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Only drama, advertisement, documentary productions which have been postponed allowed shooting under PPN Phase Two

— Only drama, advertisement and documentary productions which have been postponed due to the implementation of Movement Control Order (MCO) under the National Recovery Plan (PPN) will be allowed to resume shooting in Phase Two.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said this was among the main conditions under the Special Filming Certificate (SPP Khas) of the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) approved for filming in PPN Phase Two.

He said other conditions were that filming could only be conducted in states which are in Phase Two and only involved filming locations or premises outside the studio.

“Productions can use any locations or premises on the condition that it has a buffer zone from any residential areas as well as obtaining the approval of the authorities.

“Shooting activities should be carried out according to Filming Bubble Protocol (PREP) which involved minimal production crew as well as not allowing to go beyond the filming zone radius until the end of the shooting,” he said in a statement today.

Therefore, Saifuddin said each production has a stipulated cooling period before being allowed any new filming.

He said other conditions included the risk control enforcement aspect with approval only given to production staff who have completed two-dose COVID-19 vaccination as well as undergoing health screening before, during and after the filming.

Apart from that, the production company should appoint a Filming Protocol Supervisor (PPP) who is responsible for compliance of all stipulated standard operating procedures (SOPs) by the government as among the conditions under the approval of SPP Khas.

Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the government has made some changes to the SOP under PPN for Phase One and Phase Two, among them the approval to reopen outside studio filming in strict compliance to the SOP under Phase Two.

The decision was made following the positive development in the rate of vaccination in the country.

Saifuddin said the decision was among the continuous efforts of the government to stimulate the economic viability of arts and creative industry practitioners through competitive productions as well as employment opportunities.

He said approval for filming activities under Phase Two is guided by the implementation of the stringent conditions under PREP which is regulated by Finas.

“The PREP initiative is also an integrated control of filming activities to move in an isolated, controlled and limited bubble zone through compliance with key conditions under Finas SPP Khas approval,” he said.

He also called on the production companies involved to always comply with all the set conditions to avoid any legal, safety and health implications especially in the government’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Further details on the SOPs and guidelines can be found on the websites, www.kkmm.gov.my and www.finas.gov.my.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Annuar says rumour of marriage to singer seeks to ruin his career

Federal Territories Minister Tan Sri Anuar Musa has described the rumours of his second marriage to a Malaysian singer as slander to ruin his political career.

Annuar also expressed his regret and displeasure towards the action of the rumour-mongers that also affected the reputation of other unrelated parties.

“I’m a politician, it’s okay if my friends want to slander me, but don’t involve other people who also have families,” he told reporters after visiting the construction site of an additional block for Maahad Tahfiz Integrasi Madinatul Huffaz here today.

Annuar said, to his knowledge the singer was from a well-respected family and hoped that she would not be dragged into this matter.

The Keterah Member of Parliament said he did not intend to seek further actions but urged those responsible for spreading the rumour to think about their actions.

He said he prayed that the people who spread the rumour would be able to reduce immoral acts in conjunction with the blessed month of Ramadan.

“I don’t want to be angry; it is better to just be patient,” he said.

Since Wednesday, a rumour of a marriage between Annuar and singer Datuk Nora Ariffin had been making its round on Twitter, which the singer then denied.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Wanyoo eSports centre offers seamless gaming experience to global players

— In the past 23 years, Wanyoo devoted itself to make offline internet entertainment space more enjoyable for global game players, so it evolved from an internet café to eSports centre.

Rather than simply provide internet services in a café, the idea of eSports centre is to provide e-sports players a complex of video games, food and beverage, games related events and a social space.

According to a statement, by 2020-end, Wanyoo eSports centres serviced more than 40 million players globally.

Through Wanyoo’s global partners and players, it continues to exert its international influence by actively cooperating with eSports teams, international and domestic tournaments and video game publishers.

The two well-known esports teams IG and 4AM have been endorsing Wanyoo for years. It also achieved partnership with PGI.S.2021.

In 2019, Wanyoo held the first international Wanyoo eSports centre league covering Wanyoo players from New York, London, Singapore, among others.

In addition to where Wanyoo comes from, there are 12 Wanyoo eSports centres in America, Britain, Canada, Australia and Singapore. These stores endeavour to provide local game lovers the most enjoyable playing space.

In the next three years, Wanyoo is going to develop its eSports centre franchise business including in Italy, Germany and Japan and plans to run 50 stores outside of China in total.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Quiet Thaipusam but celebration remains meaningful with fervent prayers

Every year during the Thaipusam festival, the Sri Subramaniar Swamy temple at Batu Caves would be flooded in a sea of people comprising Hindu devotees from all over the country and tourists, both local and foreign.

Today, however, the crowds were absent from the temple, which was tightly guarded by the police, as Hindu temples nationwide adhered to the standard operating procedure (SOP) under the Movement Control Order (MCO).

Nevertheless, this year’s Thaipusam is just as significant and meaningful as Hindus marked the occasion with prayers at home, particularly for the country to be free of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Private sector employee, N.Kumari, 35, shared with Bernama that she and her entire family cleansed themselves with tumeric powder before praying at home and conveying Thaipusam greetings to family and friends through social media platforms.

“Many of us are praying for the pandemic to end today. Every Thaipusam, my entire family would purify ourselves with tumeric at home before going to the Batu Caves temple to watch the kavadi procession and the festivities there,” she said.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, in a posting on his Facebook account today, wished Hindus a ‘Safe and Happy Thaipusam’.

He also reminded all to practise physical distancing of at least one metre, to wash their hands regularly and wear face masks properly, covering the nose, mouth and chin.

Thaipusam is celebrated by Hindus all over the world during the month of ‘Thai’, the 10th month of the Tamil calendar commemorating deity Lord Murugan receiving the vel, a sacred spear, from his mother Pravati to defeat the evil Soorapadman, and restore peace and prosperity to mankind.

The statue of Lord Murugan was brought from the Jalan Bandar temple to Kuil Sri Subramaniar Swamy temple at Batu Caves yesterday, without the usual procession in order to abide by the SOP set by the government.

The Thaipusam chariot was accompanied by not more than 10 people but without any accompanying music, and it was not allowed to make stops along the journey to Batu Caves.

Checks by Bernama at the Batu Caves temple today showed that several individuals turned up at the temple but left after being advised by policemen stationed there.

In addition, the Sri Maha Mariamman temple management here also put up notices informing the public regarding its closure, and Jalan Tun H S Lee, which was usually filled with throngs of Hindu devotees making their way to temple, was relatively quiet today.

In NEGERI SEMBILAN, B. Suhashini, 27, and her family performed prayers and smashed coconuts at their home in Taman Putra, Batu Kikir, Jempol, before having a meal together with relatives.

“I am fulfilling my vows this year as a sign of gratitude by shaving the head of my 15-month-old son. Usually it would be conducted at Batu Caves but because of the MCO, the ceremony is done at home. The shaven hair will be kept at home for the time being and will be taken to Batu Caves when there are no longer restrictions on interstate travel,” she said.

In PERAK, M. Ramachandran, 45, marked the festival with prayers at his house in Taman Silibin Ria, Ipoh as early as 6.45 am with his wife and four children.

The president of Sri Subramaniar temple in Gunung Cheroh, Ipoh, M. Viveganantha, said this was the second time in the history of the century-old temple that Thaipusam celebrations were not conducted there, with the first being after the declaration of Emergency on May 16, 1969.

In SELANGOR, G. Parumal, 39, and his family, who run a business making and renting kavadis, said although there were no prayers at temples, his entire family is grateful for being able to celebrate Thaipusam together at home. He hoped that the COVID-19 pandemic will end soon.

He said this was the first time he was unable to sell or rent kavadis to Hindu devotees since he started the business some 20 years ago.

In KEDAH, checks by Bernama found that the gates of the Sri Subramaniya Swami Devasthanam temple in Sungai Petani were closed, with several People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) personnel stationed at the entrance.

According to a temple committee member, K. Anbarasan, devotees are not allowed to pray at the temple for three days beginning yesterday, and only committee members are permitted to pray today with a limit of five people at any one time.

In MELAKA, the Sri Subramaniar Devasthanam temple management in Batu Berendam took the initiative of conducting a live Thaipusam prayer ceremony on Facebook. The temple president, V. Manokaran, said the public have sent flowers and milk to the temple gates to fulfill their vows.

In PENANG, Jalan Air Terjun, which was usually crowded every Thaipusam, was completely quiet and empty today.

A check by Bernama found that a number of devotees were spotted at the Penang Thanneermalai Shree Balathandayuthapani Temple or Penang Hilltop Temple located along the road.

They were seen performing their prayers outside the temple gates before leaving as the temple was closed.

A few notices and banners were hung outside the temple, indicating that there would be no Thaipusam activities, in line with the MCO.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Movie-goers in Penang elated over reopening of cinemas

Paul Elliott’s family and friends cheered with glee after being the first few to enter the screening hall following the reopening of cinemas on Dec 16.

The 43-year-old business consultant and his group of nine had bought their movie tickets, popcorns and soda to watch the premiere screening of “Wonder Woman 1984”, which is the only movie screened for the time being.

He said they wanted to relive the moments of watching a movie on the big screen after over a month of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

They have been looking forward to watching some other movies such as “Top Gun: Maverick”, but the movies’ premiere screening were postponed.

“It is definitely great to see that the cinemas here have reopened and we definitely would want to come here more often,” Elliot told Bernama before entering the screening hall at Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC), ,Gurney Plaza here.

Before entering the screening hall, Elliott and every other movie-goer had to line up to have their body temperature checked and the MySejahtera contact tracing app scanned.

GSC PR and branding manager, Sharmine Ishak said these were part of the cinemas’ standard operating procedure (SOP) set by the National Security Council.

He also said that patrons were also required to sit one seat apart from each other in the hall, as a requirement of social distancing.

“Additionally, we will also be cleaning and sanitising our cinemas after every showtime , as well as regularly throughout the day.

“This will include common touch points such as the e-kiosks, concession counters, hand railings, lift buttons and escalator handles, among others,” he added.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Finas urged to publish list of grant recipients to prevent misappropriation

The National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) has been urged to list all the recipients of its grants or funds and make the list public to address the issue of misappropriation of funds in the film industry.

Malaysian Film Producers Association (PFM) president, Panchacharam Nalliah, also known as Pansha, said the list should be published on Finas’ website as practised by the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and other government agencies.

He said production companies or individuals who had received grants or funds from the corporation but failed to deliver should be blacklisted or face legal action.

“(Finas also needs to) work with local film associations to blacklist their members, whether production companies or individuals (art activists) found irresponsible after being given the opportunity to receive the grants,” he said in the statement.

Finas chairman Zakaria Abdul Hamid was recently reported as saying that RM30 million of funds for the making of films had been misappropriated by some industry players for personal gain.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

282 PJ entertainment outlet patrons compounded for flouting RMCO

A total of 282 people at an entertainment outlet in Petaling Jaya were slapped with RM1,000 compound each on Saturday for violating the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO).

Petaling Jaya District Police chief ACP Nik Ezanee Mohd Faizal said in a statement today that in the 11.30 pm inspection of the premises in Tropicana Damansara, the owner of the outlet was also compounded for failing to limit the number of patrons and maintain physical distancing.

During the same inspection, police also arrested two foreign women, both aged 20, for overstaying and not possessing a valid pass to stay in Malaysia under Sections 15(1)(c) and 6(1)(c) respectively of the Immigration Act 1959/63.

On a separate matter, Nik Ezanee said four men and a woman, aged between 23 and 39, were detained for driving under the influence of alcohol during a two-day operation codenamed Op Alkohol on Friday (Sept 11) and Saturday (Sept 12).

“They are being investigated under Section 45(A)1 of the Road Transport Act 1987,” he said.

Throughout the two-day operation, 564 vehicles were inspected and, apart from the five arrested, 48 road users were issued summonses for various traffic offences, including driving or riding without a valid licence.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency