality giant Genting Malaysia Bhd is planning another round of salary cuts as it seeks to slash costs amid the prolonged Covid-19 pandemic.
It is asking some employees to agree to a temporary reduction of 15% or 20% in basic salary based on their ranks, according to an internal memo dated March 1 seen by Bloomberg News. Some workers are being asked to take one day a week of no-pay leave.
The cuts will be in effect until May, according to the memo. Senior management have voluntarily agreed to waive 20% of their salaries for the same period, it said.
This is the second time since the start of the pandemic that the Genting group has had to cut staff compensation. In April, the conglomerate led by parent Genting Bhd announced its first group-wide salary reduction since its founding in 1965 after the pandemic roiled its casinos, cruises and resorts.
A representative for Genting Malaysia did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Malaysia’s renewed movement restrictions and border closures imposed to rein in the spread of Covid-19 infections forced the group to shut its local operations again on Jan 22, and tourist traffic to the resort is likely to stay subdued even after the recent rollout of vaccines, according to the memo.
Resorts World Genting reopened after the government eased movement curbs that forced it to shut for more than three weeks. Still, Genting Malaysia said it remains cautious on the near-term prospects of the leisure and hospitality industry, according to an exchange filing on Feb 25.
“We need to control Resorts World Genting’s cost base to ensure the sustainability of our business and to help protect as many jobs as possible,” Lee Choong Yan, Genting Malaysia’s president, chief operating officer and executive director, said in the memo.
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