Agong: No necessity to declare Emergency

Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah yesterday stated that there was no necessity for an Emergency to be declared in the country. Comptroller of the Royal Household of Istana Negara, Datuk Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin stated that the decision was made after studying carefully the request presented by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and discussed with the Malay rulers, besides looking at the current situation in the country. “His Majesty much believes in the government’s capability under the leadership of the Prime Minister to continue implementing policies and enforcement actions to curb the spread of COVID-19,” he said. Muhyiddin’s request was made under Article 150(1) of the Emergency Ordinance and Proclamation of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2020, in accordance with Article 150(2B) of the Federal Constitution in combating the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. Ahmad Fadil said the King also reminded politicians to immediately stop the politicking which could destabilise the country. (Bernama)

MPs on both sides back Budget 2021 approval

A well-crafted Budget to fight Covid-19 will be supported, say two former Cabinet members. Former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak believes no Member of Parliament wants to oppose the Budget drafted to fight Covid-19, restore the economy and help the people at a time when the country is in dire need of it. The Pekan MP said that if there was a concern that the 2021 Budget would not be passed – which would cause the fall of the Perikatan Nasional government – the coalition needed to consult and discuss with all parties to ensure the Budget was not challenged. Separately, Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said everyone should be called to sit together to approve Budget 2021 without needing an election. He said Malaysia needed more bipartisanship, adding that egos needed to be put aside as well as to look across party lines when it came to the common good. In Kota Kinabalu, Parti Warisan Sabah president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said it was time for both sides of the political divide to put aside their differences and work together towards fighting the real enemy of the country. (The Star Online)

Merdeka 118 project back on track after MCO delays

Phase 1 and 2 of Permodalan Nasional Bhd’s (PNB) iconic Merdeka 118 precinct are expected to be ready by the second quarter (Q2) of 2022 instead of end 2021 as initially targeted, following delays caused by the Movement Control Order in light of Covid-19. The development is funded by PNB Merdeka Ventures Sdn Bhd (PNBMV), a wholly-owned subsidiary of PNB. PNB president and group chief executive, Ahmad Zulqarnain Onn said that Phase 3 which encompasses three residential towers is due for completion in 2024/2025. He said the tower is 60% completed as of Oct 2020. The project is currently in the beginning stage of Phase 2 which comprises the retail mall and Merdeka Boulevard @ 118 linear park. Upon completion, Merdeka 118 would be Malaysia’s tallest building and the second tallest tower in the world; it would also be the first building in Malaysia to satisfy the triple green building platinum accreditations locally and internationally, namely the Green Building Index (GBI), the Green Real Estate (GreenRE), and the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED. (Malay Mail)

State govt stands firm in call for Malaysia-Singapore border to reopen

The struggling business environment in Johor, especially in the city, is reason enough for the state government to stand firm on its call to reopen the Malaysia-Singapore border, says Mohd Izhar Ahmad. The Johor investment, cooperatives, entrepreneurship development and human resources committee chairman said traders and retailers were struggling to make ends meet, on top of having to continue paying rental despite the significant drop in business due to the Covid-19 pandemic and movement control order imposed from March 18. “We have to strike a balance to ensure all interests – economic, security and health – are met, ” he said. Mohd Izhar is fully behind Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad who has been vocal about the need to reopen the border to spur local economic growth. (The Star Online)

Technology to boost state medical tourism – Penang govt

The Penang government encourages technology in healthcare in a bid to boost medical tourism in the state and the improvement of quality of patient care. Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said that digital transformation was the way forward and believed that advanced technologies would continue to accelerate patients’ recovery and increase life expectancy. “Technologies such as robotics, Internet of Things (IoT) and data can transform healthcare services in providing customised and accurate services for each and every patient,” he told a press conference after launching the Therapedic Brain and Spine Robotic Centre in Sunrise Tower, Penang. Therapedic founder James Tan said the robotic rehabilitation centre, the first of its kind in the northern region, provides one of the most affordable robotic rehabilitation treatment services in South-East Asia. (Bernama)