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Daily Archives: February 19, 2021

Emergency: Court to hear PM, govt’s bid to strike out Khairuddin’s suit on April 12

The application by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and the Government of Malaysia to strike out the originating summons by former Jasin parliamentary coordinator Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan against them for their action of advising the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in declaring the COVID-19 emergency will be heard on April 12.

Senior federal counsel Ahmad Hanir Hambaly said the application would be heard before High Court judge Datuk Seri Mariana Yahya.

He was met after the case management today, which was also attended by Khairuddin’s lawyer Muhammad Rafique Rashid Ali.

On Feb 17, Muhyiddin and the Government of Malaysia filed the application to strike out the suit on grounds that it was frivolous, trivial, troublesome and an abuse of the court process.

Solicitor-General Datuk Abdul Razak Musa, in a supporting affidavit filed with the application, said there was no evidence in Khairuddin’s application as the plaintiff, or in his supporting affidavit, that supported his claim that Muhyiddin had lost the confidence of the majority members of the Dewan Rakyat.

He said the plaintiff had also failed to identify the public and private rights or legal interests that had been denied or personal losses suffered following the first defendant’s advice to the King, and the issue or the controversy between the plaintiff and the defendants that requires a decision by the court.

Khairuddin filed the suit on Jan 18, asking the court to decide on four legal and constitutional issues over the emergency proclamation.

On Jan 12, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah proclaimed a COVID-19 Emergency, to be enforced up to Aug 1, as a proactive measure to contain the worsening pandemic in Malaysia.

Muhyiddin on the same day explained that the Cabinet had advised the King to proclaim the emergency under Clause (1) of Article 150 of the Federal Constitution effective Jan 11, 2021, until Aug 1, 2021.

Clause (1) of Article 150 states that if the King is satisfied that a grave emergency exists whereby the security, or the economic life, or public order in the Federation or any part thereof is threatened, he may issue a Proclamation of Emergency, making therein a declaration to that effect.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Ar Haji Hajeedar Abdul Majid’s journey in architecture

Datuk Ar Haji Hajeedar Haji Abdul Majid had planned to pen his autobiography on reaching 60, but a busy architectural practice kept him from it until he reached 75 in 2020, and when the COVID-19 lockdown provided him the opportunity to complete the book.

Hajeedar, an illustrious name in the local and international architecture scene, is among others the architect of the twin towers of Bank Pembangunan and MNI, both already majestically in place just within a kilometre before even the iconic Petronas Twin towers were completed. He also saw the “birth of a triplet” in the three towers at Dataran Maybank in Bangsar.

Hajeedar was also the first to use computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) in Malaysia in 1983 when it first made inroads into the hallowed traditions of hand-drawings and draftsmanship in architecture, long before other architects.

He was also instrumental in the setting up the Department of Architecture at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) and the rapid rise of architectural courses at Malaysian universities where he frequently lectured.

According to a statement, Hajeedar’s voluminous book, totalling 687 pages, both in hardcover coffee table version and a soft cover paperback edition is structured in three parts highlighting a chronology of living experiences in becoming an architect.

The book containing photographs, sketches, artworks and painting as well witnessed a soft launch recently by Tuanku Muhriz, the Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan.

Hajeedar is adept at sketches, always ready with pen and paper and is able to complete one within minutes. His sketches of famous landmarks in his local and overseas travels including Europe, Makkah and the region are a sheer delight. His oil painting of Teluk Chempedak beach in Kuantan (1964) is a classic and eye-catching piece.

Many photographs are illustrated in the book ‘Hajeedar Journey in Architecture’ including his restoration and conservation works in the cultural hub of the city. There are also illustrations of the mosques and suraus he had designed.

The book very insightful ranging from government project procurement processes, history of conservation, origins of Kuala Lumpur, heritage conservation, a toolkit for business architecture, and Architectural career in conservation.

Details of the book priced between RM90-RM300 is available at ar_hajeedar@yahoo.com

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Waiting for historic delivery of COVID-19 vaccine

Malaysians are waiting with bated breath for a historic moment to unfold on Sunday that will remain etched in memory for a long time to come.

For it is on this date of Feb 21 that the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines will arrive at the KL International Airport (KLIA), ahead of the biggest ever nationwide immunisation exercise that is scheduled to begin five days later, on Feb 26.

An Airbus A330-300 of national carrier Malaysia Airlines will fly in 312,390 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

This aircraft will be in the livery of the Jalur Gemilang (national flag), symbolising with pride that the cargo within is bound for the people of Malaysia.

The delivery will take place at the Advanced Cargo Centre (ACC) of KLIA.

Several ministers will be present, among them Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba; Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, who is the Coordinating Minister for the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme, and Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.

The unit load device (ULD) or freight container with the vials of the vaccine will be transferred to a five-tonne truck of a transportation company.

The truck, under heavy police escort, will then proceed to the vaccine storage facility, hitherto undisclosed for security reasons.

All those involved in taking delivery of the vaccine, such as MAB Kargo Sdn Bhd (MASkargo); the Health Ministry; Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry and Transport Ministry, are busy making the preparations to ensure a smooth process on Sunday.

MASkargo, which has been tasked with coordinating the delivery of the vaccine at KLIA, has vowed to carry out the vaccine management process in accordance with the stipulated standard operating procedures (SOPs) to ensure that the effectiveness of the vaccine is not compromised.

The massive vaccination exercise, with the theme Lindung Diri, Lindung Semua (Protect Oneself, Protect Everyone), is a government strategy to ensure that as many people as possible in Malaysia are administered the vaccine to save lives.

A total of 1,030 people in the country have died of COVID-19 as of noon yesterday. The disease has struck up to 274,875 people, of whom 235,082 have recovered.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has offered to be the first to be vaccinated, on Feb 26, along with several frontliners.

The immunisation exercise is divided into three phases, with the first phase from Feb 26 to April 2021 (for frontliners comprising public and private healthcare personnel as well as frontliners consisting of essential services and defence and security personnel).

The second phase is from April to August 2021 (for remainder of healthcare workers as well as those in essential services and defence and security personnel; senior citizens aged 60 and above; high-risk groups with chronic diseases such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure and people with disabilities).

The third phase is from May 2021 to February 2022 (for adult population aged 18 and above – citizens and non-citizens, with priority given to those in red zones and then yellow zones and green zones).

As the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme Handbook released by the Special Committee for Ensuring Access to COVID-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV) says it is hoped that the country’s economy will recover and the people’s lives will improve after the vaccination process has been completed.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Murky river water: EKVE still under stop-work order – DOE

The East Klang Valley Expressway (EKVE) construction project, which has been identified as the source of murky water in Sungai Kelang, is still under a stop-work order effective Oct 13 last year.

Selangor Department of Environment (DOE) director Aziah Jaafar said the order was issued following its breach of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) regulation.

She said the developer was prohibited from carrying out construction works and earthworks until the order is lifted, adding that it was only allowed to carry out repair works on the riverbank, slope stabilisation, and works to cover exposed slopes as well as slope maintenance near Sungai Ampang that collapsed due to groundwater pressure.

“I was informed that the EKVE developer will issue a press statement on this matter soon,” she told Bernama today.

Bernama reported yesterday that the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur Department of Irrigation and Drainage (WPKL DID) has identified that the EKVE construction project was the source of the murky water around the federal capital including the River of Life (ROL) project.

According to WPKL DID, investigation on Feb 16 found that murky water began to flow from Sungai Ampang in Ampang Recreational Forest, Selangor, near the Ampang Treatment Plant Intake before flowing into the Sungai Klang due to uncontrolled land clearing.

Meanwhile, Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) corporate communications officer Norhayati Ahmad said MPAJ did not receive any complaints regarding murky river water this year.

“However, in September last year, MPAJ had issued a compound of RM250,000 and a stop-work order to the EKVE concessionaire (because of the river pollution issue and flooding in areas near the project site),” she said adding that EKVE agreed to pay the compound in the near future.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

KPWKM to assist in COVID vaccine registration for target groups

The Women, Family and Community Development Ministry (KPWKM) will assist in facilitating registration of target groups such as senior citizens and people with disabilities (PwD) to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Its Minister, Datuk Seri Rina Mohd Harun said she had raised this in the Cabinet meeting to give vulnerable groups such as senior citizens priority in the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme because they are among the high-risk groups.

“We will help facilitate the registration (of senior citizens and the PwD to be vaccinated) because it is important that all (target groups) be vaccinated so that we can return to life as usual,” she told the media after visiting Pusat Jagaan dan Rawatan Orang Tua Al-Ikhlas, here, today.

Rina said a total of 68,003 KPWKM target groups comprising 48,564 senior citizens and 19,439 registered PwD will be vaccinated in the second phase of the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme, which is expected to begin in April.

She also hoped that senior citizens and PwD living in private care centres and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) would also be given priority in the second phase of the COVID-19 immunisation programme.

According to her, there are 576 care centres for the elderly and the PwD under the control of the private sector and NGOs, registered with the Social Welfare Department, with a population of 15,818 people and managed by 3,238 caregivers.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine Effective at Standard Freezer Temperatures

Pharmaceutical partners Pfizer and BioNTech said Friday a new study the companies conducted indicates their COVID-19 vaccine can remain effective when stored in standard freezers for up to two weeks.

In a statement posted on Pfizer’s website, the companies say they have submitted the new data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration demonstrating their COVID-19 vaccine is stable when stored at -25°C to -15°C, temperatures commonly found in pharmaceutical freezers and refrigerators.

The new data would be a significant development. One of the initial drawbacks of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was that it was required to be stored in ultra-low temperature freezers not commonly found in standard clinics and pharmacies. The requirement added considerable expense to transporting the vaccine and storing and distributing it in less developed areas.

The company said it submitted the data to the FDA to support a proposed update to the U.S. Emergency Use Authorization. BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin said in the statement the companies’ top priority has been to make their vaccine safe, effective and available to the most vulnerable people in the world. He said it is their hope the new data will give pharmacies and vaccination centers greater flexibility.

A separate study done in Israel indicates the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 85 percent effective after the first dose.

The study, published Thursday in the British medical journal The Lancet, was conducted on more than 7,000 Israeli health care workers, who were vaccinated at the Sheba Medical Center. Researchers saw an 85% reduction of symptomatic COVID-19 between 15 and 28 days after the single shot was given.

Overall that study showed infections, including those among asymptomatic patients, were reduced by 75 percent.

Source: Voice of America

South African Medics to Row Northwest Passage From Canada to Alaska

JOHANNESBURG – Two?South African?medics?are?swapping their?medical gear?for oars as they?train for a risky 4,000-kilometer (2,500-mile) journey?by rowboat through the Arctic Northwest Passage.

If the?14-member?team?finishes the?trip —?across?the?north of Canada?to Alaska —?they will make history, as?all?attempts to row the?icy?waters?have failed.

“Nobody conquers a passage there,” said Leven Brown, the expedition leader.?”The ocean allows you to pass. And there is a very important distinction there.?We?will be lucky to get?through?the Northwest Passage, to row?from Pond Inlet?at the top right-hand corner?of Canada, to the top left-hand corner?of Alaska, a place called?Point Barrow.”?

In?decades?past, travel through?the?icy, Arctic?waters?was only possible by large?ships.?

Physical, mental toll??

Reduced?summer ice will allow the team?to row the passage, but the journey?— planned for next year — will still be a physical and mental challenge.??

The South African team member, Daniel Lobjoilt, says such a long, confined journey will likely take a toll.

“We?are going to?be out there, in the elements, by ourselves, essentially, and I think after a certain?period of time?of repetitive rowing, on and off for, you know, weeks on end. Pressure on my mind might be the biggest challenge I have to overcome.?So, my fear?is …?is that encounter that I have to have?with myself,” Lobjoilt said.?

Gathering data

Along the journey, Brown says the?team will use scientific tools to gather data for climate change and wildlife studies.???

“We hope to be the first modern-day expedition through?the Northwest?Passage, and to highlight,?you know, what is happening with the environment and the climate. This is the sort of expedition that wouldn’t be, wouldn’t be possible, you know, 50 years ago,” he said.?

Despite the?history of?failed attempts?to row the passage,?South African medic Dr. Daniel Kritzinger says the team?is hoping?to?finish the trip?within two months,?before the?winter?ice returns.???

“There has been a previous attempt in 2013, also trying to row the Northwest Passage, but they were unsuccessful as the ice caught on them,” he said. “So hopefully the ice will stay back enough for us to finish, and to be the first to row the Northwest Passage.”

The team?is planning?another expedition?to?help?them?prepare.???

In June,?they will row?from?England’s?Newcastle to Orkney, a?much smaller?distance?than the length?of the?Arctic Northwest Passage.

Source: Voice of America