Ups and downs
The good place (and the bad)
It was again a good news, bad news kinda day in terms of our Covid-19 numbers.
First, the good! The number of new cases took a slight dip from 660 to 589. And, even better, 409 people were discharged yesterday. That’s the largest amount of recoveries in a single day so far!
Now the bad. Despite the recoveries, Malaysia’s active cases have risen to 5,945. There were 3 deaths, bringing the death toll to 170. Four new clusters, spanning four states and two federal territories, have also been detected.
It ain’t looking pretty for the Klang Valley either. Although Sabah remains the state with the most number of cases (304); Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya accounted for more than a quarter of cases (27.2 percent or 160 cases) nationwide.
In fact, Selangor alone accounted for 150 cases, pushed up largely by the ‘Utama’ cluster. Named after the popular 1 Utama shopping mall, that particular cluster currently accounts for 132 cases in all. The mall has said 44 of its security guards that tested positive hadn’t been infected within mall premises.
Experts believe things could get worse in the Klang Valley. And even if they don’t, it’s still likely to be another six weeks before Selangor, at least, sees a downward trend in infections.
What’s more worrying are reports the mutated super-spreader strain of Covid-19 dubbed D614G, detected in the large ‘Benteng’ LD cluster in Lahad Datu and Tawau, could’ve been exported to the peninsula by Sabah returnees.
This, we’re told, is possible considering there’ve been 23 new clusters involving 604 Sabah returnees. FYI, a similar, but different, D614G mutation was previously detected, including in the infamous ‘Sivagangga‘ cluster. You can read this to understand more about this mutation and why it causes the virus to spread even faster.
“Concern” is certainly the buzzword of the day: The health ministry is clearly worried, calling on medical and health personnel outside the ministry to volunteer their services to help manage the third wave of infections.
Sarawak, attempting to stave off a mushrooming of cases, has extended the entry ban on visitors from Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia till Nov 15.
And there seems to be no let-up for poor, beleaguered Sabah. Up to 43 percent of Sabah’s Covid patients are highly-symptomatic, which is more than triple of Malaysia’s 12 percent average back in April. As pointed out by Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii, that means four in 10 coronavirus patients in Sabah are ill enough to be hospitalised. Among them are Kunak assemblywoman Norazlina Arif who’s being treated in Kota Kinabalu.
Yii is advocating not only increased testing but a faster testing process, especially as the figures could indicate a large number of asymptomatic people yet to be detected.
But while testing capacity has been increased in the country to some extent, Sabah’s numbers are still too hot to handle – the air force has had to fly swab tests to the peninsula for testing as labs in Sabah are overwhelmed.
To make matters worse, with blood donors shying away from hospitals and blood banks temporarily closed in the wake of the increasing Covid cases in the state, Sabah is experiencing a shortage of blood supply at its health facilities.
As you can see from the above, Sabah is in dire straits (and we don’t mean in a Mark Knopfler kinda way). As such, you’ll probably be seeing a lot of calls for funds and donations. If you’re looking to contribute to one that’s for sure legit, you can send your $$$ to the Sabah branch of the Malaysian Medical Association. Details here.
And lastly, if you want to know where Covid-19 has reared its ugly head, you can go here for a list that Malaysiakini’s been updating several times a day.
Hey ho, there's mo' CMCO
We're all missing the point
The b̶u̶l̶l̶s̶h̶i̶t̶ wrangling for power by Umno following Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s claim he has support to dethrone the government shows no signs of stopping.
Umno is busy playing kingmaker during the current political imbroglio, while others are busy making accusations and claims (and rescinding them), and declaring as to who they support or don’t.
As we mentioned yesterday, Umno’s in pole position now. They are holding Perikatan at ransom with the announcement they are considering pulling support, while at the same time negotiating (allegedly, allegedly!) terms with Anwar.
In fact, this article quotes sources as saying Umno is pushing the same power-sharing formula to both sides. And if they don’t get their way, they will trigger snap polls.
Barisan Nasional sec-gen Annuar Musa has said Umno’s begun negotiations over the party’s support for Perikatan. But our man has also hit out at Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah aka Ku Li for his letter to Azhar “Art” Harun, urging the Dewan Rakyat Speaker to expedite a motion of no confidence against Moo as a matter of national interest. Does that mean Annuar supports Muhyiddin? 🤔
Incidentally, Art has tried to set the record straight about his reply to Ku Li’s letter. TL;DR, the Speaker doesn’t have the power to move the vote of no confidence motion above government business unless a minister requests it.
Anwar may be front and centre of the current hullabaloo, but none of his gambits would be possible if the grand old United Malays National Organisation, the party that’s had the chance to rule the roost for over six-bloody-ty years, haven’t been prostituting themselves left, right and centre to anyone who’ll give them a way back into power by any means possible.
Umno’s interference has triggered the downfall of the previous elected government and could now detrone the unelected gomen it helped put in place.
And with all these shenanigans going on, it’s just a waste of time to try and keep tabs of all the news of who is supporting whom or who is denying what. We seem to be missing the point.
For one, it’s clear negotiations, both in front or behind the scenes are still ongoing on all sides of the political divide. Alliances, even within parties, are being formed and are changing all the time. Two, we’ve no idea who is actually honest (ha!) or masking true intentions.
Three, all this is going on when our leaders should be focusing on Covid, the economy and basically, on us, the people. If anything, this has shown our politicos have learnt nothing from the mess they created with the Sabah polls. And THAT, friends, is the main point.
And all the other stuff
Here are a few other stories which appeared yesterday which we thought we should include here for you:
- The US Labour Department’s added rubber gloves made in Malaysia to a list of items manufactured under forced labour, a claim that has been denied by Top Glove, the world’s largest glove maker.
- The driver of a Perodua Myvi who caused the death of a navy man in a recent accident while she was driving high on drugs was sentenced to six years and seven months’ jail and fined RM11,300.
- Speaking of “high”, a man doped up on methamphetamines was arrested after punching a fireman who was among several firefighters who arrived on scene to douse the flames enveloping the fool’s car after an accident.
Here’s the best part, he punched the fireman after the latter and his mates stopped him from getting back into the burning car!
- This one really got us all in a huff. Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka tweeted a pantun yesterday as part of its Dekad Bahasa Kebangsaan campaign. The pantun basically asks what’s the point of having a beautiful wife if she can’t pound chillies to make her man’s sambal. Dear DBP, the 19th century called and asked you to get your sexist ass back there.
“Better days are coming! They're called Saturday and Sunday."
- Karen Salmansohn -
IN INTERNATIONAL NEWS
- Over in the US, Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris has called off campaign trips until Monday after two of her aides tested positive for Covid-19. This as infections reached record highs in Wisconsin and other US Midwest states.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden need not quarantine himself despite flying in a plane with a person who subsequently tested positive, as he was not in close contact with the latter.
- Meanwhile, instead of the two men engaging in what was supposed to be the second of three presidential debates, Biden and his opponent Donald Trump would be holding separate town halls at the same time.
- Hong Kong and Singapore have reached an agreement in principle to possibly create the world’s first two-way travel bubble, which would exempt travellers of both cities from having to quarantine. Travellers would only have to prove they tested negative for the coronavirus.
- Thailand pro-democracy protests continue despite the country announcing a “severe” state of emergency.
This, after thousands of demonstrators massed around the Government House, the seat of government, in Bangkok. Thailand has issued a ban on gatherings of five or more people as part of a crackdown. You can follow developments here.
- Russia has pulled out of talks with the Netherlands and Australia over the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014, complaining of “vicious” attempts to pin blame on Moscow.
Yesterday, we stated an enterprising ‘Datuk Seri’ who hopped, skipped and jumped over a fence behind the MACC HQ to escape re-arrest was successfully apprehended. Turns out the joker’s more Jho Low-esque than we thought and is actually still on the run. Looks like we’re not the only ones confused.