Covid-19 cases, hospital admissions in Malaysia expected to decline in August, says Khairy

Covid-19 cases and hospital admissions are expected to decline next month (August) when 40% of the country’s adult population is fully vaccinated, said National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) Coordinating Minister Khairy Jamaluddin. He said vaccines were able to prevent severe effects of Covid-19 disease and the hospital admission rate for the elderly had also shown a declining trend. “The Covid-19 vaccine is indeed an important protective shield against SARS-CoV-2 virus,” he said. Khairy said doubts over the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccine in the country were seen to be reducing as many registered to get vaccinated. On the need for the third booster dose, Khairy said the matter would be updated in the Special Committee for Ensuring Access to Covid-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV) meeting next week. He said the technical working group would make some recommendations on the booster shot. (Malay Mail)

Govt considering flexibilities and privileges, says Muhyiddin

With more people in the country being fully vaccinated against Covid-19, the Malaysian public can start to look forward to the easing of pandemic curbs. Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the government acknowledged that staying cooped up at home due to Covid-19 restrictions could impact mental health and some breathing space was needed. “The government is now assessing what flexibilities or privileges we can give to those who have completed their vaccination dosage. Within the next few days, I will announce this as a total package of social, sports and dining-in activities that will be allowed for those who are fully vaccinated,” he said. Also being looked into is the possibility of allowing fully vaccinated travellers arriving in Malaysia to undergo home quarantine. Another flexibility being considered for the double vaccinated, he said, was to allow interstate travel for long-distance couples. Malaysia has more than 5.2 million people who are fully vaccinated, which is about 16% of its total population. He said that Sarawak and Perlis were likely to be the first states to enter Phase 3 of the NRP. (The Star)

Malaysian PM to justify shutting parliament to fight Covid

Malaysia’s parliament will sit for the first time this year on Monday (July 26), providing lawmakers an opportunity to grill Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin over his government’s handling of the pandemic and the economy. The five-day sitting will see Malaysia’s emergency declaration and bills on fake news and penalties for breaching Covid protocols finally laid before the house for legislators to scrutinize. The emergency is set to end on Aug 1. Despite Muhyiddin’s actions, daily coronavirus cases have more than tripled since the emergency was first imposed on Jan 12. Confirmed cases have breached the one million mark and public anger is intensifying, while much of the country remains under lockdown. Monday’s session will begin with the prime minister explaining the national recovery plan, according to the parliament order paper. This will be followed by other ministers briefing the house on the plan to tackle the pandemic, the vaccine rollout, economic aid packages and the implementation of the emergency. Lawmakers attending the sitting will be allowed to voice their views and seek clarification when ministers explain the country’s recovery plan, vaccination program, economic stimulus and emergency, according to the parliament speaker. (The Edge)

Bukit Aman detects new scam using utility bills

The police have detected a new criminal tactic by a fraud syndicate that manipulates the utility bill payment system to deceive victims. “The syndicate will contact victims who have utility bill arrears and offer a discount if the victim allows them to settle the arrears. The syndicate would advance their money and claim that the payment receipt will be used by them to obtain tax exemption,” said Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department director Datuk Mohd Kamarudin Md Din. He said after obtaining the victim’s consent, the syndicate would use bounced cheques to make payments through deposit machines belonging to utility service providers. He said once the payment was made, the service provider’s system would display a record that the bill payment had been made and the victim was asked to transfer money to them through a bank account belonging to a third party. “The victims will only be aware of being cheated when the service provider informs them that they have failed to cash the cheques,” he said. One report was lodged in Kuala Lumpur this month, with losses around RM8,500. (The Edge)

Self-test kit results must be reported on MySejahtera, says Dr Adham

Any Covid-19 self-test kit result, whether positive, negative or invalid, must be reported to the Ministry of Health (MoH) through the MySejahtera application. Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said it is consumers’ responsibility to report on the actual result, not give a false one, to avoid adverse consequences to infection prevention. He said if the self-test kit result is positive, the user must go to a private health facility, Covid-19 assessment centre (CAC) or any Health Clinic (KK) for health assessment purposes before their health status is uploaded to the MySejahtera application. “If the result is negative but the person has symptoms, then he or she is also advised to report to a private clinic or KK for a similar assessment. As for an invalid result, the user is required to repeat the test,” he said. As of last Thursday, the MoH through the Medical Device Authority (MDA) had given conditional approval to three types of Covid-19 self-test kits for sale and use in the country. (The Edge)

PropertyGuru to go public in merger with SPAC, Malaysian firm to invest

Southeast Asian online realty company PropertyGuru on Friday agreed to go public through a merger with a blank-check firm backed by billionaires Richard Li and Peter Thiel, giving the combined company an equity value of about $1.78 billion. The deal with Bridgetown 2 Holdings, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), is expected to fetch proceeds of $431 million, including a private investment of $100 million from Baillie Gifford, Naya, REA Group and Akaris Global Partners. One of Malaysia’s largest asset managers, REA Group has also committed to an additional $32 million investment. The combined company will have an enterprise value of about $1.35 billion. Founded in 2007, the company offers digital property marketplaces to match buyers and tenants with sellers and landlords, as well as digital marketing for property agents and developers. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021 or the first quarter of 2022. (The Star)