Sufferin' succotash! KL, Selangor and a coupla other states will be on further lockdown for another two weeks, even as the rest of the country will see restrictions eased.

In other news, guess who's jumped to the front of the Covid-19 vaccination queue? Meanwhile, our infection numbers stay below 3,000; we break a new (this time, good) record; and, the 1MDB trial is the gift that keeps on giving.

MCO 2.0 3.0?

Two more weeks... for some

It’s good news for most of the country as the gomen will lift the MCO come Thursday. Congrats peeps – you’ll be “upgraded” to conditional MCO (CMCO).

However, its billions of blue blistering barnacles for folks in KL, Selangor, Penang and Johor, which will see MCO 2.0 extended to March 4. Lucky Perlis will “graduate” straight to recovery MCO (RMCO)! We Klang Valley sufferers are not jealous at all. Not in the least bit. *Mumble curses under our breath*.

Still, the 10km-radius restriction has been taken away for everyone, but only within the same district. Hence, there’ll still be roadblocks as inter-state/district travel’s still a big no-no. 

This is a bit of a [email protected]&*. We understand the travel ban is to keep possible Covid-19 infections from spreading, especially from MCO areas which have registered high number of cases, and as interstate travel had led to numerous clusters before. 

But, it’s harder to process in the case of Selangor and KL, considering one’s literally inside the other. And, they’re both under MCO. Imagine living in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, for instance, and not being able to go to Bandar Utama, literally a hop, skip and a jump away.

Plus, it’s unclear if the previous ruling that “KL’s one big district”, meaning KL-ites can travel anywhere within the federal territory, is still on. 

This article lists the dos and don’ts of the various MCOs now in play, but if you’re a little busy, we’ve broken it down for you: 

MCO:

  • All the previous rulings apply, except the 10km-radius travel rule.

CMCO: 

  • Dine-ins allowed for more than two per table, with one-metre physical distancing, according to the shop’s capacity.
     
  • Spa and reflexology centres can open.
     
  • All economic sectors allowed to operate between 6am and midnight.
     
  • Number of passengers in vehicles will be according to vehicle capacity.
     
  • Weddings, social gatherings, meetings, workshops and seminars allowed but limited to 50% of venue capacity.

RMCO:

  • Same as CMCO, plus inter-district travel permitted.

Vaccination vision

PM Muhyiddin Yassin launched the National Immunisation Programme
guidebook and website yesterday, touting the return of international travel and other advantages one day.

But lookie here! Turns out, all elected reps – both gomen and opposition –will be among those first in line to be inoculated along with frontliners in the first phase of the vaccine rollout.

It’s a move guaranteed to displease some, considering the trust deficit we now have as people see gomen folks being accorded special privileges – things like travel bubbles and reduced quarantine for ministers and other (alleged! alleged!) double standards (here’s looking at you, Annuar Musa). It also raises concern over the unfair divide as the rest of us plebs may only get vaccinated next year.

However, other countries have done this, including the US and Israel (although India’s advised its politicos to stay away first). The logic? It could help dispel vaccine hesitancy. It could also help the errr… public image… of some, like the Croatian finance minister, but that’s another story.

Moo’s inoculation plan’s gotten rare bi-partisan approval which could further assure the rakyat (trust politicians to come together when their own asses are on the line, eh?). But with this move, we’d have less excuse to continue suspending Parliament (and state assemblies), which is timely considering several Asean MPs have called for our House to convene. 

Here are some of the other things we learned:

  • Everyone’ll be screened before receiving the vaccines to ensure they can safely receive them. Putrajaya has assured that reactions to the vaccine are mild and temporary
     
  • The first batch of vaccines will arrive on Feb 21 and inoculations will begin five days later.
     
  • All 605 vaccination centres, listed here, have ultra-cold storage facilities required for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines.
     
  • Registration for vaccinations for the public will open on March 1

If you’re wondering what the procedure will be, there’s a good explainer here

 

One person acting all smug is Women, Family and Community Development Minister Rina Harun, who’s happy over 68,000 peeps under her ministry’s purview will be vaccinated in the first phase. She’s suggested senior folks and persons with disabilities at private centres also be included in the first phase instead of the second. Couldn’t have suggested it earlier, YB? 

Here are some other Covid-related reports from yesterday:

Getting Jibby with it

Inglorious former leader Najib Razak’s been in the news quite a bit lately for mostly 1MDB-related stuff, and yesterday was no different.

The Jibster has filed a bid in the US to get the names of 1MDB officials bribed by a former Goldman Sachs top gun. This, ostensibly, will aid his case over the 1MDB fiasco. 

Pending the outcome of the bid, Jibby applied to have his graft case postponed, but the court put paid to his hopes

Our former premier’s also filed an appeal over the dismissal of his bid to have prosecutor/former judge Gopal Sri Ram recused from his 1MDB audit tampering trial. 

It’s all very “legalese”, but tl;dr, Najib cited an affidavit in which ex-AG Apandi Ali claimed Sri Ram had evident bias against Jibs. If you remember from BTL yesterday, this was over Sri Ram allegedly trying on behalf of Dr Mahathir Mohamad to get Najib arrested back in 2018.

BT-Dubs, on a side note, Indonesian prez Joko Widodo has appointed a senior banker to head the country’s new sovereign wealth fund, apparently to avoid what happened with 1MDB. We is femes y’alls! 

Back to Jibby-boy. Our man will also press for contempt of court charges this week against former AG Tommy Thomas over claims in the latter’s memoirs about Najib’s alleged involvement in the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu. This, apart from a defamation suit also to be filed this week. Our Jibster is a busy little bee indeed-y.

A spoonful of sugar

As we know, the gomen has banned Sugarbook, that infamous website hooking up men with SYTs

Well, we know it’s exploitation (just look at this sugar baby’s comment piece), but should we ban it outright, considering it’s about two consenting adults getting together? 

If one of the reasons given for youngsters getting involved with sugar daddies is the cost of education, then maybe we need to look at student finances. In the past, we’ve had articles about the financial struggles of students, and there are, like this article points out, assistance programmes on offer. 

Indeed, a quick search on the WWW will turn up lots of packages for financial assistance for students, but really, are we doing enough? Perhaps what we need is to ensure that costs, especially tuition fees, are lowered.

But it’s more than just that. MP Hannah Yeoh and activist Syed Azmi Akhabshi have a better suggestion. Instead of banning such sites, they say youths should be protected and their moral development spurred instead of being judged. 

Besides, banning Sugarbook only led to the company issuing emails to their subscribers on how to circumvent the block by MCMC. 

Here are some of the other things which caught our attention yesterday:

  • A day after launching the National Unity Policy, PM Moo has been questioned about whether he is now willing to change his “Malay first” stance of a decade ago to “Malaysian first”. Meanwhile, an ex-minister says national unity won’t come about as long as there’re race-based political parties. Word! 

 

  • The Malaysian Youth Council is looking for 10 youths to act as “youth advisers” to the PM. 
  • Rina Harun has finally settled a RM1.3 million debt to a French company over content purchased a decade ago. This has prompted one oppo MP to question where she got the funds. 
  • Following news that 11 policemen face demotion or termination over the rape of a teen at a police lockup by another detainee, two MPs are demanding to know what role these coppers had played. 
  • A deputy minister who got into trouble for saying last week that young Malaysians aren’t ready to vote is now saying he fully supports Undi18 but was misunderstood. He says he merely meant that youths needed “institutionalised political education” so they’re able to vote responsibly

“Dark times lie ahead of us and there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right.”

- Albus Dumbledor -

IN INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • Hundreds of people in Peru, including “senior officials”, abused their positions to get vaccinated ahead of the country’s official vaccination rollout. 
  • Tornadoes and historic sub-zero cold temperatures have killed seven and disrupted vaccinations in the US. 

  • A leading Democrat has filed a suit against former POTUS Donald Trump and his attorney Rudy Giuliani alleging conspiracy to incite the Jan 6 Capitol riots. 
  • Iran has told the UN nuclear watchdog it plans to scale back cooperation with it within the week. 

  • Aung San Suu Kyi has been hit with a second charge following Myanmar’s military coup, this time under the Natural Disaster Management Law. 

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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