Transport minister: Govt considering plans to regulate p-hailing services

Wee Ka Siong — Bernama photo

JOHOR BARU (Apr 18): The government is considering creating a regulatory body to oversee p-hailing services, which involves the delivery of parcels and food items using motorcycles.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong said it was high time this body is seen as an important requirement as part of efforts to protect the welfare of the riders.

This has become a pressing matter as currently, there is no specific body to oversee the sector, Wee said.

“I feel we need a policy just like e-hailing, which at one time was also not regulated. As such, the ministry is looking into having discussions on how we can protect the p-hailing (riders).

“We do understand these riders work really hard to deliver items, and I estimate about 100,000 of them are involved in this field,” he told reporters after chairing a Johor MCA meeting here today.

Wee was commenting on the grouses of p-hailing riders who have been lamenting that their plight was not being given enough attention, especially when it involves their welfare.

He said since the movement control order was implemented, many have signed up for p-hailing jobs, as consumers are opting more for delivery orders rather than dining out.

“And that is why the government recently wanted to make it compulsory for riders to contribute to the Social Security Organisation (SOCSO). If they can pay a contribution of RM13.10 a month, then they will have basic protection,” he said.

Even so, he added that the riders themselves must also be responsible for their own safety and also of other road users when on their delivery rounds.

Wee said this was because there have been many complaints of riders speeding and being reckless on the road.

“I have asked the Road Transport Department to hold a campaign to raise awareness among these riders, as while earning their livelihood, they must also be responsible to other road users,” he said. — Bernama

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DCM: Sarawak asking federal for CanSino vaccine supply

Uggah speaking at the press conference. – Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi

KUCHING (April 15): The Sarawak government has asked the federal government to supply the state with the single-dose CanSino Covid-19 vaccine, said State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.

He said as the China-made vaccine only require a single dose, it is therefore more feasible for this vaccine to be supplied to Sarawakians who are living in the interiors.

“We have requested for at least 600,000 to 800,000 of CanSino vaccines to be supplied to Sarawak as this will facilitate the vaccination of people in the interiors, so that we don’t have to go there twice.

“We are taking all the necessary steps including our preparedness to purchase the vaccines so that our target to vaccinate Sarawakians by the end of August this year can be achieved,” he told a press conference here today.

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The Deputy Chief Minister said he has spoken to Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, who assured that the federal government will provide the vaccines needed by the state.

“At the same time, we are also waiting for final approval for the state government to purchase whatever is necessary to supplement what is being supplied by Kuala Lumpur (federal government),” he said.

He also said that Khairy has agreed that Sarawakians living in rural areas do not have to follow Phases 2 and 3 of the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

“We will give the vaccine to those in rural areas all at one time. If we were to choose who is qualified for Phase 2 or 3 this will complicate things further especially for rural areas,” he said.

Phase 2 of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme covers senior citizens, people with disabilities and those with chronic diseases while the third phase of the programme will involve adults aged 18 and above.

Meanwhile, Uggah said the second phase of the vaccination programme will commence on April 19 starting with Sibu and followed by all divisions throughout Sarawak at the designated vaccination centres.

“We had a meeting with all the Residents who are preparing for the designated vaccination centres this morning and we are very happy with the planning and preparedness to start the vaccination in Sibu,” he said.

He urged those who have yet to register for the vaccination to do so via the MySejahtera app or manually at their respective district offices or public health clinics.

“A lot of rural folk do not have MySejahtera so our mode of registration to do it manually is accepted by Kuala Lumpur (federal government).

“Our secretariat will assist the people to key in their details to the MySejahtera secretariat in Kuala Lumpur and it’s done very smoothly,” he said, adding that Sarawak currently has 66 per cent who have registered for the programme.

Also present were Local Government and Housing Minister Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian and Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah.

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Abdul Karim: ‘No room’ for Bersatu in next state polls under GPS ticket

Abdul Karim. — File photo by Roystein Emmor

KUCHING (Apr 12): There is no room for Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) to stand in the next State Election under the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) ticket, said Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) vice president Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

He said this was because the state coalition had identified its candidates to stand in all the 82 seats.

He added that in order for a candidate to be endorsed by GPS for the election, he or she must come from one of the four component parties of the coalition namely PBB, Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Progressive Democratic Party (PDP).

“GPS has identified its candidates in all 82 seats for the next State Election which means that all of these candidates are from GPS.

“Where Bersatu comes in on this, it’s hard for me to say. When we cross the bridge, we will decide on this,” he told a press conference at Baitulmakmur Building here.

He was asked to comment on Bersatu Supreme Council member Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin’s statement yesterday where she had said that Bersatu will be placing its candidate to stand in the 12th State election using the GPS ticket.

Abdul Karim, who is Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister, said if there were candidates from Bersatu and GPS contesting in the state election, it may cause confusion.

“If there are dual party members, say one is from Bersatu and one is from GPS, that can be a little bit confusing. They have to make up their mind,” he said.

Nevertheless, he said GPS would address this issue properly because the coalition supports Perikatan Nasional (PN) at federal level.

“PN was established for the sake of stability with the support of GPS. We also hope that PN will reciprocate when we are facing our State Election.

“At present, everybody knows…it’s acknowledged by PN and Bersatu that they support GPS as the government for Sarawak,” he said.

Zuraida on Sunday said Bersatu would contest under the GPS ticket in the state election to avoid confusion among Sarawakian voters.

She was reported by a local Malay daily as saying that the party wanted to make it easier for Sarawakians to make their choice and to support the federal government.

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Mukah district now red zone, Subis district changes to orange

KUCHING (Apr 9): Mukah District today was declared a red zone after recording 53 Covid-19 cases in the past 14 days, said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.

All in all, the number of red zones in Sarawak to date is at 13 and comprises of Sri Aman, Sarikei, Beluru, Samarahan, Serian, Julau, Meradong, Kuching, Kapit, Bintulu, Miri and Sibu, with a total of 3,170 local infections recorded within a period of 14 days.

Apart from that, the situation in Subis District also declined after it was declared an orange zone after recording 28 local infections over a period of 14 days.

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“17 other districts remained as yellow zones and only five districts green zones,” Uggah said during a press conference here today.

The yellow zone districts are Dalat, Daro, Asajaya, Lawas, Bukit Mabong, Belaga, Betong, Lubok Antu, Tatau, Tanjung Manis, Song, Matu, Pakan, Tebedu, Bau, Selangau and Limbang.

The five green zone districts are Telang Usan, Lundu, Pusa, Simunjan and Kabong.

The Health Ministry categorises a district with no Covid-19 cases as a green zone, and over a two-week period, with one to 20 local transmission cases as yellow, 21 to 40 as orange and 41 and more as red.

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SCCC hopes to strengthen cooperation with BIMP-EAGA Business Council

Liew delivering his opening address during a dialogue session with BEBC Sabah Chapter led by Moosom.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah China Chamber of Commerce (SCCC) hopes to strengthen cooperation with the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines-East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Business Council (BEBC) to improve connectivity and harness the opportunities in the region, as well as attract more Chinese investors to boost socio-economic developments in Sabah.

SCCC president Datuk Frankie Liew said China was undoubtedly a leading nation in economy, technological advances and information technology in the world.

He said the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) advocated by the Chinese President Xi Jinping offered abundant opportunities to the countries along the route.

He said Sabah was the closest state to China geographically and was positioned strategically along the Belt and Road route.

In addition, Liew said Sabah was situated at the central of BIMP-EAGA and has great potential to be developed as a main gateway for trade in the region.

In recent years, he said major reputable construction companies from China have expanded their reach into Sabah and introduced a breath of fresh air into the industry.

Hence, he hoped that SCCC could strengthen cooperation with BEBC to boost connectivity, tap into the opportunities and entice more Chinese investors to spur socio-economic growth in the region.

He said that during a dialogue session with BEBC Sabah Chapter led by its chairman Carl Moosom here on Monday.

Liew also urged the federal and state governments to expedite the expansion of Sepanggar Bay Container Port and develop it into a transhipment hub in the region that connected China, Sabah, BIMP-EAGA for the region and state to prosper.

Meanwhile, Moosom said the BEBC was seeking industry players, especially those from China, to invest not only in Sabah, but also in the BIMP-EAGA region.

“We need your (SCCC) cooperation in this. We need your network to come in and participate in BIMP-EAGA.”

He said China through China Development Bank had set up a USD 5 billion special loan for China and BIMP-EAGA cooperation.

The special loan aims to support economic and social development of BIMP-EAGA, to bring real benefits to people in this area, and to promote the cooperation between China and BIMP-EAGA.

The loan will be available for projects related to public infrastructure, connectivity, power and other areas that benefit the local people.

Moosom said 95 percent of the special loan was still available, which would expire after 2025, and he encouraged SCCC members to take advantage of the financing facility.

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Nanta: Govt studying laws, ordinances that need updating to keep up with latest business trends

Nanta speaking at the Malaysia Prihatin programme held at Federation of Chinese Associations Sarawak premises here today. – Photo by Roystein Emmor

KUCHING (Apr 3): The government is studying the relevant laws and ordinances that need to be amended to be more in line with the latest trends in the business sector, said Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Dato Sri Alexander Nanta Linggi.

“Take the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) for example, we are in a process of trying to update or propose amendments to the existing laws and ordinances that may incorporate new ideas and better business governance,” said Nanta.

He said the aim was to promote the ease of doing business and establishing a more conducive business environment to facilitate the growth of companies and the country’s economy.

Nanta also urged all business owners to formally register their company with SSM as not to be missed out on the various incentives and assistance rolled out by the federal government.

“That is why we encourage businesses, no matter how small, to be registered with SSM. If there are formalised by registration, every now and then the government would have some mechanism to try to assist them.”

He said this during the at a press conference after officiating a Malaysia Prihatin programme at the Federation of Chinese Associations Sarawak premises at Jalan Pending here today.

He added that having been registered with SSM would allow business owners to be a part of data bank or sort, allowing the government to factor in their feedbacks and concerns into the future policies.

Furthermore, the minister remarked some of the existing rules governing the business society might be outdated, which they might be ‘strangulating’ the businesses instead of regulating them.

He also added the ministry was also looking into allowing a business’ moveable assets, like cattle, to be charged as collateral for credit from financial institutions, as practised by New Zealand.

“So, my ministry is very proactive in promoting the ease of doing business and bringing down the costs of doing business, as well as to provide a conducive business environment in Malaysia.”

Moreover, Nanta emphasised that his ministry would concentrate on breaking monopoly or anti-competition behaviours to create a level playing field for the business community.

Meanwhile, during the programme, Federation of Chinese Associations Sarawak president Dato Richard Wee said he hoped the federal government would extend the Wage Subsidy Programme as it provided much needed financial relief to the business sector.

Wee also remarked any well-intended policies and initiatives were only as good as its implementations and he hoped the federal government would ensure the necessary monitoring and implementation mechanism was in place for the benefits to reach the targeted community effectively.

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Covid-19: Beluru district now orange zone, Song district turns yellow

A medical personnel conducts a swab test on a person during a mass testing. – Bernama file photo

KUCHING (March 31): The Beluru District is now a Covid-19 orange zone after recording 28 new Covid-19 cases in the past two weeks, said the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC).

Song district reverted to yellow zone from orange after 20 new Covid-19 cases were reported over the past two weeks.

“This brings the total number of orange zones to five, and yellow zones 16,” said SDMC is a statement today,

The four other orange zones were Sarikei, Tanjung Manis, Kanowit and Bukit Mabong, while 15 other yellow zones were Matu, Pakan, Marudi, Subis, Tebedu, Bau, Mukah, Selangau, Dalat, Limbang, Telang Usan, Belaga, Lundu, Saratok and Sebauh.

Meanwhile, 11 districts maintained their red zone status namely Samarahan, Sri Aman, Serian, Julau, Betong, Meradong, Kuching, Kapit, Bintulu, Miri and Sibu  after recording a total of 2,480 local infections in the past 14 days.

The remaining eight green zone districts were Tatau, Pusa, Asajaya, Lawas, Daro, Simunjan, Lubok Antu and Kabong.

The Health Ministry categorises a district with no Covid-19 cases as a green zone, and over a two-week period, with one to 20 local transmission cases as yellow, 21 to 40 as orange and 41 and more as red.

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Umno ready to face PAS in GE15, says Ku Li

Tengku Razaleigh is seen after attending the opening ceremony of the Umno General Assembly 2020 held at the Kuala Lumpur World Trade Centre today. – Bernama photo

KUALA LUMPUR (March 28): Umno is ready to face PAS in the 15th General Election (GE15) if the party continues to be part of Perikatan Nasional (PN), party advisory board chairman Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said today.

“… we (Umno) have got nothing to do with PN, we will go against PN and if PAS is still in there (PN), we will fight PAS (as well). What choice is there?”

“If Pas (wants) to be with us through Muafakat Nasional (MN), then it should leave PN,” he told reporters when commenting on Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s policy speech at the Umno General Assembly 2020 held at the World Trade Centre here today.

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Ahmad Zahid, who is also Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman, said the Umno-led coalition has decided to contest the GE15 on its own.

He said Umno, the biggest party of the Malays, has also decided to maintain the decision of its Supreme Council to not have any cooperation with Parti Keadilan Rakyat president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, DAP, and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu).

Tengku Razaleigh also proposed that all Umno leaders appointed by the PN-government as ministers, deputy ministers and government-linked companies chairmen resign from their posts.

Meanwhile, Umno leaders also agreed with the proposal for the party to cease cooperation with Bersatu, and for BN to contest GE15 on its own.

They said it was a clear message to the grassroots on the party’s future direction, which is to ensure stability and for Malay-Muslim unity to prevail.

BN treasurer-general Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said he welcomed the stand of the Supreme Council members on the matter.

“What is important now is to stay away from rhetorics… if we really value stability, direction and the party’s future, I feel we still have time to think about it,” he said.

Umno Youth chief Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki said the president’s policy speech was the party’s agenda and stance on political cooperation.

“I think once and for all it is important as the captain of Umno to provide an explanation on the party’s stance on political cooperation and also the agenda for the future,” he said.

On ties within MN, Asyraf said the ties between two of the largest Malay parties, namely Umno and PAS is rooted in the unity and cooperation of the grassroots.

Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid, meanwhile, said the ‘No PPBM (Bersatu) No Anwar No DAP’ stand was a concerted decision taken by the party.

Former Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa, on the other hand, described BN’s stand to move solo in GE15 as the party’s right, adding that the decision also indirectly provides an opportunity for delegates and party members to make their assessment.

“I feel it is the president’s right to choose the narrative, at least the president has explained because prior to this there were some (in BN) who were proposing to work with other parties and he (the president) has now made a stand… it is up to the members and delegates to make the best assessment,” he said. – Bernama

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Covid: 1,360 new cases, two fatalities reported today – Health DG

Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah — Bernama file photo

KUALA LUMPUR (March 25): A total of 1,360 new Covid-19 cases and two fatalities were reported over the past 24 hours, said Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

He said there were also 1,491 recoveries during the same period, taking the total number of recoveries in the country to 322,416 while the death toll stood at 1,248 and the number of active cases was at 14,504.

“Of the new cases today, 1,359 were local transmissions involving 1,086 Malaysians and 273 foreigners while one was an imported case,” he tweeted today.

He added that 157 patients are being treated in the intensive care units, with 72 requiring ventilator support.

Dr Noor Hisham also said that Selangor continued to record the highest number of daily cases, with 356, followed by Sarawak (308), Johor (129) and Penang (113). – Bernama


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Dr Rundi: State govt spent over RM6 bln to ensure S’wakians have access to treated water supply

Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom

KUCHING (March 22): The state government has spent over RM6 billion towards making sure that Sarawakians in both urban and rural areas have access to treated water supply, said Minister of Utilities Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom.

Dr Rundi said RM4 billion has been spent for the state’s Water Supply Grid Masterplan while another RM2.2 billion has been spent for stressed water areas across Sarawak.

“The chief minister has provided sufficient financing for us. By 2030, we should be able to cover all Sarawak,” he said when met by journalists after launching the Kuching Water Board’s (KWB) Organisational Anti-Corruption Plan 2021-2025 at a hotel here today.

In Kuching alone, Dr Rundi said 99 per cent of the division has access to treated water supply.

He said the government could not say a 100 per cent treated water supply for Kuching because the city still has squatters.

“But in towns, the percentage is more than 99 per cent. However, in rural areas the total coverage is 87 per cent, of people having treated water.”

Dr Rundi said the state government has put in place the Sarawak Alternative Water Supply System to provide water, which is safe for consumption in areas that are yet to be connected to the grid.

Once the road access is provided later, he said the state government through his ministry would be able to do piping to connect more households to the grid.

“That requires also booster pump and so forth, it’s all on our planning, we have the grid masterplan and should be able to supply treated water to more.”

In the past, he said the Public Works Department (JKR) took care of the rural water supply in the state.

He added that a lot of water projects could not be implemented due to a lack of funding from the federal government.

“It’s not that they don’t want to plan but the funding was lacking. But the state government is supportive and that’s why we formed JBALB (Sarawak Rural Water Supply Department), dedicated to providing water supply to rural areas,” said Dr Rundi.

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