Nadma ready to reactivate facilities at MAEPS

December 1st, 2020
Nadma director-general Datuk Dr Aminuddin Hassim, however said, the opening of the centre is subject to the Health Ministry’s (MOH) decision. - Bernama photo. Nadma director-general Datuk Dr Aminuddin Hassim, however said, the opening of the centre is subject to the Health Ministry’s (MOH) decision. – Bernama photo.

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) is prepared to reactivate the Low-Risk Covid-19 Quarantine and Treatment Centre at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS) if the number of beds in existing health facilities is insufficient.

Nadma director-general Datuk Dr Aminuddin Hassim, however said, the opening of the centre is subject to the Health Ministry’s (MOH) decision.

He said the agency was currently assisting MOH in increasing the number of beds at existing health facilities such as the Kuala Lumpur Hospital, the National Leprosy Control Centre at Sungai Buloh Hospital and the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital.

“We are currently making use of existing facilities (in the hospitals) and looking into ways to centralise services. If we were to open MAEPS, we need 670 workers, but if we use the existing hospitals we already have the manpower.

At the hospitals we have laboratories to conduct experiments or tests. But if at MAEPS we have to bring all the facilities there. If necessary, we will take three to four days to start operation because we have the experience,” he said when appearing as guest on Bernama TV’s Ruang Bicara programme titled ‘Disaster Management During Covid-19 Pandemic’.

On flood preparations, Amidnuddin admitted this year would be different taking into account the current Covid-19 situation.

He said Nadma would serve as coordinator in flood related matters nationwide to ensure that planning could be organised and coordinated smoothly.

“This is the perfect storm. InsyaAllah, we can handle the flood preparation together, (however) when we are talking about the COVID-19 SOP (standard operating procedures), we have discussed this with the agencies involved as well as conducted simulations.

“The simulations are important to be able improve what we have planned as chaos will escalate in the event of disaster…there are some who would refuse to go to temporary evacuation centres (PPS) because they are afraid of leaving their belongings… we have to expect that,” he said.

Following that, he said Nadma has drawn up several action plans such as the SOP before, during and after the flood victims are allowed to return home from their respective PPS.

“For example, when they are instructed to go to a PPS, they have to wear face masks and ensure physical distancing. Although it is going to be quite difficult, we will get the agencies involved to help,” he said.

by Bernama.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/12/645722/nadma-ready-reactivate-facilities-maeps

13 metric tons of medical waste pile up in Sabah daily

December 1st, 2020
Sabah Covid-19 spokesperson Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said the medical waste originates from, among others, 45 quarantine centres scattered throughout the state. - NSTP/ AVILA GERALDINESabah Covid-19 spokesperson Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said the medical waste originates from, among others, 45 quarantine centres scattered throughout the state. – NSTP/ AVILA GERALDINE

KOTA KINABALU: Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, a waste disposal contractor in Sabah has the unenviable task of disposing of six to 13 metric tons of clinical waste daily.

Sabah Covid-19 spokesperson Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said the medical waste originates from, among others, 45 quarantine centres scattered throughout the state.

This is based on daily monitoring conducted by the state’s Department of Environment’s (DoE) waste disposal contractor, Sedafiat Sdn Bhd, since the outbreak in March.

Masidi noted that Sedafiat is the only company licensed by the state DoE to treat and dispose of medical waste throughout Sabah.

“From inspections, there is an increase in clinical waste due to the spike in Covid-19 cases in the state.

“To expedite the disposal of the clinical waste, the state government ensures the management of clinical waste carried out by the company is in accordance with existing guidelines,” he said during an online press conference here, today.

He noted that the company is required to adhere to the Environmental Quality (Scheduled Wastes) Regulations 2005, Guidelines on the Handling and Management of Clinical Wastes in Malaysia, and prescribed standard operating procedures.

Masidi was responding to a question on whether the state government is monitoring medical waste management by the company, based in the Lok Kawi industrial area, following public complaints that clinical waste is piling up at their compounds and along road shoulders.

He stressed that the state government has also ordered the company to expedite the construction of an incinerator in Sabah, adding that the state DoE has also given the green light for the company to dispose of clinical waste by sending it for treatment in Peninsular Malaysia.

“The Ministry of Health (MoH) has been asked to inform the port authority as well as customs authority to facilitate and expedite the shipment of these clinical waste containers for immediate treatment.

“The company was also instructed to find a more effective clinical waste packaging method to speed up the loading of jumbo bags containing clinical waste into containers and reduce the accumulation of clinical waste outside its premises,” he said.

Today, Sabah registered 326 new Covid-19 cases and one death, while 2,214 patients are still receiving treatment.

Masidi noted that 459 patients had recovered and were discharged from hospitals in Sabah today, bringing the cumulative number of cured cases to 25,567 people.

When asked about the treatment period of a recovered patient in Sabah, he said the shortest period was 10 days.

“Those undergoing treatment for a longer period are usually due to existing health problem factors such as kidney disease, heart disease and so on.

“Patients with chronic diseases like these are likely to require ventilator and dialysis during treatment as a result of complications that arise,” he said.

By Avila Geraldine.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/11/645674/13-metric-tons-medical-waste-pile-sabah-daily

Covid-19: 1,212 new cases reported, three fatalities bring death toll to 360 (updated)

November 30th, 2020

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia recorded 1,212 new Covid-19 infections on Monday (Nov 30), with Selangor recording the most number of new cases with 402.

This is followed by Sabah with 326 cases and Negri Sembilan with 141 cases.

The number of recoveries is higher than new cases, with 2,112 patients being discharged Monday.

INTERACTIVE: Latest figures (Malaysia)

In total, 54,759 patients have recovered from Covid-19 in the country and active cases have gone down to 10,578.

INTERACTIVE: Latest figures (Worldwide)

Cumulatively, Malaysia’s Covid-19 cases have reached 65,697.

At a press conference, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said there were three new Covid-19 fatalities, taking the country’s death toll to 360.

The three deaths are cases in Alor Setar, Kedah, involving a 66-year-old man, a 58-year-old man in Labuan and a 22-year-old man in Lahad Datu, Sabah.

Currently, 113 people are being treated at intensive care units, with 42 of them requiring ventilator support.

Image

By JOSEPH KAOS JR and JO TIMBUONG.

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2020/11/30/covid-19-1212-new-cases-reported-three-fatalities-bring-death-toll-to-360

Immigration officers arrest a big blow to country

November 30th, 2020
This Nov 27 pic shows three Immigration Dept officers being led by MACC officers at the Putrajaya Courts Complex. This Nov 27 pic shows three Immigration Dept officers being led by MACC officers at the Putrajaya Courts Complex.

Recent media reports on Ops Selat (a sting operation carried out by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in collaboration with the Immigration Department) and the 2020 Trafficking In Persons (TIP) Report on Malaysia by the US State Department (available online) leads me to conclude that our Immigration officers – responsible for keeping our borders safe – are complicit in the global crime of human trafficking and migrant smuggling.

The media reports stated that MACC had busted a criminal syndicate involved in human trafficking and migrant smuggling with the arrest of 46 suspects, including 27 Immigration Department officers. They were arrested in several locations including Putrajaya, Selangor, Johor, Sabah and Sarawak.

The syndicate had been operating at our nation’s exit and entry points – KLIA, klia2, and the Sultan Ismail Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine (CIQ) complex building in Johor Baru. Informed sources told the media that the syndicate had two modus operandi:

First, syndicate agents would assist foreign workers who entered the country on social visas (but were working illegally in bars and massage centres) by collecting their passports and have them stamped (by immigration offices) to indicate that they had left the country after three months and had then re-entered legally.

Second, the syndicate members would arrange a “special counter” (manned by Immigration officers working in collusion with the syndiate) for migrants who had been blacklisted for immigration offences. They would be processed at these counters and be allowed entry.

By November 21, the number of suspects arrested had increased to 53 people, including 33 Immigration officers. According to a media report yesterday (29 November), the total number of suspects nabbed under Ops Selat is 65 people – comprising 39 Immigration officers, 17 agents and 9 members of the public.

In July 2020, two Immigration officers, including an assistant director, were among five people charged in court with multiple counts of migrant smuggling. They were accused of smuggling in eight Indonesian migrants at the Pasir Gudang ferry terminal on June 15, 2020. The charges were under section 26A of Act 670.

In January 2017, the then Immigration Department director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali told the media that a passport fee scam that cost the department more than RM1 million in Selangor alone was only small part of much larger corruption in the agency.

Human trafficking is a modern slavery, affecting over 40 million men, women, and children trapped in a web of forced labor, sexual exploitation, and coerced marriage, now the second most lucrative crime in the world, generating more than US$150 billion a year. About 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year. Malaysia is not only a country of destination, but also a country of origin and a transit country.

According to the 2020 Trafficking In Persons (TIP) Report for Malaysia, issued by the US State Department: “The Government of Malaysia does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking” although it is making “significant efforts to do so”. The government also “did not demonstrate overall increasing efforts” compared to the previous year (2019).

The TIP Report in its final paragraph, concludes: “Corrupt immigration officials facilitate trafficking by accepting bribes from brokers and smugglers at border crossings, including at airports. Some government officials profit from bribes and direct involvement in extortion from and exploitation of migrants.

(https://my.usembassy.gov/our-relationship/official-reports/2020-traffick…)

Malaysia is now placed at Tier Two, The Watch List, for the third consecutive year – a position we cannot be proud of. If the situation does not improve soon, Malaysia may drop to the lowest ranking (Tier 3), with Afghanistan, Algeria, Burma, Burundi, China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria, Venezuela.

It leaves me wondering whether our Anti-Trafficking In Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007 (Act 670) has any bite at all. Under section 12 of the Act, the offence of trafficking in persons is punishable with the prison term of 15 years. If the offence is committed by means of threat, abduction, fraud, deception or abuse of power, the penalty is 20 years imprisonment.

The irony is that Malaysia was aiming to reach the top spot (Tier 1) by 2020. Taking into account the arrests, it was perhaps mere wishful thinking.

By Salleh Buang.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2020/11/645522/immigration-officers-arrest-big-blow-country

PM’s Dept budget passed through bloc vote

November 30th, 2020

Photo: Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: The Dewan Rakyat today passed the budget for the Prime Minister’s Department through a bloc vote.

There were 105 ayes and 95 nays. Twenty 20 MPs did not vote. Another two – Liew Vui Keong (Batu Sapi) and Hasbullah Osman (Gerik) – have passed away. Their seats are still vacant.

Earlier, Dewan Rakyat speaker Azhar Azizan Harun had called for a voice vote which saw the Perikatan Nasional MPs clearly having a louder voice.

However, the opposition MPs called for a bloc vote with more than 15 of them – the minimum number required – standing up in a show of support.

Azhar announced the results after the votes were tallied in about 10 minutes.

Halfway through the voting process, opposition MPs stood up to object against Takiyuddin Hassan (PN-Kota Bharu) entering the hall while the votes were being counted.

The Prime Minister’s Department consist of five ministries – Law, Economy, Religious Affairs, Special Functions, and Sabah and Sarawak Affairs.

The MPs will now continue debating the allocations for the other ministries, before passage of the Supply Bill 2021 at committee stage.

Last week, the RM322 billion budget was passed through a voice vote at the policy stage after the opposition MPs failed to get 15 MPs to push for a bloc vote.

By: FMT.

Read more @ http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news/162398/pm-s-dept-budget-passed-through-bloc-vote/

Govt expected to earn palm oil windfall profit levy of RM500 mln in 2021 – MPOB

November 30th, 2020

The government is expected to earn palm oil windfall profit levy of about RM500 million in 2021 if the price of crude palm oil (CPO) records between RM3,000-RM3,500 per tonne compared to the expectation of RM348 million a year this. – File photo

BANGI (Nov 30): The government is expected to earn palm oil windfall profit levy of about RM500 million in 2021 if the price of crude palm oil (CPO) records between RM3,000-RM3,500 per tonne compared to the expectation of RM348 million a year this.

Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) chairman Datuk Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub said the revenue collection was not impossible if the CPO price remained above RM3,000 per tonne level.

“The expected revenue of RM348 million for this year is an estimate based on increased CPO prices since June.

“We hope that with production and demand, as well as good weather conditions, it is not impossible that it (windfall profit levy) can reach about RM500 million next year while the country faces economic challenges,” he told a press conference here today.

In 2019, the windfall profit levy revenue amounted to RM256,000.

Ahmad Jazlan said India is projected to continue importing crude palm oil from Malaysia next year with a double-digit growth.

This is driven by India’s reduction of customs duty on crude palm oil to 27.5 per cent from 37.5 per cent on Nov 27, 2020.

For the period of January-October 2020, palm oil exports to India amounted to 1.97 million tonnes valued at RM5.15 billion.

Since June 2020, demand from India began to increase due to activities to increase stocks in the country and demand is beginning to recover following the relaxation of lockdown measures and gradual economic recovery.

On the MPOB Cess Order 2020, which is scheduled to take effect on Jan 1, 2021, he said the matter was still at the study and discussion stage.

“We decided to impose the Cess Order at the appropriate time, for example when palm oil is at its highest level over the past eight years.

“The cess collected (RM5.00 one-off) will be returned for the sustainability of the palm oil industry and for the commodity to remain competitive, not for MPOB savings,” he said.

Ahmad Jazlan said the revenue collected from the cess is actually not enough for the MPOB operations as a whole, as it needs to be distributed to the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC), which is a separate entity that conducts palm-related activities and campaigns.

The MPOB Cess Order 2020 set an additional payment of RM5.00 cess per tonne of CPO and crude palm kernel oil (CPKO) produced compared with the current total amount of RM14.00 cess per tonne of CPO produced.

by Bernama.

Read more @ https://www.theborneopost.com/2020/11/30/govt-expected-to-earn-palm-oil-windfall-profit-levy-of-rm500-mln-in-2021-mpob/

Increase in number of smokers wanting to quit

November 30th, 2020
The government had spent RM2 million in 2018 and RM2.8 million in 2019 respectively to fund pharmacology costs to encourage people to quit smoking. - NSTP/File picThe government had spent RM2 million in 2018 and RM2.8 million in 2019 respectively to fund pharmacology costs to encourage people to quit smoking. – NSTP/File pic

KUALA LUMPUR: The number of smokers who wished to quit smoking increased more than two-fold throughout the Covid-19 pandemic period this year compared to last year.

This was reflected in the number of people who registered for mQuit – a free programme to encourage more smokers to kick the bad habit.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba told the Dewan Rakyat today that 3,442 smokers registered for the programme online at jomquit.moh.gov.my. from Jan to Oct this year.

This, he said, was a significant increase compared to the 1,678 people who registered for the programme last year.

“Of the total number of people registered for the programme this year, 95 per cent or 3,254 people registered their interest for the programme throughout the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) that came into force on Mar 18,” he said.

Dr Adham was responding to an oral question by Datuk Seri Dr Mujahid bin Yusof Rawa (Pakatan Harapan – Parit Buntar) who asked the ministry to state the progress of smoking cessation programmes and the effectiveness of these programmes.

Prior to the implementation of mQuit, which is a Public Private Partnership (PPP) between professional entities, non-govermental organisations and the private sector, Dr Adham said the government had spent RM2 million in 2018 and RM2.8 million in 2019 respectively to fund pharmacology costs to encourage people to quit smoking.

The initiatives which used Nicotine Replacement Therapy and Partial Agonist for Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor or Varenicline saw a reduction of participants due to the increase in the prices of the medications involved.

Dr Adham said this compelled the government to switch to implementing the mQuit programme.

The ministry, he said, is also hoping that the Finance Ministry would consider its request for all smoking cessation programmes to be funded using revenue collected from excise duty on cigarettes and tobacco.

He said greater allocation would help the ministry fund programmes which subsequently could help reduce the number of smokers in the country.

“At the moment, there are a total of 4.8 million smokers or 21 per cent of the country’s population.

“Nevertheless, the number of people who wished to quit smoking is also significant at 2.3 million.

“At the moment, only 22,000 people who enrolled into mQuit have successfully been treated,” he said.

By Nuradzimmah DaimAdib Povera.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/government-public-policy/2020/11/645490/increase-number-smokers-wanting-quit

Address issue of crowded, confined accommodation of foreign workers to curb spread of Covid-19 — Health D-G

November 30th, 2020
KUALA LUMPUR: The issue of crowded and confined accommodation of foreign workers needs to be tackled immediately to ensure that it does cause the spread of Covid-19 and other infectious diseases, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has said.

He said this was in line with the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 (Act 446).

“Seeing how the issue of Covid-19 infection among foreign workers has become an important matter that needs to be addressed, the Ministry of Health (MoH) urges employers to play a bigger role in jointly tackling it.

“As such, the MoH welcomes the enforcement action under Act 446 by the Human Resources Ministry on employers who fail to comply with the provisions of the Act,” he said in a post on his official Facebook page yesterday.

He said there were several factors that contributed to the transmission of infectious diseases among workers, including accommodation, personal hygiene as well as the environment of the accommodation and workplaces.

He said the MoH had always taken a serious view of incidents regarding the rise in Covid-19 transmissions in workplaces as manpower, be it foreign or local, had always been a valuable asset for any company or organisation.

Earlier in the afternoon, Dr Noor Hisham spent some time to observe field activities for the Awan Baru Construction Site Cluster.

The cluster, involving the districts of Kepong and Cheras in Kuala Lumpur, was declared yesterday after Covid-19 cases were detected following the targeted screening of workers at a construction site in Bandar Baru Sentul.

He said as at 8pm on Nov 28, a total of 482 individuals had been screened, with 410 (85.1 per cent) of them testing positive.

“The Kepong Health Office carried out a risk assessment and close contact detection at the construction site and areas around the workplace on Nov 27.

“The construction site was closed under Section 18 (1) (f) of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) on Nov 27 for the purpose of cleaning and disinfection,” said Dr Noor Hisham.

by Bernama.

Read more @ https://www.theborneopost.com/2020/11/30/address-issue-of-crowded-confined-accommodation-of-foreign-workers-to-curb-spread-of-covid-19-health-d-g/

Preservation of life must come first

November 30th, 2020
A Health Ministry worker carrying out a swab test on a foreign worker on Saturday in Meru, Klang. Human lives must take precedence, and not compromised in the search for power and profits. -- NSTP/ASWADI ALIASA Health Ministry worker carrying out a swab test on a foreign worker on Saturday in Meru, Klang. Human lives must take precedence, and not compromised in the search for power and profits. — NSTP/ASWADI ALIAS

FOR most human beings, life is sacred. And it must come first in ensuring that humanity remains respected, dignified and sanctified. All lives matter. Period.

There can be no other way as we closely witness, almost daily for the last few months, events unfolding in the world’s most democratic nation. Ironically, then and even now, innocent lives are wantonly wasted on the political pedestal in the rush to secure power.

A sheer means to an end. Add to that lies, half-truths and fake news in a world made more uncertain by the coronavirus pandemic. We also see how social media is misused and abused to lend support by promoting hatred and racism as well as sexism.

So much so that many global companies launched a worldwide boycott to force change but with little consequence. Therein involves leaders who are disconnected from the reality on the ground when defying lessons brought out so clearly by the pandemic.
Overall, it is not only dehumanising but at once commercialises being human by putting the need for profits above the lives of fellow humans.

So, it is appalling to learn recently how businesses reap unbridled profits from the miseries of others as the pandemic heightened. The protection of life and well-being of workers are found wanting.

One such experience led to a closure of tens of the outlets involved, while reportedly thousands of workers are said to be severely affected at the facilities following a drastic rise in positive Covid-19 cases among them.

It is regrettable that greed seems to have blinded many despite the daily deaths reported at times in the thousands globally.

What with the onslaught of the so-called third waves, many more are affected. In the most advanced economy, hospitalisation is said to be at its peak. No amount of money and technology can give any assurances. It includes vaccines, a new variable that adds to the complexity of the situation.

If they are going to save the day, human lives must take precedence, and not be compromised in the search for power and profits. It is about the collective well-being of humanity. No one is to be left behind. Inclusive, equitable, just and sustainable is the reality of the future, post-pandemic.

This is what the pandemic is now telling so that we can be better prepared. Unfortunately, many have missed it, if not dismissed it blatantly due to selfish reasons or ignorance. Covid-19 has made the invisible, visible. Not in the tangible sense but intangibly — pointing to the values of cleanliness, openness, vigilance, integrity and discipline — spelt Covid.

Each of these is a vital value to break the spread of Covid-19, only if they are infused organically into politics and economics so that the invisible is also made more visible in both words and practices. This is the only way out of the pandemic, as a preparation for the post-pandemic era with a new set of norms.

Not limited to just three Cs and Ws, namely, avoiding crowds, close contact and confined spaces or the wearing of masks, observing safe physical distance, and washing your hands. We also need to add three Rs — be fully responsible in upholding that life is truly revered and respected in whatever we do.

By Dzulkifli Abdul Razak.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2020/11/645378/preservation-life-must-come-first

Asean-SAN will make science central to policymaking

November 30th, 2020
The national flags of the various Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) countries on display. -- File PixThe national flags of the various Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) countries on display. — File Pix

THROUGHOUT the Covid-19 crisis, governments worldwide have appropriately prioritised strong frontline pandemic response services, ensuring rapid access to help for those who contract the virus.

Months of isolation, physical distancing, limited social interaction and the wearing of face masks are all taking a toll yet to be fully realised. We await with concern the long-term personal and socio-economic effects of, for example, moving so many educational and business activities online.

Governments are scrambling to develop economic stimulus packages — wage subsidies, tax exemptions and even cash transfers. Combined with the reduction in economic growth, these will result in a massive debt increase, creating a different set of challenges for the future.

Meanwhile, the environment is often an afterthought. In fact, it should be a top priority.

According to a recent report from the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, Covid-19 is at least the sixth global health pandemic since the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918.

The emergence of Covid-19 has been entirely driven by human activities. And it is estimated that another 1.7 million currently ‘undiscovered’ viruses exist in mammals and birds, 850,000 of which could infect people.

According to lead author, Dr Peter Daszak, a disease ecologist who has spent years studying coronavirus transmission in China and Southeast Asia, emerging diseases such as swine flu, SARS, Ebola, and the Nipah virus (which devastated Malaysia in 1999) originate largely through land-use change and human encroachment on wildlife habitat.

Supported by 22 experts, the report says future pandemics “will emerge more often, spread more rapidly, do more damage to the world economy and kill more people than Covid-19 unless there is a transformative change in the global approach to dealing with infectious diseases”. They warn that escaping “the era of pandemics” is possible but “requires a seismic shift in approach from reaction to prevention”.

The report calls for “a high-level intergovernmental council on pandemic prevention to provide decision-makers with the best science and evidence on emerging diseases; predict high-risk areas; evaluate the economic impact of potential pandemics and to highlight research gaps”.

Such a council could also coordinate the design of a global monitoring framework and facilitate the setting of mutually agreed international goals or targets, with clear benefits for people, animals and the environment.

The prototype of such a council may have already been established. By coincidence it was announced last week that an international task force under the ambit of The Lancet Covid-19 Commission was being formed. It is to be led by Daszak and includes Academy of Sciences Malaysia’s senior fellow, Prof Lam Sai Kit — a leader in emerging viral infections, who was also central to the discovery of the Nipah virus.

Indeed, could there be a more dramatic illustration of the importance of evidence-informed policymaking than the Covid-19 pandemic crisis, estimated to result in a global economic blow of up to US$16 trillion by the end of next year?

It is a privilege, therefore, to announce that the International Network for Government Science Advice (Ingsa) is launching a new structure this week to facilitate senior-level scientific information sharing and collaboration within the Asean region.

The Asean Science Advice Network (Asean-SAN) will structure and strengthen direct evidence-to-policymaking pathways, particularly in areas related to the world’s 17 United Nations-brokered Sustainable Development Goals.

Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam are the five initial Asean-SAN members, which we hope to expand to all 10 Asean member states.

Ingsa was founded six years ago by some of the world’s leading academics and practitioners in the emerging field of science advice to government. Malaysia and over 40 other countries from every world region, together with representatives of key international organisations, proudly convened to inaugurate Ingsa in 2014 under the chairmanship of Sir Peter Gluckman, the then science adviser to New Zealand’s prime minister.

Ingsa has proven to be a valuable platform promoting collaborative exchanges on policy, capacity building and research. Ingsa organises workshops and conferences while developing a growing catalogue of tools and guidance.

By enhancing the global science-policy interface, the network facilitates policy formation informed by science at every government level from sub-national to national and international.

Asean-SAN will focus on how scientific evidence is being used in Covid-19-related policymaking, for example, in areas of health, socioeconomics and the environment, and in the deployment of pandemic recovery efforts to meet the important goal of “building back better” and shaping a “new normal”.

The writer is a senior fellow of the Academy of Sciences Malaysia, and the Founding Chairman of AseanSAN. He was also the founding Chair of IPBES.

By Zakri Abdul Hamid.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2020/11/645380/asean-san-will-make-science-central-policymaking