Khairy: Govt discussing new SOPs as Covid-19 becomes endemic in Malaysia

Steps are being taken by the government to prepare a set of new standard operating procedures (SOP) to guide the public on living with Covid-19 as the virus becomes endemic, newly installed Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said. Khairy, in his first official press conference, said discussions are being done to draft these fresh and less complicated SOPs, which would make it easier for the public to understand and practise. He said this was in line with the shift in the government’s perception towards Covid-19 from being a pandemic to becoming endemic. “This is consistent with the approach that has been taken by several other developed countries, where they have moved from pandemic measures like total containment to accepting it as an endemic. This is the new norm that will be introduced for us to ensure that we can live and remain safe even though the virus is among us,” he said. He added that Malaysia will maintain regulations compelling the use of face masks in public areas, and how the government would unlikely ease this regulation anytime soon. Additionally, when asked for a timeline, Khairy said the ministry will wait until October for nationwide herd immunity to be achieved before deciding on the transition. (Malay Mail)

MOH to initiate surge capacity ops

Malaysia’s Covid-19 focus will now move away from the Klang Valley to five other states that are facing a surge in infections. Sabah, Johor, Kedah, Penang and Kelantan will receive boosts in terms of vaccine supply and human resources in an effort to bring their Covid-19 numbers down, said Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin. He said the ministry would be using its experience with Operation Surge Capacity that had helped keep cases under control in the Greater Klang Valley. “We will bring the same level of focus and intensity to Sabah, Johor, Kedah, Penang and Kelantan which are facing an uptick in cases. The vaccination programme in these states will be ramped up. The ministry will also transfer assets and human resources from other states that require them less, in order to support these five states,” he said. Vaccine supplies will be prioritised for the five states, and the ministry would also be increasing its Covid-19 testing in these states in view of the high infection rates and low vaccination coverage. (The Star)

Govt to review new MM2H criteria

The government is prepared to re-examine the new criteria imposed on the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme, says Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin. “We will look into them seriously,” he said when contacted. However, he did not elaborate or indicate when ministry officials would meet to review the conditions. On Aug 11, the government said the MM2H would be reactivated with nine new conditions after the programme was suspended in August last year. These new conditions led to criticism that they were too restrictive and thus counterproductive to any economic recovery plan. Sultan Ibrahim of Johor urged the government to revise the new conditions, saying that the new requirements would dampen foreigners’ interest while forcing existing MM2H pass holders to leave the country. Meanwhile, MM2H Consultants Association president Anthony Liew said “The MM2H programme impacts several sectors of the economy such as property developers, banks, retailers, tourism and education”. Between 2002 and 2019, the MM2H programme generated a cumulative income of RM11.89bil through fees and visa charges, purchase of properties and vehicles, fixed deposits and monthly household expenditures. (The Star)

Special Covid-19 Aid worth RM4.6bil to benefit 10 million recipients

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the Special Covid-19 Aid (BKC) for the hardcore poor, B40 and M40 will be channelled to recipients from September 6. Phase 1 payments will be made in stages from September 6, 2021 for B40 recipients and September 9, 2021 for M40 recipients, said Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz. He said the allocation involved a fund of RM3.1 billion, benefitting 4.4 million households, 1.1 million senior citizens who were single or without partner and 4.5 million single individuals. “Overall, this cash assistance initiative is expected to benefit almost 10 million households and individuals with senior citizens and singles with an allocation of RM4.6 billion. The BKC payments are scheduled for September, November and December 2021,” he said. On June 28, the previous government under Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced the Pemulih package worth RM150 billion which included a direct fiscal injection of RM10 billion aimed at providing comprehensive assistance to the people. The BKC programme — which was scheduled to start in August — falls under the Pemulih package, which would provide additional financial assistance to an estimated 11 million households and individuals. (Malay Mail)

Works Ministry to focus on public infrastructure, recovery of construction industry

The Ministry of Works (KKR) will continue its economic recovery agenda for the construction industry as well as focus on improving public infrastructure in terms of connectivity, comfort and safety, says Senior Works Minister Datuk Fadillah Yusof. He said the focus would continue to be on projects such as the Pan Borneo Sarawak and Pan Borneo Sabah as well as the Central Spine Road (CSR), apart from other road projects under its jurisdiction. He said the prime minister had instructed all ministries to set targets and programmes to be implemented, within the next two weeks. He added that it covered short-term and long-term targets which are results-oriented, to prove one’s achievements within the first 100 days in the office. Fadillah said he had asked the ministry’s management to set key performance indicators (KPIs) in facilitating and ensuring the swift implementation of all projects in order to restore the country’s economy as soon as possible. (Malay Mail)

MIEA launches landlord insurance

The Malaysia Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) has launched the MIEA Landlord Insurance policy which will help landlords gain independence against the risk of runaway tenants, rent arrears together with potential damages to their asset or property when faced with bad tenants. “MIEA is proud to say that agents can provide a second level of protection for their clients through this policy,“ said MIEA president Chan Ai Cheng. The MIEA landlord insurance coverage will include reimbursement of loss of rental income due to runaway tenants, legal expenses for letter of demand, property losses or damages caused by tenant, repairs and replacements, and losses due to theft by tenants. MIEA’s insurance partner Howden Insurance Brokers has designed this policy with the mandate from MIEA. “We want the real estate profession to grow and be at par with other countries. Our motivation of introducing this policy is to protect the public and to provide an environment for agents to be competitive in enhancing their services, which will set them apart from others. This will augur well for the profession and for the Malaysian property market. Both landlords and agents can also sleep better with this additional protection which will step in should untoward losses occur,” said Chan. (The Sun Daily)