The King's postponed his meetings with party leaders due to Covid-19, so it looks like Anwar Ibrahim must put his plans to move into Seri Perdana on hold for a little bit longer. Meanwhile, what role does Umno, and more specifically Ku Li, play in all this?

In other news, we've bizarrely matched Tuesday's record of new Covid infections and deaths, while the Macau scam crackdown is playing out like a TV drama, what with big-name arrests and even a daring escape attempt.

And the wait goes on...

Apa? Kena tunggu lagi?

It would appear that Anwar Ibrahim can’t quite catch a break. Every time he moves an inch closer to his Putrajaya dream, something, or someone, always comes along to throw a wrench in the plan.

Take recent events. First, the PKR man’s audience with the Agong to “prove” his claim of “solid and convincing majority” support had to be put on hold after the King was hospitalised. Now, just as things appear to be moving, the palace goes into partial lockdown, thanks to that pesky Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) being imposed.

To catch you up to speed, just like after the Sheraton Move in February, it’s now in our Ruler’s hands to determine our government’s future and what happens next in this whole will he, won’t he Anwar saga.

Only, after Anwar and just one other politician on Tuesday – lucky Umno vet Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah aka Ku Li – meetings with all other party leaders has had to be postponed. This includes appointments with DAP and Amanah head honchos Lim Guan Eng and Mohamad ‘Mat’ Sabu, Umno chief Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and possibly MIC’s S.A. Vigneswaran (even if blur sotong Vicky says he wasn’t informed).

BTW, this guide does a good job wrapping up where everyone stands with the Anwar Move and what could comes next.

Now everyone, their mother, father and nosy neighbour have been speculating over the King’s decision to summon Ku Li, considering the latter isn’t a leader of any party (well, not since Semangat 46). Now, Ku Li’s name is included in a purported list of MPs supporting Anwar, but his political secretary has claimed le boss the King merely wanted to pick the brain of the country’s d̶i̶n̶o̶s̶a̶u̶r̶ longest-serving MP

That may well be the case. But it seems old man Ku Li has been keeping busy in the lead up to yesterday. Recent reports now show an apparent play by him to push through the ouster of current Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

On Sept 25, two days AFTER Anwar made his ‘I have the numbers to take over the w̶o̶r̶l̶d̶ gomen’ announcement, Ku Li apparently wrote to Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azhar ‘Art’ Harun requesting the vote of no confidence motion (we’re guessing the one former PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad proposed) against Moo be given priority at the next House sitting.

Art has denied that Moo was behind any effort to halt the hearing of the no-confidence motion. In his reply to the Gua Musang rep, meanwhile, he explained government matter takes precedence over “private members” business, according to House standing orders.

We cannot begin to tell you what Ku Li’s ultimate plan may be, but timing of this is suspicious AF. Still, it would well be this has nothing to do with that perennial PM wannabe Anwar but instead to political tug-and-war between Umno and Bersatu.
 
Umno the kingmaker?
 
Speaking of Umno, the party which produced the likes of Ku Li, Anwar, Maddey, don’t forget Bossku Najib, would well be seeing itself play the role of kingmaker in this whole political imbroglio.

For one, Anwar’s claim of over 120 MP lends to speculation he has the backing of a chunk of Umnoritas. While several of those named in the Anwar Supporters’ Club list have denied it, Zahid himself said many others do. Incidentally, Anwar is being probed by the police of the list.
 
Now, things are not so rosy in the house BN-Umno and Bersatu share. Members’ dissatisfaction over seemingly having to take a back seat to Muhyiddin’s much smaller Bersatu party has been threatening to bubble over. The party said it was considering withdrawing support for PN and forming a formal Muafakat Nasional alliance with PAS. 

This could be linked to behind the seat negotiations with Anwar, as the timing, like in the case of Ku Li’s letter is interesting, but it could also just means things have finally come to a head between the two ruling bumi-based parties. Either way, such a move could put a severe dent in Muhyiddin’s armour and his hold on the premiership.
  
What is clear, however, is that Umno now has the power to renegotiate terms with Muh. Supporters of the “renegotiation”, like former (and now disgraced, though he doesn’t seem to show it) bigwig Najib Razak and another supreme council member, Puad Zakarshi, say it was right to do so as the party had been bullied by Bersatu all this while.
 
BN sec-gen Annuar Musa, meanwhile, tried to couch it a little differently, saying that it was not wrong for Umno, PAS and Bersatu to go back to the drawing board to form another alliance which would be more beneficial for Malaysia. TL;DR, more power for Umno. 
 
PAS and Sarawak party PBB, however, have asked Umno to explain things and not create political uncertainty in the country, with the former insisting that its support for MooMoo hasn’t changed

What would come to pass, time will tell. But what is clear, plans are certainly in motion, despite the temporary CMCO hitch.

Seeing double? Not quite

No, you’re not seeing double. It really is true and not some feeling of déjà vu, either.
 
Yesterday saw 660 new Covid-19 cases and 4 Covid-19-related deaths, the exact same numbers as the day before. That’s where the similarities end. This brings the total number of the country’s active cases to a record high of 5,772, while the death toll now is 167.
 
Worse still, the number of ICU patients had continued to rise. It now stands at 108, equaling the record high set on April 3. 
 
Of the latest cases, Sabah has continued to be the state with the highest number of cases at 49, followed by Kedah (113) and Selangor (68). The four new deaths, all of which were in Sabah, represents the seventh day in a row that we have had fatalities in the state. 
 
It’s getting worse for the Land Below the Wind, too. A total of 71 percent of hospital beds assigned for Covid-19 patients there have been taken up, while more than half of the beds in ICU have also been filled. 
 
Unlike the past week or so, only one new cluster was detected yesterday. However, this one is widely-spread, spanning eight districts in KL, Selangor and Johor. So far, there are 34 people in the ‘Kencana KKM’ cluster.  The ‘Utama’ cluster, involving cases linked to 1Utama, meanwhile has grown to 63 and a new case has been detected at the Tesco Extra outlet in Mutiara Damansara.

For a list of other places where Covid-19 has reared its ugly head, you can go here, or refer to this article for a look at how the third wave of Covid-19 infections has spread so far. 
 
Anyhoo, here are some other Covid-related stories which appeared on our radar yesterday:

  • Remand detainees and inmates at the Alor Setar and Pokok Sena prisons, the site of the notorious ‘Tembok’ cluster, will be placed in quarantine centres for 14 days upon release to prevent further outbreak.
     
  • The Prisons Department has placed correctional facilities on lockdown and will not allow visits by family members of inmates. The lockdown, meanwhile, has forced the postponement of a civil suit filed against the nasi kandar restaurant owner who was the index case for the Sivagangga cluster. 
     
  • Three other court cases involving high-profile individuals have also been postponed, this time due to the CMCO. These are graft cases involving Jibby Razak and loving wifey Rosmah Mansor, as well as Zahid Hamidi. 
     
  • The National Security Council says inter-state travel in and out of CMCO areas will require a special police permit. Those within these areas who want to travel out can only do so for medical or emergency purposes. 
     
  • Private universities and colleges in CMCO areas are allowed to go ahead with external and international exams which have already been scheduled, though students must get a letter of confirmation from their respective institutions.
     
  • Ugly Anti-Rohingya sentiments have once more surfaced among Malaysians on Facebook due to the general uptick in cases. Some of these groups are even linked to security and enforcement agencies!

    (FYI, we’ve written a good piece about the rise of xenophobia in the age of Covid. You can read it here)
     
  • Restaurant owners have called for an extension to the loan moratorium which expired at the end of last month due to the implementation of the CMCO. 
     
  • Rich Uncle Moneybags Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz has said the gomen will draft comprehensive measures for the 2021 Budget by using findings from the Prihatin survey, including findings on mental healthcare support and job creation. 
     
  • More on next year’s Budget. Bank Negara Malaysia has said the government will remain supportive of expansion and growth as it seeks to spur recovery from the effects of Covid-19.
     
  • More airlines have begun resuming service in and out of KLIA following improved health and safety measures in the wake of Covid-19. The latest to start up operations again are British Airways, Oman Air and Ethiopian Airlines. 

Short-lived life on the lam

Remember Prison Break, that hit TV series about two brothers who plot an escape from prison when one is sentenced to death for a crime he didn’t commit? 
 
Well, we kinda had something like that drama here two days ago. Kinda.
 
You see a relatively famous (or notoriously infamous, depending on how you see it) ‘Datuk Seri’ who was arrested by the MACC for involvement in a Macau Scam/online gambling/money laundering syndicate was to be released from the commission’s headquarters on Tuesday after the courts refused an extension to his remand order.
 
Now, according to news reports, police were waiting outside to rearrest the man under the Prevention of Crime Act (POCA, not to be confused with the polka), but this smart fellow suspected what was going on and hopped it over a fence at the back of MACC HQ in Putrajaya and made good his “escape”. 
 
But we guess this joker ain’t no Jho Low, cos he was soon rearrested. Police yesterday obtained a remand order against him and two coppers for 21 days. 
 
Here’s a quick recap of what has transpired over the past week or so. The MACC has been hot on the trail of the syndicate which was being protected by some police officers, including several high-ranking officers. 
 
Meanwhile, Bukit Aman launched its own internal probe into the matter. When MACC later released nine cops whom they had arrested, Bukit Aman began investigating them under POCA. This report though, is a little confusing as it states eight were rearrested by police while the other, a civilian, was released and we can only surmise that this ninth person was a civilian personnel attached to the police force. 
 
In the course of its investigations, MACC seized RM80 million by freezing hundreds of bank accounts, and RM5 million cash, as well as assets such as luxury vehicles. Quite a nice haul that, but it only goes to show just how much these scumbags make out of cheating us. 

BTW, if you’re a little confused about what a Macau Scam is, well you can refer to this article by, incidentally, the Macau Daily Times

Flotsam and jetsam

It’s not all news about the Anwar Move, Covid-19 and the Macau Scam. Here are other main news in brief:

  • A former pol-sec to an ex-minister will be charged in court today over allegations of corruption involving RM5 million linked to a project tender at the ministry. Three senior officers of the ministry are also expected to be charged soon. 
     
  • Khazanah Nasional has the option of channeling funds to Firefly, making it the new national carrier should Malaysia Airlines be shut down. This follows reports that MAS could be wound up if lessors didn’t agree to deep discounts. 
     
  • The Personal Data Protection Department (did you know this even existed?) has cleared AirAsia of allegations of sales of customers’ personal data following news that an American company was offering a loan of US$1 billion for the airline’s digital assets. 
     
  • In his first statement since losing the Sabah elections, Warisan president and now ex-Sabah CM Shafie Apdal says he’ll fight on for party and state, expressing hopes of returning to power.
     
  • Sabah Pakatan Harapan has opted not to contest the upcoming Batu Sapi by-election, paving the way for Warisan to defend the seat unopposed, hopefully. It has also urged all others to follow in its footsteps so as to avoid a repeat of the Covid-19 surge brought on by the Sabah elections. PN has already said it won’t contest the seat for the same reason.
     
  • More water woes for some residents of the Klang Valley. Residents of 14 areas in Klang and Shah Alam will not just have to put up with the CMCO, but unscheduled water cuts thanks to a burst pipe in Jalan Bukit Raja in Klang.

    It’s only temporary, though, as Air Selangor assures residents water supply will be fully restored by 12.30pm today. 
     
  • The results of the SPM repeat exams are expected to be out by Monday. Candidates will receive their results by post, or they can obtain result slips from their respective state Education departments. 

“For surely a king is first a man. And so it must follow that a king does as all men do: the best he can."

- Cameron Dokey, The Storyteller's Daughter -

IN INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • The World Bank has approved US$12 billion for developing countries to finance the purchase and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, tests and treatment. 

    Meanwhile, France has declared a public health emergency and instated a 9pm curfew for nine cities, including Paris and Lyon.
     
  • United States president Donald Trump’s son Barron had tested positive for Covid-19, First Lady Melania has revealed. This was after both parents had contracted the disease. He had since tested negative.
     
  • Still on Covid, an elderly Dutch woman has died after catching the viral disease for the second time, the first reported case of reinfection death. 
     
  • A museum in Nantes in France has postponed – for three years, mind you – an exhibit on Mongol emperor Genghis Khan. It has cited interference from China, which it accuses of trying to rewrite history.

    Among the things Beijing has insisted on is the removal of the name “Genghis Khan” as well as the words “Mongol” and “empire”. 
     
  • Carlo Acutis, a teenage computer genius who died of leukaemia in 2006, was beatified in Assisi, Italy on Saturday and could well be the first millennial to be declared a saint
     
  • Gone too soon. Conchata Ferrell, best known for playing tough-talking, lust-filled and occasionally foul-mouthed housekeeper Berta on all 12 seasons of the hit comedy series Two and a Half Men, for which she received two Emmy nominations, has passed away at the age of 77. 

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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