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30 per cent of tourism frontliners vaccinated – Nancy

About 30 per cent of frontline workers in the tourism sector have been vaccinated against COVID-19 so far, said Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri.

She said the ministry was doing its best to gather information on the vaccination level of industry players in tourist hotspots throughout the country.

“We are in the process of collecting their names, including those who have registered in MySejahtera, so that they can be vaccinated soon. They include those in Melaka, Penang, Johor, Sabah, Kuala Lumpur and Pahang, especially frontliners in the tourism, craft and arts sectors.

“Even though they have registered in MySejahtera, we will try to help speed up and double the number of those vaccinated,” she told reporters at a vaccination programme in the island resort under the COVID-19 Free Destination Programme initiative here today.

Nancy said tourism frontliners such as taxi drivers and hotel workers needed to be vaccinated as a preparation to welcome back tourists.

“We (ministry) are helping to double up the number of vaccinated people, including tourism frontliners, as no state has yet reached 40 to 50 per cent (vaccination rate),” she said.

Meanwhile, Nancy in a statement said Pulau Pangkor is expected to achieve 80 per cent herd immunity by early September.

“In Pulau Pangkor, a total of 8,026 residents are eligible to receive the vaccine from a total population of 11,500. Some 1,056 people have completed both doses while 1,002 people have received their first dose since July 11 and a total of 5,968 people have not received the vaccine yet,” she said.

Nancy said the Manjung Health Office (PKD) had started an outreach programme three days a week for eight consecutive weeks from July 16 with a target of vaccinating 540 people a day.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

COVID: Industry cluster in Tangga Batu recorded almost half of cases in Melaka yesterday – Rahmad

— Almost half of the 631 positive COVID-19 cases recorded in Melaka yesterday involved the Lot 11 Tangga Batu Industrial Cluster, which had 312 cases.

State Health and Anti-Drugs Committee chairman Datuk Rahmad Mariman said the cluster involved an electronics manufacturing plant in Tangga Batu here, with 467 positive COVID-19 cases recorded under the cluster since it was first detected on July 13.

“Of the total, 458 are foreign workers.

“The factory, which was ordered to close for 14 days from July 16 to 28, has 1,550 employees comprising 609 foreigners and 941 locals,” he said.

He said this after visiting the Common Vaccine Administration Centre (PPV) of the Public-Private Partnership Covid-19 Industrial Immunisation Programme (Pikas) at the Bayou Convention Center here today.

He was part of the delegation which visied the centre with the Yang Dipertua Negeri of Melaka Tun Mohd Ali Rustam. Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Lim Ban Hong was also present.

Rahmad said the spread of infection among the workers, especially foreigners, was due to the workers living in the same settlement in Taman Cheng Emas.

Meanwhile, he said several new clusters were expected in the state in the next few weeks due to the relatively high rate of COVID-19 cases recently, but various initiatives and strict monitoring were being carried out by the state government to manage the situation.

“A new cluster is only declared as one when it dramatically records over 20 COVID-19 positive cases,” he added.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

MOTAC proposes to reactivate tourism activities in phases

The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) is in the midst of proposing to the National Security Council (NSC) to reactivate tourism activities in phases.

The proposal entails four tiers with Tier 1 allowing intra-district travel and tourism activities within the district, Tier 2 allowing inter-district travel and tourism, Tier 3 (inter-state travel and tourism) and Tier 4 (international travel/ inbound tourists).

MOTAC in a statement today on its efforts to assist the tourism sector affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, said it had also implemented several initiatives to help ease the burden of the tourism industry.

These include relaxation of compound matters under the Tourism Industry Act 1992 (Act 482) such as a compound payment discount of 40 per cent to all tour operators and licensed tour guides compounded by MOTAC before Dec 30, 2021.

Another initiative is licence fee exemption for tour operators and tourist guides licensed under Act 482 and relaxation of license requirements for tour operators such as rental of business premises by co-sharing office space until Dec 31, 2021.

MOTAC said it had also prepared a framework to revive the tourism sector in three phases in line with the National Recovery Plan to help the government speed up the vaccination programme and subsequently make the COVID-19 Free Destination Programme a success.

For the first phase, it said Langkawi and Kuching had been selected as pilot travel destinations for the COVID-19 Free Destination Programme.

For the second phase, the programme will be expanded to other popular resort islands such as Redang, Perhentian, Pangkor and Tioman as well as other main attractions in various states such as Johor, Melaka, Penang and Sabah while the third phase involves other main destinations.

“Hence, the programme includes efforts to increase the capacity in vaccinating the local population,” it said, adding that MOTAC was working closely with the COVID-19 Immunisation Task Force to utilise the existing public vaccination centres (PPV) to accelerate the vaccination programme for the tourism frontliners.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Communications, multimedia industry remains sustainable in challenging pandemic era

— The communications and multimedia industry (C&M) remains sustainable despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, as the rise in online transactions as well as online learning and work-from-home activities boosted demand for its services.

In its Industry Performance Report (IPR) 2020, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) said the C&M industry contributed 7.9 per cent or RM142.96 billion to Bursa Malaysia’s total market capitalisation of RM1.81 trillion in 2020.

“Nevertheless, market capitalisation (cap) of the C&M industry declined by 0.7 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in disruptions in demand as well as the emergence of several new trends,” it said in a statement today.

MCMC said the adverse effects of the pandemic on the industry were cushioned by the launch of the National Digital Infrastructure Plan (JENDELA) in August last year, which aimed to improve the nation’s digital infrastructure and connectivity.

It said last year, the telecommunications sector’s market cap had increased by 0.3 per cent to RM134.42 billion.

During the same period, the postal and courier sector’s market cap also recorded impressive growth, rising by 19.9 per cent to RM3.25 billion.

“On the other hand, the broadcasting sector continues to face pressure in 2020 due to the more cautious attitude of advertisers during the pandemic period as well as the cancellation of several major sporting events such as the Tokyo Olympics and the UEFA Europa League.

“Competition among Over the Top (OTT) players also affected the sector, and these factors saw the sector’s market cap declining by 27.4 per cent to RM5.29 billion in 2020,” it said.

Meanwhile, Pay TV subscriptions increased by 3.1 per cent to 7.34 million in 2020 from 7.12 million subscriptions in 2019, as a result of increased subscriptions to Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) services.

The full report is available at https://www.mcmc.gov.my/skmmgovmy/media/General/pdf/MCMC-IPR_2020.pdf.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

MAFI issues over 100,000 travel permits to ensure sufficient food supply

The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries (MAFI) has issued over 100,000 travel permits to fishermen, farmers and livestock breeders throughout the Movement Control Order (MCO) and under the National Recovery Plan (PPN).

Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee said the move was to ensure there is sufficient food supply for the people and those given the approval to travel nationwide, should adhere to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) set to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“The approval issued by MAFI is for those categorised under the informal sector which is different from the travel permit issued by MITI (Ministry of International Trade and Industry) for the agro-food industry sector.

“The informal sector involves fishermen, farmers and breeders and it is important to allow them to travel so that our food supply is not disrupted during the pandemic and movement control,” he told reporters after presenting food basket aid to 100 fishermen at Pasar Nelayan Kampung Pasir Putih here today.

At the event Ronald also announced an allocation of RM450,000 to upgrade the market which has been proposed to be a one-stop agrotourism centre because of its strategic location and potential to be developed for the benefit of the local community.

Later in a statement Ronald said the supply of fish was sufficient and stable to meet the country’s needs, adding that the average monthly fish supply for this year is expected to remain stable at 169,000 tonnes compared to the country’s need of 125,000 tonnes per month.

He said the fishery sector is one of the important sectors allowed to operate subject to compliance with the SOPs set by the National Security Council (MKN) to ensure the continuity of the economic chain and operators involved.

“Any restriction imposed on the fishery sector could threaten food security as well as increase import dependence, this situation will affect the economy of local fishermen and the entire fish supply chain,” he said.

In the meantime, he said fish landings in Sabah for the first six months this year was 107,000 tonnes which was valued at RM643 million.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

MITI urged to allow recycling industry to reopen

The Northern Indian Recycling Traders Welfare Association (NIRA) has urged the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) to allow recycling traders and plants to operate in Phase Two of the National Recovery Plan.

NIRA president Datuk S. Parthiban said the companies have had to service all the business costs and expenses such as rentals, loan instalments, workers’ salaries and utility bills although the recycling industry has been closed since the full lockdown came into effect last month.

He expressed concern that recycling corporations would not be able to sustain their operating costs if forced to close for a longer period.

“If the lockdown is extended and (companies are) still not allowed to open, we will not be able to pay our employees their salary, face retrenchment or permanently close down our recycling plants,” he told a press conference here today.

According to him, there are around 150 companies involved in the scrap metals and recycling industry in the northern region, with more than 1,500 local employees involved at the management level.

He stressed that since most manufacturing industries were allowed to operate, the scraps and items for recycling generated from the manufacturing process could not be disposed of without the operation of recycling companies.

“In some areas, the items for recycling are stored in open areas, which exposes them to rain and sunlight. This will eventually become a fire hazard,” he said.

He hoped the Federal government would consider reopening the recycling industry as soon as possible.

Earlier today, NIRA launched its charity programme by providing grocery items for needy families, especially those in the B40 group.

Parthiban said the charity programme aimed to reach out to at least 1,000 needy families and would be conducted in three phases.

“Today, we conducted the first phase by providing necessary items to 300 families, followed by another 300 and 400 families in the next two phases,” he added.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Channel PEMULIH initiatives quickly to revitalise tourism industry

— The initiatives of National People’s Well-Being and Economic Recovery Package (PEMULIH) should be channeled to industry practitioners to rehabilitate the country’s tourism and culture industry, said Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri.

She said the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry (MOTAC) would ensure coordination and monitoring so that the implementation of PEMULIH proceeded on smoothly and that industry practitioners received the benefits of the initiatives.

“MOTAC hopes the initiatives of PEMULIH could be channel quickly to give them a boost to bounce back again and to jointly restore the country’s tourism and culture industry,” she said in statement on PEMULIH initiatives today.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday launched the RM150 billion PEMULIH package including RM10 billion direct fiscal injection to provide assistance to the people.

Among the aid which could benefit the tourism and culture sector through PEMULIH is the extension of the 10 per cent electricity bill discount from October to December 2021 to operators of hotels, theme parks, convention centres shopping centres, local tourism companies as well as travel and tour agencies.

The others were the one-off special assistance of RM3,000 to more than 5,300 tour agencies registered with MOTAC, deferment of tax instalment payment for companies and exemption from tourism tax and service tax for hotel operators until the end of the year.

Nancy said the PEMULIH initiative showed the seriousness of the federal government in ensuring the tourism, arts and culture industry which was affected by the full movement control continued to receive help.

“MOTAC is thankful to the caring government in ensuring all parties in the economic chain get the appropriate assistance,” she said.

Nancy also called on industry practitioners to jointly support the efforts of the government in forming herd immunity to enable the Tourism Rehabilitation Plan to be implemented and succeed in the COVID-19 Free Destination programme.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency