Another day, another Covid-19 record's been broken. And, we've been warned that our daily infections could increase to 8,000 by mid-March if the infection rate goes any higher. Holy craperama!

In other news, two new opposition parties have had their registration applications rejected. Everyone's raising a stink except, of course, those in government. And, we cover the ongoing will-they-won't-they saga of the possible Umno-Bersatu divorce.

The Covid juggernaut

And then there was 3,000...

And we thought Wednesday’s numbers were terrible. Yesterday saw Malaysia breaching the 3,000-case mark (3,027 to be exact), breaking the record for the highest single-day increase in Covid cases in just 24 hours.

Yesterday also saw 8 deaths, bringing the total death toll to 521. Though the number of recoveries was high (2,145), the difference means we have 25,221 active cases, also a new “high”. 

Nine new clusters were reported, bringing the total number of active clusters to 253. 

What’s even more worrisome is we could be seeing over 8,000 new cases a day by mid-March should our R-nought or R0 rise to 1.2 (it’s now at 1.1)! 

We gotta ask though – With so many cases and a health system bursting at the seams, how are authorities keeping track of potential cases? 

We already know there’re serious delays in the gomen contact-tracing process, with some peeps only being called to go get tested after they’ve already been admitted for Covid, treated and discharged! [email protected]#kerama!

From personal experience, we wonder if the number of reported daily tally reflects the true sitch on the ground, or could it be worse? 

Some of us got ourselves tested after coming into contact with a Covid-positive person (read this to know if you’re considered a close contact). Though we tested negative at a private hospital, we weren’t issued with home quarantine wristbands, told to stay at home (we chose to self-quarantine anyway), nor asked to re-test within 14 days.

Are medical institutions following the SOPs properly/giving the right advice? 

As such, how many infected persons are walking around blissfully unaware and unknowingly exposing others?

Also, why did authorities wait till this point to start talking about how bad it’s becoming. Authorities long knew the loosening of CMCO and travel restrictions – all while numbers were still high – have contributed to a spike in cases. 

Anyhoo, back to our Covid situation, US investor BlackRock has called for Top Glove board of directors to be removed for failing to protect its workers from the virus. As you may recall, the Teratai cluster affected mostly foreign Top Glove employees and has now infected over 6,000 folks.

Of course, we have many workplace clusters, basically because we treat our migrant workers like shite and fail miserably when it comes to housing standards, sorta like this company in Melaka. 

Think about that for a while.

Ready, Set, No Go!

You gotta question the timing of it all.

With the Perikatan Nasional gomen in a state of turmoil and talk of GE15 gathering steam, we’ve suddenly learnt that the Registrar of Societies (RoS) has unceremoniously rejected the registration of two new political parties. 

We can say that age didn’t seem to be a factor in the decision since the parties affected are that of our oldest lawmaker – former dictator PM4/7 Mahathir Mohamad’s Pejuang – and one of our youngest – former Maddey uber fanboy Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman’s Muda. 

No reasons were given for the rejections. Naturally, everyone’s hopping mad and saying PM Muhyiddin Yassin’s PN gomen isn’t fighting fair. Mads straight out cried “political motive” behind the move. He said this as he’d previously been told (allegedly! allegedly!) that although RoS had no issues with Pejuang’s application, it must first refer to its minister. FYI, the RoS falls under the purview of the Home Ministry. 

Everyone’s favourite nonagenarian also said his now-unofficial party will appeal, in accordance to the law. “We follow the law and believe in the rule of law”, were his words. Excuse us while we go laugh our heads off. 

Muda also accused the gomen of political interference to block its entry in GE15, while bossman Syed Saddiq had questioned if Moo & Co. were afraid of them “small kids“.

PKR bigwig and opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim also weighed in, demanding an explanation. He had pointed out the rights of association are enshrined within the Federal Constitution. 

Meanwhile, there were crickets sounds from the gomen (even Bersatu’s disgruntled partner Umno) camp on this matter. Perhaps they are busy putting out their own fires (more on that below)? Or they’ve nothing to say.

Pejuang and Muda members can still contest in the elections, of course, just under the umbrella of other political parties or as independents.

Silliness maximus indeed!

Our political imbroglio

How do things stand between warring couple Umno and Bersatu? 

As you know, the Umno Supreme Council has said it would bring a motion to its AGM later this month whether or not to split from the PN gomen. 

After its own supreme council meeting, PM Moo’s party yesterday released a lengthy statement which really answered nothing at all. Tl;dr – it pledged to keep the PN gomen intact; defend the political cooperation reached with parties that form the gomen; and continue to work with its PN coalition component buddies.

Confused? Just remember that Umno and other BN parties may be part of the PN gomen, but they aren’t part of the PN coalition. That’s Bersatu, PAS as well as Sabah’s Star and SAPP. 

However, no word on how Bersatu plans to keep Umno from pulling out of Putrajaya, keep MooMoo on top and not trigger snap polls during a pandemic.

According to former de facto law minister and Umno stalwart Nazri Aziz, should Umno make like a pisang and split, the Agong can hold off dissolving Parliament and appoint an interim government until it’s safe to conduct elections. No guesses as to which party Nazri’ll peg to lead said interim gomen.

Moo’s one-time-bosom-buddy-turned-enemy Maddey Mohamad has added fuel to the fire by saying he’d predicted the Bersatu-Umno breakup and called for Muhyiddin to just resign already. The good doc should know about resigning, he resigned twice as PM!

PAS, meanwhile, has adopted a “wait-and-see” attitude pending Umno’s decision. But it’s set to discuss the situation at a meeting of its central committee, the equivalent of Umno and Bersatu’s SCs, tomorrow. 

Before we end this segment, we thought we’d leave you with this little nugget. Remember Saiful Bukhari Azlan, the former Anwar aide who accused the PKR prez of sodomy? Well, after 12 years adrift in our political sea without a party, Bersatu has handed him a somewhat leaky lifeboat. 

Now go grab a cup of Nescafe 3-in-1 and a curry puff.

Odds and ends, bits and bobs

Here are some other news in brief:

  • Former PM Najib Razak kena marah. He was sternly warned by the judge in his 1MDB trial to refrain from attacking prosecution witness, former Bank Negara governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz, on social media.
     
  • The Meteorological Department has issued an orange level severe weather warning for Pahang and Johor, and a yellow level alert for Kelantan and Terengganu which are experiencing worsening floods.

    Sadly, another casualty was reported in Kelantan as a youth, exhausted from rowing flood victims in a sampan, lost consciousness, toppled over into the water and drowned. A national hero. God rest his soul.
     
  • The federal gomen must fork out RM1.51 bil in compensation to highway concessionaires for freezing toll hike increases from 2017 to 2020.
     
  • A year after the Kelantan gomen was criticised for buying new Mercedes Benzes for its MB and excos, Penang CM Chow Kon Yeow now has a new Merc, just seven years after one was purchased for then CM Lim Guan Eng.
     
  • A little fight is developing between the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project and Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia (Perhilitan) after the latter seized several of the animals in a raid following a legal tussle. The department has defended its actions.
     
  • Two Johor Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services Department officers have been detained and remanded in connection with the so-called “meat cartel” scandal where non-halal meat, including horse and kangaroo meat, were imported and passed off as halal beef.

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”

- Aristotle-

IN INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • After a delay due to shocking violence sparked by pro-Donald Trump rioters who stormed the Capitol Building, an incident that saw at least four killed, Congress has affirmed Joe Biden as the next POTUS. 

    Meanwhile, The Donald is facing calls for his removal from office ahead of time. He’s also been permanently banned from Facebook and live streaming platform Twitch, while PayPal and Shopify have removed Trump-related accounts.
     
  • The violence overshadowed what was actually the deadliest day so far in the US as more than 4,000 people died of Covid-19.
     
  • Tens of thousands of farmers have occupied a stretch of an expressway in New Delhi to protest the deregulation of farm markets more than a month ago.
     
  • Nearly 100 Rohingya were arrested in Yangon before they could be smuggled into Malaysia by a trafficking syndicate.
     
  • Entrepreneur Elon Musk has become the world’s richest person with a net worth of US$185 billion. 

ABOUT THIS NEWSLETTER

This weekday newsletter is brought to you by Trident Media, a group of Malaysian journalists with 60 years of combined media experience in four countries across TV, print and digital media.

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Trident Media · Seksyen 35 · Shah Alam, Selangor 40470 · Malaysia

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