Welcome back! We hope you had a good public break. Sadly in that time, we’ve crossed the 10,000 mark as far as active Covid-19 cases are concerned. HOWEVER, yesterday saw a marked decrease in new cases and the country recorded its first death-free day in weeks!

Meanwhile, talk on the upcoming tabling of Budget 2021 is ramping up; a certain BN party is still holding the Perikatan Nasional government to ransom; and, a certain former PM twice-over has stirred shit up at a global level. TGIF!

Finally, some good news

Some encouraging news

What a difference a day makes.
 
Wednesday saw an increase of 801 new Covid-19 cases. While that in itself represented a slight dip in the number of daily cases from the day before, it also meant our active cases shot past the 10,000-case mark for the first time.
 
We also saw 8 deaths, pushing the total number of people killed to 246, and four new clusters. 
 
But then there was good news yesterday, as Malaysia reported a big drop to 649 cases. The number of recoveries (685) was greater than that of new cases, leading to the number of active cases to drop to 10,087 for the first time in 23 days.
 
There was more good news as yesterday saw ZERO deaths, the first time since Oct 7. However, five new clusters have been detected.
 
While we are all no doubt encouraged by yesterday’s figures, this commentary from a team of experts from Universiti Sains Malaysia is a sobering reminder that we cannot rest on our laurels in the fight against this pandemic.

The team had said analysis of data trajectories correctly showed Malaysia would hit 10,000 cases between Oct 27 to 28. More concerning still is their prediction the country would cross 15,000 active cases by Nov 8.

Still, in order for us all to do our bit by strictly adhering to safety regulations set by our gomen, we iterate our call for the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to be, err, standard across the board in the first place.

Recent news reports have once more highlighted that that is not the case. Unclear SOPs have led to a string of confusion and the rules not being uniformly enforced by our men and women in blue, raising concerns over possible abuses.

Take this case in Setapak where a man has alleged he was fined for wearing his face mask below the nose, which the man, of course, denied. The man had claimed four coppers in civvy clothes had “hinted at something else” (meaning, can setel lah, allegedly! allegedly!) when he tried to argue his case.
 
In other instances, a newspaper distributor was slapped with a fine for not scanning the MySejahtera code when merely dropping off newspapers at a restaurant, while this kesian uncle was fined for tapau-ing food near his home despite earlier assurance by our gomen that KL residents are free to travel anywhere within the city despite the conditional movement control order (CMCO).
 
We hope Senior Minister (can we shorten this to Sinister?) Ismail Sabri Yaakob is taking notes. There’s no good gracing our screens each day boasting about the number of arrests your team have made for those breaching SOPs when there are unclear regulations, double standards and uneven application of the law. This isn’t rocket science!
 
Anyhoo, here are some other bits of news about Covid-19:

  • Almost a third of the deaths in this third wave of Covid-19 infections have occurred even before the patient can reach a hospital. 
     
  • Three areas in Kudat have been placed under enhanced movement control order (EMCO) while the CMCO in Labuan has been extended till Nov 13. 
     
  • A doctor in Sabah had claimed the biggest challenge for healthcare workers there was the lack of manpower, adding that the stress has left nurses in tears and doctors having to resort to sleeping pills to get any rest they can. 
     
  • The Education Ministry has shuttered all schools in red zone areas in Kuching until Nov 13. This involves 209 education institutions, including private schools, matriculation colleges and teaching institutes. 
     
  • Melaka has put a stop to all activities and public visits to Pulau Besar for the time being 
     
  • Students heading overseas to study for the first time may be accompanied by two people but proof, such as a letter of offer from the university, must be provided to the Immigration Department. 
     
  • The Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) wants the Education Ministry to disclose SOPs for students sitting for the SPM examination next year if movement restrictions are still in place in January. For the record, the examinations this year have been postponed to Jan 2021. 

Budget on the brain

Talk about the 2021 Budget, which is expected to be focused primarily on economic recovery from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic (boy, do we hope so), is ramping up.
 
With calls for a political ceasefire so that the gomen can concentrate on battling the virus, many, including our Agong, are hoping things will pass smoothly when the budget is tabled in Parliament next week. Just what are the chances this will happen? 
 
Pakatan Harapan has called for PM Muhyiddin Yassin and his band of merry men to sit down with the opposition to discuss the budget before it’s tabled, of course. It’s a fair call which will allow for any lapses to be addressed and to ensure we’re left with a bill that truly focusses on the rakyat’s needs. After all, the ‘other side’ is led by Anwar Ibrahim, a former finance minister.

Heck, we support this, though we hope any meeting can be done virtually so that there is no risk of Covid-19 transmission. 
 
Failing this, we sincerely hope our politicos in the opposition don’t restore to old habits of rejecting something along party lines. In other words, just cos they’re the opposition. Support it lah YBs, but only if it’s good.
 
Sadly, not everyone is grasping the concept of bipartisan support for the bill for the betterment of all Malaysians. One such clown who deserves a real good knock on the head is DAP’s Subang MP Wong Chen for suggesting the opposition use the budget vote to trade for democratic reforms. In other words, we support you in exchange for you changing certain things we find undemocratic. 

Lord knows we could use some reforms and we usually support such calls. But not like this lah bro!
 
Meanwhile, apart from the Budget, Wong Chen’s boss DAP head honcho Lim Guan Eng has said the party will work with anyone to pressure PM Moo to extend the bank loan moratorium. Even eternal enemy Umno, which has called for the same thing. Politics can sometimes lead to strange bedfellows.
 
By the way, the Dewan Rakyat reconvenes on Monday, and the opposition is calling for two things to happen on that day. First is Guan Eng’s daddy-o Kit Siang who is seeking a bipartisan parliamentary committee on Covid-19 to be set up as an example of an “all-of-government” and “whole-of-society” mindset and approach in the war against the pandemic. 

Meanwhile, another Wong – Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman Wong Kah Who – has called for House Speaker Azhar “Art” Harun to ensure new PAC members are sworn in soon. The committee hasn’t been able to carry out its duties after five of its members had to leave when PN took over the gomen and these members became either ministers or deputy ministers. 
 
Oh, and since we’re on the topic of Parliament, apparently two MPs, from BN and PAS, have applied to move motions of confidence for PM Muhyiddin. Of course, there are still 25 applications for votes of no confidence from Opposition MPs. But we’re guessing none of these will see the light of day. 

Covidiots Umno supremos meet for 2nd time this week

Frankly, we’re tired of repeating ourselves but yesterday was yet another busy day for our politicians who seem to be taking the Agong’s call for a political ceasefire as a mere throwaway suggestion rather than the bloody good advice that it was. 

The big event was a special Umno supreme council meeting called late last night – the second one this week. Rumours were rife the agenda would include hammering out a deal with MooMoo over the Budget and, of course, a bigger slice of the gomen pie for the party.

This, it was said, could entail a Cabinet reshuffle with the post of DPM going to one of three Umno men, including Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein. H2O has since denied he wants the job.
 
At the end of the meeting, what we got was a statement by Umno prez Ahmad Zahid Hamidi that the party will remain in gomen, but would push for general elections once the Covid-19 pandemic is under control. 
 
It’s unclear if a Cabinet reshuffle or the DPM’s post were also discussed during the four-hour-long meeting, which only ended in the wee hours of this morning. But it’s enough to show politicking is still going on, with Umno still holding things over Muhyiddin’s head.

If you remember, it was claimed Umno is seeking the #2 spot and Moo is (allegedly! allegedly!) waiting for Umno to name it’s man (or woman, though we highly doubt it). A couple of days ago, however, an Umno supreme council member claimed the party never wanted to nominate one of its leaders as DPM. We’re not saying we’re sceptics, but please excuse us, while we roll on the floor laughing. 

Umno, however, aren’t the only ones scheming behind the scenes, it would seem. Everybody’s fave nonagenarian Dr Mahathir Mohamad has reportedly met several people to discuss the formation of a unity government.

We guess the good doc hasn’t given up his dream of entering the record books as the only person in the WWW (whole wide world) to ever become a nation’s leader thrice not-in-a-row.

Maddey runs his mouth off, and some other stuff

Dr M, as we all know, has stirred some international level shit up in the past. The old goat is known for his controversial statements after all. Remember his anti-Semitic “hooked-nose” gaffe two years ago? But he could have just taken things too far this time around.
 
First, some background. It all started when French President Emmanuel Macron pissed off many people when he recently hit out at radical Muslims. Of course, le président was commenting after the awful beheading of a teacher there for showing students caricatures of Prophet Muhammad during a lesson on free speech.

Macron’s words drew protests and loud cries for the boycott of French-made goods, even in Malaysia, with the French embassy in KL trying to explain that France upheld freedom of religion and Macron was only hitting out at “radical Islamism”
 
Always one to get a word in, Mads took to Twitter and his blog with a 13-point post on France needing to “respect others”. There were so many things wrong with his line of thinking we seriously wondered if he was typing in his speech. Honourable mention includes his criticism on the fight for women’s equality as an ill-conceived Western ideal and women’s increasingly skimpy clothing – He used the words “little string (which) covers the most secret place”, ugh!

But he took things even further by saying Muslims had “the right to kill” French people for the atrocities France committed against other Muslims during its colonial past. 
 
The statement could not have been worse times, coming just hours after a knife attack in France (more on that later). Here, one Umno man slammed Maddey, as did the Australian high commissioner to Malaysia. The Islamic Development Department of Malaysia, meanwhile, cautioned Muslims against violence and extremism over the caricatures. 
 
A French minister demanded that Mahathir’s Twitter account be suspended. The post solicited so much condemnation on Twitter, even by local and international media, that the social media company later deleted the tweet about killing French people, first flagging it as “glorifying violence”. 
  
How do France’s past wrongs justify attacks on innocent French people? Mads (pun intended) may have condemned the beheading of the French teacher and pointed out that Muslims have chosen not to take the eye-for-an-eye approach to French hostilities in the past. But saying they haven’t done so is not the same as telling your fellow Muslims not to do so. 

Also, what has Mahathir done to rectify racial inequality and discrimination back home? Why cast stones elsewhere when he hasn’t done anything at home.
 
We are disgusted by such a statement coming from someone who is supposed to be an elder statesman. So, we’re just gonna end this here, and move on to other stories, which we’ve compiled for you in bite-sized chunks:

  • DAP Sg Pelek assemblyman Ronnie Liu was arrested over his alleged seditious FB posting on the anti-government protests in Thailand. He was later released on police bail, after which he said he told the cops the posting had nothing to do with our Agong. 
     
  • The MACC has begun investigations into the disbursement of an RM300 million loan from a Sabah-owned bank to AirAsia after it was reported that new Chief Minister Hajiji Noor ordered the state government to probe how the loan was given out in a hurry after Gabungan Rakyat Sabah took over. Former CM Shafie Apdal, however, says everything was above board
     
  • M. Indira Ghandi, the woman whose ex-husband fled with their youngest child 11 years ago, has filed an RM100 million suit against IGP Abdul Hamid Bador and the government for failing to locate and return her daughter as ordered by the courts. 
     
  • With numerous pollution incidents this year alone that led to unscheduled water cuts for Klang Valley residents, Selangor MB Amirudin Shari has revealed that there could have been more. This week, the authorities detected four instances of river pollution but these were addressed before they could cause more disruptions. 
     
  • Malaysia lost two icons this week with the passing of its first and only Roman Catholic cardinal, Anthony Soter Fernandez, on Wednesday and literary giant Salleh Ben Joned yesterday.
     
  • But there was some good news, at least, as teacher Samuel Isaiah, who came to national attention for his work with Orang Asli communities, was named among the Top 10 finalists of the Global Teacher Prize 2020, which carries a US$1 million prize award. 

“The earth has a skin and that skin has diseases; one of its diseases is called man."

- Friedrich Nietzsche -

IN INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • Three people were killed, including a woman who was beheaded, and several others injured as a knife-wielding man went on a rampage at a French church in Nice. The attacker was shot and wounded by police before being taken into custody. 

    World leaders have condemned the attack, but it wasn’t the only one to be linked to the recent beheading of a teacher in France who had showed caricatures of Prophet Muhammad to his students, as a Saudi man wounded a French consulate guard in Jeddah.
     
  • The world saw a record single-day rise in Covid-19 cases – by more than 500,000. The global tally now stands at more than 44.7 million cases and 1.17 million deaths. 
     
  • Top US infectious diseases expert Dr Anthony Fauci says a Covid-19 vaccine could be ready for high-risk Americans as early as late December or January next year, if all goes well. 
     
  • A strike is under way in Poland by women opposed to a court ruling that introduced a near-total ban on abortion in the mainly Catholic country. Crowds have protested in several cities for more than a week against the decision that outlawed terminations on the grounds of severe health defects. 

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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