Archive for May, 2020

Health DG: 17 out of 86 Covid-19 fatalities were smokers

Sunday, May 31st, 2020

PETALING JAYA: One in five people who died of Covid-19 in Malaysia was a smoker, says Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (pic).

The Health director-general said this was based on the research of 86 of the victims who died of the disease, where 17 or 19.8% of them were smokers.

A total of 115 people have died of the disease in Malaysia as of Sunday (May 31).

“The smoking habit has been proven to cause many diseases as well as weaken the immunity of people, raising the risk of bacterial infections and virus during the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said during his daily briefing on the Covid-19 situation on Sunday.

Dr Noor Hisham said that smoking impairs lung function and results in the organ to be less resistant to the coronavirus and other diseases.

He was addressing the threat of smoking in conjunction with the World No-Tobacco Day that is observed on May 31 all around the world.

The annual campaign by the World Health Organisation (WHO) is an opportunity to raise awareness on the harmful and deadly effects of tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure, and to discourage the use of tobacco in any form.

Dr Noor Hisham said that tobacco results in the death of more than eight million people around the world every year, with seven million caused by direct use while 1.2 million cases are because of exposure to second-hand smoke.

Dr Noor Hisham said that according to the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) 2019, an estimated 21.3% of Malaysians were smokers.

He said that during the movement control order (MCO), the ministry took action on 118 individuals who sold cigarettes on e-commerce websites, as this was against the Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2004 and the Poisons Act 1952.

Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry is working with the Pharmaceutical Association of Malaysia, Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia (UIAM) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) to provide online counselling to those who want to stop smoking.

Dr Noor Hisham said that since the MCO started on March 18, a total of 400 smokers had registered to get help to stop smoking while more than 5,000 people had visited www.jomquit.moh.gov.my.

‘This shows that there is an increasing consciousness of the public especially among smokers about the dangers of smoking,” he said.

By RASHVINJEET S. BEDI.

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2020/05/31/health-dg-17-out-of-86-covid-19-fatalities-were-smokers

Tourism industry needs all the help it can get from us

Sunday, May 31st, 2020
Since it may take months for the tourism industry to recover from the effects of Covid-19, it needs all the help it can get to refocus, reinvent and rebuild. – Bernama file picSince it may take months for the tourism industry to recover from the effects of Covid-19, it needs all the help it can get to refocus, reinvent and rebuild. – Bernama file pic

I WAS on the phone with a hotelier, who generously sent me a buka puasa package as part of his effort to spread the joy of Ramadan from the hotel, which his company purchased late last year.

However, I didn’t want to ask how his hotel was faring during this Covid-19 period. It’d be inappropriate to do so after news portals, quoting the Malaysian Hotels Association, reported that almost 60 per cent of hotel businesses countrywide would be affected by the pandemic by year end.

Scores of hotels are temporarily closed and some smaller hotels have shut down their operations permanently.

The saddest thing is that many employees in the industry find themselves on the street when their employers can no longer pay their salaries.

Across the globe, the World Travel and Tourism Council has highlighted that the spillover effects on global employment due to the pandemic have been wide-reaching as global travels and the tourism industry stall.

A total of 330 million jobs are supported by this industry around the world, contributing 10 per cent, or US$8.9 trillion, to the global gross domestic product each year. Hotels are part and parcel of the burgeoning tourism industry, but now the accommodation business looks bleak, including those small enterprises operating budget hotels and homestays.

And everyone knows that this year is supposed to be our significant year for tourism. Leveraging the “Malaysia, Truly Asia” slogan, we’re supposed to reposition the nation as a premier location for international travel in the region.

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen as planned. Instead, what came was Covid-19. Thousands of people across the country have been infected and more than 100 have died since March.

The game plan in this highly publicised Visit Malaysia Year 2020 is to chart a sterling growth, targeting 36 million in tourist arrivals and RM168 billion in tourist receipts by year end.

Since the launch of its strategic roadmap called the Integrated Promotional Plan in 2018, Tourism Malaysia had begun executing action plans by working closely with local, as well as international partners, and stakeholders to ensure the plans achieved the desired success.

However, it now appears that the money spent on infrastructure and integrated marketing and promotional campaigns didn’t quite serve its purpose when the virus came into existence. The Covid-19 pandemic has put a damper on all of this, particularly affecting the more than 3.5 million people working in the tourism industry.

The way forward is for Tourism Malaysia to aggressively promote domestic tourism once the government relaxes the Movement Control Order, or when the danger of Covid-19 is less threatening. There is so much potential in domestic tourism that needs to be tapped into.

Frankly speaking, if we were to wait for the pandemic to die down, this revenue-generating industry will suffer even more losses. But, really, how long more?

Tourism Malaysia director-general Datuk Musa Yusof told a webinar called Tourism Virtual Summit on April 7 that Tourism Malaysia’s priority was to refocus on domestic tourism to increase demand for travel trade and related services, including airlines, accommodation, land transport, retail, as well as food and beverage.

It’s reassuring to know that Tourism Malaysia will be organising familiarisation trips for key opinion leaders and media outlets specialising in niche segments that show promising growth such as sports tourism, agrotourism and health tourism.

Since domestic tourism is poised to play an important role in the industry’s recovery, efforts are underway to encourage Malaysians to travel locally after the crisis to boost the economy. Hence, it’s good to see the hashtag #TravelLater by the Malaysian Tourist Board in its social media posts.

Since it may take months for the tourism industry to recover from the effects of Covid-19, it needs all the help it can get to refocus, reinvent and rebuild.

By Rohiman Haroon.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2020/05/596589/tourism-industry-needs-all-help-it-can-get-us

Pandemic reflects true friends

Sunday, May 31st, 2020
This pandemic is just like a mirror, reflecting true friends who would stand by us through weal and woe. – Bernama file pic, for illustration purposes only.This pandemic is just like a mirror, reflecting true friends who would stand by us through weal and woe. – Bernama file pic, for illustration purposes only.

BUKIT sama didaki, lurah sama dituruni. I have come to know this Malay proverb well since my appointment to Malaysia two years ago, and I have quoted this countless times.

As we observe the 46th anniversary of China-Malaysia diplomatic relations today, this proverb comes to my mind yet again.

Needless to say, this year is an unusual one in the history of China-Malaysia diplomatic relations. The Covid-19 outbreak has caught the world off guard. It has been threatening every individual in every country, China and Malaysia included. Humanity is facing the trial of the most grievous public health emergency since the end of World War 2.

As President Xi Jinping has rightly put, viruses respect no borders, and epidemics do not distinguish between races. Confronted by the ravaging Covid-19, people all over the world have tackled this challenge head on.

We have looked out for each other, pulled together as one and demonstrated the love and compassion that make us human. China-Malaysia relations have also withstood the test of this pandemic. There is a Chinese saying that goes, “only the toughest grass can withstand the strongest wind, as only a true friend can withstand the test of time”.

This pandemic is just like a mirror, reflecting true friends who would stand by us through weal and woe.

China and Malaysia have shown the world that true partners are not only those sharing opportunities during favourable circumstances, but also those sharing burdens in the face of adversity.

We are setting a prime example of good neighbourliness and mutual support. 46 years ago on this exact day, Malaysia was among the first Asean countries to establish diplomatic relations with China, prefacing the overture to a long-lasting friendship.

Through all the ups and downs, China-Malaysia relations have remained robust and stable, eventually becoming an abiding friendship that encompasses all areas and bears fruitful cooperation.

Our strong ties do not come from nowhere. China and Malaysia have always treated each other friendly. It comes from the political mutual trust that we have accumulated throughout the years. It comes from the tight bond between our two peoples that makes us brothers and sisters.

Above all is that the China-Malaysia friendship realises the common aspirations and interests of our people.

In the past 46 years, the world has changed, however, our brotherhood has never wavered even a bit. I have high confidence and high hopes for the future of our friendship.

China-Malaysia relations have strong foundations and I firmly believe that we will overcome all difficulties and scale new heights together.

I look forward to China and Malaysia carrying on the joint co-operation as sincere partners to combat Covid-19. Ever since the outbreak, China and Malaysia have assisted each other.

Moving forward, China and Malaysia could cooperate on formulating national and regional public health cooperation as efforts to jointly build a community of common health for mankind and safeguard the health and wellbeing of people in both countries.

Both countries can forge ahead with flagship projects such as the East Coast Rail Link and “Two Countries, Twin Parks” to optimise trade structure and to expand the scale of trade while enhancing infrastructure development and connectivity, transforming Malaysia into the logistics hub of Southeast Asia.

China is inclined to increase investment in Malaysia to spearhead the digital economy and emerging industries in supporting Malaysia to become a prime industrial nation.

But what I look forward to the most is China and Malaysia emerging as the driving forces of world peace and development.

A new chapter in history is about to open. China and Malaysia will need to play an active role by becoming the model for political and economic stability and regional co-operation in Asia while upholding regional peace, multilateralism and international justice, advocating for effective and fairer global governance, and maintaining peaceful development and the diversity of civilisations.

Malaysia will host the Apec Summit this year. We look forward to working together to enhance regional economic integration and to strengthen the international trade system, leaving a mark in the Apec history.

China and Malaysia can do more together. As long as we work with each other, bukit sama didaki, lurah sama dituruni, there is no mountain so high that we cannot conquer, and there is no trench too deep that we cannot surpass.

Happy 46th birthday, China-Malaysia diplomatic relations!

May you thrive and reach greater heights that will in turn prosper China and Malaysia, and bless the wellbeing of our two peoples.

By Bai Tian.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2020/05/596591/pandemic-reflects-true-friends

57 new Covid-19 cases

Sunday, May 31st, 2020
The number of active Covid-19 cases was now 1,351. --BERNAMA picThe number of active Covid-19 cases was now 1,351. –BERNAMA pic

PUTRAJAYA: The Health Ministry registered 57 new cases of Covid-19 as of noon today, bringing the tally of infections in the country to 7,819.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the number of active cases was now 1,351.

“Out of the total new cases, 10 are imported cases and 47 are local transmission.

“Of the local transmission cases, 43 are foreigners, with 24 cases detected at the Immigration Detention Depot (DTI) in Sepang.

“Another 15 cases were detected in Pahang, including three clusters of foreign workers, while another two cases from the Kampung Sungai Lui and Pudu clusters, respectively.

“A new case was also detected from an illegal immigrant who was about to be transferred to a DTI and another case involving a foreign worker in Klang.

“Therefore, there are only four cases involving Malaysians,” he said at his daily press conference, here, today.

Dr Noor Hisham said 23 cases have recovered and were discharged today, raising the cumulative number of recovered cases to 6,353 or 81.25 per cent.

He added that there are nine Covid-19 cases being treated at intensive care units (ICU), with two requiring breathing assistance.

He also noted that no new deaths were reported today and the number of Covid-19 fatalities remained at 115 cases (1.47 per cent).

By Nor Ain Mohamed Radhi.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/05/596758/57-new-covid-19-cases

Raya abnormalities

Saturday, May 30th, 2020

This year’s celebration is without the usual noise and activity. It is also a lesson to never take things for granted.

NORMALLY, these corridors would permit young relatives to run, jump, chase each other or play hide and seek. Occasionally they wonder about the portraits on the walls and the trinkets in crammed cabinets: memorabilia of ancestors who once played in the same hallways. This year, the planks stayed uncreaked, sweat-free.

Normally, this sitting room would be a hive of activity, as parents strain to hear the TV over the din of young adults playing board games, teenagers on mobile devices and kids comparing duit raya. The only punctuation is provided by the arrival of another family or the inevitable emergence of more food.

This year, the cushions sat perfectly fluffed, and no more Es disappeared from the Scrabble set.

Normally, this lobby would see a full assembly of staff, ready to receive gifts of appreciation and exchange Raya greetings.

Some have worked in the same institution for decades, and the interactions provide assurance and recognition. This year, representatives of each team were able to receive gifts on colleagues’ behalf in a pared-down, socially distanced ceremony.

Normally, this moonless night sky would be set alight by the pops and whistles of fireworks, reverberating across the valley in a syncopated fashion.

They follow the ceremonial booms of the cannon, a juxtaposed echo of artillery flushing out communists from nearby hills during the Emergency. This year… well, there were still impressive displays of pyrotechnics dotted across the area. We still haven’t worked out how so many people got hold of some rather grand fireworks.

Normally, this rural mosque would be unable to fit the congregation of newly returned urbanites eager to fulfil their Aidilfitri prayers.

Spilling onto the verandah, the rows of prayer mats provide a visualisation of the balik kampung that has overtaken merantau (migration) as the primary mover of our people.

This year, 12 of us prayed a metre apart (“jangan rapatkan saf”, I quipped, modifying the usual reminder for worshippers to stand close in formation), as kittens freely rolled around on the expanse of carpet behind.

Normally, this graveyard would be full of poignant colour, as families bedecked in new baju remember their departed with flowers.

With young children in tow, adults educate the next generation about how they are related to people who rest under tombstones. This year, these graves sat tranquilly, though caretakers tended the site still with utmost respect.

Normally, the perimeter of this field would resemble a thriving food market, as lemang grillers, rendang chefs, satay fanners, roast lamb carvers, cendol crushers and apam balik wizards purvey their foods.

The epitome of small businesses, they have prepared for this day for weeks, sourcing ingredients, electrifying supply chains, generating employment and powering the halal economy. This year, they did their best to adjust, offering take-aways and deliveries, but presumably more lamb than usual are still bleating (since their consumption requires volume).

Normally, the centre of this field would be covered by a massive tent, ready for 10,000 people to visit from near and far to fill their post-Ramadan tummies. They arrive with their families, but reconnect with their neighbours, acquaint with suku mates, make new friends and maybe get duit raya from me. This year, the grass was grateful to be undisturbed.

Normally, this mobile phone would be buzzing incessantly from a torrent of messages conveying peace and blessings, hope and forgiveness. From thoughtful mini-essays to creatively choreographed videos from family groups, finding the time to meaningfully reply to each is always a challenge. This year, the same has remained true.

Normally, this calendar would be full of upcoming open houses. Behind the scenes, schedules and intentions are exchanged between networks of PAs and secretaries to ensure that the biggest ones do not clash with one another, while wheelers and dealers plan who to ambush at targeted events to seal a deal, secure a contract, put a good word in for someone, pass a CV or a letter of recommendation. This year, the calendar is empty.

Normally, I would take for granted that all the above would happen, and that all the above would happen again next year. This year, I am grateful for the lesson of not taking that normality for granted, but aware too that many do not have this luxury, for their lives have suffered immensely and they need public policy solutions.

Normally, I would say that public policy solutions should address the needs of the people in a responsive yet democratic manner. This year, with parliamentary scrutiny at an abnormal low, and questions over the positions and appointments of many politicians at an abnormal high, more abnormalities may be exploited for abnormal reasons.

Eh, that one is normal lah.

Selamat Hari Raya, Maaf Zahir Batin.

By Tunku Zain Al-Abidin.

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/columnists/abidinideas/2020/05/29/raya-abnormalities

Entrepreneurs beating the odds, creating jobs during MCO

Saturday, May 30th, 2020

AFTER having to close their restaurant during the movement control order (MCO) period, husband- and-wife team Rosnizam Ishak and Roazian Md Noor (pic) were very worried as their source of livelihood had come to a halt.

The only foreseeable incoming money was the Bantuan Prihatin Nasional (BPN) cash aid which the government had announced in March as part of its RM260bil Prihatin economic stimulus package.

Armed with RM1,000 and restaurant-operating experience, the couple used the BPN money to start a marinated lamb delivery business.

Operating from their house in Bertam, Penang, they started with just 5kg of orders a day. With some social media savvy, business slowly picked up and at its peak, they were fulfilling daily orders of up to 100kgs (at RM55 per kg).

Their business – run fully online via WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram – was eventually able to build a network of delivery partners and hire workers to help with the marinating and packing.

Further south in Melaka Tengah, single mother Siti Hartika Shaari, 32, lost her job as a chef when her employer was unable to pay her salary during the MCO – a common challenge amongst business owners. For several days, Siti Hartika was only able to provide plain porridge for her 11-year old son.

Having had to dip into her savings and with finances getting tight, Siti Hartika received her BPN payment on April 10.

She decided to invest the money into a fresh produce cleaning service. Every morning by 5am, she would purchase fresh produce – fish, chicken, squid, crab or prawns – from the local market, and upon returning home, she would gut and clean the fish, chicken, squid, crab or prawns for her customers.

Using just WhatsApp, Siti Hartika was able to grow her business from just eight orders a day to up to 40 orders and can earn up to RM2,000 daily. Having initially started the business with her cousin, they eventually hired three workers as well as four runners who send the orders throughout Melaka.

A collective effort

Despite the adversity they faced, both Rosnizam and wife, as well as Siti Hartika, were able to turn their fortunes around.

Motivated by the need to survive in these tough times and provide for their loved ones, an entrepreneurial spirit emerged.

On top of that, their efforts were facilitated by the ubiquity of private-sector technology (both were running fully online businesses) and government assistance (in this case, both used BPN cash aid as startup capital).

If not for the coming together of the human spirit – private-sector technology-government assistance – their stories might have been wholly different. They were able to not just provide for their own livelihoods, but also create jobs for others.

Theirs are some of many inspiring stories that have emerged during these tough times.

Staying vigilant

By now, we have heard a lot about how Covid-19 is a threat to not just our lives but also our livelihoods. That said, the unprecedented global nature of Covid-19 means we are yet to witness its full brunt on our economies.

According to the Statistics Department of Malaysia, the unemployment rate for March 2020 was 3.9% (or about 610,000 workers), which is the highest since June 2010. Depending on which organisation you ask, Malaysia’s unemployment rate could be anywhere between 900,000 (Statistics Department) to over two million (Malaysian Institute of Economic Research) by end-2020 because of Covid-19.

That is a whole lot of jobs. However, this is a predicament that is being faced globally.

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), a deterioration of working hours, equivalent to 305 million full-time jobs, is expected to occur in the second quarter of 2020. This is up from a previous estimate of 195 million full-time jobs.

In the United States, the unemployment rate stands at 40 million – a figure not seen since The Great Depression. The exacerbation of the situation has led to the United Nations labeling those impacted as the “Lockdown Generation”.

Staying resilient: what inspires you?

While the numbers and estimations tell a harrowing story, we cannot give up.

We can keep unemployment numbers low and save jobs, while also saving lives and protecting health – provided we come together.

I am inspired by the #KitaJagaKita campaign. It is a reminder that we can help our fellow Malaysians (and non-Malaysians) who are in need because we are blessed with an abundance of food, clothes, and shelter options.

I am heartened to see well-known figures from the private sector offering to use their social media reach to advertise for jobs and to connect job seekers. Tech companies are also doing their best to enable micro-businesses to sell their wares online and to a global audience.

At the same time, government assistance such as the BPN has helped over 10.5 million Malaysians. The loan payment moratorium by banks provide cashflow ease to millions of borrowers (to the tune of RM100bil), while programmes such as the Employee Retention Programme (RM240mil), Wage Subsidy (RM13.8bil) and Geran Khas Prihatin (RM2.1bil) will play a role in helping businesses stay afloat.

As at May 17, over 10.25 million (or approximately 67%) of Malaysia’s workforce has returned to work under the conditional MCO. Everyone is doing their best to achieve some semblance of normalcy, financial security and livelihood in this “new normal”. Workers in the 23 prohibitive list-industries are patiently waiting their opportunity.

Yes, jobs will be lost and businesses will close. Nevertheless, the measure of whether we succeed or fail in this war against Covid-19 is not in the peak of job-loss or business-closure, but rather our ability to bounce back and rise after the fall.

If there is anything the Rosnizams and Hartikas of this nation have shown us, it is that we are more resilient than we realise. There will be ups and downs, but always remember that we are in this together.

By Danial Rahman

Education Malaysia ready to assist return of international students

Saturday, May 30th, 2020

PETALING JAYA: Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS) is ready to facilitate the safe return of international students to Malaysia, following the government’s announcement that five categories of students can soon be on campus.

EMGS said it was ready to cooperate with the higher education institutions, the Health Ministry and the Immigration Department to develop stringent standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the international students’ return.

EMGS is wholly-owned by the Education Ministry and operates a one-stop-centre for international student services together with the Immigration Department.

EMGS said that as institutions embark on online learning, institutions must take necessary actions to ensure students would not be left behind, as some face restrictions of Internet access.

“Therefore, EMGS believes that attention must also be given to the international students returning to Malaysia to continue with their studies.

“International students that fall under the five categories as outlined by the Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) can return to their campus.

“As we know, Australia and New Zealand are among the countries that have their borders reopened for international students to return to the campus.

“In this regard, EMGS is ready to cooperate with the HEIs, the Health Ministry and the Immigration Department to develop stringent SOPs to ensure the international students are safe to return to Malaysia,” said EMGS in a statement on Saturday (May 30).

The Higher Education Ministry recently said that all university lectures must be conducted online, with no face-to-face lessons allowed, until Dec 31, but exceptions are given to five categories of students.

They include final semester and final year students who do not have proper Internet access and are in an unconducive environment for online teaching and learning, who can return to campus on July 1 to use the campus’ infrastructure for online learning.

The categories also include postgraduate students in research mode who are required to be physically present in laboratories, workshops and design studios or rely on specialised equipment for their research.

Final semester and final year students doing certificate, Diploma and Bachelor’s Degree studies who need to carry out clinical work, practicals, laboratory work, workshops, work in design studios, or are in need of specialised equipment, could also resume their courses at their respective campuses on July 1.

EMGS said that the gradual process of returning students from the five categories outlined by the Ministry will allow the institutions to re-strategise in line with the new norms.

“The operations of institutions being allowed systematically would bring a sigh of relief for public universities and private higher education institutes besides convincing investors and stakeholders.

“EMGS hope that Higher Education Institutes will take precautionary steps and follow the SOPs given by the Health Ministry and the Higher Education Ministry.

“The students should be open in adapting to the new norms,” added EMGS.

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2020/05/30/education-malaysia-ready-to-assist-return-of-international-students

Sacrifice necessary in Covid-19 fight – CM

Saturday, May 30th, 2020

KOTA KINABALU: Celebrating the Kaamatan Festival this year is more challenging because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Mohd Shafie Apdal said the pandemic is impacting the entire world, including Malaysia and Sabah requires sacrifice from the people.

“Taking a lesson from Huminodun’s sacrifice, the people of today must also sacrifice a bit,” he said.

“We have to sacrifice our comfort and our freedom by not celebrating the festival on a large scale and abide by the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that has been set by the government,” said Shafie.

He reminded that the SOP implemented is not geared at stopping the freedom of people from celebrating but rather, to curb the spread of the virus.

He also said the people must unite with the government in this fight against Covid-19 since it can only be curbed when everyone is united.

In his address, Shafie also spoke of the Harvest Festival and its background.

He explained that the celebration centers around Huminodun, a local legend who sacrificed herself so that her people may be saved.

He added that during those days, it was said that food was scarce, and that people were struggling to survive.

“Now, the Harvest Festival is celebrated as a sign of thanksgiving for an abundant harvest,” he said.

Shafie reminded that although paddy planting is no longer a custom of the present community, it continues to be celebrated during the festival as a sign of gratitude.

At the same time, he also spoke of the uniqueness of Sabah, where the people hold firmly to traditional values that are passed down for generations.

“We live in harmony, together with other ethnic groups who are in the state,” he said.

He added that the unity now enjoyed in Sabah is the best example of understanding and unity present in Malaysia.

“I am confident that we can be proud to share our cultural heritage that we have, not just with other Malaysians but also with the world,” he said.

BY JENNE LAJIUN ON MAY.

Read more @ https://www.theborneopost.com/2020/05/30/sacrifice-necessary-in-covid-19-fight-cm/

NGO makes the best of ‘new normal’

Saturday, May 30th, 2020
One of the asnaf recipients collecting the Sinar Syawal package at Surau Al-Aslahiyah in San Peng recently.One of the asnaf recipients collecting the Sinar Syawal package at Surau Al-Aslahiyah in San Peng recently.

LETTERS: THE “new normal” in the age of Covid-19 has meant a rethinking of all the usual ways of doing business.

For local non-governmental organisation (NGO) #foodforgelandangan (#ffg), the new normal has meant innovating not once but twice over.

Driven mainly by the Old Putera Association of the Royal Military College, previous Ramadans saw #ffg aiding the homeless and the urban poor in Kuala Lumpur by distributing food, new clothes, pocket money and even offering barber services.

This year, however, in an effort to stem the spread of Covid-19, the government swooped in and swept up the homeless to place them in seven transit shelters and managed centres.

So, #ffg turned its attention to the families living in poverty in two social housing areas — 100 families in San Peng and 22 in Ampang Hiliran — as well as 21 other families around Kuala Lumpur and seven in Seremban.

Two programmes were launched. “Sinar Ramadan” with a RM8,800 fund was initiated on April 21, 2020, while “Sinar Syawal” saw RM10,000 worth of items distributed on May 22.

There was the added challenge of adherence to strict guidelines from the Ministry of Health and the Religious Affairs Department of Kuala Lumpur with the use of face masks, hand sanitisers and temperature checks.

#ffg also had to rely on the use of WhatsApp to determine the distribution scheduling at Surau Al-Aslahiyah in San Peng.

The NGO would like to thank all who were involved in both programmes, including the donors and the Al-Aslahiyah committee headed by Ustaz Hafiz, for bringing Syawal cheer to the less fortunate.

by MOHD AZIZAN ZAINAL

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2020/05/596418/ngo-makes-best-new-normal

UPU application results for post-SPM programmes out on June 3

Saturday, May 30th, 2020
File Photo: The results of applications for admission to public tertiary education institutions will be announced on June 3, said the Higher Education Ministry.  - NSTP/SYAMSI SUHAIMI
File Photo: The results of applications for admission to public tertiary education institutions will be announced on June 3, said the Higher Education Ministry. – NSTP/SYAMSI SUHAIMI

KUALA LUMPUR: The results of applications for admission to public tertiary education institutions will be announced on June 3, said the Higher Education Ministry.

In a statement today, the ministry said candidates who applied for places in post-Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) programmes at public universities, teacher education institutes, matriculation colleges, polytechnics, community colleges and skills training institutions can check their results from 12 noon using UPUPocket 2.0, which is a mobile application that can be downloaded on mobile devices.

They can also check their results at the following sites http://jpt.umt.edu.my; http://jpt.ums.edu.my; https://jpt.unimas.my; https://jpt.utm.my; and http://jpt.uum.edu.my.

The ministry said offer letters will be issued by respective institutions to successful candidates, and they are required to confirm the offer within the stipulated period.

“All offers are final and no changes will be allowed.”

The ministry said those who fail to get a placement at public universities, teacher education institutes and matriculation colleges can appeal via the Central University Admission Unit’s online portal (UPUOnline) at http://upu.moe.gov.my from June 3 to June 10, from 12 noon to 5pm.

“Meanwhile, those who fail to get a placement at premier polytechnics, conventional polytechnics, community colleges and skills training institutions, can appeal directly to the respective agencies,” the statement read.

The Department of Higher Education, via its student admission management division, will be operating its hotline from June 3 to 10, from 8.30aam to 4pm, to facilitate consultations.

Candidates can call 03-8870 8200 for assistance.

The ministry said a total of 205,972 applications were received for post-SPM programmes at public tertiary education institutions this year.

Registration at 17 public universities will run from July 13 to Oct 4, while other institutions while conduct registrations from July 5 to Jan 4, next year

By New Straits Times.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/05/596505/upu-application-results-post-spm-programmes-out-june-3