Archive for July, 2020

Court rules Najib had private interest to use SRC for his benefit

Friday, July 31st, 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has ruled that former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had a private interest to use SRC International Sdn Bhd as a vehicle for his personal benefit and advantage by leveraging on his position of power and overarching control over the company.

Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali in his judgment said the defence had failed to properly appreciate the application of the law to the factual matrix relevant to the abuse of position charge under Section 23(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 (MACC).

“The interest of the accused in SRC in the context of Section 23(1) is not his control of SRC without more. That is merely the premise of the interest,” said the judge, who sentenced Najib to 12 years’ jail and a RM210 million fine after he was found guilty of all seven charges related to the misappropriation of RM42 million of SRC funds.

He said the accused’s participation at the Cabinet meetings which approved the government guarantees for the RM4 billion financing to SRC from Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP), which was in turn quickly drawn down to SRC, directly caused the accused to be in a position of access to much greater funds of the company, at any time and as and when he deemed necessary, including to the RM42 million that flowed into his accounts in late 2014 and early 2015.

The judge further said the reason for the participation was precisely the motivation for the intention to have access to much larger funds in SRC, which included the RM42 million.

“The RM42 million received on Dec 26, 2014 and Feb 10, 2015 was as such a direct cause of the accused’s participation at the Cabinet meetings. Such sum is the ‘gratification’ as per Section 23 of the MACC Act charge against the accused.

“The factual matrix in the instant trial is that the parties involved are the government (the Cabinet) and SRC. The accused headed the government and also had a private interest in SRC which he controlled,” he said.

Justice Mohd Nazlan said the approvals by the Cabinet benefited SRC, which was controlled by the accused himself. He said there was no necessity for there to be any arrangement between the accused and any other party for gratification to be received to prove the presence of criminal intention.

“It is worthy of emphasis that here, the accused had an interest in SRC. He participated at the Cabinet meetings which approved the SRC’s application for the government guarantees. “The gratification in terms of the advantage immediately became an entitlement of the accused, only for him to decide as and when it was essential for such funds to be channelled for his own use,” he said.

“And the said decision to approve directly put the accused in
 a position that had access to more funds of SRC".

The judge further said he had analysed the national interest contention and the relevance of Section 23(4) at the end of the prosecution case.

He said he doubted that the accused could be deemed as an officer in SRC and the representative of the government and also found that in any event, the complete answer to the defence’s submission on the issue was that Section 23(4) could not apply in this case because it has not been shown that the actions taken by the accused which led to the decision by the government to grant the two government guarantees was done in the interest or the advantage of the government.

Justice Mohd Nazlan said the accused’s defence did not proffer anything new of substantive worth and was not able to change the finding at the end of the prosecution case that the actions by the accused were not for the advancement of national interest and that evidence did not warrant the invocation of Section 23(4) of the MACC Act.

Touching on the conduct after the drawdown of the financing from KWAP, the judge said subsequent to the release of the entire RM4 billion loan to SRC, the conduct of the accused seems inconsistent with his involvement prior to.

“The cross-examination of the accused revealed in clear fashion a number of conclusions that do little to bolster his defence.

“First, there is no evidence that shows that the accused was even concerned with the use of the funds loaned to SRC by KWAP, both in terms of the fact that the monies were sourced from the country’s retirement pension fund, hence part of the public funds, as well as whether the pursuit of promoting the national energy strategic initiatives was anywhere closer to be met.

“The accused’s lack of action to recover the funds stated to be frozen by the Swiss authorities for alleged money laundering is therefore very puzzling and is instead much more consistent with the conduct of one who did not want the problem resolved given his own complicity in the unlawful transfer of the funds in the first place, as evidenced in the shareholder minutes of MOF Inc. notwithstanding his claim that these minutes were not genuine,” he said.

He said it was clear by the end of 2015 that SRC was facing financial difficulties and the MOF memo of Nov 4, 2015 raised the need for the first of what later resulted in three short-term loans to SRC to avoid KWAP declaring an event of default against SRC that would call upon the government guarantees.

The judge said the accused was supportive of the efforts on the short-term loans but did not even summon the directors of SRC to provide an explanation to him despite being the advisor emeritus and the Prime Minister who had vast powers under the memorandum and article of association of the company, including in nominating the directors to serve the board of SRC in the first place.

“And the accused also disagreed with the assertion that the RM4 billion had since disappeared and lost, insisting that that fact has not been established. Never mind the accused himself offered no evidence to show that he had taken any steps to ascertain what exactly has happened to the said funds.

“Furthermore, the accused could not provide a clear answer to the question whether he was satisfied with the progress of SRC after the first drawdown of the RM2 billion before agreeing to support the second RM2 billion loan. There was a period of about six months in between the two,” he said.

The judge said the accused claimed that he did ask and was told that the monies had been set aside for immediate investment requirements, but did not inquire whether the loan remained in cash.

He said according to the accused that was a matter for the board of directors to oversee and he also disagreed that there was a duty to update on the status of the disbursement of the first loan secured by the first government guarantee when the proposal for the second government guarantee was tabled at the meeting of the Cabinet.

“Again, I find this hard to fathom when the source of the funding was the pensions fund and the sum involved was extremely large by any measure.

“As such, in my judgment, having examined the defence of the accused and considered all the defence in this case, I find that the defence has not succeeded in rebutting the presumption under Section 23(2) of the MACC Act on a balance of probabilities or in raising a reasonable doubt in the prosecution case in respect of this charge against the accused under Section 23(1) of the MACC Act,” he said.

by Bernama.

Read more @

Chronology of Sabah politics from GE14

Friday, July 31st, 2020

Shafie’s entourage is seen entering the Istana Negeri to have an audience with the Sabah Head of State yesterday in this file photo. Bernama Photo

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah State Assembly was dissolved today after the Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin consented to the request made by Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

The following is a chronology of the political dynamics in the ‘Land Below the Wind’ that led to the dissolution:

May 9, 2018

— Both Sabah Barisan Nasional (BN) and Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) along with its allies from Pakatan Harapan, win 29 seats apiece from the 60 seat state assembly in the 14th General Election (GE14).

— The two remaining seats are won by Parti Solidariti Rakyat Sabah (STAR).

May 10, 2018
— Sabah BN led by Tan Sri Musa Aman receive the support of the two STAR assemblymen, thus obtaining a simple majority with 31 votes that allows BN to form the government.

— United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation(UPKO) announces its withdrawal from BN. However, four UPKO assemblymen remain in support of Musa as chief minister.

— Musa is sworn in as Sabah chief minister.

May 11, 2018

— Six BN state assemblymen leave BN and join Warisan in support of Mohd Shafie, who is also Warisan president, as chief minister.

May 12, 2018

— Mohd Shafie is sworn in as the Sabah chief minister, 48 hours after Musa was sworn into office.

May 13, 2018

— The Istana Negeri sends a letter to Musa through his private secretary informing the former that he is no longer the Sabah chief minister

May 16, 2018

— Mohd Shafie announces the Sabah state cabinet lineup with two nominated state assemblymen, namely Tuaran MP Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau, who is also UPKO president, and former Sandakan MP, the late Datuk Stephen Wong, who was also the Sabah DAP chairman at the time.

May 17, 2018

— Musa files a writ requesting the court to declare him as the legitimate chief minister.

June 11, 2018

— Warisan’s secretary-general Loretto Padua Jr and treasurer Terence Siambun are appointed as nominated assemblymen

Sept 18, 2018

— Libaran PKR division chief Jaffari Waliam is appointed as a nominated assemblyman.

Nov 7, 2018

— The Kota Kinabalu High Court rules that Mohd Shafie’s appointment as the new Sabah Chief Minister is according to the constitution, and he is therefore the state’s rightful leader.

— Musa’s lawyer says an appeal will be filed against the court ruling.

June 17, 2019

— Sabah DAP treasurer Ronnie Loh Ee Eng is sworn in as a nominated assemblyman, replacing the late Datuk Stephen Wong, who passed away on March 28, 2019.

Nov 29, 2019

— The Kota Kinabalu Court of Appeal dismisses with costs, Musa’s appeal against the rejection of his suit in challenging the validity of Mohd Shafie’s appointment as the legitimate Sabah chief minister.

May 15, 2020

— Sabah government bloc assemblymen led by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau express full support for Mohd Shafie to continue to lead the administration following rumors on social media claiming of a change in the state government by July this year.

June 11, 2020

— Mohd Shafie holds a meeting with the Warisan MPs and assemblymen as well as other allies to discuss the political scenario and to pledge allegiance to the current leadership.

June 15, 2020

—  Two assemblymen from UPKO, namely Datuk Limus Jury and Datuk James Ratib announce their departure from the party with immediate effect, thus becoming independent assemblymen in support of the Perikatan Nasional Federal government.

July 21, 2020

— Political discussion in Sabah over efforts to overthrow the Warisan-led state government heats up as Musa is said to have obtained a simple majority, with several assemblymen from the state government bloc said to have left their respective parties.

July 23, 2020

— The political scene in Sabah calms down as assemblymen from the government bloc deny they have left their respective parties in support of Musa.

July 29, 2020

— Musa claims to have obtained a simple majority to form the new state government through a coalition of several parties in the state.

July 30, 2020

— Mohd Shafie announces the dissolution of the Sabah state assembly, paving way for state elections to be held within 60 days.


Read more @

Penang shops fully stocked up

Friday, July 31st, 2020

Spoilt for choice: Ang showing the various face masks sold at her booth in Gurney Plaza, Penang. — CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: Face mask vendors and pharmacies are all stocked up to meet demand for the compulsory ruling to have face coverings in crowded spaces and on public transport.

Ang Ah Yew, 53, who sells colourful cloth masks, said she ordered a new shipment despite still having stock.

“I have to order more masks as I know there will be a surge in demand. I have ordered 40kg of masks, which will come up to 2,000 pieces, ” she said.

Ang said she would custom-make the masks “as some people prefer two-layer masks made of softer cotton”.

Many customers would get more than one to match their clothes, she said.

“I have a group of friends who help me make them, ” she said adding that she had been selling face masks for four years.

“It used to be for those who were travelling or to avoid the haze.

“Now, they serve a different purpose in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, ” she said at her stall in a mall here.

Ang also sells masks with a ventilator which comes with a filter to help those with breathing difficulties.

“I even have a mask strap that will keep the mask around your neck when you take it off.

“This is to make sure you do not have to stuff it in your pocket or misplace it, ” she said.

A pharmacy worker said the shop was fully stocked with disposable masks.

“When the pandemic first started, people were panic buying and this caused a shortage.

“We want everyone to know that there is enough stock and we will continue to get supplies.

“Many have opted for cloth masks, which is better for the environment but it is encouraged to buy one with a filter, ” said the pharmacist, who only wished to be known as Loh.

As for Lim Chin Han, who is a co-partner at a chain of pharmacies, he said it was now easier to restock since there were local suppliers of disposable masks.

“We are prepared and have ordered 300 boxes of three-ply disposable face masks, ” he said.

With the supplies coming from Kedah and Penang, he felt confident of the quality as they were locally certified.

“We are also assured of getting our reorders as it will be faster than importing them from another

country, ” he said.

Lim said a mask could only be used for six to eight hours, so the user would require two to three masks a day.

“We anticipate a surge in sales, ” said Lim.


Read more @

Work Matters! Gratitude – the missing link

Friday, July 31st, 2020
The writer with Dr. Philip George.The writer with Dr. Philip George.

“To wake at dawn with a winged heart, and give thanks for another day of loving; to rest noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy; to return home at eventide with gratitude; and then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise on your lips.”

These are the beautiful words of Khalil Gibran, the renowned Lebanese writer, poet and visual artist, who is also considered a modern-day philosopher. It is the very essence of gratefulness.

Recently, I wrote about two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, who have done numerous studies on gratitude.

Their research shows that gratefulness is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness.

If you want to feel positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve your health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships, you first need to be thankful. Just like Khalil Gibran so elegantly describes it, in the quote above.

However, through experience and the hard knocks life offers up, you know that some people have a more grateful character than others. For some, gratitude just doesn’t come as easy.

I’ve always simply assumed that if a person is schooled properly to be appreciative of everything around them, there is a higher likelihood that they will have a grateful disposition.

But it seems that genetics also plays a role in why some people feel and express gratitude much easier than others. In a study published by the Journal of Research in Personality in 2007, Michael Steger from the University of Louisville and his colleagues, offer evidence of this.

Their research shows that identical twins, who essentially have the same DNA, had similar levels of gratitude when compared to fraternal twins. If you are a twin, but you are not identical, you share only 50 percent of DNA.

Sara B. Algoe another researcher whose work is published by Oxford University Press in 2014 says that specific genes may underlie a person’s grateful or less grateful disposition.

These, together with other similar studies indicate that there may be a genetic component to gratitude.

Aside from your genes, there also personality factors that may hamper you from being appreciative.

Researchers from Washington University published an article titled “Thieves of thankfulness: Traits that inhibit gratitude” in 2016. They studied the individual features of a person, which prevents gratefulness.

The study concludes that narcissism, cynicism, and materialism obstruct feelings of gratitude in you.

Greed and materialism both involve coveting what you do not have, so it’s no surprise that these emotions are the complete opposite to gratitude.

Quite frankly, it is impossible for you to be grateful if you are greedy or materialistic at the same time. You can see this clearly with some people you meet. I have even seen this with some of my extended family!

In the consumerist society that exists right now, you tend to focus on what you lack, or on what other people have that you don’t, whereas gratitude is the feeling of appreciation for all that you already have.

You need to recognise that perhaps your genes don’t predispose thankfulness in you, or your personality traits are a barrier to gratefulness, and that you might be too consumed to get ahead in your career or in life, that you only tend to focus on materialism.

But you cannot deny that all the prevalent research indicates that it is gratitude that encourages joy, tranquility, empathy, awareness, and enthusiasm.

Grateful people engage much more with their surroundings, which simply leads to better personal growth, and feelings of purpose, meaning, and connectedness.

I have a daily segment on Lite Malaysia, a leading English language radio station, where I share a platform with a few other experts in their respective professions.

One of whom is Dr. Philip George, a Consultant Psychiatrist, Addiction Specialist and a Professor.

Recently, Dr. George together with Leong Hui Yen published a paper discussing the effects of the lockdown, and its toll on our mental health. The ongoing uncertainty puts pressure on our emotions and resilience.

In the paper, they suggest that concentrating on things you can be grateful for, helps you cope with anxiety and the negativity that your mind may experience.

For those of you who find it hard to be grateful, maybe you can start by using these techniques.

Dr. George and his associate recommend ways to foster gratitude.

This includes keeping a gratitude journal where you can write down three things that have gone well for you in the day, and identify the cause. And, to also think about people who have inspired you, and what was most noteworthy about them.

Significantly, they suggest that you should engage in “mental subtraction”, which is where you imagine what your life would be like if some positive event had not occurred.

This is the way to build your gratitude “muscle”.

Hasn’t the Covid-19 pandemic shown you that gratitude is perhaps the missing link in your life? Isn’t this what you should be focusing on?

By Shankar R. Santhiram.

Read more @

PM performs Aidiladha prayers in keeping with Covid SOPs

Friday, July 31st, 2020
PM performs Aidiladha prayers in keeping with Covid SOPs - Photo by BernamaPM performs Aidiladha prayers in keeping with Covid SOPs – Photo by Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin joined the congregation of the Saidina Umar Al-Khattab Mosque in Bukit Damansara here today to perform Aidiladha prayers.

Muhyiddin, who was clad in a yellow and red baju Melayu complete with sampin, was also wearing a mask and brought his own prayer mat in compliance with standard operating procedures (SOPs) to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The prayers, which began at 8am, was led by Imam Mohd Fikri Che Hamid.

The Chief Imam of the Mosque, Mohd Rahimi P. Ramlee, said the entire congregation had their body temperatures checked and were made to maintain a one-metre distance from each other.

He said the mosque had limited the congregation to 700 – comprising 600 members who hold a special weekly pass, and 100 walk-in holders of special passes. -

by Bernama

Read more @

Agong performs Aidiladha prayers at Tengku Ampuan Afzan mosque

Friday, July 31st, 2020
Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah reciting prayers when attending Prayers Ceremony in Honor of His Majesty's 61st Birthday Celebration at the Sultan Ahmad Satu Mosque- Photo by BERNAMA/MOHD FAIZOL AZIZ Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah reciting prayers when attending Prayers Ceremony in Honor of His Majesty’s 61st Birthday Celebration at the Sultan Ahmad Satu Mosque- Photo by BERNAMA/MOHD FAIZOL AZIZ

KUANTAN: The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah joined congregants at the Tengku Ampuan Afzan Mosque here today to perform Aidiladha prayers.

His Majesty, accompanied by the Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah, arrived at the mosque at 8.25am and was received by Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail and Pahang state government leaders.

Also present was the Agong’s son, the Regent of Pahang, Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah Al-Sultan Abdullah.

Father and son were dressed in matching grey baju Melayu.

The prayer was led by the Chief Imam of the mosque, Mohd Hafiz Suhaili, while the sermon was read by Kuantan Kadi, Abdul Aziz Abd Karim.

The King also witnessed the sacrificial slaughter of nine cows in the compound of the mosque before departing. -

by Bernama.

Read more @

Noor Hisham: Sabah pupil case has not led to clusters

Friday, July 31st, 2020
PETALING JAYA: No clusters have been identified stemming from the primary school pupil in Sabah found to be Covid-19-positive, said the Health Ministry.

Its director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said there were two separate Covid-19 cases involving schoolchildren in Sabah but these were not classified as a cluster.

“When we looked into the two cases, we found that one pupil had not attended school. The patient has a fever and is being treated and when we did the screening, (the pupil) tested positive, ” he said in a press conference yesterday.

For the other case, he said, the child had other medical complications and was referred to a hospital.

“We have done sampling at the (child’s) school and none of the school children or teachers were infected, as of now.

“There were no clusters formed in the schools. Both children have been admitted to the hospital, and we have isolated them and are treating them, ” he said.

It is understood that the source of infection for the second case was still being investigated.

Clusters, he said, were only classified as such when there were at least two to three confirmed cases that were linked.

On the Sivagangga cluster in Kedah, Dr Noor Hisham said schools and kindergartens did not have to be closed in the state although there must be thorough cleaning of common areas in such places.

“We have identified the cluster in Kedah but we do not suggest the closure of schools and kindergartens, ” he said.

To date, he added, 143 people had been screened from the cluster, with six found to be positive, 67 negative and 70 with results still pending.

The Sivagangga cluster involved the owner of a nasi kandar restaurant in Jitra, a family member and four workers.

A total of 73 kindergartens and three daycare centres under Kemas in Kubang Pasu were ordered to close following the emergence of the cluster.

Some guardians and parents were believed to have gone to the restaurant.

Dr Noor Hisham also urged people to follow the standard operating procedure (SOP) and to adhere to the new normal during Hari Raya Haji.

“The Health Ministry advises people to avoid holding large gatherings for Hari Raya Haji.

“The three habits of social distancing, maintaining hand hygiene and wearing face masks are vital and must always be practised.”

Yesterday, there were eight new Covid-19 cases, bringing the country’s total cases to 8,964.

Three of the cases were imported while five were local transmissions.

The three new imported cases involved two Malaysians and one foreigner, coming in from Kazakhstan, the Philippines and Indonesia.

The five local transmissions all involved Malaysians, with three cases in Sabah, one in Kuala Lumpur and one in Johor.

There are currently 223 active cases, with three patients receiving treatment at the intensive care unit and one on a ventilator.

Five patients have also recovered from the disease, bringing the number of recoveries to 8,617.

The death toll remains at 124.


Read more @

Creating Industry 4.0 champions in Malaysia

Friday, July 31st, 2020

Robots to play greater role in improving productivity of the companies.

THE Covid-19 pandemic has clearly impacted business entities and the corporate world, especially those in relation to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0) – a revolution that will change how we live, work and communicate.

However, the health crisis has also created an unprecedented change in how companies think about and approach their production processes and business models. It is very likely that businesses that are more receptive to Industry 4.0 technologies, have the ability speed up their recovery from Covid-19 implications.

The Government has roped in the International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti) as one of the three main players to lead this initiative. On Oct 31,2018, Miti has launched the National Policy on Industry 4.0 aimed at boosting digital transformation in the Malaysian manufacturing sector and its related services by facilitating companies to embrace the related technologies in a systematic and comprehensive manner. The end goal is for Malaysian manufacturers to be stronger through smart technologies.

Since then, Miti has introduced various initiatives such as readiness assessment, intervention programme, high speed broadband connectivity to potential industrial parks, enhancing competence centres at public higher learning institutions, and reskilling programme to address the technology and skills gaps among the industry players especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Miti is among three main players to lead Industry 4.0 initiatives.

Industry4WRD Readiness Assessment (RA) is a comprehensive programme to help companies in the manufacturing sector and its related services to understand their present capabilities in adopting Industry 4.0, by using a pre-determined set of indicators, and to embark on digitalisation. The hybrid RA model was introduced to gauge the readiness of Malaysian companies to adopt Industry 4.0.

This consists of online assessments on technical capabilities and knowledge of the companies’ workforce and management, as well as on-site assessment to evaluate the process and technological aspects.

Assessors are required to complete the RA report within seven working days after the on-site visit. On this note, Miti highly advised all companies to only engage with appointed assessing bodies to undertake the Industry4WRD RA.

Additionally, the intervention programme is the next step for companies which have undergone RA to adopt Industry 4.0-related technologies with funding facility offered by the Government.

The implementation of RA and intervention will continue in 2020 whereby 450 SMEs will enjoy the Government-funded RA and 65 SMEs for intervention fund. Since the online application for RA commenced on Jan 28 last year, Miti has received 1,164 applications from companies across Malaysia.

A total of 665 companies have been approved for the Government-funded RA and 25 companies for intervention fund, whereby 256 companies have received their RA reports which have been finalised by the assessing bodies appointed by Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC) and the remaining companies are in various stages of on-site assessment.

Industry 4.0 is the future for businesses moving forward.

To facilitate and assist more companies, the RA is now open to companies that have undergone Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation’s Mid-Tier Companies Development Programme (MTCDP), the Fraunhofer Programme by Sirim, and Lean Management by MPC.

The screening of eligible companies is made by RA technical and steering committees chaired by Miti, comprising representatives from both public and private sectors. The chosen companies will then be assisted by assessors in identifying areas of improvement in three thrusts – namely people, process and technology – and will receive an RA detailed report which will include recommendations on intervention strategies to adopt Industry 4.0.

Upon completion of the RA, SMEs are encouraged to apply for the Industry4WRD intervention fund from the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA). The RA is a prerequisite for SMEs to be considered for a 70:30 matching grant up to a maximum of RM500,000 (with a maximum of RM150,000 upfront upon approval) for implementation of intervention strategies.

Companies (MNCs, LLCs and SMEs) not selected for the RA may undertake assessment with any assessing bodies and be eligible to claim for tax deduction on expenditure of RA fees of up to RM27,000.

They also can apply for intervention grant allocated under the Industry4WRD Domestic Investment Strategic Fund (DISF) and Industry4WRD High Impact Fund (HIF). These grants are available as 60:40 matching grant.

Miti, as the key driver in making Malaysia the preferred destination for quality investments and enhancing the nation’s rising status as a globally competitive trading nation, aims to further intensify the implementation of all programmes, particularly the RA and intervention programme. This is to assist companies in adopting advanced technologies which are essential to business recovery and provide resilience moving forward.

Moving forward, Miti and its agencies will continue to organise outreach programmes nationwide, as well as facilitate SMEs to apply for RA.

Read more @

Introduce decent standard of living guide for all

Friday, July 31st, 2020
The national and state level of the Bottom 40 (B40), Middle 40 (M40), and Top 20 (T20) income thresholds for an average household as a relative measure of poverty were also released. -Pic for illustrations purposes onlyThe national and state level of the Bottom 40 (B40), Middle 40 (M40), and Top 20 (T20) income thresholds for an average household as a relative measure of poverty were also released. -Pic for illustrations purposes only

LETTER: Recently, the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) announced a revision of the national Poverty Line Income (PLI) from RM980 to RM2,208. However, the PLI does not take into account the cost of living beyond a very basic budget.

It does not take into consideration expenditures like childcare, leisure, and social activities that not only draw from a household’s income but are also determining factors in a person’s ability to work and endure the potential hardships associated with balancing employment and other aspects of everyday life.

At the same time, the national and state level of the Bottom 40 (B40), Middle 40 (M40), and Top 20 (T20) income thresholds for an average household as a relative measure of poverty were also released. Several government assistance programmes, such as Bantuan Sara Hidup and the PeKA B40 healthcare scheme for the low-income group, use the national B40 threshold as one of their eligibility criteria.

However, the use of a single national-level B40 threshold discriminates the relatively non-well-off households that are in richer states. The differences in state-level B40, M40, and T20 income thresholds are large. For example, a household in Kelantan with an income of RM6,620 is considered a T20 household in the state, but the B40 threshold for an average household in Selangor is RM6,960.

This large disparity suggests that a one size fit all B40 threshold, which many government initiatives rely on as eligibility criteria, is not appropriate. With it, many who are in states with low average household income will enjoy the programme, while the urban poor, especially in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, which have higher average household incomes, will not receive the assistance.

If the rationale is that those in the B40 group should be assisted, then the group in Selangor with a household income of RM6,960 should also be assisted. A better alternative is not a relative poverty measure similar to the B40 threshold, but for Malaysia to use a decent standard of living measure or a living wage as a guide for compensation policy.

A decent standard of living measure will calculate the budget that will provide a worker with sufficient income to reach a decent standard of living based on the cost of accommodation, goods, and services within a particular locality. Furthermore, it should not only be measured at the state level but also the district level.

I believe the department has the data to calculate the decent standard of living at the district level as Bank Negara Malaysia and the Employees Provident Fund have estimated the living wage for those in Kuala Lumpur. The Shared Prosperity Vision aims to provide a decent standard of living to all Malaysians by 2030.

Many global cities, such as Berkeley, San Francisco, and London, have used the decent standard of living measure as a guide for workers’ wages. The PLI may provide an optimum minimum to measure poverty. But as Malaysia progresses towards being a developed country, a decent standard of living is a more appropriate apparatus to measure the wellbeing of society.


Read more @

Global Covid-19 deaths reach 667,361

Friday, July 31st, 2020

Miskito ethnic group people prepare to board a bus to return to La Mosquitia because of losing their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in Tegucigalpa on July 30, 2020. The novel coronavirus has killed at least 667,361 people since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP. (Photo by ORLANDO SIERRA / AFP)

Miskito ethnic group people prepare to board a bus to return to La Mosquitia because of losing their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in Tegucigalpa on July 30, 2020. The novel coronavirus has killed at least 667,361 people since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP. (Photo by ORLANDO SIERRA / AFP

PARIS: The novel coronavirus has killed at least 667,361 people since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1100 GMT on Thursday.

At least 17,053,650 cases of coronavirus have been registered in 196 countries and territories. Of these, at least 9,759,200 are now considered recovered.

The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organisation (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections.

Many countries are testing only symptomatic or the most serious cases.

On Wednesday, 6,687 new deaths and 285,318 new cases were recorded worldwide. Based on latest reports, the countries with the most new deaths were Brazil with 1,595 new deaths, followed by United States with 1,267, and India with 775.

The United States is the worst-hit country with 150,716 deaths from 4,427,493 cases. At least 1,389,425 people have been declared recovered.

After the US, the hardest-hit countries are Brazil with 90,134 deaths from 2,552,265 cases, United Kingdom with 45,961 deaths from 301,455 cases, Mexico with 45,361 deaths from 408,449 cases, and Italy with 35,129 deaths from 246,776 cases.

The country with the highest number of deaths compared to its population is Belgium with 85 fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by Britain with 68, Spain 61, Italy 58, and Peru 57.

China – excluding Hong Kong and Macau – has to date declared 84,165 cases (105 new since Wednesday), including 4,634 deaths (0 new), and 78,957 recoveries.

Europe overall has 209,358 deaths from 3,135,632 cases, Latin America and the Caribbean 191,827 deaths from 4,632,894 infections, the United States and Canada 159,664 deaths from 4,542,739 cases, Asia 60,775 deaths from 2,697,189 cases, Middle East 26,666 deaths from 1,134,152 cases, Africa 18,851 deaths from 893,051 cases, and Oceania 220 deaths from 17,994 cases.

As a result of corrections by national authorities or late publication of data, the figures updated over the past 24 hours might not correspond exactly to the previous day’s tallies.

by AFP.

Read more @