MOH to introduce ‘heightened alert system’ for early detection

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, said that the Health Ministry (MOH) will introduce a heightened alert system to detect early signs of an increase in Covid-19 cases in the country. He said through the system, the MOH proposed that measures in some sectors would be tightened if there was an increase in cases, but it would not be a “total lockdown”. “I will announce the matter, including details of the situation on how this system will be applied… maybe in a week or two. If we can, we want to avoid a lockdown, because lockdowns not only disrupt the economy, but has other effects – family well-being and mental health,” he said. He added that so far the MOH’s health system was still under control but he reminded the public not to be too complacent as states transition to Phase Four of the National Recovery Plan (NRP). On the booster dose, Khairy once again called on the public who have received an appointment for the booster dose to get the injection, and not choose the type of vaccine given by the MOH. (The Star)

Malaysia’s Covid-19 recovery will extend into 2022, says Fitch Solutions

Fitch Solutions Country Risk & Industry Research said Malaysia’s Covid-19 recovery will extend into 2022. It said retail sales in Malaysia had yet to reach pre-Covid-19 levels in 2021, owing to the significant impact that Covid-19 had on the capacity of retail operations, as well as disposable incomes of households. It said while top-line retail sales were still below pre-Covid-19 levels, some categories were outperforming. Additionally, it said there is evidence that Covid-19 had accelerated the formalisation of the retail market in Malaysia. “Higher vaccination rates are needed for a broader recovery in retail sales from 2022 onwards,” it said. Fitch Solutions said comparing retail sales through the specialised (informal) and non-specialised (formalised) channels highlighted how Covid-19 had impacted consumer spending. “While coming down slightly, non-specialised stores accounted for 40% in 2021, suggesting that consumer spending is shifting towards this avenue,” it said. (The Edge)

Malaysian Family’ concept key to BN’s win in Melaka, say analysts

Barisan Nasional’s sweeping victory of the Melaka polls to form the new state government proves that the people want political stability in ensuring progress and prosperity. Mujibu Abd Muis, a senior lecturer in political scienceat Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), said the concept of the ‘Malaysian Family’ seemed to have given a hint of stability, even though it was not used as campaign material. He said, in fact, the concept was often seen as an image that represented BN and UMNO, even though Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob governed the country as part of a coalition that included Perikatan Nasional (PN). Meanwhile, geostrategist Dr Azmi Hassan said factors which included the Malaysian Family concept, Budget 2022 and the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) could also be indirectly linked to BN’s victory, which increased voters’ confidence in them to lead the government. Political analyst Assoc Prof Dr Mohd Izani Mohd Zain agreed with the sentiment, saying that a change in leadership was feared to affect the planned developments. (Malay Mail)

Govt aims to increase MSMEs’ revenue, end poverty via digitalisation, says minister

The government wants to ensure the revenue of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) keeps increasing and to eradicate poverty through the digitalisation agenda, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed. He said the main objective for organising the National MSME Digitalisation Empowerment Programme from Nov 21 to 23, 2021, was to further boost the MSME digitalisation agenda as well as to ensure that the MSMEs’ revenue kept rising, which in turn would increase Malaysia’s revenue. “We want to make Malaysia a high-income nation through the digital strategy. We want, among other things, this strategy to eradicate poverty. We want to make sure that the poor are taught basic digital skills to ensure they can sell their goods online to the rest of the world,” he said. The programme is an effort to provide information to MSMEs on all the assistance, incentives and digital solutions available for digitalising their business. (Malay Mail)

Satok Suspension Bridge a new landmark for Kuching

The city of Kuching now has a new landmark, the Satok Suspension Bridge with a design reminiscent of the ‘Golden Gate Bridge’ in San Francisco. Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg said apart from that, what was unique and important about the Satok Suspension Bridge was its construction history, where it has now been been re-built on the original site it was built on in 1923 during the time of Charles Vyner Brooke, who was the third White Rajah. “The construction of the bridge began in 1920 at an estimated cost of US$52,000 (RM217,542) and was fully completed in 1926, to become one of the milestones in the development of the city of Kuching at that time. [The new suspension bridge] is also the state government’s effort to modernise the area from Darul Hana to Satok,” he said. In 1992, the suspension bridge had to be closed because it was obsolete and uneconomical to repair. Its main cables had also snapped, causing it to collapse into the Sarawak River in 2004, after linking Kuching old town for 78 years. (Malay Mail)

Jambatan Gantung Satok tarikan pelancongan baharu bandar raya Kuching |  Astro Awani
Night view of Satok Suspension Bridge (Source: Astro Awani)