Imagine not being allowed into your own home just cos you haven't been tested for Covid-19? According to our gomen, there's nothing wrong in that. Boy, do we have some questions!

In other news, several states now allow hundreds of worshippers into mosques despite Malaysia closing in on 200,000 Covid cases; and people are urging the courts to help a rape survivor gain justice after her civil suit was struck out.

No test, no home

You shall not pass!

Recently, t’was reported that several condos/apartments are forcing tenants to undergo Covid-19 tests if they wanted to enter the premises.

BTL (that’s us!) had questioned if condo managements had the legal right to keep paying tenants from their homes. According to several property management experts, the answer’s a big fat NO.

Sure, the Strata Management Act 2013 allows new by-laws for “safety” reasons, but these require an AGM to approve. Unfortunately (not!), AGMs can’t be held during MCO 2.0.

MCO SOPs also state no tenants are to move in or out during MCO, and no visitors are permitted, albeit with some exceptions.  

On the science front, health experts have pointed out such practices won’t help curb the spread of Covid, anyway. Think about it, you may test negative today, but get infected tomorrow. Also, two-week virus incubation period, remember? So what are tenants to do? Test daily? Ridiculous!

Over on the gomen side, reason and science went out the window as Sinister (that’s Senior+Minister) Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s greenlit the practice even though the National Security Council hadn’t imposed such a policy.

Erm, and based on what law, sir? The Emergency? These are legal, paying tenants after all. Also, what happens if a person tests positive? Are they prevented from quarantining at home? Where’ll they go until (and if) the Health Ministry folks pick them up? Walk the streets?!

BT-Dubs, did we mention housing’s a fundamental human right according to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Opposition MPs have hit out, saying the practice is both discriminatory – and costly – for residents. 

Meanwhile, in other decisions we #kenotbrain – The Melaka gomen’s allowing up to 500 worshippers to perform Friday and obligatory prayers at gomen mosques there, while Perlis’s decided mosques can operate at full capacity, both from today.

Are we not in MCO 2.0? How’re people to physically distance? Thankfully, in Selangor, the ruler’s decreed that the current limits will remain and urged worshippers not to be shortsighted.

At the rate rules are being relaxed, we mayn’t need harsher penalties for SOP violators, since there’ll be fewer SOPs to violate. 

In the words of troll king ex-PM Najib Razak, did we waste 16 days on a half-baked MCO?

Cos you gotta have faith

Remember when Health DG Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah projected our Covid daily numbers would begin stabilising and going down, thanks to the MCO? It may be too soon to tell, but we’re just not seeing it.

Wednesday saw Malaysia register 3,680 new cases and 7 deaths, while yesterday saw over 4,000 cases again (4,094), and 10 deaths. With the total case number now at 198,208 (43,192 active), it’ll take a miracle not to breach the 200,000 mark today. Our death toll is at 717.

While the UN may’ve hailed our Covid-19 response in 2020, this year seems like another kettle of fish altogether. Despite MCO 2.0, our numbers have still not gone down, with frontliners getting increasingly overworked, which in turn, compromises patient care. 

Let hope the good DG knows what he’s talking about. Anyhoo, here’re other Covid-related news from yesterday:

  • Malaysia’s begun taking part in a vaccine trial – our first – with China.
     
  • The gomen’ll also conduct a dry Pfizer vaccine run today in the Sarawak, transporting the bottles at -70°C (the temperature needed to store the Pfizer/BioNTech vax) to the remote Belaga village.
     
  • Putrajaya hopes to vaccinate 75,000 people daily at 600 sites from March, but the MMA is suggesting GPs be roped in to speed up the process.
     
  • According to credit rating agency Fitch Ratings, how our vaccine rollout plan’s carried out and whether we can be politically stable will determine our economic recovery (Can somebody print this out and send it to every politician in the country?).

    Another company – Moody’s – has affirmed Malaysia’s A3 rating and is expecting mid-term growth to remain strong. The rating reflects the gomen’s creditworthiness (Too bad there isn’t a rating to reflect the government’s general worthiness).
     
  • Businesses under MCO can now operate till 10pm, an extension of two hours.
     
  • Oppo leader Anwar Ibrahim’s suit against the gomen over the emergency proclamation has been set for Feb 10, but oh-oh, he’s being investigated for a statement he released calling for the emergency to be rescinded.
     
  • Home Minister Hamzah Zainuddin, Padang Rengas MP Nazri Aziz and Prasarana chairman Tajuddin Abdul Rahman have all recovered from Covid-19 (Our mothers taught us to not say anything if we have nothing nice to say, so we’ll keep silent on this one). 
     
  • Ex-Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad has taken aim at his successor, Adham ‘Air Suam’ Baba, and his deputies. Dzul has told them to either take charge of the ministry’s decision-making process or resign. Damn right. 

Some justice, please

Several noteworthy court-related reports came out over the last two days.

One involved a Mongolian woman who filed a legal suit against a police officer for sexual assault and false imprisonment. But first, a little background.

The woman is one of two Mongolians detained at an MCO roadblock last April. A police inspector then took the duo to a hotel where he allegedly held them against their will and raped them.

The cop, Hazrul Hizham Ghazali, was first charged with trafficking the two women, then with raping them. One of the rape survivors, named as Nandine, filed the civil suit in question, but this was dismissed last week, with costs. Why? Here’s the kicker – because she couldn’t afford to deposit an RM70,000 security fee.

As the plaintiff’s a foreigner, Hazrul had applied for her to place the deposit, which will go to pay his legal costs if the court dismisses the suit.

We’re no legal experts, but surely a foreign immigrant, especially one suspected of having been trafficked in, would likely not have RM70k lying around?

Lawmakers, Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah and Kg Tunku assemblyperson Lim Yi Wei have urged the court to waive the deposit and reopen the case. 

They’re worried this decision would deter other survivors from coming forward and seeking justice, especially if they don’t possess tens of thousands lying around.

Sadly, as one lawyer pointed out, the court can’t quash its own ruling. The matter’ll have to be taken up with the Court of Appeal. Meanwhile, Nandine’s lawyer has started an online crowdfunding campaign to help her refile her case.

In other courts, we learnt that:

  • An alleged trafficking victim will appeal the dismissal of his unlawful detention suit at the Court of Appeal.
     
  • The appellate court has quashed the development order issued to Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan and a developer to jointly develop a portion of the Taman Rimba Kiara public park, a decision celebrated by TTDI residents.
     
  • The KL High Court’s fixed Feb 15 to deliver its decision on whether former judge Gopal Sri Ram should be recused from leading the prosecution team in four 1MDB-linked trials of Jibby Razak. The Jibster’s defence says Gopal has shown bias and bad faith, and had predetermined notions of Najib’s guilt before he was charged in any court.

    Err… so Jibby prefers being prosecuted by somebody who doesn’t think he’s guilty? 🤔

Bits and bobs

We like to keep things tight, so we’ve summarised other bits of news here for you in brief:

  • In a sad commentary on the Perikatan Nasional gomen, Malaysia’s slipped by two points and fallen six places in Transparency International’s Global Corruption Perception Index rankings.
     
  • Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon had his annual pay slashed by $10 million in 2020, reflecting the bank’s role in the 1MDB scandal. Which means the poor guy only earned US$17.5 million. How’s he gonna put food on the table, man? 😭
     
  • Meanwhile, a Cypriot archbishop testifying in an investigation into Cyprus’s now-defunct citizenship-by-investment scheme said he met everybody’s fave roly-poly fugitive Jho Low briefly but didn’t know at the time Jho was a wanted man. Jho-Boy was granted Cypriot citizenship six years ago through the scheme.
     
  • Environmentalists are up in arms over the Selangor MB’s insistence on considering plans to degazette 931ha of peat forest in the Kuala Langat North Forest Reserve.
     
  • Facing problems getting registered, Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Pejuang may consider contesting the next general election using the Amanah logo. What are the chances this is gonna happen considering Maddey is still at war with Amanah bedfellow and Pakatan Harapan numero uno Anwar Ibrahim? 

“Justice delayed is justice denied.”

- William E. Gladstone -

IN INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned it’s still too early to ease Covid-19 curbs in Europe. Damn right – the world hit a record high 18,109 deaths in a single day on Tuesday.
     
  • Everyone is scrambling for vaccines and India has a whole lot of ’em. But apparently, there aren’t many takers among locals. The concern is due to the fact the Covaxin vaccine’s yet to complete phase III trials.
     
  • Meanwhile, Germany has warned that the AstraZeneca vaccine shouldn’t be given to those over 65 as there isn’t enough data for that age group.
     
  • China’s begun using anal swabs for Covid-19 screening tests, saying this method produced more accurate results. Bottoms up!
     
  • The Pakistan Supreme Court has ordered the release of all accused in the 2002 beheading of Wall Street Journal journalist Daniel Pearl, including the main suspect.
     
  • Facebook’s Oversight Board has overturned several decisions by the company to remove posts for violating policies on hate speech, violence and other issues.

    In the weeks ahead, it will also decide on the company’s decision to suspend former US President Donald Trump’s account. No word on what it decided on FB post featuring dear PM4/7 Maddey’s ‘Muslims-right-to-kill‘ Twitter rant last year.

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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