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MCO: Traders urge govt to consider allowing night markets to open

File photo for illustration purposes

KUALA LUMPUR: The Federation of Malay Hawkers and Petty Traders Association of Malaysia (GPPPKMM) has urged the government to consider allowing night markets to operate in areas placed under the Movement Control Order (MCO).

Its secretary-general Mohamed Zamri Mohammed said the traders would comply with the standard operating procedures (SOP) to be able to earn their income during this challenging period.

“Traders are mostly from the B40 category, and part of them are living hand-to-mouth with no savings, so they might be able to survive for a week or two, but what will happen if the MCO is extended?” he said while appearing as a guest on the Ruang Bicara programme aired on Bernama TV yesterday night.

Mohamed Zamri said he was confident that the traders had the awareness and knowledge to conduct business in the new normal from their experience under the various phases of the MCO.

Meanwhile, Economic Action Council executive director Prof Tan Sri Dr Noor Azlan Ghazali said night market operations during the MCO period required a very clear model to ensure the goal of curbing Covid-19 is achieved, without affecting the welfare and safety of any party.

“For instance, in the past, we could enter the night market from any direction, maybe we can create and limit the entry and exit points under the supervision of the People’s Volunteer Corps (RELA), he said.

In addition, Noor Azlan said the level of awareness and discipline among Malaysians to practice self-control would also play an important role if traders are allowed to operate during the MCO period. — Bernama



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Flood situation in T’ganu worsens, more than 10,000 evacuated in Kemaman

A vehicle attempts to cross an inundated road as floods worsen in several states along the East Coast. Bernama Photo

KUALA LUMPUR: The flood situation on the East Coast, especially in Terengganu, has gotten worse as of yesterday night with water-levels rising in the town of Chukai, Kemaman, and more than 10,000 people from the district evacuated to flood relief centres.

Most of the roads in the Chukai town have also been closed to light vehicles since 7 pm, and traders have started moving their goods due to fears of a sudden rise in water-level if it continues to rain heavily.

Kelantan is also experiencing a similar situation as almost 6,000 people have been evacuated in the state so far, with the city of Kota Bharu expected to be hit by floods beginning midnight.

The floods in Kelantan yesterday also killed a 20-year-old man, who fell from a boat while helping to transfer flood victims to a temporary evacuation centre in Kampung Manjor, Kuala Krai.

The body of Mohammad Hakimin Rahim was found by his family members at 8.30 am where the victim was reported to have fallen from the boat, and he was also said to have been tired and suffering from cramps due to the cold weather while helping the villagers evacuate from early morning till night.

The latest flood reports from Terengganu stated that as of 8 pm, 11,777 people from 2,947 families had been evacuated to relief centres, with Kemaman recording the highest number with 10,103 victims involving 2,469 families.

Floods in Terengganu now involve four districts namely, Kemaman; Dungun (1,334 victims); Hulu Terengganu (228 victims); and Besut (112 victims).

Meanwhile, five districts in Kelantan are currently affected by the floods, namely Kuala Krai; Jeli; Tanah Merah; Pasir Mas; and Gua Musang.

According to the Social Welfare Department’s (JKM) ‘Info Bencana’ application, a total of 5,896 victims from 1,520 families were housed in 74 evacuation centres, Kuala Krai being the worse affected with 2,611 evacuees; Jeli (1,060); Tanah Merah (488); Pasir Mas (896); and Gua Musang (841).

The situation is different in PAHANG, however, as although more than 20,000 still remain at evacuation centres, the flood situation in the nine districts that were severely affected since Sunday, is gradually recovering, and the number of victims at evacuation centres had decreased tonight to 22,292 people from 6,068 families compared to more than 23,000 this afternoon.

The road from Kuantan to Kuala Lumpur is still cut off at LPT1, and several other spots along the old route.

The situation in Johor and Perak is also improving, while in Beaufort, Sabah, the status quo remains with 35 people still at relief centres. — Bernama


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New ways to fete New Year 2021

KUALA LUMPUR: Among the most awaited moments by Malaysians with only one more day to go before the New Year 2021, especially city dwellers, are the massive celebrations and fireworks displays in public areas such as Dataran Merdeka, KLCC compound and Dataran Putrajaya.

But this year, the still rampant COVID-19 pandemic had stunted plans to hold large-scale New Year’s Eve celebration, let alone such large-scale assembly activities which were not allowed by the government.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Monday stressed that events or activities via gatherings were still prohibited as stipulated due to difficulty in controlling physical distancing.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Prasarana Malaysia Berhad told Bernama that the bus and rail transit  network service hours would not be extended until early in the morning as usual on Jan 1.

Therefore, in order not to disappoint the public celebrating the year 2021, the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) came up with its difference this year by holding the 2021 New Threshold Virtual Concert.

DBKL, through its official website, said the COVID-19 pandemic attack forced it to switch to new methods in the implementation of various aspects of work.

“Not an exception is the DBKL’s Kuala Lumpur Orchestra (OKL), which all these while has been proudly providing live entertainment on stage as well as being the musical backbone for hundreds of celebrities performing since 1988.

“Now OKL will continue to play for city residents but virtually through online broadcasts in conjunction with the 2021 New Threshold Virtual Concert,” it said.

The virtual concert would be posted on DBKL’s official Facebook and Bapakku.FM Facebook on Dec 31, 10 pm with the theme ‘City Folks Continue to Presevere’ as an analogy to the COVID-19 situation that befell the country and the world.

Meanwhile, it is understood that only Sarawak would be organising a new year celebration event at the Kuching Indoor Stadium by following the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) set and only 1,000 invited guests would be allowed to attend.

Sarawak Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah was reported to have said that the organisation of the event had been approved by the Sarawak State Disaster Management Committee (JPBN), but the committee would always be vigilant taking into account every SOP outlined.

However, there would be many Malaysians who would prefer to spend time at home or take their families on outings while complying with the SOP which would simultaneously be seen as complying with government directives that prohibited New Year celebrations in large gatherings.

Najihah Akhmal Madiki, 24, who lived in Shah Alam, planned to go on holiday to Pangkor Island with her family compared to last year’s celebration which held en masse at Dataran Putrajaya.

“For the new year celebration this time, my family and I plan to stay at a hotel and bring our own food while picnicking on the beach to avoid congestion at restaurants there,” she said when contacted today.

A food entrepreneur in Perak, Mohammad Nasharuddin Md Noor, 24, said he and his family would only fete the new year by having meal events at home, just like last year’s celebration. — Bernama


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SUFC eye promotion with new signings

Clockwise from top left – Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, Taylor Regan, Lee Chang Hoon and Sandro Mendoca.

KUCHING: Three foreign imports and a Malaysia international player will be the driving force behind Sarawak United Football Club (SUFC) next season in its mission to win promotion to the Super League.

SUFC brought in Australian Taylor Regan, South Korean Lee Chang Hoon, Brazilian Sandro Mendoca and national striker Norshahrul Idlan Talaha to improve the strength of the team before the start of the M-League season.

SUFC president Dato Posa Majais hoped that with the new signings, the club can pose a good challenge in the Premier League.

“2020 has been a difficult year for SUFC and the effects will certainly be felt again next year.

“As such, the SUFC management has come up with a short term strategic plan considering the target from our supporters especially the people of Sarawak who wants us to pose a strong challenge in the Premier League 2021 or win promotion to Super League 2022,” Posa said in a statement.

To achieve that target, Posa said SUFC would step up efforts to sign players capable of bringing the club to the next level.

“We have the responsibility to the supporters, stakeholders, sponsors and the state to ensure that ‘The Golden Hornbills’ will spur Sarawak to achieve success in the football arena,” he stressed.

According to head coach El Elavarasan, the SUFC management had set a clear target and he will try to attract players of high-calibre as well as retain local players who have performed well last season.

Apart from that, he is also planning to bring in a few young players who could shape the future of Sarawak football.

“I have met the players and asked them to be well prepared both physically and mentally for a long season ahead,” he added.

On Regan, Elavarasan said he was recruited based on his experience in playing at the highest level in Australia and playing for two years in the Super League, as well as his leadership and playing capability.

As for the experienced Sandro, he is one of the key players who have brought excitement to the M-League.

“The team needs a player who is vocal and display leadership in the midfield and Lee Chang Hoon, who played for Penang FC this year, will be the goal poacher for SUFC in the new season,” he said.

Meanwhile, Norshahrul said he was excited to have joined SUFC.

“Head coach Elavarasan has gathered young and experienced players and I am confident that the team will achieve success in the new season,” the 28-year-old striker said.

Other players who have signed their contracts with SUFC are former UiTM FC goalkeeper Mohd Nor Haziq Mohd Aris, Tommy Mawat, Nor Shamie Iszuan, Shaiful Wazizi Mohammad, Aquila Abdul Rahman, Nor Azizi Ramlee, Abdul Rahim Abdul Razak, Alan Lagang Keryer, Asri Chuchu, Abdul Rahman Ismawi and Zahrul Nizwan.

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Kuching pub owners drowning in sorrow due to prolonged Covid-19 shutdown

Ben cleans up and checks his audio mixing console in his pub which has been closed for months.

KUCHING (Dec 17): Local pub owners are hoping that they will be allowed to reopen soon with Sarawak now recording zero or single digit Covid-19 cases daily.

One of them, Ben Binel said the pub owners are faced with mounting financial pressure as they had no income to keep up with payment of rent and workers salaries as well as to renew their license.

“Most of us have exhausted our savings to sustain our business premises while waiting for the greenlight to operate again.

“We were happy when we were allowed to reopen on August 15 after being closed for five months following the Movement Control Order (MCO). It had allowed us to earn some income again, but it was just a short respite as all pubs are ordered to close again on Oct 28.

“We hope the government, especially Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC), will allow us to reopen. And we will give our fullest cooperation to ensure compliance to the standard operating procedures (SOPs),” he said.

Ben also said many of the pub owners found it unfair that bistros were allowed to operate despite selling the same items as pubs and playing music in their premises.

“We spent a lot of our own money to clean up our premises and buying sanitisers as we followed the SOPs when we were first allowed to reopen (on Aug 15). We even rearranged our tables and seats to ensure physical distancing is observed.

“We even prepared MySejahtera QR Code for customers to check in before entering our premises. We sanitise the microphone before being passed to the customer when they want to sing karaoke. We have in fact followed the SOPs required,” he said.

He also pointed out that the authorities should not impose a total ban on pubs just because of the irresponsible acts of a few bad apples in the sector.

Another pub owner Alice Ningkan said their financial worry is more than just about paying salaries, rental and license.

She said they too have to pay fees linked to song copyrights such as fees collected by Music Authors’ Copyright Protection (MACP) for songs played in their premises.

“So, by not being allowed to operate this long is causing stress to us pub owners. I hope the government will listen to our problems, instead of making us hang in the balance like this,” she said.

She concurred with Ben that there was a short relief when pubs were allowed to reopen from Aug 15 to Oct 28, although business was not as good as before with them only allowed to operate until 12 midnight.

“If we are allowed to reopen soon and if the situation is better, we do hope that our operation hours can be extended to at least an hour more until 1am,” she added.

Echoing Alice’s sentiments, another pub owner Julia Daep said business had slowed down when her pub reopened from Aug 15 to Oct 28, but she believed it can pick up when the situation is better.

She said she had spent money not just to ensure her business premises comply with the SOP but also for the maintenance of the sound system and lighting in the pub.

“When not in use for a long period, the sound system can get spoilt. Also, I suffer financial losses as I have to replenish the stock of beverages as some of them were found to have expired when the pub was closed,” she said.

SDMC had earlier announced that all nightclubs, pubs, karaoke outlets and reflexology centres have been ordered to close starting Oct 28 until further notice.

In another announcement on Nov 27, SDMC said the entertainment sector which includes nightclubs, pubs, karaoke outlets and reflexology centres across the state are still not permitted to operate during the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO).

However, SDMC has now allowed reflexology, spa and wellness centres to resume business starting Dec 7 with new SOPs, leaving the entertainment sector as probably the only business sector not allowed to reopen during this RMCO.


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Plans in the pipeline to set up integrity units in all local councils statewide, says Dr Sim

Dr Sim (fifth right), MACC Sarawak director Mohd Zaki Hassan and other guests during the launch of the Sarawak-level International Anti-Corruption Day. Photo by Roystein Emmor

KUCHING (Dec 9): Plans are in the pipeline to set up integrity units in all local councils statewide, said Local Government and Housing Minister Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian.

He said this is in line with efforts to strengthen integrity across all these local councils beginning next year (2021).

“As we know, the Sarawak state government is very serious about integrity and anti-corruption. As we can see, integrity units had been set up at most ministries, government departments, and agencies.

“In line with the Sarawak government’s directive, there are programmess and events related to integrity which had been implemented this year.

“For instance, my ministry had carried out Integrity Day 2020 on Jan 21 this year. A corruption free pledge by all officers from my ministry and all agencies under my ministry was done during the event. All newly appointed councillors also make corruption free pledge when appointed,” he said when officiating the Sarawak-level International Anti Corruption Day 2020 today at Wisma Bapa Malaysia.

Dr Sim said today’s event was in line with the event’s theme chosen by Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) for Malaysia which was ‘Local Authorities Fight Corruption’.

He also commented that the international theme for the International Anti Corruption Day 2020 namely ‘Recover With Integrity’ was also appropriate particularly at this time when most countries and their governments, including Sarawak, invest heavily in the health sector while also implementing various economic recovery stimulus packages.

“We need to put anti-corruption measures, transparency and accountability measures in place in order to counter all form of leakages that can jeopardize our efforts. Thus, we must fight corruption in the same way we are combating against the Covid-19 pandemic to enable us recover with integrity,” he said.

He also said his ministry had launched its Organizational Anti-Corruption Plan (OACP) 2021-2025 on Nov 25, which contains six objectives, 10 strategies and 101 initiatives to be implemented.

“My ministry plans to engage the local councils to come up with their own OACP in 2021 (next year),” he said.

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33 Sabah police frontlines tested positive for Covid-19 in stable condition

Hazani (file photo)

KOTA KINABALU: Thirty-three police frontliners in Sabah who were tested positive and still undergoing treatment for COVID-19 are in stable condition, according to Sabah police commissioner Datuk Hazani Ghazali.

“Another 232 Sabah police frontliners, however, have been instructed to undergo quarantine at quarantine centres,” he told reporters after gracing the Sabah Police Contingent blood donation campaign here today.

Meanwhile, Hazani said the level of compliance with the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) standard operating procedure (SOP) among the Sabahans was at 98 per cent.

“It is at a good level. However, the police and other agencies will continue to monitor the situation so that the compliance level can be maintained or improved,” he added.

Over 200 police officers and personnel were involved in the two-day blood donation campaign to help patients in need as well as increasing the blood supply at local hospitals. -Bernama

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MA63 special council to hold first meeting on Nov 30, says minister

Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 23): Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili today said that The Special Council on Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) will meet for the first time on November 30.

He said that the meeting, which will be chaired by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Abang Johari Openg and Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Mohd Noor.

Ongkili said the Perikatan Nasional government took a long time to set up the meeting as there was a need for “close relations and communications” with the state government, referring to Sabah’s former Warisan-led state government.

“Of course we are thankful for the new government in Sabah.

“There was no discussion about MA63 for almost eight months because we need a close relationship (with the state government) for this matter,” he told the Dewan Rakyat during the winding-up speech for Budget 2021.

Ongkili (GPS-Kota Marudu) also quashed claims by Chan Foong Hin (PH-Kota Kinabalu) who claimed that Pakatan Harapan (PH) special committee for MA63 has already finalised 21 matters during their 22 months in power.

“Kota Kinabalu said we (PH) have finalised all 21 points. No it’s not, only three were solved,” he told the Dewan Rakyat.

He said the three points that were finalised were timber export duties and forest products for Sabah, the issue of Sipadan and Ligitan Islands in Sabah and forestry issues.

“14 other points which include the gas, labour, stamp duties among others needed amendment in-laws have yet to materialise,” he said.

Ongkili also once again said that PN will not make public the documents of PH’s MA63 special committee report which has been a source of contention from the Opposition MPs in Sabah and Sarawak.

Former Sabah chief minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal (Warisan-Semporna) then stood up and urged the PN government to ensure the MA63 matters are resolved soon as it was the rights of Sabah and Sarawak citizens.

“The MA63 agreement is one of the pillars of formation of Malaysia. It needs to be translated as reality,” he said.

Dr. Kelvin Yii (PH-Bandar Kuching) also stood up complaining that it took PN eight months to discuss MA63 and said it is unfair for PN to classify the PH MA63 special committee report.

“The report is a G2G (government to government) issue that involves the rights of Sabah and Sarawak. Why the need to not disclose it?” he asked.

The Cabinet had, on September 9, agreed to the formation of the Special Council on MA63 and it was announced by Muhyiddin during the Malaysia Day celebration in Sibu, Sarawak on September 16.

Former PH minister Datuk Hanipa Maidin (PH-Sepang) previously said that 17 out of 21 issues identified by the committee had been agreed upon and the remaining four were still under discussion.

The outstanding issues were oil royalties, oil minerals and oil fields, the Territorial Sea Act 2012 and state rights over the continental shelf. – Malay Mail

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Soon Koh challenges Dr Sim to debate on recently passed constitutional amendment Bill

Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh – File photo

KUCHING (Nov 15): Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) president Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh today challenged Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) president Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian to a debate on the impact of the recent constitutional amendment Bill passed in the august House last Thursday.

Wong, who is Bawang Assan assemblyman, regarded last Thursday as “a black day” for Sarawak, contrary to what Dr Sim described as “a great day for Sarawak” after the Constitution of the State of Sarawak (Amendent) Bill, 2020 was passed.

He said PSB and the opposition bench objected to the second part of the Bill, which stated that Malaysians who were not born in Sarawak were eligible to become a member of the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) of Sarawak.

He was appalled that Dr Sim had failed to understand the meaning of the words in the Bill, and reiterated during a recent press conference that “you must be born in Sarawak” in order to stand as a candidate in Sarawak state election.

Wong said the amendment Bill clearly stated that a candidate did not have to be born in Sarawak in order to stand in the state election of Sarawak.

“If Dr Sim does not believe what we said, we are willing to debate with him what is the true impact of the amendment that he so gleefully announced as ‘a great day for Sarawak’, which he, SUPP and GPS had brought about with this amendment.

“In reality, it was a black day for Sarawak when GPS amended the Constitution to allow a person who is not born in Sarawak to become an ADUN (member of the State Legislative Assembly) or even chief minister of Sarawak,” he said at a press conference at the PSB headquarters here.

Wong said the new amendment could lead to a potential change of political structure, for the DUN to be controlled by non-Sarawakians.

“The proverbial Camel has now entered the tent,” he added.

He said PSB adhered to its belief that only Sarawakians can really look after the affairs of the state of Sarawak.

As such, he said PSB elected members of the august House were steadfast against the second part of the Bill, and any bill that had the potential to diminish the rights of Sarawakians.

Since the formation of Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963, Wong said Sarawak’s rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) had been systematically eroded.

He added that Acts detrimental to the state’s interests such as the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) 1974 and Territorial Sea Act (TSA) 2012 were passed simply because preserving Sarawak’s interest was not a paramount consideration.

“The PDA and TSA were passed by members of Parliament from PBB, SUPP and other component parties of Barisan Nasional Sarawak which is now called GPS.

“We want to make it crystal clear that we will not allow any actions that negatively affect Sarawakian rights without the blessing of all Sarawakians.

“If entrusted by Sarawakians as the next state government, we pledge that we shall leave no stone unturned nor spare any effort to ensure that there is still meaning to being a Sarawakian,” he said.

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EMCO woes: Villagers in Kampung Haji Baki Block B allege unfair food distribution, getting only instant noodles and canned tuna

A photo taken by a resident living in Kampung Haji Baki Block B apparently shows the supply of canned tuna and instant noodles received by them in recent days.

KUCHING (Nov 7): Villagers in Kampung Haji Baki Block B are crying foul over the unfair food distribution that they are allegedly receiving under the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) there, which began on Oct 28 and is scheduled to end on Nov 11.

A spokesperson from Block B who contacted The Borneo Post today claimed that all they were given in the past week were canned tuna and instant noodles.

“Only when the EMCO started did we received two packets of rice and one whole chicken, until today, we are only receiving canned sardines and instant noodles,” the spokesperson, who wished to remain anonymous, said.

Those in Block B, he revealed, are mostly from the lower income group and the situation is more dire for those who have young children in their household.

“How do you expect a child to eat canned sardines or instant noodles everyday? It is not their fault that they have to go through the EMCO,” he added.

He also said that they were told that the food rations given to a household would be valued at RM25 per week per person for the next two weeks.

“Sadly, this is not the case here,” he added.

Some of his neighbours, he said, are also facing shortages of baby diapers and other essential toiletry items.

“Out of desperation, I know a few from Block B who would seek help from their relatives to smuggle in some food or other essential items from outside the village via the village’s lorong tikus (illegal tracks). This is really disheartening,” he added.

He further claimed that those in Block A and Block C have been receiving better rations such as chicken meat almost on a daily basis.

He also believes that the unfair food distribution was due to the unfair practices of the village’s Ketua Kampung and Penghulu who have the discretion to choose which household gets what type of food supply.

When contacted, Batu Kitang assemblyman Lo Khere Chiang said it is best for the villagers in Block B to approach their respective Ketua Kampung or Penghulu.

“Nobody should be miss out. The villagers may also refer to the officers from the Welfare Department who are stationed at the village’s mosque everyday,” he added.

As for the food donated by well wishers and donors, Lo said they may not have enough food for the 4,200 residents in which case the distribution to each blocks will be made fairly.

He added that priority would be given to the poor, old and needy.

“These are pressing times. I urge all residents in Kampung Haji Baki not to quarrel over who gets more food or who gets less food,” he added.

He also urged the villagers to give and take as well as to take care of one another so as to ensure everybody has enough to eat and be happy.

“Those who have excess in their food supply should give some to those who have not,” he added.



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