Covid-19: 133 active clusters, no new ones today

October 31st, 2020
The number of Covid-19 active clusters in the country stood at 133 after no new coronavirus clusters were reported as of noon today, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said. - NSTP/LUQMAN HAKIM ZUBIRThe number of Covid-19 active clusters in the country stood at 133 after no new coronavirus clusters were reported as of noon today, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said. – NSTP/LUQMAN HAKIM ZUBIR

KUALA LUMPUR: The number of Covid-19 active clusters in the country stood at 133 after no new coronavirus clusters were reported as of noon today, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said.

270 of the 659 total new cases reported to the ministry over the past 24 hours were detected from existing clusters.

From the total, Dr Noor Hisham said almost half or 205 of 529 new cases detected in Sabah were from the Covid-19 clusters that are still categorized as active in the state.

Similar trend was also detected in Putrajaya and Labuan.

The existing clusters, he said, also contributed to the majority of the new cases in Negri Sembilan, Kuala Lumpur and Sarawak.

“All new cases that were detected in Kedah (two), Terengganu (two) and one case in Pahang are from the existing clusters,” said Dr Noor Hisham during his daily press conference in Putrajaya today.

The country’s Covid-19 death toll, he said, remained at 249 after no new fatalities were reported to the National Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC).

“A total of 10,051 active cases are still being treated at health facilities around the country.

“From the total, 83 are being treated at the Intensive Care Units (ICU), where 19 require breathing assistance,” he said.

By Adib Povera and Teh Athira Yusof .

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/10/636890/covid-19-133-active-clusters-no-new-ones-today

Covid-19: 133 active clusters, no new ones today

October 31st, 2020
The number of Covid-19 active clusters in the country stood at 133 after no new coronavirus clusters were reported as of noon today, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said. - NSTP/LUQMAN HAKIM ZUBIRThe number of Covid-19 active clusters in the country stood at 133 after no new coronavirus clusters were reported as of noon today, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said. – NSTP/LUQMAN HAKIM ZUBIR

KUALA LUMPUR: The number of Covid-19 active clusters in the country stood at 133 after no new coronavirus clusters were reported as of noon today, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said.

270 of the 659 total new cases reported to the ministry over the past 24 hours were detected from existing clusters.

From the total, Dr Noor Hisham said almost half or 205 of 529 new cases detected in Sabah were from the Covid-19 clusters that are still categorized as active in the state.

Similar trend was also detected in Putrajaya and Labuan.

The existing clusters, he said, also contributed to the majority of the new cases in Negri Sembilan, Kuala Lumpur and Sarawak.

“All new cases that were detected in Kedah (two), Terengganu (two) and one case in Pahang are from the existing clusters,” said Dr Noor Hisham during his daily press conference in Putrajaya today.

The country’s Covid-19 death toll, he said, remained at 249 after no new fatalities were reported to the National Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC).

“A total of 10,051 active cases are still being treated at health facilities around the country.

“From the total, 83 are being treated at the Intensive Care Units (ICU), where 19 require breathing assistance,” he said.

By Adib Povera and Teh Athira Yusof.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/10/636890/covid-19-133-active-clusters-no-new-ones-today

Food aid programme for those under home quarantine

October 31st, 2020
Bayan Lepas state assemblyman Azrul Mahathir Aziz said four apartments and flats in his constituency had reported at least one positive Covid-19 case in their premises, linked to the Bayan cluster. - NSTP file picBayan Lepas state assemblyman Azrul Mahathir Aziz said four apartments and flats in his constituency had reported at least one positive Covid-19 case in their premises, linked to the Bayan cluster. – NSTP file pic

GEORGE TOWN: The Bayan Lepas state assemblyman’s office has activated the ‘Cakna Bayan Lepas Kita’ machinery to facilitate food aid to those under home-quarantine.

They will be provided with fresh ingredients for cooking as well as cooking gas and other daily necessities.

Bayan Lepas state assemblyman Azrul Mahathir Aziz said four apartments and flats in his constituency had reported at least one positive Covid-19 case in their premises, linked to the Bayan cluster.

He said they included Pangsapuri Idaman Selasih, Pangsapuri Bayu Tiara, Pangsapuri Kejora and Flat Mutiara Perdana 2.

“So we have launched the food aid programme to assist all households which have been ordered to undergo home-quarantine as well as those wearing the Health Ministry’s (quarantine) wristbands.

“Applications can be made via their respective Joint-management Body (JMB),” he said today.

Azrul also welcomed those who intended to contribute towards the programme.

Last Sunday, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah announced the Bayan cluster as one of nine new Covid-19 clusters in the country.

He had said that the Bayan cluster in Seberang Prai Utara as well as southwest and northeast districts of Penang involved index case (case No 22,930) identified from testing a symptomatic individual on Oct 21, who was warded at the Penang Hospital.

As of yesterday, the cluster had recorded 47 active cases.

Some 1,036 close contacts had been screened, of which 44 were active cases and three recovered.

It was reported yesterday that seven apartments and flats in Bayan Lepas and Batu Maung had reported at least one positive Covid-19 case in their premises, linked to the Bayan cluster.

The three other premises — Suria Merbah, Flat Pusat Bayan and Pangsapuri Desa Bayan — were under the Batu Maung state constituency.

Azrul said cooperation from all quarters to stop the spread of Covid-19 was vital for those staying at high-rise residential buildings.

“For now, I am mobilising things with the respective JMB and the residents through WhatsApp for any exchange of inputs.

“I have also advised the JMBs to impove their hygiene and safety levels, more so at all common places.

“I also asked the management to assist those under home-quarantine wherever possible to ensure they do not leave their homes,” he added.

By Audrey Dermawan.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/10/636888/food-aid-programme-those-under-home-quarantine

Follow SOPs strictly during elections, we have no other choice, pleads PM

October 31st, 2020

PETALING JAYA: Elections are unavoidable and it is of utmost importance to abide by SOPs, especially for those in remote areas in Batu Sapi, Sabah and the state of Sarawak, says Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

In a live telecast speech on Saturday (Oct 31), Muhyiddin made an impassioned plea to everyone to abide by SOPs set by the authorities, especially during an election as the government is bound by the Federal Constitution and has no powers to stop the process of democracy.

He said the only option left to the government is to tighten the SOPs for elections, as only a proclamation of a state of emergency can stop elections from taking place.

He also said that although there were calls to screen those who returned from red zones to green zones to vote be screened, there is a possibility of asymptomatic patients who would have carried the virus and died before being detected.

“Sabah has the highest number of cases at 13,701, followed by Selangor 4,360 cases, Kuala Lumpur (2,991), Kedah (2,080) and Negri Sembilan (1,516).

The Batu Sapi by-election has been set for Dec 5 and the state election of Sarawak might happen anytime soon and cannot be avoided. This is because under the Constitution, an election must be held within 60 days of a vacant seat. The Sarawak state constitution too states that a state election must be held within 60 days of the dissolution of the state assembly.

“Election Commission chief had told me that many of the EC staff fear of reporting for duty at Batu Sapi for fear of contracting Covid-19,” said Muhyiddin.

He also stated that the Perikatan Nasional government will do everything it can to make the ruling and opposition MPs come together to pass the Budget 2021.

“We only want to win our fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Let us set aside our political differences,” said Muhyiddin.

By ZAKIAH KOYA.

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2020/10/31/follow-sops-strictly-duringelections-we-have-no-other-choice-pleads-pm

Drastic spike in Covid-19 positive cases in several states, adding to burden on frontliners

October 31st, 2020
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin delivering a speech regarding the current COVID-19 situation that was broadcasted live from his residence today. - Bernama picPrime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin delivering a speech regarding the current COVID-19 situation that was broadcasted live from his residence today. – Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has expressed concern over the drastic spike in Covid-19 positive cases in several states as it has put a burden on the frontliners.

He said it was worrying that in a month, close to 20,000 positive cases had been recorded compared to 10,576 infections in the prior six months.

The cumulative positive cases as of yesterday was 30,090 with 246 fatalities, he said.

Muhyiddin said Sabah has so far registered the highest number of cases at 13,701 while other states that recorded over 1,000 cases are Selangor (4,360), Kuala Lumpur (2,991), Kedah (2,080) and Negeri Sembilan (1,516).

“The maps of Sabah and Selangor have shown that almost all areas have turned red where Covid-19 positives were beyond 40 cases.

“States that were green status with no Covid-19 cases such as Perak, Negeri Sembilan and Melaka have become yellow and some areas have turned red.

“The drastic rise in Covid-19 cases has put pressure on our frontliners. In Sabah alone, more than 300 frontliners have been infected with Covid-19 while over 1,200 are under quarantine.

“There are police personnel who have contracted Covid-19 and so far, close to 11,000 of them have to be quarantined.

“The situation has added another challenge to the polce force, especially those deployed for duty at the frontline. We can’t fail our frontliners,” said Muhyiddin in a live telecast address today.

By DAWN CHAN and HANA NAZ HARUN.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/10/636882/drastic-spike-covid-19-positive-cases-several-states-adding-burden

Budget 2021: PM promises more allocations for Covid-19 fight

October 31st, 2020
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin delivers his speech during the opening of the 24th annual general meeting of Koperasi Sungai Terap and Sungai Raya Muar Berhad at Dewan Sri Permata, Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Bukit Pasir in Muar. - BERNAMA pic Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin delivers his speech during the opening of the 24th annual general meeting of Koperasi Sungai Terap and Sungai Raya Muar Berhad at Dewan Sri Permata, Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Bukit Pasir in Muar. – BERNAMA pic

MUAR: Budget 2021 will provide allocations to curb the spread of Covid-19 as the government steps up its battle against the pandemic, said Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

He said the government will spell out additional measures in the Budget, which will be tabled on Nov 6, as part of efforts to bring the life of the people back to normalcy.

“As a caring government, Perikatan Nasional (PN) will implement additional measures. Before this, RM305 billion (has been spent), and Budget 2021 will focus on efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19.

“We have spent almost RM2 billion on the Health Ministry, while in Sabah alone, which has been badly hit by Covid-19, about RM400 million has been spent in the past few weeks involving the delivery of food aid to houses and medical supplies,” he said.

Muhyiddin said this when opening the 24th annual general meeting of Koperasi Sungai Terap and Sungai Raya Muar Berhad at Dewan Sri Permata, Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Bukit Pasir here, today.

Also present were Malaysia Cooperative Societies Commission (SKM) executive chairman Datuk Nordin Salleh; Johor police chief Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay; Bukit Kepong state assemblyman Dr Sahruddin Jamal; and Bukit Pasir state assemblyman Captain (R) Najib Lep.

Muhyiddin said the government is committed to fighting Covid-19 in the coming Budget and will continue to help the people who have been impacted by the pandemic.

“The government has to provide stimulus packages to help the people, because certain groups are badly hit. If (during the Movement Control Order), some had asked to withdraw from account two of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), now there are people seeking to withdraw their savings in account one.

“This (withdrawal of savings) is quite difficult to implement, as the government has already provided billions (to ease the people’s burden). You can expect more to come as I will be disbursing billions more to help the people.

“The (EPF) savings are for our old age. If we allow this (withdrawal), the people will face another set of problems,” he added.

He admitted that it is tough for the government to strike a balance between protecting lives and livelihoods as it battles to contain the deadly coronavirus.

“Our problem is when we reopen the economic sector, the people start to move about freely to revive the economy. Now, it is quite difficult for the government to strike a balance between the life of the people and efforts to save the economy.

“The government needs to allow the economic sector to operate again as usual, but at the same time it has to contain Covid-19 by imposing certain restrictions. This is a difficult matter,” he added.

He expressed his appreciation to frontliners for their tireless efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19 since the outbreak of the pandemic in the country early this year.

“They have given their all and are exhausted after working day and night to protect lives. This is an extraordinary sacrifice. They are what people call the unsung heroes, so we have to thank the frontliners for sacrificing their time, property and family to help keep us safe from Covid-19,” he said.

Muhyiddin, who is Pagoh Member of Parliament, also said cooperatives, which boast millions of members and assets worth billions of ringgit throughout the country, are the third contributor to the national economy after the government and private sectors.

“This means cooperatives have a very big potential for development. In developed countries, cooperatives have ventured into many major fields, and in Malaysia, they have made strides too, but there are still vast prospects for further progress,” he added.

by Bernama.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/government-public-policy/2020/10/636604/budget-2021-pm-promises-more-allocations-covid-19-fight

Budget 2021: Bus operators seek govt aid to ensure their continuity

October 31st, 2020
Bus operators have submitted proposals to the Finance Ministry on the 2021 Budget to ensure sustainability of their service operations which had largely been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.  - NSTP/HAZREEN MOHAMADBus operators have submitted proposals to the Finance Ministry on the 2021 Budget to ensure sustainability of their service operations which had largely been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. – NSTP/HAZREEN MOHAMAD

KUALA LUMPUR: Bus operators have submitted proposals to the Finance Ministry on the 2021 Budget to ensure sustainability of their service operations which had largely been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Pan Malaysian Bus Operators Association president Datuk Mohamad Ashfar Ali said the proposals focused on the continuity of stage, express, tour and factory bus operations.

“Since the Movement Control Order (MCO) was implemented, the bus transport industry has been designated as an essential service and as such had continued its services to the public.

“However, under the MCO, bus services were limited and there were no other source of income throughout the pandemic (for bus operators),” he said.

Ashfar said among the proposal’s submitted include allocation for contract payments and scheme change for stage buses.

“We want to call for full and unconditional payment that were overdue for those who are eligible under the interim support fund scheme for stage bus’ and its service transformation scheme throughout the MCO phase.

“Stage buses should also be placed under the services transformation scheme as it will be beneficial to all relevant parties.

“The extension of contracts from two years to five years would bring stability to the operators and enable them to gain funds easily, seeing that money lenders will refuse to give funds to those with shorter contracts,” he said.

Ashfar is also hopeful that the government would offer a free training scheme to those who expressed interest in becoming a bus or lorry driver.

He also called for the exemption import tax and excise tax to ease the industry’s burden during the pandemic as well as to expedite the capital allowance to mirror the actual depreciation value of the bus.

“We also call for an allocation of one per cent of the RM5 billion under the guarantee facility scheme for corporate bus operators to allow them to receive loans and assist them to fund work capital.

“As for wage subsidy, the bus operators would like to ask for subsidy up to 75 per cent of the monthly wages for their workers throughout the MCO period and extend it another three months after (MCO) concludes as the practice is in the United Kingdom and Singapore.

“The subsidy should also be used to continue services with a special one-off payment at RM1,000 every month, from April 1, until the MCO ceases and a further three months after. The allocation would assist costs such as purchasing masks, gloves, and sanitation of the bus.”

On a similar note, Ashfar also proposed for a one-off payment of RM600 to all stage bus and express bus drivers, fee exemption for Computerised Vehicle Inspection Centre (Puspakom) scheduled checks until Dec this year, and a fee waiver by the Land Public Transport Agency (APAD) for processing permits for 2020/2021 year.

By Teh Athira Yusof.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/10/636874/budget-2021-bus-operators-seek-govt-aid-ensure-their-continuity

Cuepacs: Denying civil servants BPN aid unfair

October 31st, 2020
NSTP/ZULFADHLI ZULKIFLI. For illustration purposes only.NSTP/ZULFADHLI ZULKIFLI. For illustration purposes only.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) has described the suggestion to deny civil servants the Bantuan Prihatin Nasional (BPN) cash aid as unfair and narrow minded.

Responding to a view expressed by a financial consultant during a discussion programme organised by a Malay-language daily, Cuepacs president Adnan Mat said it was also unfair to claim that civil servants were not affected by the economic impact brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We feel that the statement by the financial consultant is narrow and only touches on a small group and does not represent all Malaysian households.

“As we know, the criteria for the distribution of BPN was based on the income of a household or the entire family and not based merely on an individual.

“In this context, the government has fixed the distribution of the cash aid to households from the B40 and M40 apart from individuals from the two income groups. The classification of the income segments is irrespective of whether they are from the government or the private sector,” he said in a statement today.

Adnan, however, did not name the financial consultant who was referred to in the statement.

During a discussion programme titled “Dari T20 Kepada M20″ (From T20 to M20), Hijrah Wealth Management Sdn Bhd founder and main consultant Rohani Md Shahir had reportedly said that it was “zalim” (unfair) to give the assistance to all people.

“It is ‘zalim’ if we give it to everyone since justice has its limits and fairness is for the deserving people. Therefore, it is important to give assistance to those in need,” she had said during the discussion programme.

Adnan had said that it was also unfair to claim that civil servants were not eligible to receive the cash aid as they still receive their monthly salary amid the economic uncertainties brought by the pandemic.

“Not all civil servants are eligible to receive the cash aid if their monthly income is over the requirement limit as set by the government. The same is also applicable to those working in the private sector.

“We will also like to stress that not all civil servants and their spouses work in the same sector.

“Some spouses of civil servants are full time housewife. There are also spouses of civil servants who are self-employed, working as small traders or attached to a private sector whose income might have been affected (during the pandemic),” he said.

In addition, Adnan said civil servants were still required to pay their housing loans with the Public Sector Home Financing Board (LPPSA) although their spouses had become unemployed, or their source of income had severely been affected during the pandemic.

By Adib Povera.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/10/636859/cuepacs-denying-civil-servants-bpn-aid-unfair

Agong expresses congratulations, best wishes to Cikgu Sam

October 31st, 2020

Samuel with his students at Sekolah Kebangsaan Runchang in Kuantan. — Bernama photo

KUALA LUMPUR: The success of English teacher Samuel Isaiah selected as one of the 10 finalists of the 2020 Global Teacher Prize, has captured the attention of Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah.

His Majesty expressed his congratulations, joy and pride on the dedication and noble efforts of the young teacher from Kuantan, Pahang on being selected as a candidate to receive the prize, thus making the country famous on the international stage.

Comptroller of the Royal Household Datuk Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin said Al-Sultan Abdullah also expressed hope that Samuel’s great achievements and commitment would be a source of inspiration and example to all Malaysians, especially teachers to give their best and strive for success in their respective fields in the country or on the world stage.

“His Majesty also wished him good luck and prayed that he would win the prize and be blessed with continuous success in the field of education,” he said in a statement from Istana Negara Thursday.

According to a statement from the organisers of the Varkey Foundation based in London, Samuel fondly called Cikgu Sam was selected from among 12,000 nominations from more than 140 countries.

The award, which offers US$1 million (RM4.16 million), is a programme recognising teachers for their efforts in education organised in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).

Samuel, 33, who had a eight-year stint at Sekolah Kebangsaan Runchang, Muadzam Shah, Pahang, had introduced various innovations to inspire his Orang Asli students there to dream big and crucially connect them to the outside world.

Among the programmes Samuel introduced was an e-mail exchange project known as ‘Asli E-Pal’, where the students could communicate in English with adult volunteers from all over Malaysia and abroad.

He also introduced the ‘Speak Up With Poetry’ programme where he worked with amateur poets to write poems related to Orang Asli culture which his students would then watch in the form of guided videos to learn English.

The school’s average pass rate in English had increased from 30 per cent in 2012 to between 80 per cent and 85 per cent in 2015-2018, said the Varkey Foundation.

Samuel was also the recipient of the 2019 Superhero Teachers Award.

by Bernama.

Read more @ https://www.theborneopost.com/2020/10/31/agong-expresses-congratulations-best-wishes-to-cikgu-sam/

Covid-19: Over 16,000 beds used to treat patients nationwide, says Dr Noor Hisham

October 31st, 2020

PUTRAJAYA (Bernama): About 40% of the 16,060 beds for treating Covid-19 patients at hospitals and at Quarantine and Low Risk Treatment Centres (PKRC) nationwide are being used as of 10pm on Thursday (Oct 30).

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said there were 44 Health Ministry hospitals and two teaching hospitals providing treatment for Covid-19 adding that these came up to 3,825 beds with a utilisation rate of 54%.

He added that the Ministry also provides an additional 12,235 beds at 60 PKRC which are now operating nationwide.

“To this date, the rate of the usage of beds at the PKRC is 36%, ’’ he told a media conference on Covid-19 at the Ministry here on Friday (Oct 30).

Dr Noor Hisham said that nine of the 24 government hospitals in Sabah were being used as hybrid Covid-19 hospitals, adding that they provide services for patients who test positive as well as providing medical services for non-Covid-19 patients.

He said that to date, 1007 beds at the nine hospitals were set aside for Covid-19 patients at a usage rate of 77 per cent while the usage rate at the 28 PKRC with 7,386 beds was 43 per cent.

Dr Noor Hisham also said that 47% of the 8,375 beds at hospitals and PKRC in the state were being used to treat Covid-19 patients

He said although there were an increase in new cases reported every day, especially in Sabah, the number of cases discharged daily was also substantial.

“As such, the empty beds can be used for new cases. In addition, the Ministry always evaluates the current situation and have plans to boost the capacity of beds if required,” he added.

by Bernama.

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2020/10/30/covid-19-over-16000-beds-used-to-treat-patients-nationwide-says-dr-noor-hisham