We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but our Covid-19 numbers have hit a new high. It’s only gonna get worse, apparently, so don’t go planning any holidays anytime soon.

Also getting worse are relations between Umno and Bersatu, with the two once friends-with-benefits potentially looking at a permanent split. Meanwhile, a disgruntled Umno bigwig spills the tea on his party while an ex-CEO testifies on the 1MDB-Umno link.

Bad and getting worse

Point break

It really was a bad day for Malaysia yesterday as a record 2,593 new Covid-19 infections and 4 deaths were recorded, bringing the cumulative number of cases in Malaysia to 125,438 and the death toll to 513

There were also 13 new clusters recorded, the highest in a single day and across seven states. 

The news, however, gets worse. Health DG Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has said the nation’s health system is at breaking point. Just how breaking? With just 1,129 recoveries yesterday, we’ve a record 24,347 active cases. In case you sudah lupa, our bed capacity at gomen facilities to treat Covid patients is about 23,000. Oh-Oh.

Things are gonna get worse as the Conditional MCO (CMCO) has failed to bring down cases. The R-nought is back up to 1.1 (not down to 0.5 as we’d hoped) and the country’s bracing for a spike in cases thanks to the recent festivities. 

The good doc has called for a review of the CMCO and the gomen’s decision to lift interstate/interdistrict travel ban. The Health Ministry’s also mulling new strategies, such as a targeted version of the MCO, and letting asymptomatic patients quarantine at home, or at certain hotels if they can afford it. 

For now, the National Security Council (NSC) has dismissed a purported leaked document stating the MCO is being reinstated as fake. That may be, but this report has claimed the NSC is still contemplating full MCO-style lockdown for several states, including good ol’ KL. 

Is a full MCO warranted? We stand to lose millions in revenue a day, and smaller businesses risk going under, yet with such an alarming rise in infections, do we have a choice? 

We’ll leave you this little tidbit: Last month, a US analysis had shown that if things continued, by the end of February, Malaysia would see 5,000 daily cases and more than 1,300 deaths by April. Let’s pray it doesn’t come to that. 

For now, let’s practice social distancing, wear our masks, keep clean and avoid them 3Cs!

The Greedy and the Restless

All eyes were turned towards Menara Dato Onn last night as the Umno supreme council met for the first time this year. They were set to debate whether or not to break ties with Premier Muhyiddin Yassin’s Bersatu and as such, with the Perikatan Nasional gomen too. 

Let’s face it. Things were never hunky-dory between the two parties, to begin with. That could stem from the teensy-weensy fact Bersatu was started by disgruntled old ex-Umno farts with the aim of taking down their former party in GE14 (which it did!).

New BN sec-gen and Masterchef wannabe Ahmad Maslan reportedly said that apart from dissatisfaction over gomen positions (or lack of them), Umno’s key gripes with Moo’s gomen is the decision to continue with “cruel” court cases against Umno leaders. 

Ahmad is one such leader. And of course, there’s party prez Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and former glorious leader Najib Razak, who’s already been convicted of some charges and is facing others still (more on that later). 

Oh boo-freaking-hoo! Really, brah? Are you seriously suggesting cases be dropped just cos you’re in gomen again? Aren’t the courts supposed to be independent? You know, separation of powers between the judiciary and executive and all that jazz?

Anyways, after all the hype, the Umno council decided to bring several motions to the party’s AGM on Jan 31. These are: To cut ties with Bersatu; strengthen ties with PAS; and to push for GE15 by the end of the first quarter of 2021, depending on the country’s Covid sitch. 

Still with the GE15? This despite Umno leaders such as Khairy Jamaluddin and Hishammuddin Hussein saying this would be irresponsible and selfish. Have we not learned from the Sabah elections, which caused the third, more devastating Covid spike? Weren’t emergencies declared to avoid polls? Umno, you made this PN bed, now best you lay in it.

Meanwhile, Bersatu also held its first SC meeting. However, deets of the meeting would only be issued today

... and the Unhappy

Hell hath no fury like a politician scorned. Earlier yesterday, former mighty BN sec-gen Annuar Musa held a press conference hitting back at Umno for being unceremoniously dumped from his position.

While Nuar said he accepted the decision to remove him, we can’t help but feel that was a little half-hearted as he proceeded to spill juicy little snapshots of the kind of shite going on behind the scenes in Umno (allegedly, allegedly!). 

In a nutshell, Annuar claimed (FYI: As we can’t afford fancy lawyers the way Umno can, all these claims come with a big fat ‘allegedly! allegedly!’ disclaimer, aite?):

  • Umno was secretly working behind the scenes to work with DAP to form D̶u̶m̶n̶o̶ a new government!;
     
  • El presidente Zahid had, indeed, signed a letter supporting PKR prez Anwar Ibrahim as PM back during the latter’s “strong, formidable, convincing” gambit.
     
  • Zahid had ordered that Muafakat Nasional not be officially registered as a coalition;
     
  • Not all Umno divisions and members want to break ties with Bersatu. 

Annuar had also warned that Umno cannot go it alone (nor BN, we guess) in the polls as there was no guarantee people would vote for them, even if the party is the biggest in the country. He said people feel politicians are more interested in positions then the wellbeing of the rakyat. Nail. On. Head.

While most of Umno leadership has kept quiet about Annuar’s statements, others haven’t. Former president Jibby Razak has denied the party was working with DAP as the majority of grassroots leaders rejected the idea. He also slammed Annuar, claiming the latter was merely pissed at being sacked as sec-gen. 

DAP main man Lim Guan Eng also took umbrage with Annuar, telling him not to drag DAP into his political fight. PKR and Amanah leaders were bigger disappointments, saying they were open to working with Zahid to bring down the “backdoor” PN gomen. 

Funny, cos that same backdoor gomen came about because Zahid’s Umno backed PM Moo, didn’t they?

A few more things

Here’re other news items we thought should be included here in brief:

  • A prosecution witness in Najib Razak’s 1MDB trial did the prosecution no favours when he agreed with a defence counsel suggestion US-based bank Goldman Sachs were the biggest culprits behind the embezzlement.

    Former 1MDB CEO Hazem Abdul Rahman, however, redeemed himself in the eyes of the prosecution when he claimed the Jibster had set up 1MDB to fund Umno.
     
  • Putrajaya’s probe into allegation which surfaced last year that a US surveillance aircraft impersonated a Malaysian plane to spy on China’s military base confirmed the jet’s transponder code hadn’t been registered for any Malaysian jet.
     
  • The flood situation in the East Coast has worsened, with one more person being confirmed dead.
     
  • Sarawak gomen is looking for 400 healthy volunteers to take part in a Covid vaccine trial slated to begin sometime this month.

    Meanwhile, Human Resources Minister M Saravanan has said employers must foot the immunihttps://www.malaysiakini.com/news/557844sation bill for employees.
     
  • Kelantan authorities will take action against a woman shown in a viral video flinging trash out of her car and into a river. Padan muka!
     
  • There’s a spot in hell for people like these. Police have arrested six, including the father and grandaunt of a disabled five-year-old girl, following her brutal death. Autopsy findings showed the child had been terribly abused and died from her injuries.

“If there's a back door somewhere, I take it. I try to get about without being noticed.”

- Freddy Ljungberg -

IN INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • Washington DC’s been engulfed in violence as armed supporters of outgoing US President Donald Trump have stormed the US Capitol building in a bid to overturn his loss, with the National Guard now having been called in to secure the area.

    A Trump video calling for the rioters to go home but which still repeated false election fraud claims was removed by social media platforms. Twitter’s also locked le président orange’s account.
     
  • The Democrats have flipped the US Senate as both the party’s candidates won the Georgia Senate runoff election.
     
  • In Hong Kong, 53 former opposition lawmakers and activists have been arrested over an alleged plot to overthrow the government.
     
  • A UK judge has denied bail for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange pending a US government appeal against a decision to block his extradition to America to face charges under the Espionage Act.

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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