RMCO throughout Malaysia extended until March 31

The recovery movement control order (RMCO) throughout the country has been extended until March 31, 2021, said Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob. He said the decision was made following the risk assessment conducted by the Ministry of Health (MOH), which found there was still a significant rise in Covid-19 cases nationwide, with a high infectivity rate. The government-enforced RMCO was previously scheduled to on Dec 31, 2020. According to Ismail Sabri, all standard operating procedures (SOPs) under the RMCO will apply during the period, and are subject to changes to be announced from time to time. Ismail Sabri said activities at pubs and nightclubs except for the restaurant business are still prohibited during this period, while activities involving large crowds which make it difficult to implement physical distancing are also not allowed. “Tourism activities would be based on the announcement by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) previously, but they must comply with strict SOPs,” he explained. (The Edge)

Govt offering RM200 e-rebate to buy energy-efficient refrigerators, air conditioners in 2021

Malaysian households will now be able to apply for an RM200 e-rebate to buy locally-made energy-efficient refrigerators or air conditioners. Users could apply for the Sustainability Achieved via Energy Efficiency (Save 2.0) programme via the Shopee app, and get an approval within 14 days. Once approved, users would get RM200 credited to their app wallet. The Sustainable Energy Development Authority (Seda) is executing the programme, in collaboration with the Energy Commission and Shopee. It aimed to educate the public about energy-efficient appliances and increase the adoption of appliances with four or five star energy ratings. Last November, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Datuk Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah announced the programme would benefit 140,000 households using an RM30mil allocation under Budget 2021. (The Star Online)

MOH mulls home quarantine for asymptomatic Covid-19 patients

The Health Ministry (MOH) is considering isolating and quarantining COVID-19 patients who are asymptomatic and those with mild symptoms at home as existing health facilities are increasingly limited following the spike in daily cases. Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said so far the number of active COVID-19 cases was 22,089 and fast approaching the MOH’s quarantine capacity of 23,000 cases to be placed in hospitals and Covid-19 Quarantine and Low-Risk Treatment Centres (PKRC). Dr Noor Hisham said the number of patients who were positive but asymptomatic and those with mild symptoms had reached 89 to 90 per cent of the overall number of cases. Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said the delay by health workers to transfer patients from home to the hospitals and PKRCs was due to the high number of daily cases. (Bernama)

Macau scam syndicate with over RM336m in properties, investments busted by Johor police

The Johor police have busted a Macau scam syndicate that laundered its illicit gains, said to be worth RM336 million, through a network of bank accounts after nabbing 12 individuals in series of arrests last month. Johor police chief Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said the 12 locals aged 29 to 68, were arrested in Penang and Kuala Lumpur from December 3 to December 21. They were all directors of companies linked to the syndicate. The mastermind, however, is believed to have fled the country and is currently in Thailand. The syndicate was said to have used a network of mule bank accounts to transfer money deposited by unwary victims in an effort to elude detection by the authorities. The proceeds of the scams were used to invest in cryptocurrency and to purchase properties. (Malay Mail)

Private clinics in Penang to offer free Covid-19 vaccination services

About 100 private clinics under the Penang Medical Practitioners’ Society (PMPS) are ready to offer free Covid-19 vaccination services to the people in Penang. State Housing, Local Government, Town and Country Planning Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said the state government and PMPS reached the agreement as preliminary preparations to increase capacity and expedite vaccinations after the vaccine arrives in Malaysia next month. He said the vaccines will be distributed by the Ministry of Health (MOH) to each state which will later distribute it to hospitals, as well as public and selected private clinics to provide vaccinations to the Penang residents. “So far, 100 private clinics have agreed to provide free vaccination services to the entire population of Penang. I understand that 50 clinics in Seberang Perai, as well as 50 clinics on the island, have agreed to help the MOH increase the capacity of the vaccination process,” he said. (Malay Mail)