Imagine getting Covid-19 IN hospital, the one place you go to get better. Well, that's precisely what folks suspect's been happening at a hospital in Klang. Worse, this is the first we're all hearing about it!

In other news, the process to register and approve the use of a Covid vaccine in Malaysia begins, and our coppers are in trouble with the court for sitting on their butts for 11 years (allegedly! allegedly!). Also, is our most famous almost-PM losing support?

Klang gone wild

Why weren't we told?

Last Wednesday, the powers that be had claimed lack of data coordination was behind delays in Covid-positive people being picked up for treatment in Klang.

We’re seriously hoping data matter’s all there is to the delays and nothing more. 

Why the tinfoil hat? Because we’ve now learnt that at least 50 staff and an undisclosed number of patients at Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital (HTAR) in Klang have been infected with Covid-19. These include patients who’d tested negative upon admission.

Were these unlucky folks infected at the hospital? Or were any already infected when being admitted with le virus still in the incubation period? The incubation period for the virus is 14 days, FYI. 

Either way, it’s suspected the infection spread in lifts or crowded wards. Unfortunately, the cause is yet unknown as a probe conducted has proved inconclusive.

In case it’s not clear, we’re hella worried! HTAR is among the busiest gomen hospitals in Selangor, and Klang’s the worst-hit district in the country. The Teratai Cluster alone, stemming from Top Glove factory workers there, has seen over 5,600 cases. 

So why are we only hearing about the HTAR clusterf*&$ now?

Seeing red, Klang MP Charles Santiago’s criticised the Health Ministry for keeping things under wraps. He said all that bullcrap about gomen “red tape” – where health authorities would say they can’t divulge anything without ministry greenlight – could’ve been one reason the info was suppressed and hidden (allegedly! allegedly!).

After all, remember the whole federal gomen-won’t-share-raw-Covid-data-with-Selangor-gomen fiasco a while back? 

Despite the Selangor health department’s claim things are under control, the fact remains people had still been going to the hospital, and now that the cat’s out of the bag, peeps are sure to begin panicking.

It’s to avoid things like these the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended news of infections be quickly relayed to the public so we can take our own precautions. 

Aisehman! We’re not asking for names or home addresses of the infected – that’s wrong. But we are asking for timely and necessary information so we can avoid the danger. Common sense la! 

Another step closer

With the Klang news in mind, the Covid vaccine cannot come to Malaysian shores fast enough. Thankfully, we’re getting closer to that dream.

According to the minister of the hour (as far as vaccines are concern la) Khairy Jamaluddin, the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) has received the relevant Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine clinical data.

It’s the NPRA who’ll ultimately decide if we can use the Pfizer vaccine or not. No pressure NPRA, just our lives in your hands.

In any case, we’re not placing all our eggs in one Pfizer basket. The gomen’s still looking at other vaccines currently undergoing third phase trials. 

Meanwhile, the priority list on who’ll be first in line to be inoculated will only be announced later. So whether or not migrant workers, or our politicos, will also be prioritised, remains to be seen. 

We’ve also been assured there’ll be no middlemen involved in government negotiations for vaccines. On paper, that’s a darn good thing, and we need all the good news we can get.

Yesterday saw another four-figure increase in Covid numbers, with 1,220 new cases and 3 deaths reported. A slight bump in recoveries (1,297) has marginally reduced active cases to 14,671. There were three new clusters detected, two in KL and one in Sabah.

The pandemic and its effects on the economy, in fact, has forced Putrajaya to go back to the drawing board when it comes to the 12th Malaysia Plan. Still, it’s not all doom and economic gloom. Despite the economic downturn, the World Bank is expecting Malaysia’s economy will grow by 6.7% in 2021. 

PS – Catholic Archbishop of KL has decided there’ll be no public masses held for Christmas in the Klang Valley. Masses will be suspended from Dec 24 to Jan 3, when Catholics celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany. 

Well, Merry Christmas lah everyone! ☹️

Under pressure

We know we said not to count out Anwar Ibrahim despite his spectacular Budget 2021 failure, but things have suddenly taken a turn for the worse for our PM-forever-wannabe.

The day started badly enough for Anwar when Pakatan Harapan partners-in-crime, DAP’s Lim Guan Eng and Parti Amanah’s Mohamad Sabu issued a joint statement saying the coalition needed a political reset.

Licking their wounds from Tuesday’s routThomson and Thompson said it’s clear there was no shift in allegiance from Perikatan Nasional, so A̶n̶w̶a̶r̶ Pakatan should stop focusing on PN, but keep their eye on the GE15 prize instead. 

Although they assured the PKR big man they still supported him as coalition leader, the statement, made sans PKR, must’ve rankled Bang Nuar’s nerves. This led to the axing of a Pakatan presidential council meeting yesterday. 

Rubbing some Sabah garam to Anwar’s wound, Warisan president Shafie Apdal not-so-subtly sought to press his “pick me for opposition leader” proposal. He had said the opposition needed to find a “new recipe” ahead of GE15 and suggested an East Malaysian be made opposition leader.

Things became even worse for Anwar later in the day when Sabah’s opposition parties – Warisan, UPKO and DAP – issued separate statements all calling for a change in national Pakatan leadership, specifically, opposition leader. 

As if to underline Anwar’s loss of control of Pakatan Plus (that’s Pakatan, Warisan, Muda and Pejuang) and lack of majority support in Parliament, PN, Barisan Nasional and Gabungan Parti Sarawak have announced they’ll be setting up a presidential council

Not so “formidable” now, eh Saudara?

Who's looking for Indira Gandhi's kid

It’s been more than 11 years and five IGPs since M. Indira Gandhi’s ex-husband, Muhammad Riduan Abdullah, ran off with their young daughter after converting to Islam. Yet police have turned up bupkis in their search for the runaway dad (allegedly! allegedly!)

The Ipoh High Court has now ordered the cops to file an affidavit within three weeks over the 2014 committal and recovery for police to reunite mother and with her missing child, Prasana Diksa.

Prasana was then less than a year old when Riduan ran off with her amidst a very messy custody battle linked to the question of whether a parent can unilaterally convert a minor to Islam (Spoiler alert: They can’t!). We covered the sad saga pretty extensively in August, so for the full version, you can refer to that edition of BTL here

In October, Indira filed an RM100 million lawsuit against IGP Abdul Hamid Bador and the gomen for the force’s failure to return Prasana to her. 

Anyway, here are a few other bits of news that came out yesterday:

  • The Shariah Court has released and acquitted publisher Mohd Ezra Mohd Zaid of charges of publishing the book “Allah, Liberty and Love” by a Canadian author which allegedly went against Islamic teachings. 
     
  • After criticism from former Penang CM Lim Guan Eng, the federal gomen has ordered the iconic Penang ferry service be continued. Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong, however, slammed Lim as the decision to stop the ferry service was made by the previous Pakatan gomen when LGE was Moneybags Minister. 
     
  • After news that Singapore’s hawker culture had clinched a spot on UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list, the Penang gomen has claimed the state’s (more iconic, we should say) hawker culture is a long way off gaining the same recognition. It seems Putrajaya wanted studies on it to be conducted first. 
     
  • PM Muhyiddin, the Agong and Perak’s Sultan Nazrin Shah have all visited Rahah Mohamad Noah, the ailing 87-year-old mother of former PM Najib Razak and widow of PM2 Abdul Razak Hussein, who’s being warded at the Prince Court Hospital. 
     
  • A migrant employee of a Top Glove subsidiary was found in a pool of blood in his bed yesterday, having reportedly attempted suicide

    We’d like to remind all who may be facing emotional and psychological distress that you can call Befrienders at 03-76272929 or the government’s psychosocial hotlines at 011-63996482/4236 or 03-29359935
     
  • National football legend Namat Abdullah has passed away at the age of 74 after a long battle with intestinal cancer. 

“It isn't the original scandal that gets people in the most trouble – it’s the attempted cover-up.”

- Tom Petri -

IN INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • As French President Emmanuel Macron is revealed as having Covid-19, European regulators have brought forward a meeting to assess marketing authorisation for Moderna’s vaccine.

    Meanwhile, here’s a comparison between the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines. 
     
  • Meanwhile, China is reportedly ramping up plans to vaccinate 50 million people in the country for the approaching Lunar New Year. 
     
  • The EU has reportedly agreed in principle to an investment agreement with China, dealing a blow to US President-elect Joe Biden’s hopes of reviving a transatlantic partnership with Europe to take on China’s growing assertiveness. 
     
  • Vladimir Putin says if Russia’s Special Services had wanted to kill opposition politician Alexey Navalny, who was reportedly poisoned earlier this year, they would’ve “finished it”
     
  • More than 300 schoolboys who had been kidnapped by militant group Boko Haram in northern Nigeria on Dec 11 have been freed.

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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