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Ringgit extends losses to end lower against US dollar

KUALA LUMPUR The ringgit extended yesterday’s losses to end lower against the US dollar today, driven by continued profit-taking after recent gains despite the bullish outlook on global oil prices, dealers said.

At the close, the local currency fell to 4.0400/0440 against the US dollar from yesterday’s close of 4.0370/0420.

A dealer said oil prices rose on Thursday, extending this week’s gains and hitting a 13-month high as a cold snap sweeping over Texas and the surrounding region shut at least a fifth of the US refining outputs and a million barrels of crude production.

However, he said investors remained cautious amid lingering COVID-19 pandemic concerns that weighed on positive US economic data.

The local currency was traded lower against other major currencies today.

It fell against the Singapore dollar to 3.0433/0472 from Wednesday’s 3.0388/0432 and went down vis-a-vis the euro to 4.8771/8783 from 4.8710/8783 yesterday.

The ringgit also depreciated against the yen to 3.8218/8263 per 100 yen from 3.8092/8154 on Wednesday and the British pound to 5.6249/6321 from 5.6046/6131 previously.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

KLCI futures close easier

KUALA LUMPUR The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) futures contract (FKLI) on Bursa Malaysia Derivatives closed easier today in sync with the subdued underlying cash market performance.

At the close, spot month February 2021 eased 12.0 points to 1,579, while March 2021 and September 2021 trimmed 11.5 points each to 1,570.5 and 1,560.5, respectively.

Meanwhile, June 2021 fell 12.5 points to 1,567.5.

Turnover decreased to 7,088 lots from 8,820 lots on Wednesday, while open interest fell to 42,487 contracts from 44,862 contracts previously.

The benchmark FBM KLCI went down 19.45 points to 1,575.84 at the close today compared with 1,595.29 on Wednesday.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Monsoon season pushes up essential goods prices – Nanta

Price increases for essential goods in Johor, Perak, Kelantan, and Pahang have occurred following the monsoon season that hit the East Coast states resulting in fishermen not being able to go out to sea.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi said other factors include extreme weather changes in major vegetable supply areas such as Cameron Highlands that have caused a decline in the quality and quantity of produce.

“Among the items that showed an increase in price were vegetables such as tomatoes and mustard. (However) the price of imported onions showed a price decrease,” he said in a statement, here, today.

Nanta said the ministry had inspected the premises of 258 retailers and suppliers through Ops Pasar 2021 (vegetables) on Jan 12 to 18 involving five types of vegetables, namely tomatoes, red chillies (minyak and kulai varieties), carrots and round cabbages.

“In monitoring price increase activities and any element of profiteering, a total of 246 show cause letters have been issued to traders,” he said.

Nanta said the ministry was also monitoring the selling price of cooking oil through inspections on 266 premises involving 2,289 cooking brands relating to 2kg, 3kg and 5kg bottles.

To detect whether there was any monetary element in sales transactions conducted for goods inspected, a total of six show cause letters were issued to retailers, he said.

Nanta said the monitoring also found that there was a sufficient supply of 11 basic necessities — sugar, cooking oil, wheat flour, rice, white bread, milk powder, vegetables, chicken, eggs, onions and face masks.

The ministry will continue to monitor the supply and price of goods in the market under the Supply Control Act (AKB) 1961 and AKHAP 2011, especially during the Movement Control Order 2.0, to ensure there are no shortages of supply of essential goods and steep price increases, he said.

“Any trader who takes the opportunity to commit profiteering activities under AKHAP 2011 or any offence under AKB 1961 will face action in accordance with the law,” added Nanta.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Sajat pleads not guilty to dressing up as woman

Cosmetic entrepreneur Muhammad Sajjad Kamaruz Zaman or better known as Nur Sajat has been charged in the Shah Alam Syariah High Court with dressing as a woman at a religious event, which has brought Islam into contempt, three years ago.

In the proceedings that took place on Jan 6, Muhammad Sajjad, 35, however, pleaded not guilty after the charge was read out to him before Syarie judge Mohammad Khalid Shaee @ Shaii.

The accused, as a man, was accused of bringing contempt to the religion of Islam by dressing up as a woman at a Yasin recitation and solat hajat event.

The offence was allegedly committed at his beauty centre in Section 16, Shah Alam, at 7.30pm on Feb 23, 2018.

The charge under Section 10(a) of the Syariah Criminal Offences Enactment (Selangor) 1995 carries a fine of up to RM5,000 or imprisonment up to three years, or both, upon conviction.

The court allowed Muhammad Sajjad bail of RM3,000 and fixed Feb 25 for case mention.

Deputy syarie prosecutor Atras Mohd Zain appeared for the prosecution.

On Jan 6, a video of the cosmetic entrepreneur seen crying in distress while being handcuffed went viral on social media.

A few days later, in a posting on his Instagram account, Muhammad Sajjad explained that he was detained by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department over a report that was lodged against him in 2018.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

PERMAI initiative assistance to ensure survival of tourism industry players – MOTAC

The PERMAI assistance package initiative will enable tourism, arts and culture industry players to continue generating their business economy, and at the same time, retain their workforce, said Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri.

She said the PERMAI initiative will benefit 14,000 tour guides with a one-off payment of RM500 which will also include 118,000 taxi, school bus, tour bus, hired car and e-hailing drivers through an additional allocation of RM66 million.

“The Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry (MOTAC) will cooperate with the relevant ministries to expedite the payment process,” she said in a statement today.

In addition, operators of hotels, theme parks, convention centres, shopping malls, local airline offices as well as travel and tour agencies will be given a special 10 per cent discount on their electricity bill from January to March 2021.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced the RM15 billion PERMAI assistance package, with 22 initiatives to combat the COVID-19 outbreak, safeguard the welfare of the people and to support business continuity.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Traders resort to survival strategies to keep food businesses going

Rows of eateries in the hotspots in Bandar Melaka usually bustling with visitors wanting to enjoy iconic dishes such as ‘Asam Pedas’ as well as various menus, are now deserted and only filled with food delivery motorcycles.

A Bernama check at Monorail Food Village, Jalan Tun Ali found the average trader had to change operating hours and promotional strategies including providing online food delivery services to ensure business continuity, following the implementation of the Movement Control Order (PKP) since Jan 13.

For Muhammad Azrul Rozelan, 34, previously the restaurant was open from evening until 12 midnight, but since the MCO, he started making preparations to complete the menu ordered by customers starting from 11 am.

“Previously, my nachos business was quite encouraging, but with the implementation of MCO 2.0, my income has dropped by 50 per cent from previous sales which can reach between RM300 to RM600 a day.

“We have taken the initiative by changing the way we do business as previously many visitors come to eat in this area, but now we have to use online food delivery services,” he told Bernama here today.

Nurazmira Nadia Ishak, 25, who sells a variety of fried chicken said sales were currently relatively slow but she was taking advantage of the use of social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram to promote food products in her shop.

“I promote a lot of sales on the Melaka tourism website and have to diversify the means of promotion because in the past we depended on visitors who came to this place. Thankfully, this effort was successful, many also support our business,” she said.

Meanwhile, drink vendor, Ali Ahmad, 50, said he was grateful to his fellow food stall traders there who help and support by promoting the sale of cut fruits and drinks at his shop.

“The demand for drinks is very low, trying to earn RM50 a day is difficult, but fortunately friends here help promote food with a drink, so thankfully I can earn a bit,” he said.

For Muhammad Azan Muhammad Syafie, 26, the last food order he will receive is at 7 pm but the number of orders during the weekend is much less than the working day because people are at home and do their own cooking.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had earlier announced the implementation of the MCO in Penang, Selangor, Federal Territories (Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan), Melaka, Johor and Sabah for a period of 14 days starting from Jan 13, with some economic activities allowed to operate from 6 am until 8 pm.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Paint manufacturing plant in Rawang suspected of releasing prohibited effluent – SPAN

A paint manufacturing and sales factory at the Nautical Industrial Park in Rawang, Selangor is suspected of releasing prohibited effluent into a sewage treatment plant owned by Indah Water Konsortium Sdn Bhd (IWK).

According to the National Water Services Commission (SPAN), they received a complaint from IWK regarding the release of the prohibited effluent today and then made a surprise inspection of the plant.

The factory was suspected of illegal discharge of effluent, namely red paint manufacturing wastewater into the public sewerage system which then flowed into the Sewage Treatment Plant/ Pump Station (GBK 281) owned by IWK at Rawang Nautical Industrial Park, Selangor.

“This irresponsible act can be detected early and does not involve any contamination of water resources which will lead to stop work at the water treatment plant,” SPAN said in a statement today.

The commission said the inspection was carried out today by SPAN together with the Police, Department of Environment, the Fire and Rescue Department, Selangor Water Management Board, Selayang Municipal Council and IWK.

SPAN will take firm action without any compromise on any party suspected of releasing any prohibited effluent into the public sewerage which will have an impact on the public sewage treatment system as well as the environment.

The act of releasing or disposing of any prohibited effluent into the public sewerage system will be investigated under Section 61 (1) of the Water Services Industry Act 2006 [Act 655] which upon conviction may result in a fine not exceeding RM100,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or both.

SPAN seeks the cooperation of the public to report pollution cases to the SPAN Investigation and Enforcement Division at 03 – 8317 9333 or email to aduan@span.gov.my.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency