There's an ever so slight dip in the number of new Covid-19 cases in the country yesterday. Still, the number of active cases being treated are at an all-time high.

Recent surge in numbers has led to calls for the Batu Sapi state election to be postponed or left uncontested; while our young politicians want a political ceasefire (meaning no coups or elections!) - least til the health crisis is over. Ambitious? Or just plain nuts?

Stop, collaborate and listen

Desperate for good news

So, slightly better news to start the day. Our Covid-19 numbers took a little dip yesterday with 489 new infections having been recorded nationwide. This, compared to the whopping 691 tally the day before.
 
It’s the second-highest daily increase we’ve ever had, but hey, we’ll take every little bit of good news we can find God damnit! Even if today is another day.
 
Of the recent cases, all but two were transmitted locally. There were no surprises as the vast majority of remaining cases were recorded in Sabah (282) and Kedah (153), with biggest cluster increase coming from the ‘Tembok’ cluster involving Alor Setar prison. That cluster recorded 139 new cases, that’s nearly 30 percent of the new cases!
 
The total number of Covid-19 cases since the pandemic began in Malaysia now stands at 13,993 with an all-time high of 3,351 active cases. To think less than a month ago, we hadn’t even breached the 10,000-case mark yet, with less than 700 active cases! 
 
Also thankfully, no one died yesterday, so our death toll stands at 141. We’re still reeling from the death of that baby girl on Tuesday.
 
Two new clusters have been detected, with the first – ‘Bah Puchong’ – found in Selangor’s Petaling district as well as the Larut, Matang, Selama and Kinta districts of Perak. Three index cases have been found, all of whom tested positive after returning from Sabah. 

In the case of the Bah Puchong cluster, it was sparked when dimwitted relatives decided it was the best-damned decision to visit a person under quarantine (who’d just returned from Sabah summore) and stay over!!! How many ways can we say stupid?
 
The other is the ‘Penjara Reman’ cluster in Penang. The day before, a remand prisoner tested positive for Covid-19 and yesterday six more infections were found in the prison. 
 
With the Tembok, Benteng LD and now Penjara Reman clusters all linked to prisons, Defence Colourful Baju Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has called for a review of SOPs where detention centres are concerned. Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, meanwhile, has allowed courts to use video conferences for remand applications

Of lockdowns, not shakedowns

Its perhaps for the best. Four additional districts – Klang district in Selangor as well as Sandakan, Papar and Tuaran in Sabah – will be placed under conditional MCO (CMCO) for 14 days, beginning tomorrow.

The SOPs for the CMCO in Klang, however, are yet to be finalised, as many wait to find out if parts of Shah Alam and Setia Alam townships will be affected as well. Also, all schools in the four districts will be closed starting today. If you’re wondering what constitutes CMCO restrictions, you can read them here.

 

Anyhoo, we‘ve compiled a few of the other Covid-related stories into some bite-sized chunks for you:

  • The second CMCO for Kota Kinabalu, Penampang and Putatan began yesterday. You probably wouldn’t have noticed if you were there as it was business as usual (almost lah) as people took to the new restrictions calmly. Meanwhile, the Targeted Enhanced MCO for the Tongkang Yard flats in Kota Setar, Kedah, has ended
     
  • The Prime Minister’s Office has moved to swiftly deny allegations PM Muhyiddin Yassin had violated home quarantine orders as he wasn’t wearing the pink medical wristband worn by those on quarantine. Ok for. Our glorious leader will self-quarantine until Oct 16.
     
  • Police can now issue fines on the spot to those who breach Covid-19 SOPs without having to bring alleged wrongdoers to police stations. Can we station our coppers in every politician’s office, then? 
     
  • A teacher at SMK Taman SEA in Petaling Jaya, a Human Resources Ministry employee and a worker at the Sime Darby Property HQ, also in PJ, are the latest confirmed Covid-19 patients.
     
  • Meanwhile, two Syariah courts in Terengganu have been closed for two days for disinfection as three court officers had attended an event where de facto Islamic Affairs Minister Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri, who is Covid-positive, was present. 
     
  • Ministers Azmin Ali and Saifuddin Abdullah have asserted Covid-19 tests prove they’re Covid-19 negative
     
  • Police have resubmitted investigation papers into the home quarantine breach by p̶u̶b̶l̶i̶c̶ ̶e̶n̶e̶m̶y̶ Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Khairuddin Aman Razali to the Attorney-General’s Chambers for further action.

    It has taken way too long, so much so that even King Troll Najib Razak has turned against him. Misery sure does love company, eh Jibby? 
     
  • A National Security Council meeting was held virtually yesterday as many of its members, including PM Moo, are on home quarantine. Now if only our brilliant leaders had done this earlier, they wouldn’t have had to be quarantined in the first place, no? 
     
  • And last but not least, we have a nominee for the Dumbass of the Year Award. Kedah MB Muhammad Sanusi Mohd Nor had said the state gomen shouldn’t be blamed for the surge of infections in Kedah as it was something that couldn’t be anticipated and, get this, more people die from other diseases such as dengue, malaria, H1N1, cholera and tuberculosis. We can’t even.

Stop, in the name of love Covid prevention

Following this great big surge in Covid-19 infections recently, thanks in part to the Sabah elections last month, there’ve been growing calls for elections to be put on hold. At least for the time being.

If you recall, there’s the matter of the Sarawak state elections, which have to be called by September next year, a growing feeling that snap general elections may be called soon, and the small matter of the Batu Sapi by-election, which has to happen in less than two months. 
 
Now the first two elections are not due anytime soon, so calls for them to be pushed aren’t so far fetched. Sarawak government has till mid-2021 to seek fresh mandate while MooMoo need not seek a general election till 2023!

It’s a different matter entirely for the Batu Sapi by-election. The seat was made vacant when incumbent, former minister Liew Vui Keong, passed away recently. According to the Election Commission, le Federal Constitution mandates by-elections be held within 60 days upon vacancy of the seat. 
 
But there are other ways of going this, it would seem. For instance, Umno Youth has called on BN, Perikatan Nasional, and all other parties not to contest the seat, handing the win to Liew’s party Warisan. Such a suggestion even got the nod from former Bersih co-chair S. Ambiga.
 
This is, of course, easier said than done. There’ve been very few instances where political parties don’t want to fight out a by-election. And then there’s that small matter of this being Sabah, arguably the state that sees the most number of independents taking part in elections. Just take the recent state election for example, where multiple-cornered fights, including two where there were nine candidates, took place. 
 
Now new youth-based party Muda’s head honcho is taking this suggestion one step further, mounting a campaign to call for a pause on all forms of warring politics and elections till the health crisis is behind us. Not an easy call for our uncle and aunties in politics to take up since this would mean no katak-ing, no coups, takeovers or power grabs. Mission impossible for some, we’re sure. 

Instead, the #PauseMalaysia call by Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman’s movement wants all politicians – government, opposition, even independents – to gather round the discussion table and join forces for the sake of the people’s welfare.
 
It’s a nice sentiment indeed but is it as good as it sounds? Now opinions are flying about social media and our news feed by people arguing all sides of the coin as to whether the ceasefire could work, should work, or not, or if Boy Wonder Syed Saddiq and team had the right motives to begin with.

Analyst Bridget Welsh, for example, pointed out that reality of it all is that Covid or no, political patronage and politicking will continue, with some parties already preparing for elections. 

Of course, cynics wonder if bro Syed Saddiq and crew aren’t trying to score some political brownie points along the way. Others, like Uncle Lim Kit Siang’s pol-sec and rights lawyer Syahredzan Johan warn this would only serve to give scheming politicos a chance to capitalise on the situation.

It would be in their best interest now, he said, especially since the ruling parties are getting shelled after the Sabah move. He pointed out that many ignored the earlier olive branch by DAP for all parties to put aside differences to allow the country to focus on recovery.

As one cheeky netizen pointed out, Malaysia hasn’t seen such coming together by politicians since the Sheraton Move in February! Meow!

In a well-argued counterpoint, however, former journo and now relatively prominent educationist, Cheryl Fernando, said a pause need not mean a pause on accountability demanded of errant leaders, just a halt on power struggles.

Now that’s a cause we can truly get behind.

Mama Rosie, mudslinging and some other stuff

Former “First Lady” Rosmah Mansor’s trial for alleged corruption in regards to a billion-ringgit project for rural schools in Sarawak has been constant entertainment for us for months, and yesterday was no different.
 
It’s common for trials to have some pretty awesome mudslinging going on. Yesterday’s session saw just that, with both prosecution and defence throwing out some juicy little tidbits as far as accusations are concerned.
 
The first to do so was defence counsel Akberdin Abdul Kader. While cross-examining MACC investigating officer Noornabilah Mohd Aziman, Akberdin became irritated with the witness claiming ignorance, finally losing it and calling her incompetent
 
It was the second day in a row the lawyer had gone on the offensive as he had previously accused MACC of going on a witch hunt against his client. Funny how he should use the word “witch”… just saying! 
 
Meanwhile, the prosecution will be applying to admit the infamous “can I advise you something?” audio clip, controversially released by then MACC chief commissioner Latheefa Koya in January and played in Mama Rosie’s husband Jibby Razak’s trial in March. The prosecution says the clip is admissible as it shows Mama has an overbearing personality. Their words.
 
Meanwhile, a lot of other interesting court and non-court stories came out yesterday. Here they are in brief:

  • Five police officers, including three high-ranking officers, have been detained by the MACC for money-laundering activities linked to a Macau Scam syndicate.

    IGP Hamid Bador promises that there will be no compromise if any of his men or women are involved in corrupt practices. 
     
  • Two people have been arrested in Kelantan over the pollution of a river in Negeri Sembilan which led to unscheduled water cuts to hundreds of thousands of consumers in the Klang Valley recently. Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia has called for stiffer penalties for water pollution to deter such activities. 
     
  • Former DPM Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail is undergoing treatment at University Malaya Medical Centre, hubby-bubby Anwar Ibrahim says. He didn’t disclose why Jijah’s in hospital but says she tested negative for Covid-19. 
     
  • A Malaysian-born couple and their toddler son have died in what is believed to be a case of murder-suicide at their home in Brentford, West London. Their pet dog was also found dead. 
     
  • A former sawmill worker who raped a nurse after slashing her on the neck will be hanged for her death after losing his last avenue to set aside the death sentence. A three-member Federal Court panel unanimously dismissed the appeal by 27-year-old Mohammad Awari Ahmad. 

“The last time politicians from both sides came together for a common cause was Langkah Sheraton."

- Brian Gomez on Twitter -

IN INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • Brazil is nearing the 5 million-infection mark for Covid-19, with close to 150,000 deaths so far. But even though the daily numbers are on the decrease, experts fear a second wave may be just around the corner with an ignoring of social distancing SOPs and a too-quick return to normal life. 
     
  • In the US, Donald Trump’s bout with Covid-19 has prompted his Democrat challenger, Joe Biden, to urge the cancellation of the next presidential debate between the two, if the president is still sick.

    Meanwhile, US veep Mike Pence and Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris are set to square off today (Wednesday night in the good ol’ US of A) in a vice-presidential debate, so here are five things to look out for. 
     
  • More on The Donald, a federal appeals court has ruled that Manhattan’s district attorney can enforce a subpoena of Trump’s tax returns and other financial records for a criminal probe into el presidente and his businesses.

    This follows an earlier report by The New York Times that claimed Trump only paid $750 in taxes in 2016 and 2017, and nothing in 10 of the prior 15 years.
     
  • A former Minneapolis police officer charged with murdering George Floyd by keeping his knee on the African American man’s neck for nine minutes, a case that sparked nationwide protests, has been released on bail of US$1 million.
     
  • Canada has begun accepting pro-democracy activists from Hong Kong as refugees. This is being seen as a sign the country’s opening its doors to those fleeing China’s crackdown on civil rights. 

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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