Thai shooting rampage death toll rises to 29, 57 wounded

The death toll from Saturday’s 16-hour shooting rampage at the hands of a disgruntled Thai soldier has now risen to 29, with 57 people wounded, according to news reports. Most of the victims gunned down by 32-year-old Sgt. Major Anutin Charnvirakul were killed during his siege at the Terminal 21 mall in Nakhon Ratchasima, also known as Korat. The shooter was killed in a shootout with police about 9 a.m. Sunday. Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters that the bloody rampage was sparked by “a personal conflict … over a house deal.” The incident was the deadliest mass shooting ever in Thailand by a single gunman. (New York Post)

KL wants to pedestrianise 10 roads by 2025

At least 10 roads in Kuala Lumpur will be off limits to private vehicles by 2025 with plans to turn them into pedestrian-only stretches like in many cities around the world. The goal is to reduce the number of cars entering the capital. It will see several major roads closed in stages for a trial run over the next five years. By the end of the year, at least five roads will be affected. They include Jalan Raja, where the iconic city landmarks Dataran Merdeka and Sultan Abdul Samad Building are located, as well as Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman (TAR), which is popular among shoppers for its food bazaars, fabric emporiums and markets. Kuala Lumpur Mayor Datuk Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan said City Hall planned to cordon off several stretches in Bangsar, Bukit Bintang and Brickfields to make them more pedestrian-friendly and reduce carbon emissions. It is yet to be decided if the closures would be on a permanent basis, semi-permanent for weekends or a combination of the two. (NST Online)

Two Pusat Bandar Damansara roads to close for a year for flyover project

Motorists who frequent Pusat Bandar Damansara in Kuala Lumpur should take note that Jalan Damansuria and Jalan Beringin will be closed to traffic for a year starting Feb 10 to make way for a flyover project by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL). The access from Kuala Lumpur heading to Pusat Bandar Damansara via Jalan Damansuria and from Jalan Beringin heading to Petaling Jaya will be closed during the construction. It was previously reported that the elevated highway project would be built from the Sprint Highway-Jalan Maarof interchange near the Pavilion Damansara Heights project to the Sprint Highway-Jalan Semantan interchange. The three-lane elevated Jalan Damansara-Semantan Highway stretching for 1.34km is meant to improve traffic flow and provide direct connectivity to the area. (The Star Online)

(Source: The Star Online)

Singapore to slash toll charges

Singapore’s move to match Malaysia’s reduction of toll charges for cars, taxis and buses at the Causeway and Second Link has been welcomed by frequent travellers. In a statement yesterday, Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) said toll for cars, buses and taxis at the Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints would be reduced from March 2. It said the reduction was in response to Malaysia’s reduction of similar toll charges at the Sultan Iskandar Building Toll Plaza at the Causeway and the Tanjung Kupang toll plaza at the Second Link since Feb 1. At Woodlands, toll charges for cars, taxis and buses will be reduced by S$0.20 (60 sen), S$0.10 (30 sen) and S$0.60 (RM1.80) respectively. In the same statement, LTA said it would also roll out a new digital service to enable owners of public service vehicles – in this case, buses and taxis registered in Asean countries – to apply for the Asean Public Service Vehicle Permit. The application must be submitted at least seven working days before driving into Singapore. Vehicle owners could also expect even greater convenience when online payment for and delivery of VEP/Autopass cards were made available soon. (The Star Online)

Singapore raises coronavirus outbreak alert to Orange

Singapore has moved up its response to the coronavirus outbreak to Code Orange because of “heightened risk”, said the Ministry of Health (MOH). This is because there are now four cases of infection with no known links to China or people already infected, which means the disease may be spreading in the community. It is only the second time Singapore has activated Code Orange. The first was for swine flu (H1N1) in 2009. The coding system was set up after SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) in 2003. The outbreak then would also have been Orange, had the classification existed. Under the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition or Dorscon, Orange means the outbreak is deemed to have moderate to high public health impact. The emphasis will now be on “aggressively trying to stop or limit further spread”, according to MOH’s pandemic readiness and preparedness plan. (The Star Online)