Random checks to be continued to ensure SOP compliance

The police through its Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) monitoring team will continue to monitor interstate movements including conducting random inspections on major roads, as well as highways on weekends, public holidays and festivals. Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the monitoring was necessary as the allowing of interstate travel did not mean the authorities would become lax, but instead ensure that the SOPs were continued to be complied with. The monitoring by the authorities include R&R areas, tourism spots, residences, and business premises which are believed to not be strictly monitoring the entry of visitors. Owners of restaurant premises, shopping malls and public attractions are responsible for checking the entry of customers to ensure they complied with the SOPs, such as being fully vaccinated and wearing face masks, as well as performing body temperature checks. (The Edge)

Govt urged to review minimum salary increase

The government has been urged to review the minimum salary increase which does not commensurate with the rising cost of living, especially for graduates. Senator Yaakob Sapari said the current salary increment rate was only between 100% and 150%, while the cost of living has increased from 400% to 600%. “The 12MP (12th Malaysia Plan) still focuses on helping the poor and efforts to make Malaysia a high-income country but unfortunately the country’s wage rate does not commensurate with these efforts,” he said. He added that the low wage rate had led the country’s young people to migrate to other countries in search of high-paying jobs. Meanwhile, Senator Datuk A. Kesavadas said job matching was a crucial element to ensure success in eradicating hardcore poverty and closing the income gap, which is the fifth focus of the 12MP. (Malay Mail)

Malaysia in more favourable position vis-a-vis Asean peers amid rising oil prices

Malaysia, being a net oil and gas (O&G) exporter, is placed in a more advantageous position relative to its Asean peers in a rising oil price environment, said CGS-CIMB Research. It noted that the largest chunk of the country’s energy trade surplus was contributed by liquefied natural gas (LNG) at RM21.5 billion in the first eight months of 2021, followed by crude petroleum (RM3.7 billion) and a rare surplus in petroleum products (RM1.6 billion). According to the research house, an extended oil price shock represents a windfall for producers and a tax on consumers but the distributional effects are dependent on fiscal contribution from the energy sector and energy subsidies at the expense of government finances. It noted that governments in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand have exerted some control over fixing retail prices for fuel, cooking gas, or electricity tariffs, thereby limiting the pass-through of higher energy prices to consumers. (Malay Mail)

Five divorces filed every hour nationwide

An average of five divorce applications are filed every hour nationwide, says Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin. “An average of 18 divorce applications are filed by non-Muslim couples a day while 121 Muslim couples file for divorce a day… Isn’t this very worrying?” said the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law). Mas Ermieyati had earlier informed the House that more than 76,000 divorce applications were filed by non-Muslims and Muslim couples between March 2020 and August this year. Of that figure, 10,346 applications were by non-Muslims while 66,440 divorce applications were by Muslim couples. She said that a holistic approach should be taken to address the issue which includes counselling for those affected by divorce. (The Star)

Covid-19 test not required for Langkawi travellers

The Health Ministry (MoH), effective today, has decided to drop the mandatory Covid-19 test for individuals travelling to Langkawi. Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the decision was made after taking into account the low number of tourists who had tested positive, adding also that there were no Covid-19 clusters detected from the Langkawi travel bubble. It also follows the decision by the government to allow interstate travel. Khairy said the condition for all Langkawi travellers to be fully vaccinated, however, remains, and he also encouraged them to undertake Covid-19 self-tests before embarking on their journey. Khairy said up to last Sunday, 54,341 tourists had taken the Covid-19 test with 216 or 0.4 per cent testing positive while in Langkawi, while only one showed symptoms and later tested positive. (Malay Mail)

SUKE contractors fined RM300,000 over failure to ensure safety at construction site

Two contractors involved in the Sungai Besi-Ulu Klang Elevated Expressway (SUKE) project have been fined a total of RM300,000 for failing to ensure site safety that resulted in a fatal accident on March 22. Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) Malaysia said the main contractor for Package CA3 (CH4200-CH7800 alignment) Muhibah Perniagaan dan Pembinaan Sdn Bhd was fined RM100,000, while subcontractor China Communications Construction Company (M) Sdn Bhd was slapped with an RM200,000 penalty. On March 22, three foreign workers were crushed to death, while a motorist was seriously injured when the crane gantry toppled over at the highway construction site near Puncak Banyan, Persiaran Alam Damai in Cheras. (The Edge)

Malaysia Airlines eyes strong rebound, no workforce shortage

National carrier Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB) expects a strong rebound in its business, alongside a smooth operation with no shortages in the workforce, following the resumption of interstate travel. Group chief marketing and customer experience officer Lau Yin May said MAB, in solidarity, kept the employment of its entire staff in preparation for traffic rebound despite a challenging period brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. “That time (during pandemic) many airlines did not consider that (keeping workers). It wasn’t easy (but) we’re glad that we held on to our staff,” she said. To recap, thousands of global aviation industry workers were laid off due to airlines’ financial difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic while some others decided to retire. Commercial airlines, especially in the United Kingdom and the United States, are currently struggling to meet the sudden hike in air passenger traffic given the lack of pilots. MAB currently employs approximately 11,000 workers, including 1,049 pilots and 2,034 cabin crew. (Malay Mail)

Singapore and Japan passports tied for most powerful in the world

Singapore and Japan have the most powerful passports in the world, according to the latest update of a global index. Holders of passports from the two countries can travel without a prior visa to 192 destinations. This is a change from April, when Japan outstripped Singapore in having the world’s most powerful passport, with Japanese passport holders able to travel to 193 destinations without a prior visa, while Singaporean passport holders had such access to 192 destinations. In the latest update, South Korea and Germany are tied for second place, with such access to 190 countries. The two countries had been tied for third place in April, with access to 191 destinations. Finland, Italy, Luxembourg and Spain are in third place, with access to 189 nations; while Austria and Denmark are in fourth, with access to 188 countries. The index, administered by Henley & Partners and updated throughout the year, ranks passport power according to how many destinations their holders can travel to without a prior visa. (The Star)