MCO 2.0, 2.0
Stay home and prosper
We can’t say we didn’t see this coming. In case you didn’t, a two-week extension to the MCO’s been announced due to the unrelenting Covid-19 sitch.
MCO 2.0 was supposed to end tomorrow, but the latest round (MCO 2.1? MCO 2.0 2.0?) will end on Feb 18 nationwide, expect for most of Sarawak which was never under lockdown.
Sadly for our Chinese friends, this will mean a sombre CNY come Feb 12.
Although MCO/SOP Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has said SOP for the celebrations are still being decided, you can bet there’ll be no interstate travel for the long weekend.
Remember when the gomen lifted interstate/district ban during the recent CMCO? Izzy’s admitted this spawned 31 damned Covid clusters. Still, he’s assured the gomen has a holistic plan to combat Covid-19. We’ll see it to believe it, mister.
The powers that be are also promising stricter SOPs this round, to be announced soon (meaning “we haven’t quite decided yet”). One measure for certain will be stiffer fines for MCO violators.
Take these poor villagers from the interiors of Sabah. They were each fined RM1,000 during a long trip out to buy necessities, for exceeding the capacity of the vehicle they were travelling in.
Despite being slammed for not showing compassion, Sabah authorities have said the rules must be enforced. Top cop Abdul Hamid Bador, too, has warned there’ll be no more warnings now the MCO’s been extended.
Sure, so what about these Three Stooges who bumped into each other (alleged! allegedly!) on a walk/jog?
Ironically, the Sabah news came as Minister Izzy tweeted a spiel about the gomen’s compassion for the economic plight of the poor. Timing, sir, is everything.
Don't count those chickens...
For the second day in a row, our daily Covid numbers took a dip. Though still high at 3,455, it’s a marked improvement from the days of 5,000 cases. We didn’t think we’d ever welcome the sight of 3k-plus cases, but small wins.
Only, don’t go popping any bubbly grape juice just yet. We also broke several unwanted records, namely, the highest number of deaths (21) and most number of folks in ICU (327), of which a record high of 145 are intubated.
In any case, our total Covid cases is now 222,628 (47,847 active) and the death toll is 791.
And despite two days of reduced Covid cases, the infectivity rate’s (Rt ) still high at 1.15. That means every 100 Covid patients are infecting 115 other people. That’s even higher than when MCO 2.0 was first imposed when the Rt was 1.13.
Anyhoo, here are some other Covid-related stories we’ve picked up:
- Science Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has assured there’ll be no delay in receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines promised us. This, despite new export controls imposed by the EU and despite Malaysia not being among countries exempted from these controls.
The first batch is expected to arrive on Feb 26.
- Meanwhile, local pharma company Pharmaniaga has said the first million doses out of total 14 million of China company Sinovac’s vaccines would arrive in March, a month ahead of schedule. You can read this guide on our national Covid inoculation plan here.
- Pharmaniage also claimed that trial data indicated Sinovac’s vaccine prevented severe manifestations of the disease that require hospitalisation.
- Screening is now mandatory for all foreign workers in Malaysia and not just the six states earlier announced.
- Bersih and six other NGOs have filed a suit against PM Muhyiddin Yassin and his gomen over the emergency proclamation to curb the pandemic.
- PM-forever-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim has lashed out at investigations into statements he made against the emergency, asking exactly what law prohibited him from making “an appeal” to the King on any matter.
Of judges, courts and a former AG
A whole bunch of court-related news came out yesterday.
He’d sought the stay pending an appeal against a related High Court decision. Said High Court had dismissed his application for a judicial review against the committee’s quorum (basically an application to stop the inquiry).
What this means is Hamid Sultan will now have to face the committee over an explosive affidavit in which he claimed judicial abuses. He was slapped with a show-cause letter last August over the matter.
Meanwhile, a Mongolian rape survivor has another chance to file civil action against a police officer who allegedly raped her, after a crowdfunding campaign managed to raise the RM46,500 needed to fund a second lawsuit.
The poor woman had her first suit dismissed by the court cos she failed to come up with RM70,000 required as a security deposit for the suit to go ahead. You can get the sad deets on the case here.
In another screwed-up rape case, investigations into the rape of a minor at the Miri police lockup by another underaged detainee last month have finally been completed, a mere (sarcasm mode: full on) three weeks after the alleged incident.
The papers have been sent to the AGC for further action.
We move on to former AG Tommy Thomas, who’s gotten into more trouble over his new autobiography.
PM4/7 Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s party Pejuang has slammed the former top prosecutor for breaching lawyer-client confidentiality, which is no surprise considering Mr T had some not-so-nice-things to say about Maddey. Another lawyer is claiming Tommy committed sub judice in his book.
Meanwhile, former glorious leader Najib Razak issued Tommy-boy a letter of demand for RM10 million in compensation and a public apology for allegedly linking him to the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu in 2006.
Some lower-hanging fruits
Here are some other bits of news we thought we’d include:
- The Perikatan Nasional gomen has expressed serious concern over the coup in Myanmar, asking all parties to maintain peace, uphold the rule of law and resolve electoral discrepancies.
There’re over 600 Malaysians registered with our embassy in Yangon.
- One PKR big gun has pointed out the irony of Malaysia’s concern over the suspension of democracy in Myanmar, seeing as how our Parliament was suspended recently, cos, emergency. 😊
- Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin has claimed the applications by Dr M’s Pejuang and Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman’s Muda to be political parties were rejected by the RoS as their constitutions were flawed and didn’t follow the Societies Act.
Pejuang’s hit back, saying the issues were settled last month.
- A month after being criticised for buying the Penang CM a new RM458,000 car, the state gomen will spend RM5 million to renovate state excos’ offices at Komtar.
The move was slammed by one MCA man who said the Pakatan Harapan state gomen failed to consider the people’s suffering during the pandemic.
- A day after his wife was charged with trafficking cannabis, Bersatu Youth figure Adam Asmuni has also been hit with the same charge and is facing the gallows.
“The Quest stands upon the edge of a knife. Stray but a little, and it will fail, to the ruin of all. Yet hope remains while the Company is true.”
- Galadriel, The Lord of the Rings -
IN INTERNATIONAL NEWS
- The UN Security Council is holding an emergency meeting, and Asean has called for dialogue over the Myanmar coup.
If you’re a little lost, this explainer can give you a little idea of what’s going on.
- Amazon CEO and world’s richest person Jeff Bezos is stepping down, handing over the reins to cloud services head Andy Jassy. This after the company announced its first $100 billion quarter, spurred by holiday and pandemic-driven shopping.
- With more than 103 million Covid infections and 2.2 million deaths, there’s bad news from the UK as experts say a new mutation has occurred that could escape antibody protection from vaccines.
- Former POTUS Donald Trump’s lawyers have filed a response to his impeachment, arguing that he can’t be convicted as he is no more in office. House Democrats, however, argued he should be convicted as he was personally responsible for the Capitol riot.
The Donald’s argument isn’t being helped by some of the accused rioters claiming he’d “invited” them to do riot.
- A Russian court has sentenced opposition leader Alexey Navalny to two and a half years for violating his probation when overseas recovering after being poisoned. The Kremlin critic, however, defiantly denounced Vladimir Putin as “Putin the poisoner”.