MACC denies soliciting reports from Malaysians missing out on aid payments

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The MACC rejected social media messages telling Malaysians to contact the agency if they do not receive aid payments from the government. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 — The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission rejected social media messages telling Malaysians to contact the agency if they do not receive aid payments from the government.
On Friday, the government announced a stimulus package over the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) that included various forms of assistance for those affected by the pandemic and ensuing movement control order.
“The MACC denies claims purporting that the public must call the agency’s toll free hotline in the event they do not receive their allocation of government assistance, as was shared on WhatsApp and other social media platforms,” the commission said in a statement today.
The MACC added that it has not released any public statement on this matter.
Aid payments under the Prihatin stimulus package will be paid out starting April 1 ..

Sabah activates all district disaster ops centres to face Covid-19

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Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal speaks to the media March 30, 2020. — Picture courtesy of the Sabah Chief Minister’s Dept
KOTA KINABALU, March 30 — Sabah has ordered all disaster operations centres in all districts as a preemptive measure in preparation for a spike in Covid-19 cases.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said that the state security council decided at its meeting today to open up all the centres in anticipation of more coronavirus cases to hit the state.
“We want to take precautionary measures and be prepared in the event there is an increase of Covid-19 cases.
“Aside from that, it would also serve as a distribution centre for food and supplies so that all those affected by the lockdown can be reached via these centres,” he said.
So far, 13 out of the 25 districts in Sabah has reported cases of Covid-19 but most of the 197 cases are concentrated in Tawau, Lahad Datu and Kota Kinabalu. Most all of the cases are linked to the Sri Petaling tabligh on F..

Penang CM: City councils awaiting NSC guidance on Ramadan bazaar licences

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Local authorities in Penang are waiting for the National Security Council’s (NSC) advice before issuing licences for Ramadan bazaars in the state. — Picture by Farhan Najib
GEORGE TOWN, March 30 — Local authorities in Penang are waiting for the National Security Council’s (NSC) advice before issuing licences for Ramadan bazaars in the state, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said.
The licences are needed for vendors to operate stalls during the Muslim fasting month beginning April 24.
Chow said the city councils will act only on the NSC’s advice in light of the ongoing coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
He also said Penang’s compliance with the Movement Control Order (MCO) was at 95 per cent, based on information from the police.
“At the State Security Council (JKKN) meeting I chaired this morning, we have decided on several initiatives which will be carried out during phase two of the MCO which had been extended to April 14,” he said in his daily message on Facebook today.
He said t..

Johor govt urges Simpang Renggam residents affected by enhanced MCO to stay calm and obey orders

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Police man roadblocks on the trunk roads leading to the two affected areas in Simpang Renggam that have since been under the enhanced movement control order. — Picture by Ben Tan
JOHOR BARU, March 30 — The Johor state government today urged residents of Kampung Datuk Ibrahim Majid and Bandar Baharu Datuk Ibrahim Majid in Simpang Renggam to remain calm as the authorities are doing their best in light of the enhanced movement control order (EMCO) implemented since March 26.
Johor Health and Environment Committee chairman, R. Vidyanathan said the state’s health department personnel are actively conducting screening for residents in the two areas.
“This is to ensure that the health status of each of the residents can be identified so that we can break the chain of infection.
“Therefore, I hope that all residents in the areas will cooperate with the health personnel who are doing their work for the good of all,” Vidyanathan said in a statement.
Vidyanathan assured the residents of the two..

Pikom says Covid-19 stimulus not helping tech firms, workers enough

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An employee counts money as he poses inside a money exchange centre in Kuala Lumpur October 22, 2013. — Reuters pic
KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 — The government’s Prihatin stimulus package does not contain enough support for businesses and employees in the technology sector, the National Tech Association of Malaysia (Pikom) said.
While Pikom welcomes the government’s assistance, chairman Danny Lee said it feared this was insufficient to help small-medium enterprises (SMEs) and business owners survive the fallout caused by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic and its aftermath.
“Malaysia is highly vulnerable to the global economic slowdown, and several major trading partners of the country have been severely affected by Covid-19.
“We must start thinking about the next coming months during the recovery period. It would take a minimum of six months before things return to a semblance of normalcy. Even then,
Pikom foresee many SMEs will continue to struggle to get back on their feet,” h..

Saifuddin Nasution: No need to panic, face masks in sufficient supply

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People wearing face masks are pictured outside Pavilion Kuala Lumpur February 10, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
PUTRAJAYA, 13 Feb — The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry today gave an assurance that there is a sufficient supply of three-ply face masks for the needs of the public, to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 infections.
Its minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said the government will purchase ready stock amounting to 400,000 masks from local manufacturers, and the strategy to be employed in distributing the masks will be announced to ensure that the public does not engage in panic buying.
“They (local manufacturers) have agreed to supply face masks, and we have identified the number of masks we need,” he said, explaining that he had reported the matter to the Cabinet and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who is also the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) chairman.
Saifuddin Nasution said the ministry was also looking..

No change to coronavirus quarantine period for now, says Health Minister

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Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad said the ministry will not increase the 14 day-quarantine period for those under observation for possible 2019-nCoV infection. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
PUTRAJAYA, Feb 11 — The Health Ministry will not increase the 14 day-quarantine period for those under observation for possible novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infection, Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad said today.
He said more research was needed to confirm a reported study that suggested the incubation period for the virus may be as long as 24 days. Current estimates range from two to 14 days.
“We are always open to suggestions, but until we have finally received confirmation from either our own researchers or the World Health Organisation on the matter, we will stick to the current quarantine duration.
“So as things stand for now, the status quo remains unchanged,” Dzulkefly said during the daily press conference on the status of coronavirus in Malaysia, at the ministry complex.
Earlier today, T..

DPM: Remaining Malaysians airlifted from Wuhan cleared of Covid-19

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On February 4, Malaysia airlifted out of China 107 people comprising Malaysians and non-Malaysian spouses and children who had been stranded in coronavirus-hit Wuhan. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
PUTRAJAYA, Feb 18 — The remaining 105 Malaysians who were airlifted from Wuhan, China in a humanitarian mission recently have been confirmed to be negative for the Covid-19 infection, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said today.
The deputy prime minister said they are being discharged from the quarantine facility in Bandar Enstek in Nilai, Negri Sembilan starting from 2pm today.
“I have good news. The Malaysians and their foreign spouses that was quarantined at the Higher Education Leadership Academy (AKEPT) have been tested negative and all who were held at AKEPT will be discharged after a 14-day monitoring period.
“The discharge process started at 2pm today. I am very relieved,” Dr Wan Azizah told the press.
On February 4, Malaysia airlifted out of China 107 people comprising Malaysians a..

Trade group urges Putrajaya to prep economy for Covid-19 fallout

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A woman with a mask passes by a thermal screening point at the international arrival terminal of Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang January 21, 2020. — Reuters pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 16 — The government must take steps to shield the Malaysian economy from the effects of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) that is sweeping China, the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industries (ACCCIM) said.
It noted that China is Malaysia’s main trading partner and will have its economy battered by Covid-19.
“With increasing anxieties and wariness about the extent and duration of economic and business disruptions on the domestic economy, investors’ confidence and consumer sentiment, Malaysian businesses and households must remain vigilant and be prepared to brace for economic fallout from the Covid-19 outbreak.
“More importantly, the government must have the capacity and policy space to safeguard our economy against temporary disruptions while continuing to strengthen and reboot Mal..

Can interim PM announce Malaysia’s economic stimulus package amid Covid-19 outbreak? Lawyers weigh in

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Interim prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad gets down to business at Perdana Putra February 25, 2020. — Picture via Twitter
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 26 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was pre-scheduled two weeks ago to announce an economic stimulus package tomorrow to tackle the economic effects of the Covid-19 virus outbreak, but the ongoing political crisis has now resulted in Dr Mahathir being the interim prime minister but with no other ministers in government.
The political crisis, triggered by a realignment of political loyalties and an alleged plot to engineer a backdoor government, caused the Pakatan Harapan coalition to cease having the parliamentary majority required to remain as government and also saw Dr Mahathir quitting as prime minister and dissolving Cabinet as interim prime minister.
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng yesterday said that both he and the Finance Ministry had on Sunday (February 23) — which was the last day of his role as finance minister—finalised the economic s..

Pharmacists seek frontliner incentives, contract extensions

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The Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS) is asking Putrajaya to extend to its members the RM600 monthly allowance for frontline medical workers. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
KUALA LUMPUR, March 29 — The Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS) is asking Putrajaya to extend to its members the RM600 monthly allowance for frontline medical workers announced in the Covid-19 stimulus package.
In a statement today, MPS president Amrahi Buang said pharmacists were also frontline medical personnel who play a crucial role in combating the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) via the management of drugs.
“The package has emphasised a very interesting aspect with regards to the healthcare profession, which is to provide a special allowance of RM600 per month to frontline doctors and medical staff beginning April 1, 2020. For MPS, pharmacists are part of the medical staff mentioned. They are part of the medical staff who are at the forefront of the Covid-19 outbreak.
“Since the MCO was implemented on Mar..

Covid-19: Langkawi hotels offer up to 70pc discount

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Hotel operators in Langkawi have agreed to offer between 30 and 70 per cent discounts on room rates to draw back tourists following the Covid-19 infection. — Screenshot from Google Maps
LANGKAWI, Feb 16 — Hotel operators in Langkawi have agreed to offer between 30 and 70 per cent discounts on room rates to draw back tourists following the Covid-19 infection.
Kedah/Perlis Branch of Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) vice-president Razmi Rahmat said 45 hotel operators affiliated to MAH would offer the discounts to reduce the impact of the decline in tourist arrivals and cancellation of hotel bookings by Chinese tourists and locals.
The offer will be available until a date to be announced, he said.
“The discount is offered by three-star hotels and above. People can check their websites or social media to know more about it.
“For example, a three-star hotel will have an attractive deal starting RM150 and not more than RM250 per night,” he said here today.
Razmi said it is safe to visit..

Guan Eng meets Penang industry players for dialogue session on Covid-19 impact

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Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng today met with relevant industry players here for a closed-door dialogue session on the impact of Covid-19 on their businesses. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
BUTTERWORTH, Feb 16 — Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng today met with relevant industry players here for a closed-door dialogue session on the impact of Covid-19 on their businesses.
The Bagan member of parliament told reporters prior to the session that the industries could also put forward their suggestions for consideration in the proposed economic stimulus package to be announced on February 27 by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Asked further about the stimulus package, Lim replied, “There are various measures.. I do not want to detail; otherwise, I think there’ll be no point in making the formal announcement on February 27; please wait for the prime minister to make a full and complete announcement.
“But we are willing to receive any proposal like I said, I will have a dialogue session with ..

2020 stimulus: Dr M assures Malaysians jobless from Covid-19 of support from RM1.1b fund

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Interim Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad speaks during the economic stimulus package announcement at Perdana Putra building in Putrajaya February 27, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 27 — Malaysians whose jobs were impacted by the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus will be given support via the Employment Insurance System (EIS).
Interim Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced a stimulus package today in the wake of the Covid-19 infection that has also shaken Malaysia’s economy.
He said the government will also provide funding for training of affected workers.
“The most immediate economic impact of Covid-19 has been the sharp decline in tourist arrivals throughout the region. Hotels, airlines, travel companies and more broadly the tourism-dependent retail industry have been badly affected,” he said in a statement.
“The Malaysian workers retrenched can rely on the Employment Insurance System (EIS) with a current fund of RM1.1 billion.
“Furthermore, E..

Covid-19: Significant drop in fake news following quick action by govt

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Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Eddin Syazlee Shith said quick action by the Communications and Multimedia Ministry in collaboration with the police has succeeded in reducing the spread of fake news related to Covid-19. — Bernama pic
MARANG, Feb 16 — Quick action by the Communications and Multimedia Ministry in collaboration with the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) has succeeded in reducing the spread of fake news related to Covid-19.
Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Eddin Syazlee Shith said to date, at least 12 individuals have been charged for the offence nationwide.
“At first, when the warning was issued, we saw there were still people who thought the warning had no effect, but after 12 individuals had been charged, then only they realised what the consequences were (for spreading fake news).
“Currently, the number (fake news) has significantly reduced and everyone is cautious, which is a positive sign,” he told reporters after visiting the Pasar Binj..

Guan Eng says tested negative for Covid-19 but under home quarantine until March 24

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Former finance minister Lim Guan Eng has tested negative for Covid-19. — Bernama pic
KUALA LUMPUR, March 20 — Former finance minister Lim Guan Eng has confirmed tonight that he has tested negative for Covid-19.
In a tweet on his official Twitter account, Lim said that he will, however, be under home quarantine until March 24 on the advice of the Penang General Hospital.
He then reiterated to his more than 561,000 followers the Health Ministry’s advice during the Movement Control Order: “Stay at home! Stay at home!”
On the advice of Penang General Hospital, I am on home quarantine until 24th March even though I’ve tested negative for Covid-19 two days ago. Please listen to advice from the Health Ministry – Stay at home! Stay at home!
— Lim Guan Eng (@guanenglim) March 20, 2020The Bagan MP then posted two photos: one where he can be seen playing football barefoot and another of him challenging his son to a game of ping pong.
“Playing football barefoot at home like when I was a schoolboy..

Low-income earners in Sabah describe economic package as ‘lifeline’

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Tourists wear masks upon arrival at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport following the coronavirus infection January 24, 2020. — Bernama pic
KOTA KINABALU, March 28 — Low-income earners in Sabah who depend on small businesses to make ends meet heaved a huge sigh of relief after learning of the benefits they will get under the people-centric economic stimulus package (Prihatin) announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday.
Most of those contacted by Bernama described the RM250 billion package as a “lifeline” which could help ease their burden, including those in rural areas, in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Thirty-year-old Rashidi Ali, who sells chicken wings, said he was relieved with the package as he had stopped operating his stall for over a week due to the movement control order (MCO).
The father of two, aged two and five, is also worried that his savings might not suffice if the situation prolonged, adding that he used to earn about RM200 a day.
The pack..

AmBank allows customers affected by coronovirus to defer loan repayments

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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 10 — AmBank Group is offering temporary deferment or restructuring of installment repayments for its individual and small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) customers in the wake of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak.
In a statement today, AmBank said affected customers may approach the bank, which will then evaluate and consider offering them temporary deferment or restructuring of instalment repayments.
Group chief executive officer Datuk Sulaiman Mohd Tahir said as a caring bank, AmBank is sympathetic towards the plight of its customers, particularly individuals and SMEs affected by the 2019-nCoV.
“AmBank is committed to assisting them during this trying time,” he added.
Meanwhile, the group’s insurance and takaful arms — AmMetLife and AmMetLife Takaful — have introduced supportive financial relief to assist policy owners.
Both companies will cover hospital admissions due to the 2019-nCoV, treatment for which the Ministry of Health currently requires to..