Good on you, Sarawak! Come Friday, Malaysia's largest state will be the only one not under MCO 2.0. Well, except those in Sibu. Also, we've been warned! At current rates, we'll be seeing our daily infection numbers more than double in March if we don't flatten that curve soon.

Elsewhere in our newsletter, D̶u̶m̶n̶o̶ Umno and DAP agree on the need for a special sitting of Parliament. Wonders never cease.

And then there was one

Join the club

How bad are our Covid-19 numbers? Bad enough for the entire country, except Sarawak, to soon be under lockdown. 

Daily increases in Covid cases will see Pahang, Perak, Negeri Sembilan, Kedah, Terengganu and Perlis join the MCO Club from Friday. Their two-week lockdown will end on Feb 4.

Other states (and federal territories) currently on MCO are:

  • Penang, Selangor, Sabah, Johor, Melaka, KL, Putrajaya and Labuan – from Jan 13-26
  • Kelantan and Sibu (in Sarawak) – Jan 16-26

The Land of the Hornbills isn’t exactly off the hook. The state government has imposed a conditional movement control order (CMCO) there till Jan 31

While we’re clear on which states are under lockdown (what can we say? Misery loves company), we’re not entirely clear on the rules. Confusion – and unhappiness – still reign over several of those dang SOPs.

For instance, hangry calls for extended restaurant operating hours continue to grow. If you recall, disgruntlement over this rule birthed that poetic #SiBodohKauDengarSini (loose translation: You listen here, stupid!) hashtag. 

The good-ish news is that the gomen will seek the Health Ministry’s advice on extending restaurant hours to enable working folks to get food later in the day. It’s also greenlit self-employed delivery riders, though they need police permission first. Never mess with hungry Malaysians! You can take away our civil rights, but DO NOT come between us and our food!

There’s also a petition online (over 40,000 signatures!) to stop SPM exams. It’s a real concern, considering 18 students returning to Sabah hostels have tested positive for Covid, prompting ex-youth minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman to call on the gomen to prevent an “SPM Cluster”

Meanwhile, “MCO/SOP” Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has clarified that the armed forces will not arrest civilians during the MCO, despite being given emergency powers. It’s only undocumented migrants at our borders that’ll have to worry.

The surge in cases and stress on frontliners has led our King to call for unity to battle Covid-19. Health DG Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, recently criticised over his tone-deaf lecture to us plebs, changed his tone yesterday and pleaded for everyone regardless of pangkat (position) to follow the SOPs.

Joining in, Izzy Sabri warned the MCO could be extended with even stricter SOPs if we all don’t start playing ball. Now wouldn’t that be absolute shite! 

Covid in 8k resolution

If Saturday’s record-breaking 4,000-plus infections got you worried, the Health Ministry’s latest projection will send you straight to your panic room.

At the current infectivity rate, or R0, of 1.2 (it’s actually 1.16), we could see a rise to over 5,000 daily cases by this time next month and worse, to over 8,000 in March! If this, combined with the threat of extended MCO, isn’t enough to get folks to sit up and listen, we don’t know what else will.

Even so, Dr DG Noor Hisham did say our numbers could stabilise within the week as the current spike in cases was due to infections before MCO 2.0.

Back to the present, yesterday saw 3,631 new Covid-19 cases and 14 deaths (619 in total). Minus 2,944 recoveries, the number of active cases has shot up to 39,464

The number of ICU patients has also increased, to 238. In fact, severe cases have almost doubled over the past two weeks. Adding to our woes is the fact our health system is also so strained that thousands of close contacts of Covid patients are going untraced.

The current state has prompted inglorious former leader o̶n̶l̶i̶n̶e̶ ̶t̶r̶o̶l̶l̶ Najib Razak to comment that Malaysia was the worst in Asean in handling the pandemic, even surpassing the Philippines in local transmissions last week. 

In truth, we may have surpassed the Philippines in daily transmissions, but that’s only recently. For context, as this tracker shows, there have been more than 500,000 cases there. And we’re still nowhere near Indonesia in terms of total and daily infections. Granted, both countries have much larger populations than us.

Still, gotta point out the irony of Jibs criticising Malaysia’s case numbers when wasn’t it gang Umno who was partly responsible for the Sabah polls which led to our current third Covid wave? Wasn’t Umno also the ones pushing for snap polls in their eagerness to oust PM Muhyiddin Yassin?

Which leads us to one final thought. Has Jibby Razak EVER claimed responsibility for any bad shit? Or has it all been deflect, deny and dismiss? 🤔

Anyhoo, here are some other Covid-related reports from yesterday:

Emergency hijinks

The Permai issue isn’t, surprisingly enough, the only thing Umno and DAP seem to agree on (see above). Incidentally, if you’re blur on PM Moo’s latest so-so stimulus package, you can check our breakdown here

Both parties have also called for a special Parliament sitting on the emergency proclamation. It’s been revealed that Umno sec-gen Ahmad Maslan had sent a letter urging party MPs to call for a special Dewan session on this. 

Seemingly on board with the plan, DAP senior citizen supremo Lim Kit Siang said, after all, Emergency Ordinance 2021 allows for the Agong to call for a Parliament sitting if he deems it appropriate. For the blur sotongs, all Parliament and state assembly sittings are on hold for the duration of the emergency.

However, jilted ex-Umno leader Annuar Musa has slammed Mat Nasi Goreng and Co. over the plan, saying it could be construed as treason. It also flew against an earlier statement from party prez Zahid Hamidi that Umno would comply with the emergency proclamation. Lawyers, however, disagreed.

In any case, Deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azalina Othman Said, herself an Umno member, was ever the killjoy when she rejected the notion. However, she conceded Malaysia wasn’t following global convention.  

Meanwhile, a Muslim group has said it’ll countersue PM-forever-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim should he file a legal challenge against the emergency order. How come they didn’t mention doing the same for former dictator PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad who two days ago applied to intervene in an originating summons filed by a lawyer last year when the King declined Moo’s first stab at an emergency. 

That lawyer’s case, BT-Dubs, will continue despite the King declaring the emergency recently. This is cos the lawyer in question has said he wants to develop the law regarding constitutional power concerning the imposition of the emergency in Malaysia. 

Bits and bobs

A number of other reports caught our fancy yesterday. We’ve included them here in brief:

  • Two Opposition MPs have called for an audit of CCTV cameras placed in police lockups after the rape of a 16-year-old girl in a lockup in Miri, so as to prevent any further incidents.

    A Sarawak assemblywoman has also criticised police for the malfunctioning CCTV and questioned why no female police officer had been assigned to take care of the poor girl. All we can say is, heads must roll! 
     
  • The Federal Court has ruled that the calculation for late delivery payment to house buyers must begin from the date the booking fee is paid and not when the sale and purchase agreement is signed. Good news for buyers, and something to likely make developers wet their beds.
     
  • Malaysia has outstripped both Thailand and Indonesia in terms of vehicle sales, proving that some industries may not be suffering too badly from the Covid-19 pandemic. Of course, this could be due to the tax reliefs for car sales the gomen initiated in the Permai scheme and even before that.
     
  • The gomen is mulling amending the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 to provide for heavier punishments for LGBT activities. We’ve been criticised so often for our treatment of the LGBT community, it isn’t even funny.

    And this as US President-elect Joe Biden has created history by nominating a transgender woman as his assistant health secretary. It’s sad – and silly! – that while we’re fighting a global health pandemic, we can still find time for this nonsense.
     
  • Former minister Mahdzir Khalid’s phone line and WhatsApp app have been hacked, according to his aide, so if you receive any inappropriate messages from him, like a pic of a smoking monkey, don’t go cursing him, peeps. 

“2019: Stay away from negative people.
2020: Stay away from positive people.
2021: Stay away from people..”

- The World Wide Web -

IN INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • As the global Covid-19 tally surpassed the 95 million mark, China is reporting its worst outbreak since March last year. 
     
  • In the US, where there have been more than 400,000 Covid-19 deaths now, President-elect Joe Biden is expected to extend travel restrictions barring travel by most people who have recently been in much of Europe and Brazil, despite outgoing POTUS Donald Trump having declared such restrictions lifted effective Jan 26. 
     

  • In what is seen as a parting shot from Trump, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the country has officially declared that China is committing genocide against the Uyghurs of Xinjiang. 
     
  • Trump, in his final day, won’t be able to rest easy as Senate Majority Leader and Republican Mitch Connell has said The Donald had incited the deadly mob that stormed the Capitol. 
     

  • Britain’s youngest convicted terrorist, who was sentenced to life in prison for masterminding, at the age of 14, a plot to behead an Australian policeman in Melbourne in 2015, is now “suitable to be set free”, a parole board ruled after taking into account the circumstances of his offence, progress made while in detention and evidence presented at his hearings. 

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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