That damned third wave
This third wave of Covid-19 is really screwing us over. Don’t ya worry though, like a perfectly good pair of shorts, we promise to cover all the important bits, while keeping things, er…short.
This is a bummer. More than 1,000 schoolkids – 1,257 to be exact – have been infected in the third wave alone since Sept 20. That’s close to 60 percent of the number of kids aged 7 to 18 that’s come down with that shitty little virus since February.
It has been a brutal month. As this tweet points out, the month of October has seen more Covid-19 cases than in the previous nine months combined. The maths check out – There were a total of 11,224 Covid-19 cases as of Sept 30, and 23,804 as of yesterday, meaning there’d been 12,580 cases in the past 22 days alone.
Yesterday, we saw 847 new cases, with the number of active cases surpassing 8,000 (8,183 to be exact) and the death toll exceeding 200 (204) with 5 new deaths.
As usual, Sabah is the worst hit, with 578 cases, followed by Selangor with 132. There was also a spike in the number of cases in Negeri Sembilan and Labuan at 38 and 29, respectively. The day before, both had recorded single-digit increases in cases.
KL has become a red zone, as has Sepang. FYI, a red zone is an area recording over 40 Covid cases.
There were six new clusters detected yesterday, two in Sabah (one of those was also found to have spread to Sarawak), and Selangor, KL, Negeri Sembilan and Melaka.
Meanwhile, a village in Sabah and nine prisons/detention centres in the peninsula have been placed under enhanced movement control order (EMCO).
All of this hasn’t stopped Senior Something or Another Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob from indulging in a bit of backbiting and catfighting with opposition politician Hannah Yeoh, who took the Umno man to task for his handling of the virus.
Oh, and Malaysiakini has tried to explain the WFH initiative as best they could based on what has been said. You can refer to their guide here.
All other things coronavirus
There were so many things to do with Covid-19 yesterday, and this segment already resembling a mini-thesis, that we have decided to condense the rest here for you:
- The Malaysian Bar has finally spoken up about the Attorney-General’s Chamber’s decision not to charge Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Khairuddin Aman Razali for breaking home quarantine orders, saying that if the AGC didn’t want to go that route, they should charge him with negligence instead.
- Those of you asking if Khairuddin’s case was one of the powerful being above the underclass (double standards, lah), well, it may not be so. In this article, senior lawyer Mohd Haaziq Pillay sheds some light on the processes involved in determining whether a case is brought before the court.
- Those working from home must be paid full wages. Employers also cannot force their workers to take annual or unpaid leave, the Human Resources Ministry says.
- The Health Ministry won’t release detailed information of locations affected by Covid-19 as this could lead to stigmatisation. But, as always, you can refer to this list which tries to keep track of such locations.
- The Temporary Measures for Reducing the Impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 Act 2020, known as the Covid Act 2020, will come into effect today after receiving royal assent from the YDP Agong. The act, as its official name suggests, is aimed at mitigating the effects of the pandemic in Malaysia.
- Women who wear the niqab, or purdah in Malay, are not exempt from wearing face masks in public. They have to wear masks under the niqab, but we sure are wondering how the heck this is going to be enforced!
There was a flurry of news with regards to banking American institution Goldman Sachs and its role in the global financial stain on our glorious history, the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal.
We first learnt Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC) was dropping its lawsuit against Goldman Sachs Group Inc. The lawsuit was meant to recover losses suffered from the investment bank’s dealings with 1MDB. However, no reason was given for the lawsuit being dropped.
That was probably the only good news for the bank, ‘cos we next found out that its Hong Kong-based Asian subsidiary, Goldman Sachs Asia, was fined US$350 million by the special administrative region’s Securities and Futures Commission for its role in the 1MDB scandal.
Then we learnt that Goldman Sachs Malaysia had pleaded guilty in the US in a corruption probe. The deal will see it pay a record fine of more than US$2 billion and cut the compensation and salaries of its CEO and other top execs (Excuse us while we try to squeeze out a tear for these banker wankers).
The bank essentially admitted its officials helped spread US$1.6 billion in illicit payments across Malaysia and Middle East in a scheme that diverted money raised for development projects to mansions, parties and other lavish expenses (remember our ol’boy Jho Low?).
If that wasn’t enough for the poor little rich bank, it was also reported that UK authorities had fined it £96.6 million for risk-management failures in connection with the 1MDB scandal.
Last month, charges in Malaysia against Goldman Sachs’s Singaporean and Malaysian subsidiaries were dropped after the company agreed to pay almost US$4 billion for its involvement misleading investors to raise US$6.5 billion in bonds for 1MDB.
As we reminded before, all this comes on top of the settlement it made with the Malaysian gomen in July. All in all, the whirlwind settlements across the globe has cost the Wall Street investment bank over US$5 billion to supposedly wipe the slate clean.
We wonder if this will be the end of Goldman Sachs’s troubles over 1MDB. We doubt it and we sure hope not. We want our full pound of flesh, dammit!
Tempting fate again, Mr PM?
So, PM Moo Yassin has called for a special, face-to-face Cabinet meeting today, according to media reports.
Rumours are rife as to why the meeting is being called – discuss Covid lah, support for the gomen lah (wtf does that even mean anyway?) – but the loudest whispers are that it is ‘cos a Cabinet reshuffle’s in the offing.
The reshuffle rumour is compelling because (well, firstly because it’s the juiciest, most gossipy story!) Moo has called this meeting very soon after Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi issued a statement of support for the Perikatan Nasional gomen.
These latest events feed into previous tinfoil hat theories about Moo giving in to Umno’s demands for a greater role – maybe even the post of DPM – for its continued support in the face PM-forever-wannabe (tell us what he wants, what he really, really wants!) Anwar Ibrahim’s government takeover bid.
Anwar last month claimed he had the support of the majority of parliamentarians to take over as PM. The only way this could happen is with the support of Umno MPs. Zahid had previously said he won’t stop Umno MPs from supporting Anwar; Umno’s political bureau added that they were thinking about pulling support from Perikatan. So Zahid’s latest statement of support came as a surprise, and lends credence to arguments that Moo has cut a deal with Umno, giving them more clout.
But honestly, at this point, we don’t care what the reason for the meeting is. What we want to know is why the hell Moo is insisting on a face-to-face meeting in the first place!!
Cabinet members had to go into quarantine after de facto Religious Affairs Minister Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri contracted Covid-19. He’s only just recovered, and those who attended a special meeting on Covid with him are only just out of self-quarantine and The Moo wants an F2F meeting? Folks, we couldn’t make this shit up if we tried! Do they need to have this F2F to welcome Zul back with cake, kuih and karipap?
Anyhoo, here are some other politics-related news that made the rounds yesterday:
- BN sec-gen Annuar Musa’s denied Umno prez Zahid’s announcement of support for Perikatan was a U-turn, saying it’s a decision to make the party’s stand one that puts national interests above politics. In other words, things can still change when Covid-19 is defeated.
- DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang believes Zahid’s announcement of support for Perikatan is tied to Khairuddin being let off the hook, as a means for Umno to get the support of PAS should it decide to withdraw support of Perikatan. We’ll let you decide on that one.
- After the ceasefire declaration, DAP organising secretary Anthony Loke has called for what has to be said is an extended ceasefire of his own. He wants all political parties to meet to discuss efforts to battle Covid-19. We support this as we should all be working together for a common cause, but maybe just meet online ya? The kuih and karipap in Putrajaya can’t be all that great.
“Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven."
- Henry Ward Beecher -
IN INTERNATIONAL NEWS
- Both President Donald Trump and his challenger, former VP Joe Biden, have flown into Nashville, Tennessee for their final debate before the presidential elections on Nov 3.
The difference this time is that each will have their mics muted while the other is talking, though Team Biden’s still worried el presidente will still try to shout down his opponent. Maybe they should put them in soundproof boxes.
- Speaking of the US elections, more than 47 million votes have already been cast, eclipsing the 2016 early voter turnout. Meanwhile, the US Postal Service has said it already delivered more than 100 million blank or completed ballots since early September, and promises no delay at all during the process. Hey, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night…” is, after all, the motto of the USPS.
- Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has revoked an emergency decree aimed at quelling pro-democracy protests after it failed to stamp out the daily rallies demanding his resignation and reforms of the monarchy.
The decree was imposed last week after protesters flashed a three-finger salute to a royal motorcade, an unprecedented challenge to the monarchy in a country when lèse-majesté laws make it a crime to defame, insult, or threaten not only the king and queen, but also the heir-apparent, heir-presumptive and regent.
- Meanwhile, Nigeria has also been rocked by days of protests. The demonstrations have been against police brutality. Sadly, security forces have retaliated with more violence, even reportedly killing 12 protestors.
Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari has called for an end to the demonstrations but failed to address the shooting of peaceful protestors.