Ranau tourism industry still has room for diversification

July 6th, 2020

Liew (fifth right) receiving a memento from Tham. Looking on are Abidin (fourth left) and Ranau Chinese Chamber of Commerce Committee members.

RANAU: Ranau is a key place for both domestic and international tourists in the State’s tourism industry, said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew.

She said the district has all the essential ingredients for its stature as a major tourist destination.

“As we all know, the Kinabalu Park is a Unesco World Heritage Site featuring the iconic Mount Kinabalu, waterfalls and vast biodiversity. The world-renowned peak is God’s precious gift to us. I have climbed the mountain at least twice in my younger days.

“And we have the Poring Hot Spring, the Kundasang War Memorial, Sabah tea plantation, Sabah orchid nursery, strawberry farms, organic vegetable farms, highland resorts and homestay facilities.

“While we nurture our natural heritage, I believe there is still ample room to diversify the industry by creating new tourism products in Ranau,” she said at a gathering with the Ranau Chinese Chamber of

Commerce (led by Datuk Jimmy Tham Yuk Leong as Chairman) at the premises of the Ranau District Hakka Association building on Saturday.

Liew, who is also Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, was responding to Tham who urged her to popularise Ranau to the outside world. He said the Covid-19 pandemic has adversely affected the district’s tourism prospects.

“Endowed with natural resources, Ranau is ideal for adventure and agro-tourism. The best durian in Sabah comes from here,” he remarked.

The Minister said her Ministry welcomes proposals for new tourism products from Tham, Paginatan Assemblyman Datuk Abidin Madingkir, the local business community and people of Ranau.

Speaking to reporters later, Liew said if everything goes well as planned, work on giving the Poring Hot Spring a much-needed facelift would start before the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the Minister announced an allocation of RM20,000 for the Ranau District Hakka Association, which is also chaired by Tham.

She said the association could utilise part of the sum for repairing the association’s building, which is shared by the Ranau Chinese Chamber of Commerce.

Also present were Abidin who is also Legal Adviser to the Ranau District Hakka Association, Kundasang Community Development Leader Siriman Basir, Association Adviser Datuk Hiew Sin Kiong, Kapitan-Kapitan Cina Abdul Halik Chong and Yap Fook Loi, and Liew’s political secretaries Mustapha Sakmud and Vivien Lee.

Read more @ http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news/155338/ranau-tourism-industry-still-has-room-for-diversification/

Two new Covid-19 cases in Sabah

July 6th, 2020

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah recorded two new positive Covid-19 cases yesterday, thereby increasing the total number to 378.

The cases were reported in Kota Kinabalu and Keningau. Keningau was reclassified as yellow zone with the new case.

According to the Ministry of Health, one of the patients was a locally transmitted case involving a citizen who was detected during pre-surgery screening at Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

The second case was imported involving a non-citizen with permanent residence status, who returned from Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the number of recoveries in Sabah remains at 356.

There are currently 15 active cases in the state, including six in Kota Kinabalu, two in Tuaran and one case each in Tawau, Sandakan, Keningau, Penampang, Kota Belud, Ranau and Nabawan.

Meanwhile, Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said five new cases of Covid-19 were reported in Malaysia yesterday, bringing the cumulative figure to 8,663 cases.

He said four more cases had recovered and been discharged as of noon yesterday, raising the total number of recoveries to 8,465, or 97.7 per cent of the cumulative figure for cases.

The number of active cases with infectivity was 77, he added.

“Of the five new cases, three are imported cases involving two Malaysians and one foreigner, while the other two cases are local transmissions involving Malaysians,” he said in a statement yesterday.

On the two local transmission cases, Dr Noor Hisham said they were detected during pre-surgery screenings, at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Sabah and a medical centre in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan.

Dr Noor Hisham said no fatalities had been reported since June 15, keeping the death toll at 121, or 1.39 per cent of the total number of cases.

He said only two positive cases were being treated in the intensive care unit and both were on ventilator support.

He also announced the closure of two residential clusters yesterday — the Gombak Cluster and Cheras Flats Cluster.

“The Gombak Cluster was reported on May 18, 2020 following active case detection of Covid-19 positive cases at some quarters in Gombak. As of July 4, a total of 200 people have been screened and five positive cases detected involving Malaysians.

“The Cheras Flats Cluster was reported on June 1, 2020 following active case detection of positive Covid-19 cases at some flats in Cheras. As of July 4, a total of 144 people have been screened and eight found to be positive. This cluster has a positive case involving an Indonesian while the rest are Malaysians,” said Dr Noor Hisham.

He said the first cases for both clusters were detected during screening of tahfiz students, who were identified to be among the high-risk groups.

The targeted approach adopted by the Health Ministry (MOH) had helped to detect many Covid-19 cases in the country, he added.

“I am pleased to announce that the investigations conducted show that no other positive Covid-19 cases were found in the two affected tahfiz centres,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham thanked all those involved in detecting cases and curbing the spread of the coronavirus at the two clusters.


Read more @ https://www.theborneopost.com/2020/07/06/two-new-covid-19-cases-in-sabah-3/

Accessing quality pre-university studies within Covid-19 conditions

July 6th, 2020

FOR students who are about to embark upon tertiary education during these difficult times, the prospect of entering a world that is still coming to grips with the effects of the recent pandemic is uncertain, if not worrying, at best.

According to the International Association of Universities, close to 1.5 billion students worldwide are affected by school and university closures due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The impact of these closures not only causes delays for students who wish to join the summer intake this year, but also affects how lessons are taught in months to come.

For Sunway College, its pre-university programmes have begun adopting educational technologies and blended learning a few years ago.

This was done so that Sunway pre-university students are well prepared to use the technologies available when they get into university studies.

As such, lecturers and students have had different levels of exposure and experience with online teaching and learning.

Notes and lessons are uploaded onto digital platforms like its eLearn (Blackboard) and Google Classroom, online classes and tutorials were conducted via MS Teams and Google Meet.

Sunway lecturers receive ongoing professional training and development on how to embrace educational technologies to prepare lessons, conduct day-to-day teaching, and use Smartboards in classrooms.

Students experience that a “flipped classroom” means reading up on concepts, principles, and theories beforehand so that they focus on applications, discussions, and problem solving when they meet face-to-face with lecturers and course mates in the classroom.

As students have different academic strengths and interests, Sunway College offers a wide range of pre-university programmes with different curriculum features so that students can choose what best fits them and prepares them for university and career or professional studies.

AUSMAT – global recognition and over 110 world awards to date

The Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT) programme at Sunway College is the largest overseas Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) provider in the world, and currently holds over 110 world awards.

Just last year, AUSMAT was awarded the Gold Award for the Best Smart School by EduTECH awards – Asia 2019 held in Singapore for their ground-breaking efforts in providing edu-tech experiences that prepare their students to live and work in the internet-enabled modern world.

This foresight and planning have proven instrumental in enabling AUSMAT to continue classes uninterrupted by seamlessly transitioning to online teaching methods with the onset of Covid-19 and Malaysia’s MCO restrictions.

Sunway has more than 30 years’ experience in preparing students for the WACE to thank for its excellent academic track record.

WACE is an academic qualification awarded by the government of Western Australia and is recognised worldwide, with Sunway AUSMAT students accepted to top universities all over the globe.

Students with an AUSMAT qualification can access renowned universities not only in Australia but other countries as well, including the US, the UK, Canada, Singapore, and New Zealand.

The WACE qualification is also accepted by Malaysian private universities as part of the criteria for their undergraduate programmes.

AUSMAT students focus on four to five subjects, and Sunway is unique in that it offers subjects leading to the Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) as well as general course options for students to expand their interests.

AUSMAT alumnus Daniel Chase Faisal sums up: “In the AUSMAT programme, I have learnt to be more confident and to positively express my opinions. The programme has helped me tremendously in achieving the personal goals that I have set for myself throughout the course.”

Sunway’s AUSMAT classes in July will deliver teaching-learning that combines acceptably distanced face-to-face instruction and online classes in order to ensure that students continue to receive the best Australian education experience possible.

A-Level – 100% pass rate and 58% straight A*/As

Considered the benchmark in British educational excellence, the A-Level programme is your fast pass not only to top UK universities but others as well.

The world-acclaimed British qualification conducted in Sunway College, Cambridge GCE A-Level, holds the remarkable record of 100% pass rate and 58% of students achieving straight A*/As in the last examination session, and 304 Top in the World and Top in Malaysian awards to-date.

Sunway College’s A-Level has consistently garnered the highest number of A-Level Outstanding Cambridge Learner Awards in Malaysia.

Sunway A-Level students have been successfully placed in top universities around the world such as the UK’s University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, Imperial College London, London School of Economics, King’s College London, in the US Ivy League universities like Harvard, MIT, and Cornell, and Asia’s top universities like National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, Tsinghua University and Peking University.

Sunway College prepares students for university applications, and provides additional guidance and support through outreach programmes conducted in collaboration with the Cambridge University Malaysia Society (CUMaS) and the Oxford University Malaysia Club (OUMC).

A-Level students also develop leadership skills through extra-curricular activities like the A-Level Student Council and participating in Math and Science olympiads.

A-Level alumna Melanie Yoon Weng Mun said: “It’s true that the A-Level programme is demanding, be that as it may, I would do it all again and choose Sunway once more.”

Yeon points out that the A-Level course at Sunway is student-oriented with lecturers who emphasise on providing students with quality of education.

“A-Level at Sunway is truly above the rest,” she concluded.

Sunway’s A-Level classes in July will incorporate both face-to-face instruction with social distancing and online teaching-learning methods.

CIMP – licensed provider of top ranked Canadian education

Sunway’s Canadian International Matriculation Programme (CIMP) is the only Canadian Year 12 programme in Malaysia that is licensed and approved by the Ontario Ministry of Education in Canada.

Canadian education has also been consistently placed top-10 in the PISA rankings by OECD.

The current CIMP faculty has in total more than 370 years of teaching experience and have taught in 29 countries in addition to Malaysia.

Over 80% of the teachers in Sunway’s CIMP are Ontario Certified teachers with training and experience of teaching in Ontario.

In over 30 years, the programme has garnered over 10,700 graduates entering over 230 universities in 29 countries.

Students are assessed through internal assessments; 70% of a student’s final grade is accumulated throughout the semester with 30% determined through final assessments created and graded by the subject teacher.

Throughout the semester, students receive continuous assessment and feedback which are key attributes of this Canadian education programme.

CIMP alumna Swarna Laxmi Selvaraja shared: “CIMP is a programme that taught me how to balance my academic and extracurricular activities to be a more accomplished individual.”

She added that the programme has given her countless opportunities to realise her full potential and pursue her passions.

“I will certainly carry the experience and vast knowledge that I have gained through my time at CIMP with me in the future.”

Sunway CIMP offers fully face-to-face and online modes with strict application of social distancing procedures,

The July intake avails students of face-to-face classes, partial-online classes and full-online classes to meet the diverse needs of students.

Classes in July will be held following Sunway’s uniquely structured format that uses online and responsibly distanced face-to-face instruction.

MUFY – well established direct pathway to Monash University

Sunway College is the tested and proven provider of the Monash University Foundation Year (MUFY) programme in Malaysia.

Sunway’s MUFY students have consistently achieved the top subject awards in MUFY exams. Based on the 2019 cohort results alone, MUFY at Sunway College garnered 24 out of 24 subjects awards across all MUFY providers across the world.

Monash University is one of Australia’s “Group of Eight” universities.

More than 13,000 students have chosen MUFY at Sunway College as their pathway to university studies.

MUFY programme acts as the academic bridge that helps students transition successfully into undergraduate studies at Monash and other universities.

It is recognised by all Australian universities, selected NZ and UK universities, branch campuses of foreign universities in Malaysia and other local private universities.

About 65% of MUFY graduates from Sunway qualify for Monash University scholarships.

MUFY alumnus Ryan Khoo Lay King is confident that MUFY has helped him establish a solid foundation in his studies.

“The programme has helped me to develop a strong sense of discipline and high degree of self-motivation. Each class environment is enjoyable, educational and interactive.

“My overall experience in MUFY is invaluable and essential to my future success,” he said.

MUFY’s July intake at Sunway offers online classes as well as face-to-face instruction with social distancing guidelines set in place.

Sunway Foundation Programme – Over 80% graduates attain Sunway University scholarships

The Sunway Foundation Programme produces the highest number of Sunway University’s first class honours graduates; 47% of first class honours graduates at Sunway University are alumni of the programme.

The programme offers two tracks, that is the Foundation in Arts (FIA) or Foundation in Science & Technology (FIST).

Both FIA and FIST are academic pathways for students to transition smoothly into tertiary level studies at Sunway University or to selected local and overseas universities.

FIA alumna Andrea Lee An Qi said: “The FIA programme provides excellent variety of subjects all delivered at just the right pace to ensure a positive learning experience.

“Life in FIA has really opened my eyes and established the perfect foundation to explore a world of opportunities.”

FIST alumnus Nihaal Gill Jagraj Singh shared: “The FIST programme has been an amazing programme that has completely exceeded my expectations of what a Foundation Programme would be.

“The lecturers are very engaging and have helped me greatly throughout my developmental journey, not only as a student but as a well-rounded individual.”

Students in the July intake will experience Sunway’s unique teaching-learning approach that uses online as well as face-to-face instruction with social distancing in place.

Pre-university studies at a college of excellent repute

Sunway College has consistently achieved the outstanding six-star rating in MyQuest, by the Ministry of Higher Education, for General Programmes, College-based Category, and International Student Services.

This endorses Sunway College as a leading college with excellent standards.

An experienced and successful pre-university programmes provider, Sunway College has been using educational technologies and blended learning approaches for several years as these approaches help students learn better and prepare them not only for university studies by lifelong learning.

Students go online to read, research and reflect on facts and theories. Then they attend face-to-face classes to discuss, apply the concepts and theories, and solve problems.

This mode of education has become even more relevant during this new normal.

Apps, games, and online tools are used to improve students’ engagement and attendance to ensure that they get the best possible learning experience in this tech-savvy century.

Sunway College believes that blended learning empowers students to learn as individuals and develop 21st century skills.

Through blended learning, lecturers assume the role of facilitators by guiding the students’ learning experience and encouraging students to be self-directed and independent thinkers.

Once internalised, Sunway pre-university graduates can seamlessly assimilate university study culture because they have acquired the skills for independent and life-long learning.

To find out more about Sunway College’s pre-university programmes and the scholarships available, visit its Virtual Open Day on every weekend in July and Aug 1, 2, 8, 9 from noon to 4pm.

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2020/07/06/accessing-quality-pre-university-studies-within-covid-19-conditions#cxrecs_s

Peace of mind at Sunday Mass

July 6th, 2020

GEORGE TOWN: It was an emotional day for most of the 275 parishioners who attended Sunday Mass at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Pulau Tikus here for the first time after more than 90 days since the movement control order (MCO) was imposed in March.

Student Larisaa Ann, 19, said she was emotional and felt blessed to be among those allowed to attend.

“I know that many of us wanted to come for this Mass but as only 275 people were allowed to be here, we had to register beforehand and take turns.

“I registered earlier and felt really lucky and thankful to be able to attend Mass after a lapse of more than 90 days.

“It was a relief to see everyone here, all well and eager. It brings back energy and some hope.

“After this, I will be following the Mass at home through live streaming as we need to take turns,” she said yesterday.

Another parishioner who only wanted to be known as Guat Sim, 68, said she too was emotional and felt grateful to be back for her first Mass in months.

“It is just not the same attending Mass through livestreaming. Although it was tough during the MCO, I am sure it has helped many of us see life for the better.

“I myself have discovered many things and I hope life will only get better for all of us from now on,” said the homemaker.

Church pastoral council chairman David Sivapatham said the church was happy to open up.

“Even under strict conditions, we are doing everything in full compliance to ensure that parishioners can come for Mass with peace of mind.

“In the past, we used to have three masses on weekends and the church was able to accommodate over 1,000 people.

“Now we can only conduct one Mass every Sunday with only 275 parishioners present.

“Parishioners are all taking turns to attend the Mass and only those between the ages of 13 and 69 are allowed to attend,” he said, adding that those at home could follow the Mass on livestream.


Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2020/07/06/peace-of-mind-at-sunday-mass#cxrecs_s

Historian’s mark on Rukunegara

July 6th, 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Kim has been gone for a year but his deeds live on.Like a tiger that dies leaving its stripes, he died leaving his name.

Khoo, who died on May 28 last year, was a historian whose contributions were a source of reference to many, especially in matters concerning Malaysian history.

And with the July 9 celebration of Rukunegara’s 50th anniversary in conjunction with the Merdeka Month and National Day, his name comes to mind as Khoo was one of those who had drafted the principles of Rukunegara before they were declared on Aug 31, 1970.

Khoo was also known as a nationalist and a patriot.

“My father was always proud to introduce himself as a Malaysian,” his son Eddin said.

“As the eldest of three siblings, I was close to my father. When I was five or six, I used to follow him to schools and other places across the country where he engaged in information programmes.

“Indirectly, he introduced me to Rukunegara and told me the history of the places we went to, which at the same time built my interest in the Malay language as my father had a very good command of it,” said Eddin, who is a writer, cultural activist and patron of Pusaka, a cultural organisation,

Eddin, 51, said he and his siblings were raised to be polite and respectful of others, besides being open-minded to embrace ethnic, racial, cultural and religious diversity.

“No racial pride and prejudice allowed in our house.

“My father was a Peranakan Chinese from Kampar, Perak. My mother (Puan Sri Rathi Khoo) is Tamil and (when I was small) I was cared for by a Malay aunt who lived with us.

“It was indeed an extraordinary experience to have three major races in Malaysia living in the same house, practising their culture and religion in peace. It was that peaceful environment that made me hesitate to leave the house because I knew things were different outside,” he said.

Rukunegara was introduced as a result of the meeting of Majlis Gerakan Negara which was set up following the May 13, 1969 incident.

It was formed with the main purpose of forming a strong unity for the country’s success and stability.

Sharing his experience of interviewing his father in a programme which focused on Rukunegara, Eddin said what impressed him the most was his father’s open-mindedness in hearing the opinions of others.

“The discussions were rather heated as they were talking about the first principle of Rukunegara, which is Belief in God.

“What was concluded was that most people have their own religious faith and they believe in God.

“But my father did not dismiss those who didn’t, such as the atheists. This (open-mindedness) is the trait that was needed to enable such a topic to be discussed in greater depth,” he said.

Eddin said through his observation after being involved in cultural programmes at the grassroots level for almost 30 years, Rukunegara had indeed been well accepted by every Malaysian.

“However, there is still a lack of observation and appreciation for the Rukunegara on the people’s part,” he said.

As such, he expressed hope that more efforts would be taken to nurture the spirit of and respect for the Rukunegara, especially among the younger generation.

by Bernama.

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2020/07/06/historians-mark-on-rukunegara#cxrecs_s

Ensuring fire safety at hospitals

July 6th, 2020

JOHOR BARU: The Fire and Rescue Department is working with 72 hospitals nationwide – both government and private – to ensure they meet fire safety standards and are eligible for fire certificates (FCs).

A task force had been formed to help these hospitals improve their fire safety procedures, said Fire and Rescue Department director-general Datuk Mohammad Hamdan Wahid (pic).

He said this included installing automated sprinkler systems, fire doors and alarms, repairing or fixing the main fire alarm panels, and installing and repairing hose reel systems.

“Some of the hospitals have been given between six months to two years to comply with the requirements in order for them to get their FCs.

“Each hospital has different issues in meeting their FC safety requirements.

“We understand the constraints as some of these hospitals such as the Sultanah Aminah Hospital (HSA) in Johor is more than 100 years old.

“It will require more time and a big budget,” he said.

He added that sufficient time frame was being given as the cost of installing all these fire systems in old buildings would run into the millions.

On June 28, a fire broke out at the Women’s Medical Ward 1 at HSA where 24 patients were warded.

Fortunately, there were no casualties.

On Oct 25, 2016, a major fire occurred at the same hospital, killing six patients.

Hamdan said that all the hospital authorities and stakeholders were cooperative with the department.

He spoke on the importance for hospitals to have FCs since such premises were categorised as high risk when it comes to fire safety as they house sick people.

While waiting for hospitals to

get their FCs, he said the department had taken proactive action including carrying out frequent

fire drills, training and setting up more emergency response teams, installing basic portable fire systems and informing the nearest fire stations to quickly respond during a fire.

Asked about the number of hospitals with valid FCs nationwide, he said presently 158 government and private hospitals had such certification.

He said the public should not confuse FC with the Certificate of Completion and Compliance (CCC).

Under the Fire Services Act, designated buildings including government buildings nationwide are required to have FC, which is renewed annually.

These include libraries, hospitals and home treatment centres, hotels, hostels and dormitories, offices, shops, factories, assembly areas and storage, and general facilities.

“For those without FCs, we will give them notices to instal or repair their fire safety systems.

“However, during this time, they can still operate,” he said.

He added that under Section 33 of the Fire Services Act, those who did not comply risk legal action including a RM50,000 fine or five years’ imprisonment.

Presently, he said the department has issued 4,233 FCs nationwide.


Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2020/07/06/ensuring-fire-safety-at-hospitals#cxrecs_s

National heroes immortalised in giant mural

July 6th, 2020

Suhaimi’s mural in Shah Alam is a tribute to national leaders and personalities that helped steer the nation throughout the MCO to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. – Bernama

SHAH ALAM (Bernama): The wall on the side of a building in Taman Cahaya Alam, Seksyen U12 here used to be covered with graffiti – it has now been replaced with a giant “art exhibit” featuring the portraits of the country’s leaders.

Portraits of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah are among the faces on the mural painted by artist Miey Ali, whose real name is Muhammad Suhaimi Ali, 27.

His plan was to beautify the area and had no idea that his artwork would get such a warm response and become a hit on social media.

Assisted by his friends, Abdul Hadi Ramli, 27, and Firdaus Nordin, 26, the artist who hails from Kampung Telaga Daing, Kuala Nerus, Terengganu, only took two weeks to paint the five portraits.

The youngest of seven siblings said he had originally intended to paint just the portrait of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as a token of gratitude for the monarch’s wisdom in addressing and resolving the political crisis in February.

“But during the movement control order (MCO) starting from March 18, we saw many other leaders constantly providing the latest updates and planning strategies to curb the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak. So these faces also appeared on the mural.

“This is how my friends and I express our gratitude towards the country’s leaders and the frontliners because when the Covid-19 first hit, they were the ones who did much to make sure the people were protected from the infection,” he told Bernama on Sunday (July 5).

Portraits of Senior Minister (Security) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Senator Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri are also on the wall, which has become an attraction for members of the public.

Suhaimi, who graduated in Fine Arts from Universiti Teknologi Mara, Shah Alam, said he only spent around RM500 on drawing materials and paint to complete all five portraits.

The full-time mural artist said he felt honoured when the public started visiting the housing area to take pictures with the mural and described it as a tribute to the work.

“There were people who came from Johor just to snap photos with our painting,” he said.

To date, Suhaimi has painted more than 200 murals nationwide since he first started four years ago.

The young artist said he planned to paint other personalities like the late Tan Sri P. Ramlee, actor and comedian Datuk Aziz Sattar and S. Shamsuddin. – Bernam

US sees almost 40,000 new Covid-19 cases in 24 hours

July 6th, 2020
A man wearing a mask looks out over a road closed to auto traffic near the pier in Manhattan Beach, California where beaches are closed due to a spike in COVID-19 in Los Angeles County, on July 4, 2020, the US Independence Day holiday. - AFP picA man wearing a mask looks out over a road closed to auto traffic near the pier in Manhattan Beach, California where beaches are closed due to a spike in COVID-19 in Los Angeles County, on July 4, 2020, the US Independence Day holiday. – AFP pic

WASHINGTON: The United States recorded 39,379 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours, a tally by Johns Hopkins University showed on Sunday (Monday in Malaysia), as infections continue to trend up around the country.

The country’s total number of cases now stands at 2,876,143 .

The world’s largest economy also recorded a further 234 fatalities, bringing the death toll to 129,891, the Baltimore-based institution’s tracker showed at 8.30pm (0030 GMT Monday).

Sunday is the fourth consecutive day of surging numbers of new infections, including a high of 57,683 on Friday.

The lower number could be attributed to less reporting on the July 4th national holiday weekend.

The United States is the hardest-hit country in the global pandemic, both in caseload and deaths.

by AFP.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/world/world/2020/07/606208/us-sees-almost-40000-new-covid-19-cases-24-hours

Carpenter does her bit for school

July 6th, 2020
Musukubi Shamsuddin produced various school furniture such as bookshelves, cupboards to store the Quran and prayer mats, desks, chairs and counter table using plywood as thick as 1.27 centimeter. - Bernama picMusukubi Shamsuddin produced various school furniture such as bookshelves, cupboards to store the Quran and prayer mats, desks, chairs and counter table using plywood as thick as 1.27 centimeter. – Bernama pic

PARIT: Based on pictures obtained from social networking sites such as Facebook, a woman carpenter built a variety of furniture which she then donated to Sekolah Rendah Islam Nur Ehsan (SERINE), in Titi Gantung, here.

Musukubi Shamsuddin, 48, who is a Committee member of the Parent and Teachers Association (PTA) at the school, said this was for the convenience of the 154 pupils at the school, as she could not afford to contribute financially.

The woman who is a single mother, produced various school furniture such as bookshelves, cupboards to store the Quran and prayer mats, desks, chairs and counter table using plywood as thick as 1.27 centimeter.

“I felt that I could use my skills to make these furniture, so I did it. Besides, I noticed that there were many furniture (in the school) that could not be used anymore.

“So as a member of the PTA, and as my eight-year old daughter Nur Insyirah Ismail is a pupil here, I expressed my intention to build these furniture without any charges,” she told Bernama when met at the school, recently.

Musukubi, fondly known as “Kak B”, said she referred to pictures on social media to build the furniture with wood that was provided by the school.

She said in one day she could finish two to three items, by working from 8am to 5pm, and she has been working from Monday to Saturday since the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) took effect.

Kak B, whose house is only 20 minutes away from the school, said she also made furniture for her own use such as a swing, a clothing rack, tables and chairs.

“I started developing an interest in carpentry since moving back to my village, Kampung Lambor Kiri, in 2018. I indulge in carpentry for my personal satisfaction even though I do receive requests from parents who ask me to build furniture for their homes after seeing my products,” said Kak B who had previously worked in the manufacturing sector for 25 years in Selangor.

Musukubi said the school management is also raising funds to build a new school comprising a one-story block building, seven classrooms, teachers’ room, an office and a computer lab at Gelung Pepuyu, Bota, here.


Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/07/606146/carpenter-does-her-bit-school

Hi, restaurant owners, can some changes be done in Covid-19 fight ah?

July 6th, 2020
Don't open your mouth, please. - Pix:  NSTP/AIZUDDIN SAAD
Don’t open your mouth, please. – Pix: NSTP/AIZUDDIN SAAD

IT is a pleasant Sunday morning. The air is cool, the trees are full of the dew of heaven, and mortal men and women gaily pull into parking bays in front of the Mamak restaurant, which is where I am now.

But something suddenly makes me nervous. As the kit of pigeons outside would instinctively be when a cat lurks in the shadows.

So before I tuck into the fluffy capati and flavourful curry, let me say a word or two to our dear Mamak restaurant friends.

My message is delivered in the interests of everyone, the consumer-eater and the entrepreneur-restaurateur.

l Food trays

Please do not let the customers scoop out the food themselves. The food trays should in fact be behind the glass panel, accessible to and handled by no one save a restaurant server.

More than once, I have witnessed customers holding a scoop or a spoon, speaking into a handphone and the food.

Gosh, my eyes do not deceive me, I am seeing it again now! A man is yapping away on his phone right above the tray of dhall.

I do not know what lives in his mouth, but quite sure I am that something is being expelled from it at lightning speed into the food below. That ‘thing’ could potentially grant us the undying sleep.

But here’s an update for those who have just woken up from a 120-day slumber. We are living in a period comfortingly called the Recovery Movement Control Order. Not the let’s-together-get-sick-and-suffer order.

So let’s end this unhealthy ’scoop-everyone-to-sickness’ practice now. Let’s rearrange the furniture in the Mamak joints, and other restaurants too, and reclaim peace of mind.

l Cutlery

Now at another table kitty-corner from me sits an elderly gentleman. His order — a thosai newly made on an iron griddle — arrives.

The server also brings a plastic holder filled with forks and spoons, the tines and bowls on top.

Now I am a good two metres away, but clearly do I see this thin, white-bearded fellow finger the cutlery.

Maybe he is trying to pull a spoon out. Or perhaps he is attempting to find out if the candidate spoon and fork are clean enough for him.

I am sure he does not intend it. But his actions may contaminate everything in that holder with dirt and who knows what! Covid-19? Good heavens!

How may we get out of this mudhole?

Well, I think the restaurant should offer a bowl or cup of hot water to the customer so that he may give the fork and spoon a good rinsing and cleansing.

l Registration for contact tracing

Many Mamak restaurants have a big book at their entrances containing page upon page of customers’ names, telephone numbers and temperature records.

But I believe the eatery I’m sitting in right now misses one important point. It does not record the time of entry. I say! Isn’t that as important too? If an infected person is at the restaurant only in the evening, will everyone who walked in that day be the subject of contact tracing?

I ask the kindly elderly owner about this. He shrugs feebly and says, “I really don’t know”.

Poor businessman. Trying to stay true to the SOPs and keep customers happy and the till ringing are tough in these uncertain times.

What’s certain is the capati and curry remain great stuff. But I think even that may not be enough to make me want to tempt Covid-19’s deadly companion, the Grim Reaper. My Sunday mornings should remain pleasant.

By David Christy.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2020/07/606156/hi-restaurant-owners-can-some-changes-be-done-covid-19-fight-ah