Malaysia waits with bated breath for political intrigue to play out

Barely two years after Barisan Nasional was voted out, Malaysians will be watching today whether the former ruling coalition has slipped back into power without even a single ballot. After a day of unexpected meetings among the parties implicated in the plot for a new government, speculation was intense that a replacement for the Pakatan Harapan government would be announced last night. However, an aide to the prime minister said none would be made, forcing Malaysians to endure at least another day of suspense. PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is scheduled for an audience with the Yang diPertuan Agong today, who already met yesterday with the leaders of six political parties that are believed will form this new and still-unnamed coalition. Despite the open speculation that the PH government was about to collapse and be replaced by the new alliance of ruling and Opposition parties, no government leader or representative has come out to deny this and calm the nation. (Malay Mail)

Johor identifies 15 sites for Rumah Mampu Biaya programme statewide

The Johor government has identified 15 sites statewide for the construction of houses under the Johor affordable house (‘Rumah Mampu Biaya Johor’ (RMBJ)) programme. State Housing, Communications and Multimedia Committee chairman Dzulkefly Ahmad said the state government had targeted the construction of houses under the programme in every district especially in Kulai, Mersing and Muar in an effort to ensure the people had the opportunity to own homes and simultaneously achieve the target of 100,000 units under the scheme in 2023. ‘’The 15 sites or 15 housing projects will be implemented with the co-operation of selected implementing agencies such as Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor (KPRJ) and Perbadanan Islam Johor (PIJ) Holdings and its categories (of units) would depend on the demand at the locations concerned,’’ he said. He said the units in the RMBJ programme on the 15 sites were estimated to be priced from RM42,000 to RM300,000 each. (Malay Mail)

Malaysia’s first early warning system for air pollution in Pasir Gudang

Pasir Gudang is now equipped with a system worth RM6.9 million, that is capable of detecting harmful pollutants in the air to provide early warning in the event of any contamination, making it the first industrial city in the country to have such a facility. Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin said the system would monitor the air quality in real time to provide early warning in the event of an air pollution incident. The Air Pollution Early Warning System is equipped with an alarm to detect hazardous pollutants in the air that will directly alert enforcement officers at the Department of Environment (DOE) in the event of air pollution to enable immediate action over the source of the pollution. It involves the installation of 25 Photoionisation Detector (PID) stations in 25 locations, including schools around Pasir Gudang. If the system proved successful, it would be extended to other industrial areas in the country, she added. (The Sun Daily)

(Source: Bernama)

More households embracing waste separation

The efforts by the Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation (SWCorp) to encourage households to separate their waste has begun to bear fruit. SWCorp outgoing deputy chief executive officer (technical) Dr Mohd Pauze Mohamad Taha said that over the past few years, the annual growth of waste produced by Malaysians has been less than 2%, compared with the annual projection of 4%. Malaysians, said Pauze, generated 37,890 tonnes of waste daily in 2018 and 38,120 tonnes of waste per day last year. He said the biggest component in the national waste composition was food waste with 44.5%, followed by plastics (13.2%), diapers (12.1%), paper (8.5%), and garden waste (5.8%). Pauze said to curb food waste from going into landfills, initiatives have been undertaken by the Housing and Local Government Ministry via the National Solid Waste Management Department and SWCorp. These include waste-to-energy, composting, anaerobic digester, reducing food waste through intervention programmes and Zero Waste Community Initiatives (ZeComm). (NST Online)

South Korea raises virus threat level to its maximum

In response to growing concerns about the spread of Covid-19 in South Korea, President Moon Jae-in has raised the country’s threat alert level to the highest of its four levels. The country is currently struggling to stop the rapid spread of the novel virus, and has the second largest number of confirmed cases in the world, 602. In the span of less than a week, the number of confirmed South Korean cases has jumped more than tenfold, six people have died, and over 8,000 people considered to be at risk of infection are still undergoing testing. Health officials point to a woman known as patient no. 31, a resident of the southern city of Daegu and a devout churchgoer, as the probable origin of the recent massive uptick in confirmed cases. (Vox)