It's day #3 of the emergency, and everyone's still debating if we need it. Certain quarters are even warning over possible abuse by the state. So how deep in it are we?

In other news, we've a better sense as to how long the MCO could last and for us to flatten that Covid-19 curve. Still, there's pressure on the gomen to finally develop a long-term plan to battle the pandemic. Also, the MCMC's snafu over old tweets is cause for concern.

And the debate rages on

Emergency gambit: Good or bad?

We still cannot agree on whether Tuesday’s emergency declaration was warranted. 

To refresh your memory, we need to go waaaay back to October last year. Our King had royally rebuffed PM Muhyiddin Yassin’s first bid to have a nationwide emergency declared to tackle our Covid-19 problem. His Highness felt that Moo’s gomen could well implement policies needed to curb rising cases without it. 

Bear in mind, the move came as Moo’s position as our glorious prime minister, as it is now, was quite precarious. Widespread assumption at the time was the PM’s emergency gambit was the surest way to stay in power (allegedly! allegedly!). 

But you know what they say, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. 

Fast forward to 2021 and Moo’s back in the hot seat having lost his already tenuous hold on parliamentary support thanks to frenemy Umno’s shenanigans. Only this time, our health system’s truly at breaking point as the pandemic rages on. So second time lucky Muhyiddin got his wish when the Agong consented to an emergency order. Say what you want of the man, but Moo’s certainly persistent.

Once more, he’s dogged by the accusation rising Covid cases was again just a ruse to dodge snap polls and remain in his gilded Putrajaya seat

To be fair to self-proclaimed Abah, a large-scale general election – that Umno’s pushing for – is the last thing anyone needs right now. But as many have pointed out, you needn’t declare an emergency to avoid polls la!

Officially, no emergency ordinances have been issued yet to prevent the Dewan Rakyat from convening, although MooMoo said it’ll be

DAP head honcho Lim Guan Eng has since called on the gomen to reconsider suspending Parliament so MPs can hold Moo & co. accountable. After all, Moo’s assured the executive and judiciary can function normally. What’s the hold up in launching virtual Dewan sittings again? 

Worse, NGOs and rights groups have warned of possible abuse such as arbitrary arrests, due to the lack of checks and balances.

True, the emergency gives the gomen leeway in enacting immediate laws to boost the economy. But analysts have said it could also dent consumer confidence and, God forbid, scare off investors. But maybe the stock market knows something we don’t as the Bursa rebounded like Rocky Balboa yesterday.

Meanwhile, PAS, the halal meat between the Umno-Bersatu Perikatan Nasional sandwich, has stood by Moo. Prez Abdul Hadi Awang has deemed the move proactive and called out political sharks just out for power, busy debating who should be premier but failing to amass the numbers. Hint Anwar Ibrahim, hint Umno.

Perhaps Anwar should pay heed to the suggestion he forms a shadow government to counter Moo’s move and abandon his lofty PM dreams for the time being.

One Parti Bersatu man, though, has said questioning the declaration is treasonous, cos it was the King’s decision. Sorry bro, but with Muhyiddin being given all these new special emergency powers, you can bet we’re gonna be asking questions.

What's the plan, Phil?

It’s the long-term plan that’s a long time coming.

It’s been almost a year now that this pesky little coronavirus has blighted our very existence and about half the country has entered a second round of MCO. 

Yet after all this time, it still seems the powers that be are formulating plans as they go along without any blueprint to follow.

Now, authorities have been promising mid-, and long-term plans are in the offing. But with daily cases in the thousands, many have called for long-term measures to be announced pronto, with a local health NGO being the latest to add pressure to the gomen. After all, the group had pointed out, the MCO can’t be the be-all and end-all in Covid management.

Right now, though, we must rely on the MCO to bring down our numbers. But how long will that take? 

That’s a pretty good question, but it seems our news organisations can’t seem to agree on what the man in the know, Health DG Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah had said yesterday. There were varying reports from MalaysiakiniThe Star, the New Straits Times, the Malay Mail and Free Malaysia Today

But from what we gather, Noor Hisham basically said the MCO will likely last four weeks, and it’ll take anywhere between four to 12 weeks to flatten the curve. 

Let’s hope we achieve this sooner, rather than later. The numbers are still high, with another 2,985 cases yesterday, 4 new deaths, and 11 new clusters. In fact, Sungai Buloh Hospital has decided to add more ICU wards considering the rise in severe cases. 

Anyhoo, here are a few other Covid-related stories which appeared yesterday:

  • After some medical peeps questioned the efficacy of Sinovac’s vaccine citing unreliable data, it’s now the turn of AstraZeneca’s vaccine.

    Meanwhile, Science, Innovation and Tech Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has assured Malaysians the government will only go ahead with buying Sinovac’s vaccine if it satisfies safety and efficacy standards.
     
  • More details of what’s allowed to open during the MCO have come out. Shopping malls and registered childcare centres are among them. Oh, and public transportation will be at full capacity. What? Two per family in a car, but you can be with loads of strangers in public transport?). You can refer to this guide if you’re a little confused.
     
  • Deputy Comms Minister Zahidi Zainul Abidin has tested Covid-positive. He joins three ministers to have tested positive this month.
     
  • For those unclear about where you can go during the MCO, this website tells you just what’s located within a 10-km radius of your home. 

MCMC SNAFU and some other stuff

Yesterday we talked about how the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission’s (MCMC) Twitter account went dark because of some offensive old tweets that’ve been dredged up. All because our brilliant peeps bought the account (allegedly, allegedly!) from some kid a few years back. 

Well, MCMC later claimed the account was hacked (this from the agency supposedly in charge of, among other things, looking after our cybersecurity, no less), leading to one MP snidely remarking that the account must have been hacked by a time traveller

This article seems to put the lie to the commission’s claims, as it supposedly quoted the teen who was the original owner of the account. It was his old (and we must say, rather racy and racist) tweets that had surfaced. Kesian the kid though, as he’s since apologised and said he has grown up and cleaned up his language since.

In any case, all this has prompted a lawyer (the pol-sec of Lim Kit Siang, no less) to demand answers

 

Hopefully, all will soon be revealed as Comms Minister Saifuddin Abdullah has ordered a thorough probe into the management of the account. No cover-ups please, YB, if MCMC indeed broke Twitter regulations by buying the account. 

Anyways, here are some other bits of news which attracted our attention yesterday:

  • The state’s reaction towards transgender women will contribute to the level of impunity in cases against them, and LGBTQ rights group has said, as transgender people are subjected to criminalisation and non-recognition of their gender identity.

    This follows an incident where cosmetic millionaire Nur Sajat was arrested and, allegedly subjected to abuse by Selangor Islamic Religious Department officers.
     
  • The prosecution has failed to forfeit over RM37 million from Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd and eight others concerning the controversial Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) project.
     
  • The Penang gomen’s ready to defend its riparian water rights (here’s the Wiki link for what that means) if Kedah insists on taking a spat about raw water from Sungai Muda to court.

    Kedah has repeatedly demanded Penang pay for raw water, but the latter has maintained it doesn’t need to as the river flows through both states.
     
  • A Penang restaurateur and his wife have been questioned by police the Communist-themed decoration at their restaurant.
     
  • Renowned chef and connoisseur of vulgarity Gordon Ramsay is set to open his first establishment in Malaysia. His bar and grill, to be located in Sunway Resort, is scheduled to open in June

“What do all men with power want? More power.”

- The Oracle, The Matrix Reloaded -

IN INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • The US House of Representatives has voted to impeach outgoing President Donald Trump, for the second time, for allegedly inciting his supporters to storm the Capitol last week.

    However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has all but guaranteed that The Donald will see out his term by refusing to bring back the Senate early for a speedy trial.
     
  • Questions are being asked about whether the rioters at the Capitol had inside help. Meanwhile, security has been tightened around the building, and Washington in general, as the Pentagon voted to arm National Guard members supporting security there.
     
  • Portugal will go into a new round of lockdowns on Friday because of Covid-19.

    Meanwhile, New York has pleaded for more vaccine doses as the death toll in the US hit a new high of 4,336, even as the World Health Organization warned that the second year of the coronavirus would be even worse.
     
  • One of Italy’s largest-ever mafia trials, with more than 330 suspected mobsters and their associates facing an array of charges, has hit a snag as the three judges assigned the case have asked to be recused

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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