The government gives some assurances as we head towards the Covid-19 vaccine rollout that can hopefully put all of our minds – including those of refugees and undocumented migrants – at ease.

Elsewhere in today's newsletter, our Covid death toll surpasses the 1k mark; pressure for Parliament to sit mounts as our deputy speaker, well, speaks out against the suspension; and, we've news from the courts.

Don't worry, be happy

We've got you covered

A day after PM Muhyiddin Yassin launched the National Covid-19 Immunisation Plan guidebook, minister-in-charge Khairy Jamaluddin has dropped more deets on the vaccine.

The Beard allayed some fears people have about the shots, saying Malaysia’s deal for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine covered upgrades for Covid variants or mutations that may emerge. After what went down in South Africa with another vaccine, that’s certainly a relief.

The Great Immunator had also promised refugees and undocumented migrants that they could come forward for vaccination without fear of arrests. 

To that end, Malaysia’s working with embassies and international organisations to coax them to come forward. If you remember, the last time undocumented migrants were promised the same was to get tested for the virus, and things didn’t go so well. So here’s hoping our gomen sticks to its word this time, eh?

The gomen’s also working to bring in single-dose vaccines such as Johnson & Johnson’s, useful for hard-to-reach interiors and where some migrants are scared to come out twice for shots. 

KJ’s said guidelines for administering the vaccines will be followed to the letter, and vaccines will be guarded round-the-clock. 

Meanwhile, according to KJ, our glorious heroic leader Moo chose to be among the first to get vaccinated to prove to people that it’s safe

Not everyone’s convinced. Although it’s received approval from opposition leaders, a PKR rep’s questioned the whole elected reps-get-inoculated-first plan, asking if politicos were more important than others. Also, what of our rulers, and our Orang Asli?

Anyway, if you’re wondering why we’ve so many deals for various vaccines, experts have said it’s a good thing cos it’ll ensure herd immunity comes quicker

Judging by this report which claimed Pfizer’s supply to the EU is 30% behind schedule, it’s a good thing we do.

A useless gesture?

Is this a case of better late than never, or just too little too late?

Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Azalina Othman Said has broken ranks with her Perikatan Nasional gomen colleagues, writing to the attorney-general to blast the continued suspension of Parliament.

She said the legislature’s been emasculated by the decision to suspend Parliament and is bewildered by why Malaysia’s been unable or unwilling to employ other means to ensure it could sit. That what we’ve been saying! 

But why did the nice Umno aunty wait so long to say anything when the emergency’s been declared over a month ago?! Is this the Malaysian equivalent of the Fukushima aftershock?

Of course, this is the same deputy speaker that dismissed Umno MPs’ bid to “petition the King” for a special Dewan sitting on the emergency last month. Still, the letter’s a ballsy move seeing as how the AG that she’s scolding, Idrus Harun, is the brother of her boss, Dewan Speaker Azhar Azizan.

Anyway, Azalina’s found a supporter in at least one DAP MP, who said the suspension has killed “democracy’s last fortress”. 

 

The Emergency was declared to ostensibly battle the Covid crisis, which set another another unwanted milestone yesterday, when 22 people died bringing our death toll past the 1k mark to 1,005.

We also saw 2,998 new infections, but on the flip side registered 5,709 recoveries, bringing our active cases down to 41,396

Anyhoo, here’re some more pandemic-related news we picked up:

  • Muhyiddin and the gomen have moved to strike out a legal challenge by Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s cheerleader Khairuddin Abu Hassan over the PM’s advice to the King for the emergency.
     
  • PM-forever-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim will have his own suit over the emergency heard on March 4.
     
  • DAP’s Ramkarpal Singh has questioned why police have had to refer the alleged breach of MCO rules by FT Minister Annuar Musa to the AG instead of slapping him with a fine. That’s a very good point by Baby Karpal!
     
  • The Securities Commission and Bursa Malaysia will allow listed companies more time to prepare financial statements and regularisation plans amidst the pandemic.
     
  • KL PAS is objecting to allowing the gambling sector to reopen, saying it doesn’t benefit the country. Do they think the gomen collects its tax revenue from mosques, churches and temples? In case you didn’t know, the tax revenue generated by lottery companies alone is about RM9 BILLION A YEAR! We’re not even going into how much companies like Genting generate via their casinos. 

Of courts and crimes and jesters

Several interesting court and crime cases came out yesterday. Of course, we’re gonna start with everybody’s favourite former PM’s 1MDB trial.

Ex-1MDB CEO Hazem Abdul Rahman told the court yesterday that an associate of Low Taek Jho a.k.a Jho Low a.k.a fugitive financier was an authorised signatory of a 1MDB subsidiary despite not holding any position in it whatsoever.

It’s weird, but Hazem didn’t clear things any when he claimed he didn’t know why this was, nor whether the matter should’ve been brought before the 1MDB board. Sheesh! This is the goddamn CEO of an investment fund we’re talking about! Where’s the oversight, checks and balances, or diligence??!?

The trial continues today, but it’ll start a little late cos the court’s allowing Jibby to attend wifey-dearest Rosmah Mansor’s case in another court. It’s no regular court date too. Rosie’ll learn today if she walks or must enter her defence over corruption charges in the RM1.25 billion Sarawak schools’ solar project case.

In Kota Baru, the High Court has allowed a Muslim teachers’ group to reinstate its lawsuit to declare vernacular schools unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, an engineer who sold cannabis oil as treatment for cancer patients has escaped the gallows after the Federal Court overturned his conviction on two counts of drug trafficking. However, the man’s been sentenced to five years’ jail for possession. 

In Perak, the MACC’s confirmed the arrest of a politician connected to a former minister for taking kickbacks for several government contracts, seizing from him a luxury vehicle, RM1.2 million cash and freezing bank accounts with a total of RM77 million inside.

No names were mentioned, but the Perak PKR chief had confirmed that his deputy, M.A. Tinagaran was summoned by MACC earlier. Meanwhile, PKR veep and ex-minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar’s said Tina’s a friend and not his aide as reported.

Finally, the founder of a cosmetics company has been questioned by police over a video allegedly of him kissing a young boy, whom he claimed was his foster brother, on the lips. No. Words.

Bits and bobs

On a roll, our beloved PM went from launching vaccine guides to a new education TV channel – DidikTV – to help students overcome the online hurdles faced during this MCO era. 

Parents and educators have apparently given the thumbs up to the channel. Still, some netizens have flayed it, thanks to a radio station’s tweet, since removed, which featured a clip of a science lesson in English. 

The main problem among others was that the teacher’s diction was, to be nice, not so good. Thing is, these teachers are likely inexperienced in online/ TV presentation, and many have had to adapt to teaching online courses very suddenly. So the online trashing is harsh. 

But questions should be asked as to why the teachers picked were not vetted first, and whether this begs a closer look at language training for teachers in general. This is especially as the Education Ministry’s Dual Language Programme (DLP) on the teaching of maths and science in English isn’t new.

But as one opposition MP has asked, why Media Prima (MPB) instead of RTM? FYI, DidikTV was formerly NTV7. RTM has bigger reach. You can get it in the densest jungles of the country, after all.

Journalist Norman Goh questioned why the contract was given to MPB when Comms Minister Saifuddin Abdullah had announced in January that RTM would set up a special education TV channel. 

Meanwhile, here are some other stories which caught our interest:

  • KL police say a probe into alleged sexual harassment of a woman by one of their own at a roadblock will be completed by next week. The copper had allegedly inappropriately criticised her for not wearing a bra and asked her to expose herself.
     
  • The company that will be the main contractor for the controversial toxic waste disposal site for Lynas Malaysia in Pahang, carved out of more than 200ha of the Bukit Kuantan forest reserve, is linked with the state royalty.
     
  • Having failed to register his Pejuang party for now, former dictator PM4/7 Maddey has alternative plans in place. He also claimed his biggest regret is that he stepped down as PM in 2003.

    Meanwhile, he’s called on his rival/successor PM Moo to set up a council of advisors, sans “apple polishers”, to advise on the economy post-Covid.

“An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises.”

- Mae West-

IN INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • The EU has booked an additional 150 million doses of the Moderna vaccine this year, adding to the 160 million doses it has already ordered, with an option for another 150 million next year. Meanwhile, up to 90 people in the UK will be infected with Covid-19 in a pioneering trial which is expected to aid vaccine and therapy research. Balls of solid rock, these volunteers. 
     
  • The UN will question the UAE over the detention of Princess Latifa (we accidentally read that as Princess Leia at first), the daughter of the ruler of Dubai who has accused her father of holding her hostage since 2018 in secretly recorded videos. The UK, meanwhile, has called for proof that she is alive. 
     

  • One student has been killed and at least 27 others kidnapped after gunmen raided a state-run school in north-western Nigeria. A number of teachers are also missing.
     
  • Indian journalist Priya Ramani scored an important #MeToo win when she was cleared of defaming former minister MJ Akbar. She and several other women had accused him of alleged “predatory conduct”.
  • Not long after the Tokyo Olympics chief resigned for sexist remarks, Japan’s ruling political party is getting flak after saying it wants more women to attend its key meetings – provided they don’t do any talking.
     
  • Facebook has blocked all news content from its platform in Australia. This comes as a broadside against the government, which was pressuring the company to pay for all the news content on its site. This is a fascinating story and what happens next could have global repercussions. If consumers begin to go directly to news sites, it may signal more countries to adopt the Australian model. But if traffic falls through the floor, news orgs will pressure the Aussie govt to back off – further cementing the social media giant’s power and standing. 

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.

trident media logo

Trident Media · Seksyen 35 · Shah Alam, Selangor 40470 · Malaysia

Scroll to Top
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap