600 Rooms in Six Days, China Is Full Steam Ahead for Construction of Quarantine Centres

In response to the Covid-19 outbreak in Shijiazhuang, a city up northern China that homes more than 1 million people, a quarantine centre with more than 4,000 rooms is being built at full speed.

According to the European Space Agency’s satellite images, what looked like a flat land on January 13th is now lined up by prefabricated houses. The official People’s Daily newspaper said that more than 600 rooms were ready by the 19th and another 3,600 will be added by the time of completion.

State media reported that workers and materials were transported from all across the country to help building the centre; it’s common for China to utilize nationwide resources when natural disasters or other crisis occur.

In 2020, it took merely days to build the hospitals, Huoshenshan and Leishenshan in Wuhan, the place where Covid-19 had originated from.

China who is known to have curb the virus domestically is battling outbreaks again this winter in its northern regions. The National Health Commission reported 145 new cases on Monday, including 11 in Hubei province.

According to the China News Service, each room is designed to house one person only, stands at 18 square meters and comes with bedding, a desk, an air conditioner, television and WiFi.

The centre is located in Zhengding county, a surburban area north of Shijiazhuang. Hebei on the other hand is roughly 260 kilometers southwest of Beijing.

Actor Warns of MCO For The Whole Year, Criticises Covid-19 Patient That Didn’t Go Through Quarantine

After recent news of a Covid-19 patient that admitted not going through the quarantine process, actor Jasmin Hamid had gone to call them out to stress on the severity of the issue.

Jasmin, 47, criticized the actions of said patients and called them out for being not only irresponsible but also endangering the lives of others.

She then mentioned on how this movement control order might go on if there’s more individuals as such that break the guidelines set in place by the government.

“Why are there irresponsible individuals? If you know you’re positive, please quarantine yourself befreohand because the Ministry of Health (MoH) is already not winning this battle.” she said.

“He is proud to upload his status on soclal media to let the world know that he is free to roam and spread the virus because MoH had ignored him.

“Isn’t that the end game for us that are living by the movement control order? When do we want to start being stricter at home?”

Rumor has it that the patient had done it out of protest against the Ministry of Health for not reaching out to him for further actions.

Jasmin then advised all to follow the guidelines set in place so that the government will be able to control the increasingly worrying Covid-19 pandemic. This would not only save the lives of the public but also lives of family members close to you.

“We need to work together and pray.” she said.

“Bravo to those that put themselves ahead of others, we just might be going through MCO for the rest of the year because of them”. 

A Year Later, Malaysia is Still Struggling With Covid-19

It’s been a whole year since Covid-19 first touched down on Malaysia soil, the first of many that started with three members of a family from China, a woman and her two grandchildren from Wuhan that had made the short trip to Malaysia from Singapore.

Fast forward 365 days later, it seems that we’ve seen ups and downs of various severities while we’re currently in one of the many downs – the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) itself yet once more.

The Covid-19 pandemic had spiralled out of control; back in October 2020, the record total daily new cases was 1,240 and a conditional movement control order (CMCO) imposed in Sabah and parts of Klang Valley.

It wasn’t until February and March when local clusters began to surface and breached the 2,000 mark with active cases.

Today the record high daily new cases is four times that amount, 4,275 that was recorded on the 23rd of January and of course MCO 2.0 as well.

March: Movement Control Order (MCO)

PERAK 20-03-2020. Police performed road block at Jalan Kuala Kangsar here following the movement control order tu curb the spread of Covid-19 infection.MALAY MAIL/Farhan Najib

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced a nationwide movement control order on March 13th with it intended to curb the spread and enforce social distancing guidelines. By the 16 , it

was made known to the public that MCO would be in effect from the 18th until the 31st of March, it was then extended for an additional two weeks until April 14thfollowing a still constant number of high cases between the 100 and 200 mark. It was later further pushed until the April 28th and to May 12th consequently.

Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO)

After a majority of days with cases staying below the 100 mark, a conditional movement control order (CMCO) was implemented which allowed business to re-open under strict standard operating procedures (SOP).

June: An all-time low of cases leading to RMCO

MOHD SAHAR MISNI/The Star

After recording an all-time low of 2 new cases at that time on June 10th , it was decided that it was time that the nation move into recovery mode, a recovery movement control order (RMCO) that was to expire on August 31 . It was then extended until December 31st with selected sectors remained closed and travel restrictions from external countries.

July, August: A stagnantly reassuring and quiet time

SAM THAM/The Star Reporter

The first of July saw just 1 new case, yes you read that right. Cases largely remained single digits and well below the 20, 30 and 40 mark, signs were that the public were starting to regain the much needed trust in the government as they have done what they’re promised so far and days were seemingly going to be that less worrying.

September: Sabah elections

Even though many weren’t in favor to have it happen at times like this, the Sabah state election carried on as planned on September 26th . Experts are saying this is where the advantage was given back to the virus.

While many politicians and more members of the public in Sabah were out for the political campaigns, numbers were rising steadily as seen with 6 new cases on the 6th of September going up to 101 on the 29th of September even with strict SOPs in place.

On top of that, several high level-ministers and government personnel were questioned for not being in quarantine after travelling throughout states for election and governmental affairs. There was also the case of Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali flouting a 2-week quarantine upon returning from Turkey, which sparked the talk of how the government is practicing a double-standard with the strict SOPs in place.

October: Post-Sabah elections

(STAND ALONE) Party worker putting up party flag and poster party flag during Sabah Election. — ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE/The Star

The country’s fight against the pandemic took a turn for the worst as clusters in Sabah began emerging after the state election, positive daily cases in Sabah took off with 118 at the beginning of October to having 957 at the turn of November and bringing the total cases in Sabah itself to 15,692, more than half of the total positive cases in the country.

Another surge was also taking place in Selangor with the current total number going up as high as 5,000 positive cases in the state itself.

November: Back to square one: CMCO and EMCO

Total positive cases in the country have gone past the 30,000 mark and the CMCO is already implemented in Sabah, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya; this also has been extended by another two weeks until Nov 9th.

EMCO has been declared in three villages in Kudat, Sabah, namely Kampung Pengaraban, Kampung Tanjung Kapur and Kampung and Landong Ayang, starting on Oct 30 to Nov 12.

December: A different Christmas and New Year

As Malaysia overtook China in the number of total reported cases, one of the most festive times of the year was abruptly cancelled and rightfully so. A record high on New Year’s Eve itself of 2,525 new cases, near half of it was in the state of Selangor which had now leapfrogged Sabah into the state with most reported cases.

January 2021: MCO 2.0 and Breaking Records for All The Wrong Reasons

The nation went from a second implementation of MCO in certain states at first to now all of Malaysia, except for Sarawak.

Due to end on February 4th, none are even sure anymore if it’ll actually end there as daily new cases have been in the 3,000 and 4,000 margin since the turn of the year with a new record set every few weeks.

Did we also mention that the King had called a national emergency? Hence, the full circle of Covid-19 in Malaysia has now been completed.

Students Rally Behind #SuaraPelajar Amid Continuation of In-Person Classes

As 400,000 students return to school to begin their classes yet again for 2021, the youths are using social media to voice out their concerns of doing so in the midst of a pandemic.

Coming behind the hashtag #SuaraPelajar, students expressed their frustrations, concerns and the balance of education and future as they returned to school during this MCO 2.0.

A day after schools were reopened, 18 SPM and STPM students checking in to a school hostel were found to be positive during screening; the next day the total was 36 cases for students in Sabah returning to school hostels.

Muar MP Syed Saddiq who is active on Twitter was quick to share his view of the issue and had also called for help to gather #SuaraPelajar on Padlet. Other than that, he had utilized #KlusterPelajar in a bid to make the student’s thoughts be known at a higher level.

Here’s what one student had to say about the whole going back to school situation on Padlet.

“I think i can count with one hand how many days that i slept without tears. We stuck at school while the whole country is having pkp” one comment said.

“Maybe we like a small piece yg tak akan effect future pon kalua kitorg tak take spm. But we have a life”.

Some also took to Twitter to share their thoughts.

The timeliness of the announcement and lack of time for students to prepare was also one of the many things highlighted.

One user also mentioned of how the government’s latest actions just might be the push for students being depressed at an already depressing time.

And to top it all off, one student put it rather straightforwardly.

PM’s Religious Affairs Department: Current LGBT Laws Not Effective, Harsher Laws Considered

The government recently announced that it does not rule out the possibility of amending the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 or Act 355 in order to prosecute members of the LGBT community more harshly.

According to Ahmad Marzuk, the deputy minister in the prime minister’s department of religious affairs, the current sentence which provides three years of prison time, RM5,000 fine and six cane strokes is considered to be not effective on people identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transexual (LGBT).

According to reports by Free Malaysia Today (FMT), he told reporters that this amendment should be deemed necessary and stern action has been taken upon those who do not dress according to their gender.

“All state religious agencies and enforcers have been instructed to take action against those (LGBT) who do not behave accordingly,” he said.

He added that it’s important that “their wrongdoings” are addressed as well.

Here’s how Malaysians reacted to the news.

Although distressed by the move, some were more worried of the government’s priorities as of during a global health pandemic.

Some also highlighted the issue of child marriage, minimum wage, and the government’s lacking towards fixing these issues instead.

Others also input their opinions to “support and respect” or “don’t support but respect nonetheless”.

MCO 2.0 As Seen Around Malaysia

The second round of the Movement Control Order (MCO) is again in place to curb the ever-dreadful daily new cases which are surging at a worrying state.

Selangor who is the state with the highest total along with Penang, Melaka, Johor, Sabah, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan are all to go through this until January 26th; nobody is ensured that this would all end at that time as we continue to see cases coming in by the thousands, even seeing 4,000 at one point.

While majority of us continue to stay apart and work from home, cities and streets  have been left empty; what was usually packed with cars and pedestrians are now similar to dead towns seen in movies. Here’s how those said states looked like during the first week of MCO 2.0.

Selangor

Media_Selangor/Twitter
Media_Selangor/Twitter
Media_Selangor/Twitter

Kuala Lumpur

Hazwanhfiz/Twitter
Hazwanhfiz/Twitter
Hazwanhfiz/Twitter
Hazwanhfiz/Twitter

Putrajaya

Penang

Sabah

Bernama

Melaka

Melakahariini/Twitter
Melakahariini/Twitter
Melakahariini/Twitter
Melakahariini/Twitter

Johor

mhdhafizee/Twitter
mhdhafizee/Twitter
mhdhafizee/Twitter

Labuan

Bernama

Navalny: Poisoned Opposition Leader Arrested Upon Returning to Moscow

A Russian opposition figure and anti-corruption activist, poisoned with a nerve agent earlier in 2020, has recently returned to Moscow five months after the incident and has been detained by authorities upon his return.

According to his spokeperson, Alexei Navalny was taken away alone and without explanation when flown in from Berlin.

Live footage also showed him talking with dark-uniformed and masked officers at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport before kissing his wife and walking away with them.

Russian denies involvement in Navalny’s poisoning and Putin himself said that if Russian security services had wanted to kill Navalny, they “would have finished” the job.

Return

The pair landed in Moscow just after 8pm and had stayed in Germany for five months prior in order to allow Navalny to recover from the Novichok poisoning.

“This is the best day in the past five months,” Navalny said to journalists upon arriving and before being arrested.

“Everyone is asking me if I’m scared. I am not afraid,” he said. “I feel completely fine walking towards the border control. I know that I will leave and go home because I’m right and all the criminal cases against me are fabricated.”

Before his return, Navalny was in the federal wanted list last month for violating terms of probation related to a year’s old fraud case, where he had dismissed as politically motivated. The Russian Federal Penitentiary Service confirmed on Sunday with a statement that Navalny had been detained and would remain in custody until a court hearing later this month.

He now remains held in custody at a police station in Khimki, north of central Moscow, and has now been allowed to his lawyer. He is likely to remain until a court hearing later this month.

Flight diversion

A large crowd of supporters and journalists were to welcome Navalny back at Vnukovo airport initially, but the flight was diverted in the last minute to Sheremetyevo in Moscow. A number of those supporters and journalists were arrested soon after.

Before the flight, he had thank the other passengers. “Thanks to you all, I hope we will get there fine,” he said.

“And I’m sure everything will be absolutely great.”

He also gave his gratitude to the German people for hosting him in an Instagram post on Saturday, citing them as “nice, sympathetic, friendly people”.

Next steps for Navalny

Navalny was found in guilty in 2014 of fraud after he and his brother Oleg were accused of embezzling 30 million rubles (1.6 billion ringgit) from a Russian subsidiary of French cosmetics company Yves Rocher; he was given a suspended sentence while his brother jailed. 

The Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) is requesting that his suspended sentence is replaced with a real prison term.

Navalny is now facing new accusations of violating his probation by failing to show up for scheduled inspections in Germany. Navalny’s hearing has been set for January 29th where if FSIN’s request is granted, he would be facing 3.5 years in jail.

If now convicted in January, Navalny will still face a newer fraud case of alleged misuse of donations form supporters.Last month, Navalny called the new criminal cases brought up against him in Russia “demonstratively fabricated” and an attempt to prevent him from coming back to Russia

Malaysian Lawyer Called Out for Accounts of Inappropriate Behaviour and Sexual Advances

In a recent thread of posts that have been circulating on Twitter, the Chairperson of the Kuala Lumpur Bar Practice Reform Committee has been called out for multiple accounts of alleged harassment and inappropriate behaviour.

It all started with Surendra Ananth, a lawyer and also known public speaker at events such as the Asian Law Students Association (ALSA) forum, who had been accused of violating a conditional consent and shaming his former acquaintance. 

“You violated my conditional consent. I assented to unprotected intimate relations with you on the STRICT condition that you tell me if you have relations with anyone else. You failed to do so, and I became ill as a direct consequence.” said the author of the tweets, @tashny.

You refused to reveal your own STI results to me, but claimed to others they were negative and alleged I had multiple other partners, slut-shaming me. You gaslit me saying you had told me about your other partners”.

“You rebuffed attempts to organise a community mediation so we could address matters. You said I was crazy for speaking to your boss and father in an attempt to keep other women safe.”

Tashny then also accused Surendra of falsely claiming an attempted suicide after she had simply taken Xanax after a streesful day.

The thread which has now gathered over 951 likes and 929 retweets sparked a row of other victims who had decided to come forward anonymously with their experiences as well.

@tashny

Questions regarding what they’re wearing, attempts to meet-up with at a hotel bar and more than one attempt of having sexual relations were just one of the many violations that Surendra had been accused of.

They had also revealed Surendra for having such intentions with several law students at Brickfields Asia College (BAC), and also to be pushy and downright abusive at times with his advances.

One of the victims had also came out to reveal her experience of a said “internship” offer that turned out to be ill-mannered instead.

Surendra has since came forward with a statement that tells his side of the story and to address said allegations. 

Surendra Ananth/Twitter

He accused @Tashny for making comments that are untrue etc. and that his lawyers are “dealing with this matter”; he then mentioned of how he had been the victim of “harassment as well as cyber-stalking since July 2020”.

He then ended his statement by asking Tashny to “apologize, and retract her statements immediately”.

Surendra is yet to comment on the other allegations, along with the Kuala Lumpur Bar who is yet to address the accusations on one of its members.

Noor Hisham: Time to Take This MCO Seriously, Worst is Yet To Come

As the country records 4,029 daily news cases yesterday, health director general Noor Hisham has once again reached out to remind people on how “the worst is yet to come”.

“If we do not get this MCO right, the worst is yet to come. A daily reminder to all “please stay at home”. Stay home and stay safe” he said in a tweet yesterday upon news of the record breaking daily new cases.

He also mentioned of how red zones will be a common sight if this MCO is not taken seriously.

In an earlier Facebook post, he also mentioned of the challenges faced by healthcare workers who are barely managing the burial rites for victims who had from Covid-19.

“It is not an easy task for the health frontliners to manage the remains of patients who died from Covid-19.

“Under the hot sun, they (health and medical staff) would be drenched in sweat since they are required to don complete personal protective equipment (PPE) until the remains of Covid-19 patients are laid to rest and the burial rites concluded.

“I hope all of us understand the odds and challenges faced by all frontliners. Let us all help (to control the spread of Covid-19 in) the country by continuing to embrace the ‘Kita Jaga Kita’, ‘Kita Jaga Keluarga’ spirits.

“May all of us be protected from the fury of Covid-19,” he said.

Top 10 Reactions to The Bald Syed Saddiq

Muar MP, Syed Saddiq, recently started a storm on social media after reaching his RM200,000 target for #1Keluarga1Laptop and going bald for it.

With RM383,000 raised in merely five days, he has since started distributing the laptops to those in the Muar area for a good cause, but the internet on the other still hasn’t gotten over the fact that Saddiq, a frequent on social media as well, had shaved bald.

Of course, Malaysian’s weren’t going to let by the chance to make a good laugh from the moment.

Here are the top 10 tweets about the now “Botak YB”.

1) Not sure what bread this is, but it’s definitely Syed Saddiq-approved

2) One thing’s for sure, the man’s certainly not worried about barbershops not being allowed to open during MCO 2.0

3) One of the many highlights from news of how the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) had bought a Twitter account from a 16-year-old but forgotten to rid of the tweets.

4) Botaks Assemble

5) Of course, we couldn’t leave out this video of “Not Yet Botak YB” and Harry Kok Siew Yok

6) Glorious indeed

7) Well, at least it’s for a good cause

8) Botaks assemble, again?

9) With all the memes out there, there’s certainly an expression for everything we’re feeling now

10) Lastly, the video that started it all