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Domestic cruises can help revive tourism sector – MATTA

— The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) has been working very closely with industry partners and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture to kickstart domestic cruises as a way to help revive the ailing tourism sector.

MATTA President Datuk Tan Kok Liang, in a statement today, said it has received word from the Ministry of Transport that standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the operation of domestic cruises are being actively discussed with the National Security Council.

“MATTA has long recognised the immense potential of the cruise industry which benefits not only travel agencies but also hotels, the aviation sector, theme parks, attractions, retail and many other tourism-related industries.”

“A single ship, like the Costa Venezia, with a capacity of 5,000 passengers can generate revenue of up to RM60 million. In addition to that, domestic cruises especially during these trying times, have the potential to generate thousands of jobs almost immediately especially in port cities like Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Langkawi and Melaka,” he added.

Meanwhile, MATTA Honorary Secretary General Nigel Wong said the association has been engaging the relevant ministries for years not just on the implementation of domestic cruises as a quick-win solution during these trying times but more importantly the benefits of having Malaysia recognised as a home-port destination.

“We already have the necessary infrastructure and manpower in place to service this emerging and very profitable sector – the long-term benefits of having home-port status are immense especially since Malaysia is recognised worldwide as a very modern, and progressive Muslim-friendly destination,” Wong said.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

YBK providing opportunities for people to improve their lot

Yayasan Basmi Kemiskinan (YBK) is providing opportunities for people to improve their standard of living by offering advisory and technical services for them to embark on agriculture projects.

Its chairman, Datuk Zainal Abidin Sakom said the initiative under the ‘Basmi Kemiskinan Bina Kesejahteraan’ (Eradicating Poverty, Building Prosperity) banner, provided opportunities for people to acquire training in agriculture such as growing chillies, pineapple and sweet potatoes, and breeding chickens.

“The project started two months ago with two participants growing chillies using the fertigation method with the first harvest on this March 25.

“We are now looking for 20 participants to continue with this chilli-growing project in Hulu Selangor. They are required to stay at a place for a certain duration for training before a certificate is issued to them when we are confident that they can undertake the chilli cultivation themselves.

“We are also ready to provide advice and technical assistance to them for free,” he said after handing out kotak rezeki’ (sustenance boxes) to 200 people comprising single mothers and the needy in the Petalng Jaya district at Taman Medan Cahaya, near here, today.

Zanal Abidin said the search for 20 people comprising single mothers, youths and the needy who were keen to get out of poverty and build a better life for themselves was on.

He said YBK had discussed with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries and the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry to provide capital for the individuals to carry out suitable crop cultivation.

He added that those interested could go to the YBK website for more information.

On the ‘kotak rezeki’, he said 26,000 people across the country had benefited from it since the programme was launched in March last year.

In conjunction with the coming fasting month, YBK targets to provide basic necessities and cash to 1,000 needy families through the Sinar Kasih Ramadan programme.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

KPDNHEP considering increasing branches in Sarawak – Nanta

The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP) will consider the need to increase the number of ministry branches in Sarawak in an effort to provide better service to consumers in the state.

Its minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi said any decision to open a branch needs to take several factors into consideration, including the number of consumers and the business community in a particular area.

He added that for the time being, the ministry has nine branches and three sub branches in Sarawak.

“The branches are important, especially when the country is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, where consumer issues such as panic buying, price increases and inadequate food supply issues.

“(The opening of new branches) depends on the need, if we receive valid feedback or applications we will open (branches),” he told reporters after visiting the Serian Resident Office, around 60 kilometres from Kuching city here today.

Meanwhile, Nanta said since the enforcement of the Movement Control Order in March last year, ministry officials at every branch in the country have carried out their duties well.

“We see there were no serious cases like mass panic buying or food supply shortages, or even drastic price increases…there may be some but only a few cases,” he said.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Surrender to JAIS, cosmetics entrepreneur Sajjad told

— Cosmetics entrepreneur Muhammad Sajjad Kamaruz Zaman, better known as Nur Sajat, has been advised to surrender himself to the Selangor Islamic Religious Department’s officials (JAIS) after the Shah Alam Syariah High Court had issued an arrest warrant against him.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri said the issue could be resolved amicably.

“I would like to advise Sajjad to meet the officials from JAIS… I have held a discussion with JAIS officials over the issue and, from what I can see, the action taken by JAIS is appropriate,” he told reporters after addressing 150 civil servants from Labuan’s religious government bodies at the Darul Kifayah Complex Hall here today.

The Shah Alam Syariah High Court had issued an arrest warrant against the cosmetics entrepreneur for failing to attend proceedings on Feb 23.

Sajjad, 36, was charged with dressing as a woman at a religious event, which brought Islam into contempt, three years ago.

In proceedings on Jan 6, Sajjad was charged with committing the offence at his beauty centre in Section 16, Shah Alam, at 7.30pm on Feb 23, 2018.

He was charged under Section 10(a) of the Syariah Crimes (Selangor) Enactment 1995 which provides for a maximum fine of RM5,000 or imprisonment not exceeding three years or both, if convicted.

On Sajjad’s alleged recent statement renouncing Islam, Dr Zulkifli said it should not have been uttered by the former.

“The Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) will activate the religious affairs committee to handle issues or activities related to deviation from the Islamic teaching,” he said.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Comwel a pragmatic step in enriching women’s socio-economy – Deputy Minister

The establishment of the Council of Malaysian Women Political Leaders (Comwel) is a pragmatic step in enriching the socio-economy of women.

In so saying, Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives deputy minister Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsuddin added that she fully supports the council’s aspiration to achieve the target set by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, including priorities for women through proposed laws.

She further suggested that every development and policy to be implemented by the government must take into account women’s needs and issues.

At the ministry of entrepreneur development and cooperatives’ (MEDAC) level, she said a Women Entrepreneurship Steering Committee chaired by herself has been formed to empower the target group and create a more integrated synergy with various parties including ministries, government agencies, cooperatives and non-governmental organisations.

“I am confident that the task at hand can be accomplished, while the support from all quarters is an affirmation of the role of women in the development of the country.

“This endeavour is a holistic agenda and needs to be systematically championed,” she said in a statement here today.

Comwel was launched by Minister of Housing and Local Government, Zuraida Kamaruddin, in conjunction with International Women’s Day 2021.

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

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