Malaysia Bagus News
PETALING JAYA: The police have yet to receive any reports of senior Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers stealing confiscated money, contrary to news that went viral over the weekend.
Published by the blog Edisi Siasat, the post alleges that a portion of the US$6 million (RM25.1 million) confiscated from a Cyberjaya condominium in 2018 that was believed to belong to former Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation director-general Hasanah Abdul Hamid had gone missing, allegedly taken by three MACC officers.
The post claimed that after she was granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal by the High Court this year, Hasanah had attempted to reclaim the money only to learn that some of it had gone missing and replaced with counterfeit money.
The post alleges that Hasanah then made a police report but that the police were “afraid to conduct an investigation” because of the involvement of those close to MACC chief Azam Baki.
In a statement, Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department (CID) director Abd Jalil Hassan said that until today, “no police report has been received regarding this incident.
“The police advise the public to be wise and responsible users of social media and not spread false news.
“Strict action will be taken against any individual who intentionally abuses social media to spread false news.”
KUALA LUMPUR: Anwar Ibrahim (PH-Port Dickson) slammed energy and natural resources minister Takiyuddin Hassan for describing the recent floods in Gurun, Yan and Merbok in Kedah as an “act of God”.
Responding to a question from Sabri Azit (PAS-Jerai), Takiyuddin said the ministry was saddened to see the “act of God” that happened in Kedah, prompting Anwar to interject.
“Don’t just blame God when it comes to environmental problems. Sometimes they are problems caused by humans.
“How do you know it’s an act of God when corrupt humans destroy the environment?” asked Anwar, before his microphone was cut off by Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun.
Takiyuddin later explained that when he went to visit the site of the floods, he saw that the trees that were washed away by the floodwaters still had their roots, which meant that they were not from logging activities.
“This is what we call destiny set by God. Act of God,” said the minister.
Massive floods had hit Gurun, Yan and Merbok in August following an intense rainfall beating a 70-year average at 278mm in a span of a few hours. The flooding saw close to 1,000 families affected with mud waters reaching as high as 1.5m.
Takiyuddin also explained that Jerai was located in the 160,000ha Ulu Muda forest reserve, of which 12% of it was a protected area while 88% of the remaining forest could be logged.
While the Kedah state government had decided not to issue any new logging licences in the past three years, he said it had given permits to cut down 25,000ha of the forest from 2014 to 2019.
“But there was no logging in the Ulu Muda forest reserve at all,” he added.
The minister also said the nation had not exceeded its Annual Felling Rationing (CTT) set in the past two years, with only 10,949ha developed out of the 43,299ha CTT set aside for 2019.
“In 2020, the CTT approved was lower than the year before, 39,345ha, but what was developed was only 22,931ha. This shows that the federal government is serious about this.”
ALOR SETAR: A total of 6,000 Kedahans have skipped their Covid-19 vaccine appointments, health minister Khairy Jamaluddin revealed, saying it is a worrying trend that needs to be reversed in aiding the state’s recovery.
He said while 20% of the population have yet to register for the MySejahtera contact tracing app, 523 Covid-positive patients were found to have breached their home quarantine last week.
Khairy said 18% of those who flouted the home quarantine order went to supermarkets.
“I’m very worried if the continued flouting of laws and refusal to take the vaccine might hamper efforts in our recovery process,” he said in a short note on Facebook after his working visit here yesterday.
Khairy said he has ordered the state health department to ramp up vaccination efforts and to educate all on the risks of Covid-19 infection, especially among rural folk.
He added that Covid-19 numbers in the state have improved in terms of admissions, ICU bed use and daily case patterns.
Kedah had 809 new cases yesterday, bringing the overall numbers to 125,791. There are, however, 17,920 active cases, with the highest reported in the Kuala Muda district at 4,201, followed by Kota Setar (3,992), and Kulim (3,823).
PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Medical Association has welcomed the Sarawak government’s decision to move forward with quarantining Covid-19 close contacts and to test only those showing symptoms of infection.
MMA president Dr Koh Kar Chai said the policy was unlikely to result in any brought-in-dead (BID) cases as those infected with the virus would show symptoms before becoming severe cases.
“Once the close contacts become symptomatic, they can be tested and treated,” he said.
“Virtual CACs (Covid-19 assessment centres) and remote monitoring of mild cases will also help decrease the strain on our healthcare system.”
However, Koh said this approach could not be applied to those in the high-risk category and that asymptomatic close contacts with comorbidities and people aged 60 and above should be tested.
Former deputy health minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said it was acceptable to stop testing asymptomatic close contacts as long as almost all eligible people had been vaccinated.
However, he said this approach must be accompanied by monitoring or at least a daily interview with the asymptomatic people.
Koh and Lee were commenting on a report that Sarawak would no longer test close contacts showing no symptoms although they would be isolated at home.
Sarawak health director Dr Mohamed Sapian Mohamed said health authorities would monitor them through virtual CACs.
“I believe that the Sarawak health department is just overwhelmed by the sheer workload, with more than 3,000 cases and possibly 9,000 to 15,000 close contacts to screen and monitor,” Lee told reporters.
He noted that community spread was rampant in Sarawak and said the government should consider empowering more people to use Covid-19 self-test kits and provide them free to those in close contact with the infected.
He said such tests could help identify new cases and the tracing of close contacts quickly.
On Monday, Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen said the Sarawak government’s decision to stop testing asymptomatic close contacts was a dangerous move.
“The fight against Covid-19 is still not over, especially when our children are still vulnerable and the effectiveness of vaccine protection on those fully vaccinated will decrease over time,” he said.
“While we acknowledge the need to open up the economy, certain measures must be adopted to minimise the risk of infection, illness and death. Surely, reducing tests is not the correct way.”
GEORGE TOWN: Mahani Udit recalls the time she was arrested and forced to spend a night in the lock-up for “defiling” the Malaysian flag.
One day three years ago, Mahani was busy cutting flags to be turned into Merdeka and Malaysia Day costumes for schoolchildren when an army sergeant walked past her small shop at the Bukit Jambul Complex.
The upset soldier reprimanded Mahani, telling her it was not right to defile the Jalur Gemilang. A bewildered Mahani told him she was merely turning the flag into parade costumes.
Insisting “you cannot defile the flag”, the soldier lodged a police report and that was how she ended up in the police lock-up hours later.
“The police told me I was not supposed to repurpose the flag into any other form, it was against the law. I said I did not know and that I was just making clothes for children.
“I spent a night in the lock-up and was freed the next day,” the 32-year-old told reporters.
From then, she did not use the flag or any flag motif in sewing clothes.
Six years ago, Mahani moved from Kedah to Penang to start the business of making “Malaysiana” costumes.
“People called me crazy when I first started this. But now, I’m able to put food on the table for my two daughters, and survive through the pandemic,” the single mother said.
She said her business began after she sewed a Merdeka-themed costume for her daughter as part of the kindergarten’s programme to instil patriotism.
At that time, Mahani, a roadside pisang goreng and coconut water seller at her kampung in Semeling, near Sungai Petani, was picking up tailoring from watching YouTube videos.
“I thought, why bother dressing her in just plain blue, red or white t-shirts, so I sewed something out of our flag so that my kid would stand out from the rest.
“When the other parents saw my daughter, they became interested and asked me if I could do the same for their children. After that, through word of mouth, I started getting many calls,” she said.
They called her ‘crazy’
Mahani set up an online store on Facebook. As the orders grew, she moved to Penang and rented a small lot at the Bukit Jambul Complex. When she started her page on Facebook, people called her “crazy” for starting a shop that would be a flop.
“But as soon as people started calling me crazy, the orders started coming in like crazy, from schools holding Merdeka events and sports day. You name it, I can do it,” she said.
Today, she uses the hashtag “#tailorGila” in her marketing posts. She creates baju kurung, kebaya and custom-designed Malaysia-themed clothing for both adults and children, priced between RM25 and RM250, depending on the work involved.
Last year, she made about 4,000 pieces of clothing.
Mahani said that when the pandemic began, she started sewing cloth masks from leftover cloth and Hari Raya costumes, and later sold them on Facebook to make ends meet.
Despite the pandemic, she said, the demand for Malaysia-themed clothes was high, as teachers had urged students to create short patriotic videos as part of their assignment for Merdeka and Malaysia Day.
Mahani said a family of five in Kelantan would come down personally to her shop every year to get their Merdeka outfits done.
Because of the pandemic restrictions, the family could not come to Penang this year but they nevertheless placed an online order for five pairs of Malaysia-themed clothes.
On her recipe for success, Mahani said it all boiled down to positive thinking.
“We have to find ways to make a living and not feel depressed or grumpy. When times are bad, we have to cut the cloth to suit our situation and be glad with what we have.”
Those interested may check out Mahani’s collection on her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/angrik.rimba.
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah deputy chief minister Jeffrey Kitingan says Sabahans are continuously met with “disappointment and even sorrow” despite 58 years passing since the formation of Malaysia.
“After a promising start to the federation, Sabahans have increasingly realised that they have been shortchanged in this partnership,” he said in a statement today.
The Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) president visited the Batu Sumpah, which is an oath stone commemorating the country’s formation, on the eve of Malaysia Day. It is located in his interior Keningau parliamentary constituency.
“Admittedly, we have seen some progress but compared with Singapore and Brunei, both of which opted out of this federation, Sabah’s development has been severely stunted.”
Kitingan said there were many factors for this lack of development, with one of them being the 40% of the net revenue derived by the federal government in the state still owed to Sabah.
“Our 10% export on petroleum duty in lieu of royalties has also never been paid. At the same time, our 10% import duty on petroleum products has not been paid fully but replaced with a fixed amount of RM120 million since 2007.
“In terms of resources, our oil and gas have been unconstitutionally taken over by Petronas which is 100% owned by the federal government.
“This is while our children have struggled to find jobs in federal departments in Sabah. Most of the ranks are dominated by Malayans.”
Besides that, Kitingan contended that Sabah’s security was also deliberately jeopardised by the importation of Muslim foreign labour from neighbouring countries, namely Indonesia and the Philippines.
“They were later granted backdoor citizenship and mobilised as voters to change the demography of Sabah and the political landscape through Project IC, also known as ‘Projek Mahathir’,” he said.
He added that despite Sabah having abundant resources, the state has been made “financially, economically, politically and militarily dependent” on Putrajaya.
“Even its political power was purposely weakened by inadequate parliamentary representation that does not reflect its status as an equal partner in the federation,” he said, referring to Sabah and Sarawak not having at least one-third representation in Parliament.
“The impact of all these violations is clear – Sabah has become the poorest state in Malaysia.”
As the country commemorates Malaysia Day, Kitingan believed it was important to reflect on what the federation signified, as well as its history and goals.
“The proclamation of Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963 acknowledged the nationhood status of Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore and this reflected their aspiration at the beginning of the process of forming Malaysia.
“However, the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) did not reflect this proclamation as it was signed on July 9, 1963, even before the process was completed and at a time when Sabah and Sarawak were still colonies,” he said.
As a result, he believed it was reasonable to question why MA63 was signed before the process was completed, why it was never amended and whether Sabah and Sarawak were federated with Malaya as a whole or with individual states within Malaya, as some have claimed.
“If we are to move forward as a federated nation, it is critical that these concerns or anomalies be resolved because we do not want to be Malayan colonies,” Kitingan said.
For this reason, he has insisted that the independence of Sabah and Sarawak, the missing piece in the formation of Malaysia, be restored to the pages of this federation’s history in order for it to be complete.
Sarawak gained self-governance on July 22, 1963, while Sabah proclaimed independence on Aug 31, 1963.
“Sept 16 is a celebration of a partnership, not a colonial takeover. Sabah and Sarawak did not become part of Malaysia. Rather, we founded Malaysia together with the federation of Malaya.
“More importantly, we should not confuse Malaya with Malaysia. Malaysia is a new federation that was established in 1963, not in 1957.
“The time has come to fulfil this partnership and the terms of this relationship,” Kitingan said.
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KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy rural development minister Abdul Rahman Mohamad says up to 57% of the Orang Asli community nationwide have been vaccinated.
Responding to a question from Ramli Mohd Nor (BN-Cameron Highlands) in the Dewan Rakyat, Rahman said 82,555 of the total 144,180 Orang Asli across the country have been vaccinated.
He gave an assurance that the ministry, through the Orang Asli development department (Jakoa) and other government agencies, would work towards vaccinating the remaining 43% by optimising its resources.
However, he noted that this was dependent on the supply of the CanSino vaccine, asking health minister Khairy Jamaluddin to expedite the channelling of the single-dose vaccine.
“The daily vaccination rate among the Orang Asli is increasing. The rural development ministry will work with other agencies to further boost this.
“We will optimise the use of assets like helicopters and boats to get to the interior to boost the vaccination rate,” he said, adding that the single-dose CanSino jab made it easier to vaccinate those living away from villages and towns.
Rahman said the community had been apprehensive about getting vaccinated at first, though now “nearly all” of them were ready and willing to get immunised against Covid-19.
In August, it was reported that there had been a spike in Covid-19 infections and deaths among the Orang Asli, with cases up by more than 10-fold.
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia needs 28,000 more medical specialists by 2030, health minister Khairy Jamaluddin said today
Currently, there are only 13,000 specialists, compared to 6,183 in 2019.
Because of this, Khairy said, the waiting time in hospitals is long.
“We need to reduce waiting time and train more specialists as the country heads towards an aging society,” he told Rusnah Aluai (PH-Tangga Batu) during the question-and-answer session in the Dewan Rakyat.
Rusnah had wanted to know if the long wait is because there are not enough doctors or whether it is due to the issue of contract doctors.
Khairy said Malaysia needs more specialists to also deal with non-communicable diseases. “We need to train them from now,” he said.
Earlier, he said the increase in the intake of contract doctors is to accommodate the number graduating since 2016, accounting for 5,000 to 6,000 yearly.
Before 2016, he said, there were about 3,000 medical graduates a year.
However, not all contract doctors could be absorbed as permanent staff because of the limited number of vacancies in the civil service and also the government budget
To solve the problem, the government had agreed in July to extend the contracts of all junior medical, dental and pharmaceutical officers by a further two years, Khairy said.
He said the government has also agreed to extend the contracts of officers accepted for specialist studies. This will allow those who want to specialise to apply for fully paid study leave sponsorship akin to fully paid study leave and federal training award programme.
On the reasons for specialists to join the private sector, Khairy said it is due to salaries and allowances.
He said the government has from time to time increased allowances but the public sector could still not match those given in the private sector.
He also said the government has also allowed flexibility for specialists to work at private hospitals once a week to earn additional income.
PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) is examining the legal options and implications of removing attempted suicide as a criminal offence.
He said the AGC was reviewing the law regarding the offences of abetment and attempted suicide.
Ismail said that as of 2015, the incidences of attempted suicides had been increasing and it covered various age groups.
“The issue is becoming more acute because of the uncertain economic situation, which has seen many lose their sources of income.
“Therefore, a more holistic approach needs to be taken to curb such acts,” he said in a written reply to a question from Noorita Sual (PH-Tenom), who asked the government to provide an update on moves to decriminalise attempted suicide.
Malaysia recorded 902 attempted suicides from 2018 to June 2021. Of that number, 261 cases were prosecuted in 2018, 243 in 2019, 223 last year and 175 in the first six months of this year.
KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court was told today that former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi never benefited from an alleged bribe of RM250,000 by a businessman.
Lead counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik said the money was a loan given by Junaith Asharab Md Shariff to Zahid’s brother, Mohamad Nasaee, in 2016.
He said the loan was subsequently repaid.
“There is no link between the accused (Zahid) and Junaith to show he is aware of this (loan) arrangement,” Hisyam said.
“The defence affirms that there is no basis to say that the RM250,000 served as an inducement to him to award the government’s MyEG project to a company known as Mastoro Kenny IT Consultant & Services.”
Zahid is standing trial on 47 charges of money laundering and criminal breach of trust (CBT) involving millions from Yayasan Akalbudi and accepting bribes for various projects during his tenure as the home minister.
Twelve of the charges are for CBT, eight for corruption and the remaining 27 for money laundering.
Hisyam also told the court that Junaith had testified that the money was a loan to Nasaee, affirming that Zahid had no knowledge of the purpose of the amount.
“This is a case of over-prosecution and the DPP needs to explain why this charge was framed in the first place,” he said.
The defence will continue its submission on the other corruption charges when the hearing before High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah resumes tomorrow.
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