Ismail Sabri rejects news report of possible MCO 3.0, says NSC yet to decide

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has dismissed a news report claiming the government would reintroduce the movement control order (MCO) next week in several states with rising Covid-19 cases. He said the speculation was false as the National Security Council has yet to meet since Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s remark on the government’s need to review the current MCO. As the prospect of a lockdown looms, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah also said the intensive care unit in all major hospitals in the Klang Valley were almost overwhelmed by severe Covid-19 cases with the occupancy rate reaching 90%. Malaysia is facing what some experts believe to be a “fourth wave” of the pandemic, with the recent number of daily cases nearly reaching the 4,000 mark and for the MCO to be reimposed to curb further infections. (Malay Mail)

PM: Minimum wage being reviewed

The minimum wage for workers will be reviewed and the government has called for all stakeholders to give their proposals. In his Labour Day address yesterday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said while many were still trying to maintain their livelihoods during the Covid-19 pandemic and economic slowdown, the government would prioritise the protection of all workers to ensure that no one was left behind. A review of the Minimum Wage 2020 Order is being conducted. “We are now at the fifth stage of the 6R Strategy for Comprehensive Economic Recovery Plan, which aims to wholly revitalise the economy. To achieve this, the government has introduced a few stimulus packages to assist the people and businesses as well as to protect the economy,” he said. The government’s economic revival plan, he said, included the three main strategies to help workers during the pandemic – maintaining and creating jobs, and protecting their rights. Besides efforts in overhauling labour laws, especially on housing and workers’ amenities, he said the government was working to improve such legislation and widen its scope to all workers, including looking at lowering weekly work hours for a better work-life balance. (The Star)

All slots for AstraZeneca vaccine snapped up in just over three hours

All 268,000 slots for the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines have been taken up in just over three hours after the registration was opened to the public at 12pm yesterday. “All AZ slots are booked,” Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Khairy Jamaluddin announced on Twitter at about 3.20pm. Social media was rife with shared complaints of frustrated efforts to get the vaccine earlier, which is on a parallel track, but not part of the main national vaccination programme. Khairy, acknowledging how difficult it was to secure an appointment, apologised for the “glitch” and volunteers could still click on the grey boxes to put themselves on the waitlist. The government announced a separate AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine programme last month after concerns emerged that the European-made vaccine could cause blood clots in very rare instances. Malaysia is expected to receive another million doses of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine this month. (Malay Mail)

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Fajarbaru targets new project launches in 2H21

Fajarbaru Builder Group Bhd is targeting to launch several new residential projects by the second half of this year (2H21), amid expectations the property market will continue to improve. Its group CEO Datuk Eric Kuan Khian Leng said the group recently completed its maiden development Rica Residence @ Sentul in Kuala Lumpur on schedule, and started handover in mid-March this year. The company is positive on the outlook of its property segment in anticipation of the economic recovery supported by the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme. Kuan said Fajarbaru is also looking to expand its local property development footprints not just in the Klang Valley, but also in Penang and Putrajaya once the economy fully reopens. It will continue to seek landbank and is on the lookout for potential joint ventures to develop properties in Malaysia and Australia. (The Malaysian Reserve)

Malaysia, Singapore reach accord to facilitate travel for selected reasons

Malaysia and Singapore have agreed on the procedures and entry requirements for compassionate and emergency visits between their peoples amid stricter border measures. The Death and Critically Ill Emergency Visits (DCEV) arrangement will be implemented from May 17, according to a joint statement issued yesterday by Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and his Singapore counterpart Dr Vivian Balakrishnan. Details of the procedures and entry requirements will be released by the Malaysian Immigration Department and the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore. The two ministers also welcomed the agreement reached by the Singapore Smart Nation and Digital Government Office and the Malaysian Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry on the mutual technical verification of health certificates issued in Singapore and Malaysia. They agreed that both countries would continue to make progress on their respective national vaccination programmes to vaccinate long-term residents, including Malaysians residing in Singapore, and Singaporeans residing in Malaysia. (The Star)