Malaysia ready to enter endemic phase, says Health DG

The improving Covid-19 situation in the country in recent weeks proves that Malaysia and the people are ready to enter the endemic phase, says Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah. He said this could be seen through the declining trend in average daily cases, the number of clusters and hospital utilisation capacity, while the country registers a high vaccination rate. “In line with the positive development, the people must not be complacent with the country’s Covid-19 situation. We must learn from the previous sudden increase in Covid-19 cases that had crippled various economic and social sectors,” he said. He said through the Reopening Safely initiative, all parties should play a role in breaking the Covid-19 chain by adhering to standard operating procedures (SOP) and enhancing the TRIIS (Test, Report, Isolate, Inform, and Seek) self-assessment especially when state borders reopened. (The Star)

RM15b left in National Trust Fund reserves, to be replenished once economy stabilises

Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz said that RM15 billion is still left in the National Trust Fund (KWAN) after RM5 billion was used, mostly to procure Covid-19 vaccines. “After the nation’s economy stabilises, we will take efforts to replenish the KWAN fund which needs to be done with cooperation from various necessary parties,” he said. He added that both the federal and state governments must also commit themselves to the matter and not just state-linked oil and gas giant Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas). Bank Negara Malaysia is the administrator of the fund while all contributions have so far come from the national oil company, Petronas. However, he said that the government does not have a targeted deadline as yet. KWAN was set up in 1988 to raise government savings and provide alternative financing for development expenditures. The fund had assets worth RM19.5 billion as of end-December 2020, RM10.4 billion from Petronas and RM9.1 billion from investment returns. (Malay Mail)

PM: Malaysia aims to reduce intensity of greenhouse gas emission by 45%

Malaysia hopes to reduce the intensity of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission across the economy by 45% based on the Gross Domestic Product in 2030. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the reduction of intensity was made unconditionally and it is 10% higher than the earlier target. Ismail Sabri said the matter would be the stand of the country which would be tabled at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP 26 in Glasgow, Scotland. Ismail Sabri said also to be highlighted in the national statement is the country’s aspiration to achieve net-zero GHG emissions as early as 2050. Apart from that, he also said the government would be strengthening climate change governance in the country among them through the establishment of the National GHG Centre under KASA to improve transparency in climate change data and information reporting. (Malay Mail)

River of Life in KL will be revived as new tourist attraction

The River of Life and Blue Pool projects will be revived and promoted as new tourist attractions in Kuala Lumpur. Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said that this was because KL, Putrajaya and Selangor are already in Phase Two of the National Recovery Plan, and therefore some tourism activities are now allowed. He said it would be a focal destination for city folks to engage in various leisure activities, and as such, the task of preserving the facilities provided, as well as the cleanliness of rivers around the projects, must be a shared responsibility. “This is so that the cleanliness of rivers and the beauty of the River of Life areas can be maintained to produce a Malaysian family with first class mentality and therefore achieve the ‘My City My Home’ goal,” he said. The beautification component, which covers the construction of a pedestrian bridge to connect Masjid Jamek and the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, Dataran Merdeka and the Blue Pool, as well as the redevelopment of the Titiwangsa Lake Garden, was fully completed at the end of last year. (The Star)

River of Life, Blue Pool revived as city attractions — Shahidan | The Edge  Markets
River of Life, Blue Pool at Masjid Jamek (Source: The Edge)

KPKT planning to build 7,448 youth transit housing units

The Housing and Local Government Ministry (KPKT) plans to build 7,448 units of Youth Transit Housing (RTB) in an effort to help ease the burden of young people who live in the Klang Valley. Its Deputy Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Abdul Mutalib said of the total, 1,448 units would be built in Mukim Batu, here, while the remaining 6,000 units would be built in Rawang, Selangor. “It is hoped that this will help youth to secure themselves financially before they can afford their own home,” he said. Ismail said although priority would be given to those aged below 30, the government would consider applications from individuals aged above 30 if there were vacant units. (Malay Mail)

Countries ready to welcome Malaysians

With Malaysia now allowing its citizens to travel abroad, there is a growing list of countries that wanderlust Malaysians can head to which have opened up their borders to immunised travellers. Although MyTravelPass requirements for Malaysians travelling abroad have been scrapped, Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents president Datuk Tan Kok Liang reminded travellers that this still depended on other countries’ travel restrictions. “We are preparing for the eventual lifting of further travel restrictions. At the moment, international travellers for leisure tourism are still not allowed into Malaysia. For Malaysians on outbound tours, it is very much dependent on other countries’ travel restrictions,” he said. The United States, England, France, Finland, Egypt, Qatar, Maldives, Iceland, United Arab Emirates and Turkey are among the countries that are either quarantine-free for those vaccinated or do not require quarantine for anyone regardless of vaccination status, as long as travellers can provide a negative Covid-19 test result. (The Star)