Malaysia Bagus News
Due to border closures brought upon by Covid-19 restrictions, families in Singapore and Malaysia have been separated for around 200 days now.
20 families in Malaysia were recently given a chance by R&F Princess Cove, a property developer in Johor Bahru, to have a little reunion with their loved ones by getting them to board a yacht which later took them near the Singapore shores.
As this was the ‘closest distance’ they could get to their families, people on the yacht tearfully waved to their family members who were gathered all the way over at Woodlands Waterfront Park.
Banners filled with heartfelt messages ‘We miss you’ and ‘Love you’ were raised as the families cherished their moment of finally seeing their loved ones despite the distance. People on board were even given binoculars to see their family members clearly.
Similar scene on land
The family members standing by Woodlands park were also seen carrying banners expressing how much they miss those on board.
Some even took out their phones to record the event.
Hopefully, the current situation will get better soon so they can finally reunite with their loved ones in person.
A series of major disruptions to the water supply in Malaysia ’s richest state of Selangor has shone a spotlight on problems with the country’s water management system that have persisted for years.
The most recent spate of dry taps in Selangor coincided with a fresh partial lockdown aimed at curbing a rash of Covid-19 cases – raising hackles as people complained that they could not even comply with government exhortations to frequently wash their hands.
Despite having an abundance of water, disruptions to Malaysia’s supplies are relatively frequent thanks to a lack of maintenance, pollution and contamination incidents, interstate disagreements and poor collection methods.
Compounding the problem is the perception that river polluters – mostly factories – are not being properly punished for negligence.
“Currently, sentences range from fines to jail time,” said lawyer Yudistra Darma Dorai, who has acted for waste processing companies. “We have a problem with sessions courts throughout the nation meting out very disparate sentences when it comes to environmental offences – sometimes it's a slap on the wrist, sometimes the book is thrown at the polluters.”
While sentencing “does take into account mitigation and of course the individual facts of the case”, Yudistra said he suspects some manufacturing companies “feel more relaxed about these crimes because there is the perception they may get away with it with just a slap on the wrist”.
Sometimes, he said, companies with so-called scheduled waste that falls under environmental quality regulations would not go through the proper processes and instead hand it to third-party processing companies licensed by the Environment Department – which he said had to “be more consistent” and work with companies when using its enforcement powers.
Pollution in water sources – often stemming from factories, some of which are unlicensed – is a major cause of supply disruptions.
Other causes include burst pipes, with state-owned Air Selangor reporting 2,787 incidents in 2019 – resulting in almost 29 per cent of the water it supplied being lost before reaching the end user.
Ong Yu Jian, a civil litigator and state resident, said the government does not do enough to hold the company accountable and should “either open up water supply and management to the free market or make Air Selangor accountable”.
The company is the sole water provider for Selangor as well as the surrounding federal territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya – serving around 8.4 million consumers – and although other federal and state-run agencies play a role in water cleanliness, it remains the single “holistic licensee” for the extraction, treatment, and distribution of water.
“Any disruption to the quality of water or supply should come with hefty penalties or fines, and possibly prosecution against the board of directors. Once this is done, we’ll see uninterrupted flow of water so clean that Acqua Panna can come bottle it straight from our taps,” said Ong.
Ong said he experienced four “dry days” during the most recent supply disruptions, with the water being cut twice for two days each time.
“This year alone we have been affected four times. The longest one was in September where I had to check my family into a hotel for the weekend just to be able to shower properly. I even had to extend my stay when the water was cut again after being restored for a few hours,” he said.
According to local media, the state government has since identified the polluter causing the service disruptions – a repeat offender – and fined it 60,000 ringgit (S$20,000).
Last month, the National Water Services Commission urged local authorities to cancel the licences of factories responsible for water pollution rather than just levying fines.
Online, Malaysians already irate over the country’s political instability and jostling for power have pointedly criticised the administration for focusing on politicking rather than the needs of the people.
“Still waiting for Air Selangor top management to resign and take accountability for the continuous water cut that disrupts the life of so many,” said one user on Twitter, while former Selangor government worker Faekah Husin tweeted at the nation’s top health official asking “how to observe hygiene when we have no water. Some more [partial lockdown] no inter district [travel], some large families cannot travel to get water”.
Meanwhile, small- and medium-sized restaurants and other eateries – already hit hard economically by the coronavirus pandemic and accompanying a months-long lockdown – have been grappling with unannounced water disruptions for years.
Chinese coffee shop owner Keu Kok Meng said that he had experienced two unannounced disruptions this year that required him to close his premises.
“We can’t use water from a storage tank, we must use direct water from the main supply,” he said. “So at least if there is an announcement we can prepare – collect a lot of water in big pails, inform our customers that there is no coffee or tea, just bottled or canned drinks, so business can still go on.”
Keu said that water woes have been a perennial problem in the state, estimating that last year saw “more than five” unannounced disruptions because of burst water pipes.
“To top it off, people are now more far conscious about hygiene due to the pandemic, so that adds to the national headache – everyone is trying to stay clean and then the water is cut!”
Malaysia’s king on Sunday was lauded by citizens and government critics as he dismissed Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s plan for a state of emergency and urged warring politicians to find common ground amid soaring Covid-19 cases .
Muhyiddin, who had been accused by the opposition of using the latest wave of coronavirus cases as an excuse to suspend parliament and insulate his turmoil-wracked government from being ousted, in a late evening statement acknowledged the decision by Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah but did not offer a clear indication of his next move.
Local news portal The Vibes quoted government sources as saying the prime minister is considering resigning.
Sultan Abdullah’s public remarks following a meeting with the heads of eight of the country’s nine royal households – who make up the country’s Conference of Rulers and take turns to be king every five years – in effect quash the likelihood that Muhyiddin will suspend the legislature and rule by decree indefinitely.
Muhyiddin has not publicly stated that he is seeking a state of emergency, but commentators and critics had suggested this was his intention after he called an extraordinary cabinet meeting on Friday and sought the audience of Sultan Abdullah, the country’s constitutional monarch.
A statement released by the Comptroller of the Royal Household, Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin, said the prime minister had in fact sought an emergency declaration.
“His Majesty would like to remind politicians to immediately stop all politicking that could disrupt the stability of the government,” Ahmad Fadil said in the statement.
“After considering the [emergency] request and discussing with the Malay rulers as well as taking into account the situation in the country, Sultan Abdullah feels that the government has done well in handling the pandemic effectively.
“Sultan Abdullah is of the opinion that, for the time being, there is no need for his majesty to declare a state of emergency in the country or any parts thereof,” Ahmad Fadil added.
In a separate statement, the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal – an official who serves all the hereditary Malay monarchs – said the eight sultans present at the meeting were “of the view that it was important to respect the mechanism of check and balance between all branches of the government and also the [king’s] role to balance various demands in ensuring justice and curtailing any elements of abuse of power”.
The Malay word for “curtailing” was highlighted in red, with the rest of the two-page statement printed in black.
Ahmad Fadil’s statement on behalf of Sultan Abdullah – released soon after the end of the Malay sultans’ meeting – drew immediate praise from Malaysians on social media, with many posting messages on Twitter and Facebook with the phrase “Daulat Tuanku”, or Long Live the King.
M. Kula Segaran, a veteran member of the opposition Democratic Action Party, wrote on Twitter: “Thank you for always being the people‘s King and doing what’s best for the nation.”
“A decision that comes as a relief to all Malaysians. Let‘s put aside politics and work to curb the spread of #Covid-19 and focus on nationbuilding,” he wrote.
Questions meanwhile swirled around Muhyiddin’s next move. Some legal experts suggested the ultimate power to call an emergency rested with the prime minister, as the constitution stipulates that the monarch must act on the advice of the executive.
Lawyer New Sin Yew said the palace statement indicated that Muhyiddin had merely presented the king with a proposal rather than advice.
“The ball is now in [Muhyiddin’s] court. He could either persist with the proposal and advise the king to issue a Proclamation of Emergency, which I assume would be politically suicidal, or he could accept the king’s warning, which the king would be justified in making,” he said.
Muhyiddin in a three-paragraph statement acknowledged the views of the king, adding that his cabinet would further discuss the monarch’s advice to prioritise the Covid-19 pandemic. “I welcome the king’s call for the stability of the government to be safeguarded and not threatened,” he said.
The 73-year-old prime minister, who came to power in March following a messy power struggle that ousted the then-ruling Pakatan Harapan alliance, has cancelled a previously scheduled meeting on Monday morning with all state chief ministers. Several ministers and senior civil servants were spotted leaving his private residence in Kuala Lumpur late on Sunday.
The Vibes quoted one member of Muhyiddin's party as saying “he [Muhyiddin] wants to do the right thing and resign, but is asked to stay on by [Senior Minister Azmin Ali] and others”.
Another source said there “was also the question as to whether he has the numbers to support him in parliament”. The source said: “This, compounded by the decision of the [king], makes him feel unable to carry out his duties as prime minister.”
Muhyiddin’s parliamentary majority is fragile, and commentators for weeks have suggested his budget proposal for 2021 – to be put up for consideration on November 6 – could be defeated, signalling a collapse in legislative support for his administration.
The proposal for a national emergency was seen by the opposition as an underhanded means to stave off such an outcome. Ahmad Fadil’s statement noted that the budget was of paramount importance, but he also praised Muhyiddin’s Perikatan Nasional government for successfully dealing with the coronavirus epidemic – something he said it would continue to do.
Anwar Ibrahim, leader of the opposition Pakatan Harapan alliance, had in September declared he was seeking to topple Muhyiddin by inducing government MPs to back him as the next prime minister.
The situation had appeared to have been defused last week, as the United Malays National Organisation (Umno) – a key component of the ruling alliance – unilaterally declared a “political ceasefire”. The party, which ruled Malaysia from 1957 to 2018 and remains its biggest political organisation, had been eyeing cooperation with Anwar.
The opposition leader in a late-night statement joined his allies in praising Sultan Abdullah. He acknowledged the monarch’s call for politicians to refrain from excessive politicking and said his focus would be on efforts to quell the public health crisis, deal with rising unemployment and vitalise the economy.
The political machinations have come as Covid-19 cases continue to surge in the Southeast Asian country, hitting a new daily high of 1,228 on Saturday before dropping to 823 on Sunday.
This latest wave of cases – far surpassing the daily tallies seen in early March that triggered a nationwide lockdown – has been widely attributed to the lack of physical distancing measures carried out by politicians during campaigning ahead of polls in the state of Sabah on Sept 26.
KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG), parent of national carrier Malaysia Airlines, has offered employees early retirement as the company continues negotiations with creditors and lessors, state news agency Bernama reported on Thursday (Oct 22).
Bernama said it had seen an application form for the scheme, aimed at employees across the airline group, including MAB and its sister airline, among other operations.
MAG did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
The group has warned leasing companies that it is unlikely to be able to make payments owed after November, and that state fund Khazanah Nasional will stop funding, forcing it into a winding down process if restructuring talks with lessors are unsuccessful.
KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia said on Thursday it viewed US allegations of forced labour in palm oil plantations as an “old issue” but it was willing to take appropriate action if needed.
Last month, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) banned the imports of palm products from FGV Holdings on suspicion of forced labour in its manufacturing process, and Malaysia said it anticipated another plantation firm could be banned as well.
In a statement on Thursday, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali said the country had already halted the recruitment of new foreign workers.
“Therefore, the issue of forced labour raised and reported by the US Department of Labour is an old issue and has been taken action by the industry,” he said.
“However, with the increasing incidents, MPIC is ready to consider appropriate action to address the issue,” he said, using the ministry’s acronym.
The world’s second largest palm producer has stopped the entry of new foreign workers from June until the end of the year as part of Covid-19 containment measures, but planters said it has exacerbated a long-standing labour shortage and impacted production.
Meanwhile, labour groups allege that thousands of foreign workers employed by the industry remain subject to forced labour conditions.
Mohd Khairuddin said the government views the US allegations seriously and the two countries need a fair platform to address the allegations that could affect bilateral trade.
“Undoubtedly, the US is an important market for Malaysian agricultural products which is one of the largest contributors to the country’s export earnings,” he said.
Malaysia exported 14.1 billion ringgit (S$4.6 billion) worth of agricultural commodities to the United States from January to August this year, he said.
The United States is Malaysia’s second largest agri-commodity trading partner, accounting for 15 per cent of the nation’s exports during the first half of 2020, according to government data.
The decision by Malaysian prosecutors on Wednesday to drop an investigation into a minister who broke Covid-19 quarantine rules has been met with befuddlement, with a legal analyst saying the move could worsen fast-eroding public trust in the government’s handling of the health crisis.
The announcement by the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) was the latest turn in the months-long saga involving Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Khairuddin Aman Razali.
The 46-year-old politician has become a lightning rod for criticism over the purported double standards in the way virus-control measures have been applied by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s administration .
The ruling coalition, currently battling a messy internal power struggle, is also under fire for haphazardly announcing new rules as Covid-19 cases surge in a third wave of infections.
The minister first sparked controversy after he turned up in parliament on July 12 despite returning from an overseas trip to Turkey five days earlier.
With rules already in place at the time mandating all incoming travellers to self-isolate for 14 days, the episode triggered a public uproar, which the politician compounded by demurring in comments to the media when asked whether he broke the law.
The Health Ministry later fined him 1,000 ringgit (S$330) – far less than the penalties imposed on other citizens who committed similar offences – and Khairuddin offered to donate four months’ salary to the country’s Covid-19 relief fund.
But with discontent against Muhyiddin still simmering over the handling of the case, the police in early October said they had “resubmitted” investigation papers to prosecutors.
On Wednesday, the AGC said it had decided not to charge Khairuddin with breaching quarantine rules because he had not been served a “home surveillance or observation order” when he returned to the country.
It said the officer who tended to Khairuddin had used his “discretion” not to serve an order on the minister.
“Accordingly, based on the above consideration, the AGC has decided to not prefer any charge against the minister due to insufficient evidence and thus fails to meet the required burden of proof under the law,” it said in a statement.
Responding to the AGC’s decision, Lim Wei Jiet, a local constitutional lawyer, said “double standards and failure to uphold the rule of law” were a “very slippery slope”.
“The ordinary citizen gradually loses respect for the law and authorities, and don’t see the need to comply when some can get away with it,” Lim told This Week in Asia . “This kind of disobedience would then be detrimental to any government policy to control the transmission of Covid-19.”
Criticism of the decision came thick and fast online too.
Emmanuel Samarathisa, executive editor of online news portal The Vibes, questioned in a commentary published shortly after the AGC statement why Khairuddin was fined by the health ministry if he did not flout any laws.
He contrasted the non-punishment of Khairuddin to the penalty handed out to another Malaysian man this week for the same crime of breaching quarantine rules: a sentence of 14 days in jail and a 1,000 ringgit fine.
Boo Su-Lyn, chief editor of the local health news website CodeBlue, asked on Twitter: “If Khairuddin wasn‘t given a home quarantine order, according to police, then why did [the health ministry fine] him 1,000 ringgit and why did he pay it? What was the fine for, if he supposedly didn’t commit an offence?”
There was no immediate comment from Khairuddin or the prime minister’s office following the AGC’s announcement.
The country recorded 732 new infections on Wednesday, after four straight days of over 800 cases. Nearly 51 per cent of the 22,957 infections recorded since the start of the pandemic have occurred in October.
The source of the third wave has been widely attributed to the lack of social-distancing measures observed by politicians during campaigning ahead of polls in the state of Sabah on Sept 26.
KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is in talks on a possible cabinet reshuffle in an attempt to appease a key ally that has threatened to pull support for the ruling coalition, three sources said on Monday.
Muhyiddin is facing a premiership challenge from opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who last week met Malaysia’s king in a bid to prove he has majority support from lawmakers, including from among government turncoats, to form a new government.
The prime minister has since entered fresh discussions with the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the largest party in his coalition, to negotiate new terms that could include more prominent cabinet positions for the party, sources close to the government and UMNO said.
A breakthrough in the talks could stall Anwar’s premiership bid, but also leave Muhyiddin hanging by a two-seat majority in the 222-seat parliament while he grapples with an economy battered by the coronavirus and a new surge in infections.
“UMNO is negotiating and it shows they are not ready to exit the coalition,” said one source.
Another source from UMNO said the party wants more say in deciding on matters such as who among the party are appointed to cabinet and what portfolios they would hold.
The sources asked not to be identified as they were not authorised to speak to the media.
The two parties are also discussing which constituencies they would contest in a general election, even though polls are not imminent, two of the sources said.
Elections are not due until 2023, but some in the government have pushed for early polls to win a stronger mandate.
Muhyiddin’s office and UMNO did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
UMNO lost a 2018 election in its first defeat since independence over 60 years ago, amid popular anger over allegedly rampant corruption.
But it returned to power in March when it allied with Muhyiddin after the collapse of the administration of veteran politician Mahathir Mohamad.
UMNO members have since balked at playing second fiddle to Muhyiddin’s smaller Bersatu party, coalition sources have said.
Speculation has been rife that UMNO lawmakers facing corruption charges were behind Anwar’s premiership bid.
On Sunday, UMNO denied that its president, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, and former leader Najib Razak had signed a letter withdrawing support for Muhyiddin and backing Anwar instead.
Najib was found guilty in July and sentenced to 12 years in jail. He has appealed the verdict and is out on bail, but faces three other corruption trials. Zahid is also in the middle of a graft trial.
Anwar dismissed the rumours last week as “irrelevant and irresponsible”, and said there was no space for cutting deals with individuals for support.
KUALA LUMPUR - A Malaysian woman who wanted to lose weight to look good at her wedding ended up losing her life instead when she underwent liposuction at a beauty salon that was not licensed to perform the procedure.
Malaysian police have detained the owners of the beauty salon in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, and are investigating the matter after the death of 23-year-old Coco Siew Zhi Shing (Xiao Zhixin) on Saturday (Oct 17).
Ms Siew had been preparing for her wedding and wanted to look her best at the once-in-a-lifetime event, her brother Xiao Mingan told reporters.
She had found the beauty salon online while scouring the Internet for liposuction-related treatments, and signed up for a RM2,500 (S$820) procedure with them to extract fat from her arms, Mr Xiao said.
On Saturday afternoon, Ms Siew visited the salon for the first time, accompanied by a friend. She received an injection for anaesthesia upon arrival, local media reported.
But about half an hour following the injection, she started to feel unwell. And about an hour later, her heartbeat stopped, according to the reports.
She was rushed to hospital but efforts to resuscitate her failed and she was certified dead at around 5pm.
Mr Xiao said his family was especially grieved that they did not arrive at the hospital in time to see his sister before she died.
The owner of the beauty salon was not present during the procedure and did not appear at the hospital until 8pm, he said.
"After our repeated questioning, the person in charge of the salon finally revealed that they were not licensed to conduct such medical procedures, but were licensed only for normal beauty treatments," Mr Xiao told reporters.
"The beautician who performed the procedure for my sister did not have a professional licence."
The two owners of the beauty salon, a woman and her daughter, have been detained to assist in investigations into Ms Siew's death, reporters reported.
"We are still ascertaining the cause of death," Kuala Lumpur police chief Comm Saiful told a press conference at the Sentul police headquarters on Monday.
Liposuction packages at the salon were being advertised for between RM1,500 to RM3,800, and it had performed the procedure for at least 10 customers, according to local media reports.
Mr Xiao said his sister led a healthy and fit lifestyle and cared greatly about her looks. She had come in first in an Asian modelling competition in 2014, he added.
"I hope my sister's experience will serve as a warning to many young women," Mr Xiao said.
Malaysia ’s opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said a police investigation into a list that purports to show lawmakers backing his bid for the premiership was a “malicious” attempt to pressure him into revealing the identities of his supporters.
Police summoned Anwar to assist with a probe into the distribution of the list of 121 lawmakers who allegedly back his bid to take over as prime minister from Muhyiddin Yassin . The list has been circulated on social media.
Anwar, who spent about two hours giving a statement to investigators on Friday, said only the king had the right to know the full details of lawmakers who he says are backing him to give majority support in parliament.
“I’m not here to cooperate with the political masters to give names, because it is not their business. It’s between me and His Highness, the Agong,” Anwar told reporters outside Bukit Aman police headquarters, using the Malay term for the king.
“It’s clearly malicious. It’s clearly a political harassment and clearly from my understanding there is a political instruction to the police.”
He also told reporters that he was under investigation by the police for six cases, including an allegation of sodomy.
The police in a statement on Saturday denied there had been any political pressure.
“The investigation was conducted in a professional manner without any political pressure or instructions from any parties,” it said.
Anwar on Tuesday met King Al-Sultan Abdullah to present documentation in a bid to prove he has a “convincing” parliamentary majority to form a new government.
But the palace later said Anwar had only provided the number of lawmakers who he said backed his bid to become prime minister and not their identities, and urged him to respect the constitutional process.
The police statement confirmed Anwar is being investigated for six cases, including a sodomy allegation and for making a claim that Muhyiddin’s administration has fallen due to lack of parliamentary support.
Anwar, who spent nearly 10 years in jail on sodomy charges he denied, said on Friday that he regarded the sodomy allegation as a political plot to pressure him at a crucial time.
BERLIN - The prosecution's closing arguments will be heard on Monday (July 6) in the trial of a 93-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard for complicity in the murder of more than 5,000 people during World War II.
In what could be one of the last such cases of surviving Nazi guards, Bruno Dey stands accused of complicity in the murder of 5,230 people when he worked at the Stutthof camp near what was then Danzig, now Gdansk in Poland.
Dey, who has appeared in court in a wheelchair, denies bearing any guilt for what happened at the camp.
His defence has insisted that he did not join the SS voluntarily before serving at the camp from August 1944 to April 1945, ending up assigned there because a heart condition excluded him from frontline service.
But prosecutors argue that his involvement was crucial to the killings, as his time in the SS coincided with the "Final Solution" order to systematically exterminate Jews through gassing, starvation or denial of medical care.
Dey is standing trial at a juvenile court because he was aged between 17 and 18 at the time.
During his testimony in May, Dey told the court that he wanted to forget his time at the camp.
"I don't want to keep going over the past," he told the Hamburg tribunal.
Judge Anna Meier-Goering had asked whether Dey had spoken to his children and grandchildren about the time he stood guard at Stutthof.
"I don't bear any guilt for what happened back then," Dey said. "I didn't contribute anything to it, other than standing guard. But I was forced to do it, it was an order."
Dey acknowledged last year that he had been aware of the camp's gas chambers and admitted seeing "emaciated figures, people who had suffered", but insisted he was not guilty.
The Nazis set up the Stutthof camp in 1939, initially using it to detain Polish political prisoners.
But it ended up holding 110,000 detainees, including many Jews. Some 65,000 people perished in the camp.
Dey, who now lives in Hamburg, became a baker after the war.
Married with two daughters, he supplemented his income by working as a truck driver, before later taking on a job in building maintenance.
He came into prosecutors' sights after a landmark 2011 ruling against former Sobibor camp guard John Demjanjuk on the basis that he was part of the Nazi killing machine.
Since then, Germany has been racing to put on trial surviving SS personnel on those grounds rather than for murders or atrocities directly linked to the individual accused.
Ukrainian-American Demjanjuk was convicted of being an accessory to the murder of nearly 30,000 Jews at the Sobibor death camp. He died while his appeal was pending.
The court ruled that as a guard at the camp, he was automatically implicated in killings carried out there at the time.
The case set a new legal precedent and prompted several further convictions of Nazi officers, including that of the "bookkeeper of Auschwitz" Oscar Groening.
He died aged 96 before he could be jailed.