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Sarawak Chief Minister launches mobile banking services

— Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has launched mobile banking services for the convenience of rural residents in the state.

Speaking to the media after the launching ceremony today, Abang Johari said the Sarawak government had allocated RM1.6 million for the scheme, including an allocation of RM200,000 to four participating banks to subsidise the purchase of bulletproof vehicles, each worth RM500,000.

Bank Rakyat, Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN), Agro Bank and RHB Bank are the financial institutions involved in the programme.

He said the services provided by the participating banks were similar to the services they provided in urban areas, including withdrawal services through ATM machines, loan applications and credit cards.

The chief minister said he was grateful to the banks involved who had responded to the Sarawak government’s call to participate in the programme and would still accept other banks interested in participating.

“This mobile banking service will definitely facilitate and ease the burden of the rural population because they no longer have to travel far to the city to get this service,” he said.

Abang Johari said BSN would provide the mobile banking service in the Sungai Asap and Sebauh areas, while Bank Rakyat would provide it in Sebauh, Tatau, Sungai Asap and Belaga.

“RHB Bank will cater to residents in Asajaya, Sadong Jaya, Balingian, Oya and Igan, while Agro Bank will provide services in Padawan, Bau, Lundu, Sematan, Lingga, Pantu, Tebedu, Asajaya and Sebuyau, which are the state’s agriculture and tourism areas,” he said.

Abang Johari also said the areas where Agro Bank and RHB Bank would be operating are expected to be further upgraded with infrastructure facilities and developed for agriculture and tourism activities.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Phase two of BPR payments to 8.4 million recipients to begin Friday

The second phase of Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat (BPR) payments involving an allocation of RM2.75 billion will be made in stages starting this Friday.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said the payment would benefit 8.4 million recipients comprising 3.6 million households, one million senior citizens and 3.8 million single individuals.

He said the payment will be credited into the recipients’ bank accounts between May 7 -12, and for those who do not have a bank account (including in Sabah and Sarawak), the cash payment will be made through Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) from May 17.

The status of BPR approval can be checked at https://bpr.hasil.gov.my, also from this Friday.

Tengku Zafrul said the phase one payment to the same recipients had been made from Feb 24 and April 1 involving an allocation of RM1.93 billion.

“The increase in the allocation follows the increase in the amount of the aid given to the recipients. In the first phase, those in the household and single categories received RM300 and RM150 respectively, but now, the recipients will be paid between RM150 and RM600 based on their eligibility,” he said in a statement here today.

Tengku Zafrul said those whose applications were rejected can submit an appeal with relevant document to the Inland Revenue Board from May 15 to June 30.

As of May 2021, direct assistance given by the government to the B40 group through Bantuan Prihatin Nasional (BPN) 2.0 and BPR phase one and two, amounting to RM6.59 billion.

The minister said the government remains committed to ensuring that the allocated aid reaches the deserving groups so as to ensure their wellbeing.

The payment schedule of BPR can be referred to at https://bpr.hasil.gov.my.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Agong presents Instrument of Appointment as Penang 8th Governor to Ahmad Fuzi

Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah today presented the instrument of appointment as the 8th Yang Dipertua Negeri of Penang to Tan Sri Ahmad Fuzi Abdul Razak in a ceremony held at Istana Negara here.

The appointment will take effect from tomorrow for a four-year term. Ahmad Fuzi replaces Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas who has served for 20 years.

Al-Sultan Abdullah also conferred the Darjah Kebesaran Seri Maharaja Mangku Negara, which carries the title Tun to Ahmad Fuzi.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and his wife, Puan Sri Noorainee Abdul Rahman were in attendance.

Also present were Senate president Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim, Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali, Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow and State Secretary Datuk Abdul Razak Jaafar.

Born in Sungai Bakap, Penang, Ahmad Fuzi, 72, joined the Administrative and Diplomatic Service in 1972 and has served in various capacities at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including as the Secretary-General until 2009.

He has also led Malaysia’s senior officials in various bilateral meetings, as well as regional and international summits, and played a prominent role in organising the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit (2003), the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Summit (2003) and the ASEAN Summit and Related Summits in Kuala Lumpur (2005).

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Perlis Harumanis now available in Sabah

— Harumanis mango enthusiasts in Sabah can now enjoy the sweet and juicy tropical fruit, as half a tonne of the Perlis icon product has been flown to the Land Below the Wind today.

The first shipment of Perlis’ Harumanis mangoes via AirAsia flight AK5104 from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) was made possible through the cooperation between the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries (MAFI) and airasia farm, a subsidiary of AirAsia.

“The Harumanis (industry) is not only capable of increasing the income of 2,415 farmers in Perlis, but also bringing a huge impact on the economy and agro-tourism industry and its supply chain nationwide,” MAFI Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee said at the flagging off ceremony of the first shipment of Harumanis to Sabah at klia2 here, which was also attended by AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes.

The shipment of Harumanis mangoes to Sabah is part of the “Harumanis Returns” campaign to promote the fruit, which began on April 11.

Ronald said the Department of Agriculture has targetted Harumanis mango production in Perlis to reach 3,336 tonnes with a value of RM66.7 million this year, 50 per cent of which will be sold online through the e-commerce platforms, such as airasia food, airasia fresh and agrobazaar online.

Meanwhile, airasia farm general manager S.Lalitha said the first shipment of Harumanis to Sabah as an export commodity was done by leveraging airasia group ecosystem and technology such as Teleport, as well as airasia food and airasia fresh e-commerce platforms.

She said the synergy with MAFI had also made it possible to ship the Harumanis to Sabah within 72 hours after harvest so as to preserve its freshness.

“We believe that technology and digitalisation will not only add value to the agriculture sector but also improve the entire supply chain of the country’s food industry right from production to distribution and consumption,” she explained.

Lalitha said the long-term goal of airasia farm is to provide better value and benefits to thousands of Harumanis farmers in Perlis so that they can generate greater income for their harvest online and across the region in the future.

The Perlis Harumanis can be ordered online at airasia fresh and airasia food in the peninsula and through Foodpanda in Sabah.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Greenwood Ramadan bazaar in Gombak ordered to close for four days

— The Greenwood Ramadan bazaar in Gombak near here has been ordered to close for four days from Thursday until April 25 for failing to comply with COVID-19 prevention standard operating procedures (SOP).

The Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) said that among the offences were not complying with the distance required between the traders’ tents, entry and exit controls not fully complied with and there were traders who sold items other than cooked food and beverages.

“The closure of the bazaar on these dates was made after taking into account the welfare of traders who had cooked for sale today.

“This closure notice was issued by the Authorised Officer as per the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) in accordance with Section 18 (1) (f) (of the act) and handed over to the representative of JKP Zone 3 at the Licensing Department, today,” said the statement.

At the same time, MPS said it also explained the SOP and compliance actions that needed to be taken by the organisers for the purpose of reopening the bazaar.

“MPS has also stipulated to all organisers and supervisors (of Ramadan bazaars) to implement additional SOP, namely the use of queue number cards for visitors, creating one-way routes in the bazaar and not allowing children under 12 years and senior citizens 65 years and above to enter Ramadan bazaars,” added the statement.

To ensure that the SOP are complied with, MPS said that it will constantly monitor Ramadan bazaars under its jurisdiction.

“Visitors and traders are also reminded not to be complacent and careless in complying with the SOP set so that the spread of COVID-19 can be controlled,” it said.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

High feed cost causing increased chicken price is beyond govt control

— Higher animal feed cost due to the global rise in the price of soya and corn meal “is beyond our control”, said Agriculture and Food Industries Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee, today.

He said prices have risen since four months ago and the reality is that the country is dependent on imported animal feed.

“We don’t produce enough corn to use as animal feed. If it is imported we can’t control the price,” he told reporters after giving out bubur lambuk at his ministry.

The media recently reported that chicken prices have skyrocketed and among the causes was soya and corn meal that comes mostly from Argentina and Brazil.

However, starting tomorrow (April 21) until May 20, the ceiling price for a standard chicken has been set at RM7.90 per kg under the the Festive Season Maximum Price Scheme (SHMMP) for Hari Raya Puasa 2021, said Kiandee.

On the failure of the National Farmers’ Organisation (Nafas) to provide certified rice seeds to Kedah farmers, he said that it wasn’t due to an insufficiency of seeds but a shortage of the variety they want.

He said efforts are underway to provide a different variety and that the issue won’t disrupt planting season.

He is confident Nafas is taking steps to solve the problem being faced by the Muda Agricultural Development Authority (MADA) farmers.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Paramapatham’s 18 international awards proof that local films can penetrate global market – Zahidi

Local film ‘Paramapatham’, which won 18 awards at various international film festivals, is proof that local productions can penetrate the international market, said Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin.

Among the awards it won included Best Cinematography at the Norwegian Film Festival, Best Feature at the Tagore Film Festival as well as Best Producer at the Coimbatore Film Festival.

He said that, as such, the efforts of the film’s production team should be lauded.

“The film (Paramapatham) garnered 18 awards at the international level (and) is the one Malaysian movie that has gained a good enough market in India. So, we (the ministry) wish to offer our congratulations.

“It isn’t just a great film, but it also has great actors, singers and songs… everything meets the quality needed to venture into the international stage and that’s why this movie won awards,” he told reporters after launching the film’s trailer and song audio.

Zahidi said the film also succeeded in making it into the Malaysia Book of Records, Asian World Records and Grand Asian Book of World Records as the local Tamil movie to have garnered the most number of international awards.

The fantasy-thriller flick tells the story of an archaeologist named Aroon and his three friends, who find an ancient board game engraved with the word “Paramapatham” during their journey.

The film, directed by brothers Viknes Perrabu and Thanesh Perrabu and produced by Dr Latcha Perrabu, will start screening in cinemas nationwide from April 29.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency