Archive for March, 2020

Black Swan of the financial market

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020
A man wearing a face mask walking past a quotation board displaying share prices of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo yesterday. -AFP pic
A man wearing a face mask walking past a quotation board displaying share prices of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo yesterday. -AFP pic

Covid-19 has emerged as one of the greatest Black Swan of recent times.

Black Swan theory was developed by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in the 2000s in his books Fooled By Randomness and The Black Swan. This theory talks about hard-to-predict events, rare events and those that are beyond the realm of normal expectations.

The global financial market was completely unprepared and no one predicted that this pandemic would end the long-running bull market in the United States, where the S&P 500 took only 16 days to reach market loss of 30 per cent of its value. The enormity of the current crisis can be judged from the fact that it took 38 days for the S&P to reach the bear market during the October 1987 crash and 188 days during the recent global financial crisis.

Since the World Health Organisation declared a global emergency on Feb 20, major stock indices have dropped an average of more than nine per cent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered its largest single-day drop in history on Feb 27. The equities in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines also reached the bear market territory, where the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI index touched its lowest since 2011, bottoming at 1,207 points.

The Malaysian economy further worsened by a sharp decline in Brent crude oil price, bottoming at US$20.83 (RM90.6) per barrel, which impacted its currency valuation. The sharp decline in oil price has already devalued the ringgit, which has lost five per cent of its value in the last month and has been trading at RM4.40 as of March 19. This is causing anxiety among foreign investors who are offloading their investment in Malaysian equities.

For instance, for the week ending March 13, international investors took out RM1.91 billion net of local equities. While the outflow slowed down in the week ending March 19, Malaysia still lost RM1.79 billion net of local equities, including RM520.4 million in foreign net outflow on March 16.

The pandemic is bringing the world closer to another recession. Goldman Sachs downgraded its 2020 global growth forecast to 1.25 per cent, while IHS Markit revised down its forecast for world real gross domestic product growth in 2020 to 0.7 per cent.

It can be noted that any growth below 2.0 per cent is economically labelled as a global recession. The US’ real GDP is expected to fall by 0.2 per cent, the euro area by 1.5 per cent and Japan by 0.8 per cent, while China, where the coronavirus originated, is projected to slow from 6.1 to 3.9 per cent.

To increase the liquidity in the market, Bank Negara Malaysia cut its statutory reserve ratio (SRR) on March 18 by 100 basis points to 2.00 per cent, thus releasing RM30 billion into the banking system, which is the lowest since the global financial crisis in 2009, when it was at one per cent. The SRR cut came along with the Federal Reserve emergency cut to interest rates by 1.00 per cent to a range of zero to 0.25 per cent, the largest emergency reduction in the Federal Reserve’s more than 100-year history.

Many countries have launched economic stimulus packages to face this pandemic, but monetary stimulus alone is not enough to fight this virus-led crisis which has never been seen before. More proactive and direct intervention by the Central Bank is needed to attract foreign direct investment and target a rate of growth of the overall stock market index as a way of stabilising expectations.

The government can look to cut the income tax rate so that households will have more disposable income, as well as provide income maintenance to individuals who lost their jobs during these trying times. The measures need to be topical and immediate, otherwise, loan defaults, increased unemployment, ringgit devaluation and stock market crashes can trigger another prolonged recession.

By Dr Nafis Alam

Red more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2020/03/579850/black-swan-financial-market

Global race to safeguard future

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announcing the Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package in Perdana Putra, on March 27. - BERNAMA pic
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announcing the Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package in Perdana Putra, on March 27. – BERNAMA pic

Last Monday, I asked a former student (currently active in politics) two questions on the recent RM250 billion economic stimulus package announced by the Prime Minister.

Does the general public have the right to know where the money is coming from? Is the federal government obliged to table a special Budget on it in Parliament?

In his reply, he said the pandemic is not slowing down. On the contrary the number of deaths had continued to increase. On Friday, March 20, there were only 13 deaths; a week later (March 27), it almost doubled to 23 deaths. Finally on Monday, March 30, it rose to 34 deaths.

We could not wait much longer, he added. The package announced by the Prime Minister, to save lives and rescue the economy, was therefore absolutely crucial. On the question whether the general public has a “legal right” to know, he is not absolutely sure but good governance certainly requires the government to be transparent.

Parliament is now not in session, but when the time comes for our Members of Parliament to attend the Dewan Rakyat (possibly in late May, unless further postponed), they owe a duty to their voters to ask the government to explain where the money is coming from and when it is going to be disbursed and spent.

In short, there ought to be a special Budget session, he said. He is confident the government is ready and willing to tell all.

A local daily last Monday quoted Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zairul Tengku Abdul Aziz as saying that the stimulus package “did not touch” the Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) reserve.

The Minister’s words were certainly welcomed, given the warning by economists a week earlier that Putrajaya should not “dip into the BNM reserves” which now stands at RM426 billions. They suggested that Putrajaya should raise funds for its stimulus package by borrowing directly from capital markets, either BNM or Petronas.

According to Carmelo Ferlito (at the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs) the stimulus package makes up only about 16 per cent of the nation’s GDP, which stands at US$370 billion (RM1.61 trillion). BNM’s international reserves on February 28, 2020 stand at US$103.4 billion.

In his commentary on New Zealand’s efforts fighting the pandemic, analyst Martin van Beynen said this is not the time for austerity and relying on people to use their own resources to get through the next six months.

He added that there were many examples in the past that showed restricting spending to the bare essentials and letting the economy take its course “was a recipe for financial disaster, leading to massive unemployment and delaying recovery”.

He said the New Zealand government has done the right thing “to prop up the economy by ordering mortgage holidays, paying higher benefits, paying wage subsidies and giving tax breaks.” (https://www.stuff.co.nz)

The Financial Times reported that after several earlier missteps, US President Trump finally signed into law on March 28 a historic US$2.2 trillion stimulus package. The package includes one-off “helicopter money” cheques of up to US$1,200 for individuals, an extra US$600 a week in unemployment insurance and a US$450 billion bailout fund for US businesses, states and cities (https://www.ft.com)

A Bloomberg report on March 11 stated that UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced a 30 billion pound (US$39 billion) stimulus to fight the pandemic, preventing it from “wrecking” the UK economy. In his Budget statement to Parliament, Sunak promised a huge fiscal stimulus “to support British people, British jobs and British businesses” (https://www.bloomberg.com).

In Italy, the nation worst hit by the pandemic (10,779 deaths as at March 29), the government had pledged a US$28.3 billion stimulus package to save its national economy.

In this global race to respond to the pandemic, Malaysia is not the first to do so; but it is also not the last. Let us pray it will work.

By Salleh Buang.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2020/03/579823/global-race-safeguard-future

Adherence to MCO Phase 2 can make a difference

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020
Malaysians must continue to obey and remain committed to the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) that is entering Phase 2. NSTP/OSMAN ADNAN
Malaysians must continue to obey and remain committed to the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) that is entering Phase 2. NSTP/OSMAN ADNAN

LETTERS: Malaysians must continue to obey and remain committed to the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) that is entering Phase 2.

Only our commitment and cooperation will allow us to get through this Covid-19 threat. People by now understand that success will depend on how we can control the spread of the coronavirus.

The MCO strategy at Simpang Renggam is a perfect example of an accelerated pace of action, especially in the red zone in preventing large-scale transmission.

We are in the critical phase of preventing the Covid-19 from further spreading so the improvement of security management is a key factor.

Covid-19 outbreak is not a trivial matter as people acknowledge but some people are still not listening by going out from their house for unreasonable reasons.

So, given such a situation, the Malaysian government’s action to extend the MCO to April 14 is appropriate to curb and further block the spread of Covid-19.

If the people really understand what has been instructed and obey them, we are hopeful that the government will only have to maintain the implementation of the MCO until April 14.

Malaysia is facing the same threat like a lot of other countries regarding the coronavirus as billions of people around the world live in confinement while 20,000 succumbed to the virus.

We only have to take stock of what happened in the United States and Italy where the death toll from the Covid-19 outbreak has surpassed China.

However, China has succeeded in tackling the threat after enforcing a lockdown order which is now being followed by India.

Malaysans should be aware of the worsening developments outside our country and learn the lesson of limiting their movements.

Most importantly, we should follow the advice and safety methods outlined by the Ministry of Health (MOH) to avoid from being infected.

Don’t follow social media, fake news and so on by referring to the latest news and information from the MOH website.

by H. PUVANITEN.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2020/03/579874/adherence-mco-phase-2-can-make-difference

Covid-19: Malaysia reports six new deaths, toll now at 43

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the death toll in Malaysia now stands at 43. -NSTP/MOHD FADLI HAMZAH
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the death toll in Malaysia now stands at 43. -NSTP/MOHD FADLI HAMZAH

PUTRAJAYA: The Health Ministry today reported six new Covid-19 fatalities.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the death toll in Malaysia now stands at 43, or 1.55 per cent of the total number of cases.

Dr Noor Hisham also announced 140 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the tally of infections to 2,766.

“Of the cases still undergoing treatment in hospital, 94 are in the intensive care unit, with 60 of them requiring breathing assistance,” he told a press conference today.

He added that 58 more patients had recovered and were discharged from hospitals today.

To date, 537 cases or 19.4 per cent from the total have recovered.

Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham noted a trend of new cases continuing to be reported, after the first two weeks of the Movement Control Order (MCO).

“We have seen that the total of daily cases has increased and sometimes plateaued, while the number of discharged patients increase day after day.

“This data shows the efficacy of the activities done by the Health Ministry and other agencies in the past month.”

He reminded the public that the next two weeks are crucial, and will determine if the actions taken by the government would bring the desired outcome.

Dr Noor Hisham also said statistics have shown that two age groups have among the highest number of Covid-19 cases.

These age groups, he said, are between 26 and 30; and 56 and 60.

By Hana Naz Harun.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/03/579977/covid-19-malaysia-reports-six-new-deaths-toll-now-43

Training institute unacceptable as quarantine centre

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

KOTA KINABALU: Health and People’s Wellbeing Minister Datuk Frankie Poon has found the Institut Latihan Kesihatan Malaysia at Jalan Kebajikan lacking of facilities and unacceptable as a quarantine centre.

He said this in a statement shared in HIS ministry’s WhatsApp media group “KKKR Media Group”.

It was mentioned that of the seven quarantine facilities he visited, he found the condition of the facilities generally acceptable except for the Institut Latihan Kesihatan Malaysia at Jalan Kebajikan due to it being dilapidated and lacking in facilities.

“Following the visit, arrangement is being made to address the issues brought up such as the provision of mosquito repellant and toiletries among others,” the statement mentioned.

The other quarantine facilities visited by Frankie were Akademi Bomba dan Penyelamat which offers 24 rooms, Politeknik Kota Kinabalu (13 rooms), Monaco Boutique Hotel (40 rooms), Institut Latihan Kesihatan Malaysia Kota Kinabalu, Bahagian Teknologi Pendidikan Negeri in Penampang (40 rooms) and Kem Wawasan PLKN at Kg Ovai, Papar (50 individual rooms).

Frankie, who was accompanied by City Hall Mayor Datuk Nordin Siman and Dr Mohd Azimullah Abdullah from the Health Ministry also visited the government hostel at Taman Rose near here.

Eleven homeless Malaysians are currently being sheltered at the centre.

The objective of the visit was to survey the condition of the quarantine centres and to ensure that the facilities are kept clean and are equipped with basic necessities such as water, food, face masks, toiletries, tower and blanket to all who are to undergo quarantine for 14 days.

It was mentioned that meals are provided three times daily and that further improvement such as the serving of hot drinks at night is being looked into.

Also discussed was the need to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and sanitizers for frontliners serving at the quarantine centres.

Aside from that, it was also mentioned that Sabah has 28 gazetted quarantine centres, and those ordered to undergo quarantine can also opt to stay at Monaco Boutique Hotel and Oyo Hotel, which are two of the quarantine hotels currently sanctioned by the Health Ministry.

However, those who opt to stay at the designated hotels will be required to pay for the hotel room and food themselves.

In the statement it was mentioned that hotel stays were popular and is fully booked by those coming back from overseas.

The quarantine facilities offered by the government on the other hand is free of charge.

Read more @ https://www.theborneopost.com/2020/03/31/training-institute-unacceptable-as-quarantine-centre/

Nurseries in dilemma over discount requests

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Childcare Services Association (PPTS) has appealed for parents’ understanding that operators have financial obligations to meet even during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period and the monthly fee will help keep the nurseries open.

PPTS president Hajah Nabsia Hj Yunus (pic) said parents have been asking nurseries to give discounts on the monthly fee for April since the MCO has been extended for another two weeks till April 14.

Upon discussion, she said members of the association have agreed not to offer discounts given the uncertainty as to whether the MCO would be further extended.

Nabsia said nursery operators were feeling disheartened by the parents’ requests because the temporary suspension of the childcare services was a directive from the government, not done on purpose by the nurseries.

“Operators are facing a dilemma when parents ask for discounts because employers are still expected to pay their staff full salaries during the MCO.”

If the MCO is further extended after April 14, some smaller nurseries may have to close shop, she lamented.

Nurseries, or taska, are childcare centres for children below four years old. There are about 170 nurseries that are members of PPTS, collectively employing around 1,000 teachers.

Nabsia said most nurseries only earn a small profit margin, unlike larger nurseries established by churches or Chinese chambers of commerce that were managed by a board of governors.

She said managing a private nursery was not easy and the revenue was just enough to break even.

She added staff expenses constituted a major part of the expenditure.

Nabsia explained that childcare service providers have to comply with the Childcare Centre Act 1984, particularly on the ratio of staff to children. For instance, the ratio of staff to children under one year old at childcare centres is one to three; and one to five for children between one to three years old. For three to four-year-olds, the ratio is one teacher to 10 children.

And starting January this year, she said the minimum wage has been increased to RM1,200.

“We have discussed among ourselves in the association about the requests on reducing the monthly fee.

“However, we do not know for certain when the MCO will end. If the order is extended again, what will happen to us?

“So we have agreed not to give discounts on the monthly fees.”

Nabsia said some parents have complained about having to pay the fees in full on social media even though they were also getting full salary and incentives from the government.

“We hope parents will realize in these four weeks (MCO) that looking after young children is not easy.

“Our teachers and staff have to be present all the time because we are dealing with human beings.

“Providing childcare services is not a good business to venture into but we do it because we love children and we like to work with children.”

In a way, she said nurseries are helping parents by looking after their children.

“Treat us as your family member.

“We are always there for their children when they need us. Now we need them to help us in sustaining our nurseries, which will benefit them in the future.”

If parents refused to pay, she said some nurseries would have to close down, meaning parents have to go through the trouble of finding another childcare provider that may be located further away.

She added that most nursery operators were not entitled to the Wage Subsidy Programme under the Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package as well, due to the condition that employers have to show they have experienced 50 percent loss since January this year, which might only apply to newly established nurseries.

“We understand the problems faced by parents but they are getting full salary and incentives from the government.

“Private nurseries are not getting anything.

“Parents should discuss their requests nicely with the principals.”

On another note, Nabsia said some nurseries communicated with the children via video call or video recording of tutors doing activities.

She said members of the association have also discussed about the possibility of e-learning if the MCO was extended.

Read more @ https://www.theborneopost.com/2020/03/31/nurseries-in-dilemma-over-discount-requests/

Through the lenses of an eye care expert

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

ACCORDING to the Health Ministry, at least 80% of all blindness or limited vision cases can be prevented or treated.

A national eye survey in 2014 showed that at least 1.2% or 63,000 Malaysians have been diagnosed as blind.

To address this, the role of eye care specialists has taken on significance in fighting preventable vision impairment.

There is much more than meets the eye when it comes to the role of an eye care specialist beyond just examining your eye and prescribing lenses.

An optometrist not only helps you see clearly and detects signs of eye disease, but also assesses how well your visual system – which encompasses the eyes, brain and eye muscles – work.

The World Council of Optometry (WCO) states that optometrists provide comprehensive eye and vision care, which includes refraction and dispensing, detection and diagnosis, management of eye disease, and rehabilitation of the visual system conditions.

The importance of eye care specialists – be it an optician, optometrist or ophthalmologist – is imperative and crucial to the general healthcare of patients in need of eye care.

The need for optometrists in Malaysia is worrying. At present, there are over 2,000 optometrists and the ratio of optometrist to patient stands at around 1:22,000. The WCO recommended ratio is 1:10,000.

As such, UCSI University – Malaysia’s best private university for two years in a row according to the two recent QS World University Rankings – offers the Bachelor of Optometry (Hons) programme to play its role in creating more eye care specialists.

Optometrists are naturally high-income earners with tremendous potential for growth, job security and satisfaction.


During clinical trainings, students at UCSI learn in a simulated optometric environment.

A career in optometry is virtually stress-free and not physically demanding. During clinical trainings, UCSI students learn in a simulated optometric environment, practising on each other before moving on to real patients, under the supervision of experienced lecturers.

This training provides procedural experiences in case history taking, performing eye examinations, employing diagnostic techniques and applying the necessary communication skills to discuss treatment plans and options with patients.

Not all graduate studies are scientific theories; many are very practice-oriented. Students in their final year will be able to manage a practice and work with children and the elderly with a clear knowledge of healthcare laws and policies, ethics and economics that are applicable to the field of optometry.


Asst Prof Shah says optometry is a rewarding career for those who are prepared to care for people to see clearly.

UCSI University’s head of Optometry School Asst Prof Shah Farez Othman pointed out that optometrists, upon completion of the programme, develop specific interests to advance in other eye care areas such as contact lens practice, low vision, sports vision, children’s vision and consultancy in an industry.

“Optometry is a rewarding profession for those prepared to accept the obligation of caring for people’s sight. Optometrists enjoy great satisfaction through helping their patients overcome vision problems,” he said.


The four-year optometry programme at UCSI follows guidelines set by the WCO and is fully accredited by the Malaysian Qualification Agency (MQA).

The four-year optometry at UCSI follows guidelines set by the WCO and is fully accredited by the Malaysian Qualification Agency (MQA).

Graduates from this programme will enter the workforce as an optometrist registered with the Malaysian Optical Council, Health Ministry, giving them an edge to secure jobs much easier.

For more information, visit http://online.ucsiuniversity.edu.my/ or email your queries to info.sec@ucsiuniversity.edu.my

Covid-19: 1,600 in Pulau Gaya screened so far, three positive cases detected

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

KOTA KINABALU: Health officials last week screened 1,600 of Pulau Gaya’s population of between 5,000 and 6,000, and detected three positive cases of Covid-19, says Sabah Health Department director Datuk Christina Rundi.

Health officers from Kota Kinabalu have been carrying out medical checks among the community since March 28.

The islanders are made up of a mix of mainly Filipino migrant communities who are naturalised Malaysians, as well as refugees, stateless people and illegal immigrants.

In a statement on Tuesday (March 31), Dr Rundi thanked the Kota Kinabalu health officers for their work and the National Security Council (NSC), police, army and Rela for their support.

The state government tightened movement of people from the island to the mainland four days ago.

Authorities have put in place a schedule for boat movements for the villagers and sent in food rations in an effort to reduce movement by the islanders who mainly serve as a labour source in the state capital.

Only those needing medical attention are allowed out, as police and marine police maintain a tight control along the waters of the island, which is about 10-minute’s boat ride from the city’s central market jetty.

Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Zaini Jass said that they had spoken to village heads in the villages to allow certain individuals to go to the mainland to buy rations needed by the people via scheduled movements.

The Pulau Gaya screening is among the measures being taken to check the spread of Covid-19 measures.

Dr Christina said that there were a total of 201 positive cases in Sabah as of Tuesday with most of the cases in Tawau, Lahad Datu and Kota Kinabalu.

She said a total of 23 quarantine centres were operating with 809 people being housed while another 6,538 people were under home quarantine.

On Monday (March 30), health officials stopped the operation of three water dispensing machines in Sandakan.

By MUGUNTAN VAVAR.

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2020/03/31/covid-19-1600-in-pulau-gaya-screened-so-far-three-positive-cases-detected

King and Queen to forgo six months’ of Royal Emoluments in light of Covid-19 pandemic

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

PETALING JAYA: Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah has consented to forego Royal Emoluments to the King and Queen for a period of six months from March this year.

Comptroller of the Royal Household of Istana Negara Datuk Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin said that Sultan Abdullah’s made the decision to ease the government’s burden in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic.

He added that the decision was to support the Prime Minister’s as well as ministers’ and deputy ministers’ move to contribute two months of their salaries to the Covid-19 Fund.

“The Royal Consent also reflects the King’s caring character and his concern over the pandemic and the country’s financial situation,” said Fadil in a statement Tuesday (March 31).

He added that Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had been informed of Sultan Abdullah’s decision.

On March 26, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said the Prime Minister as well as all ministers and deputy ministers would contribute two months of their salaries to the Covid-19 Fund.

The PMO added that their pay would be automatically deducted and channelled to the fund.

“This step shows the earnestness of the Government to assist those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said the PMO.

Both their majesties, said Fadil, also expressed their appreciation to all doctors and healthcare staff in conjunction with World Doctor’s Day on Monday (March 30).

“Their majesties also expressed their appreciation to all doctors, medical personnel – especially frontliners – for their service, dedication and tireless sacrifices in carrying out their responsibilities to curb the pandemic.

“Sultan Abdullah also expressed his gratitude to the government, Health Ministry and all government agencies involved, after receiving recognition from a well-known international financial services firm,” he added.

Fadil said that Yang di-Pertuan Agong also hoped that the rakyat would continue to pray, together with their majesties, for Malaysia to always be protected by Allah and for effective end to the pandemic.

On March 25, US investment bank JP Morgan said that the Malaysian government’s actions are proving effective in curbing the spread and intensity of Covid-19.

With low mortality rates, Malaysia’s aggressive testing strategy far exceeded its Asean peers and even several European nations, added JP Morgan.

In a report dated March 23, it said that the strategy could result in higher number of reported infections, but this added to JP Morgan’s confidence of milder development and mortality rates.

“The recent limitations on movement should also help to slow the spread, and along with border controls should subdue a secondary spread of the epidemic,” it added.By RAHIMY RAHIM.

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2020/03/31/king-queen-decline-six-months039–emoluments-to-ease-burden-in-covid-19-fight

166,000 face masks arrive from China

Monday, March 30th, 2020

From left: Safar, Liew, Liang, Shafie, Yusof, Wong (seventh left) and others in a photo next to the boxes of face masks donated by the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Kota Kinabalu and four Chinese enterprises.

KOTA KINABALU: Some 166,000 face masks donated by the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Kota Kinabalu and Chinese enterprises to the State Government had arrived at the state capital via charter flight from Guangzhou, China yesterday.

The donations were handed over by the Chinese Consul General, Liang Caide, to Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Shafie Apdal at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) Terminal 2 yesterday.

On behalf of the State Government, Shafie thanked the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Kota Kinabalu and the Chinese Government for not only assisting Sabah in terms of the protective equipment, but will also be sending several experts on the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) soon.

He said the contributions reflected the close cooperation between the State Government and the Chinese consulate general.

Shafie added that Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein had given the green light on the medical expertise from China to guide and train local healthcare workers in overcoming the pandemic.

He said the Chinese experts would be placed in Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) where they have access to laboratory.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew also thanked Liang for his great effort to help Sabah in securing the invaluable sponsorship for the medical supplies from China.

“I am aware that Mr Liang had also gone out of his way to expedite the process of getting the charter flight from Guangzhou to Sabah in a short period of time.

“Without his intervention, it would otherwise be a long process.”

Liew, who is also the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, expressed her deep gratitude to the people of China for their care and support during this difficult time of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Rest assured, the State Government will make full use of these medical supplies for the benefit of the Sabah people,” she said.

Meanwhile, Liang said the State Government and people of Sabah have rendered precious support to China during its most difficult time during the Covid-19 outbreak.

“To thank the people who once helped us, the Consulate General in Kota Kinabalu has immediately taken action to purchase face masks and protective equipment when the Covid-19 pandemic has spread to Sabah,” he said.

He said the protective equipment were jointly contributed by the consulate, China State Construction Engineering (M) Sdn Bhd, China Railway Dongfang Group Sdn Bhd, Sinohydro Corporation (M) Sdn Bhd and Bornion Guangken Rubber Sdn Bhd.

Liang said the consulate only handed over face masks yesterday while other protective equipment such as surgical masks, hand sanitizers and protective garments would be delivered in the next batch.

“The consulate has also communicated with different local governments of China to join our effort.

“I am sure more resources will be delivered to Sabah soon.”

He said the consulate was also facilitating Sabah organizations to source protective equipment from China.

“I hope these resources will help Sabah’s battle against Covid-19, and convey China’s appreciation to the State Government and the people of Sabah in giving us courage and strength to fight the pandemic.”

Liang also said that a large consignment of protective equipment and medical supplies donated by the Chinese Government to Malaysia had arrived in Kuala Lumpur.

In addition, he said the Chinese Government had decided to send a medical team to Malaysia upon our country’s request to share their experience of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Furthermore, he said Malaysian and Chinese experts have weekly video conferencing to discuss the pandemic and he hoped that Sabah would join in the meeting as well.

Also present were Minister of Education and Innovation Datuk Dr Yusof B. Yacob, Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry Datuk Junz Wong, and State Secretary Datuk Safar Untong.

BY CHOK SIM YEE.

Read more @ https://www.theborneopost.com/2020/03/30/166000-face-masks-arrive-from-china/