Noor Hisham: CMCO not a failure – no community infections yet

Emphasising that the conditional movement control order (MCO) is not a failure, Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah says this is because most Covid-19 cases in the Klang Valley have not spread into the community yet. “If we look at the Klang Valley, the outbreak is not in the community yet, it is spreading among construction site workers. The majority of clusters at construction sites involve foreign workers,” the Health director-general said. He said there were two active cluster outbreaks in the Klang Valley that were linked to construction sites – the Damanlela cluster in Pusat Bandar Damansara and Merpati cluster in Sepang. The country saw 1,103 new Covid-19 infections yesterday, with Kuala Lumpur recording the highest number of new cases at 392. Dr Noor Hisham said the CMCO was implemented in Sabah and the positive effects could be seen in the state. “If you ask me, we should go all out for our health and life and implement the MCO, but it’s going to be costly,” he said. (The Star Online)

Ismail Sabri: Govt plans to impose more stringent SOP on foreign workers

The government plans to implement more stringent standard operating procedures (SOP) for foreign workers, as well as extend the swab test requirement on those in the industrial sector, in efforts to curb COVID-19 spread in the country. Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said currently the government is waiting for a proposal on the matter from the Human Resources Ministry. “We are in the midst of conducting a detailed study…to date there are about 1.7million foreign workers in Malaysia and with such a large number, we are considering of the laboratories’ capability in producing the results and who should bear the costs if we were to conduct the swab test on them,” he said. “I was informed that over a million of the foreign workers contribute to the Social Security Organisation (Socso),” he added. (Bernama)

SME, retail and mall associations urge govt for more aid in Budget 2021

While the Budget 2021 has been touted to be the largest budget in Malaysia, four associations have jointly urged the government to revise the national budget to provide “sustainable and meaningful” assistance. The four associations are Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA), SME Association of Malaysia, Bumiputra Retailers Organization and Malaysia Shopping Malls Association (PPK). In a joint statement, the associations have proposed nine forms of aid to address the shortcomings of the Budget in responding to the immediate challenges posed by the pandemic crisis. These include relief on utilities payment, direct financial assistance to small and medium enterprise (SME) tenants, removal of minimum 30% rent reduction, waiver of all statutory payment for businesses until Dec 31, 2021, and targeted tax incentive for retail and tourism spending. In addition, they are urging for a revision of the Covid-19 Act which only protects tenants from warrant of distress for arrears until Aug 31, 2020. Other assistance and reliefs proposed are the extension of wage subsidy programme, tax relief for safety and hygiene expenditures, and a Covid-19 SOP compliance certification for retail and restaurant premises. (The Edge)

Foreign nationals must pay Covid-19 quarantine fees at international entry points

Foreign nationals who wish to enter Malaysia and have signed the Letter of Undertaking (LoU) as well as received the Travel Note should abide by the guidelines set by the government which include paying the quarantine charges at the International Entry Points. The National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) said the government had issued such a directive as many non-Malaysian Person Under Surveillance (PUS) at the quarantine stations have failed to settle the payment including the administrative and management charges, until the final day of their quarantine. Non-Malaysians including dependents of Malaysians will be charged RM150 per day based on quarantine duration at hotel premises as stipulated by the Health Ministry, as well as administration and management charges of RM2,600, which add up to a total of RM5,070. Nadma also explained that the Immigration Department (JIM) has the right to issue the Not-to-Land order for non-Malaysian passengers who failed to produce their Travel Note. The mandatory quarantine of all individuals entering Malaysia from overseas was implemented since July 24. (Malay Mail)

MACC chief warns of corruption, power abuse in coming years

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Datuk Seri Azam Baki said that the anti-graft body is expecting an increase in corrupt practices and power abuse in Malaysia in the coming years. He said this is due to the vulnerable and complex environment that Malaysia currently finds itself in, but did not elaborate further. “With the Covid-19 pandemic impacting the domestic economy, the MACC will focus on reducing leakage of public money and the return of ill-gotten proceeds through the recovery of assets,” he said. Azam added that checking on leakages is essential as the government spends billions annually on the procurement of goods and services. Azam also added that creative methods are being utilised by criminals to bypass financial institutions’ customer diligence measures and exploit instruments to perform illegal activities through trade finance facilities, insurance and wire transfers, among others. The MACC chief added that criminals were increasingly using financial technology platforms and cash instead of bank transfers to avoid detection, citing the Macau scam as an example. He stressed the key role of financial institutions as “frontliners” in the fight against fraudsters. Transactions, especially those involving high-risk customers, should be scrutinised in terms of sources of the funds and where the money went, he added. (Malay Mail)