China vaccine doses pass one billion mark – The Star Online

BEIJING, June 20, 2021 (AFP): The number of Covid-19 jabs administered in China has passed the one billion mark, health officials said Sunday, more than a third of the doses given worldwide.

The announcement by the National Health Commission comes after the number of shots administered globally surpassed 2.5 billion on Friday, according to an AFP count from official sources.

It is unclear what percentage of China’s population has now been inoculated but its vaccination drive got off to a slow start after a successful fight against the virus left little sense of urgency to get jabbed.

A lack of transparency and previous vaccine scandals have also led to resistance among residents.

Authorities have set an ambitious target of fully vaccinating 40 percent of the country’s nearly 1.4 billion people by the end of this month.

Some provinces are offering vaccines for free to encourage people to roll up their sleeves. Residents in central Anhui province have been given free eggs, while some living in Beijing have received shopping coupons.

A recent outbreak of the more contagious Delta variant of the virus in the southern city of Guangzhou has also served as a wake-up call for many dragging their feet.

China reported 23 new coronavirus cases Sunday.

The country has four conditionally approved vaccines, whose published efficacy rates remain behind rival jabs by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which have 95 percent and 94 percent success rates respectively.

China’s Sinovac previously said trials of its shot in Brazil showed around 50 percent efficacy in preventing infection and 80 percent in preventing cases requiring medical intervention.

Sinopharm’s two vaccines have efficacy rates of 79 percent and 72 percent respectively, while the overall efficacy for CanSino’s stands at 65 percent after 28 days.

Many of them require two doses.

China is expected to produce more than three billion vaccine doses this year, state news agency Xinhua reported in April.

Health authorities have not said when China will reach herd immunity or what proportion of its vaccine doses will be sold abroad. – AFP


Former restaurant supervisor held for employee exploitation – PJ police – The Sun Daily

PETALING JAYA: Police have arrested a former restaurant supervisor believed to be involved in abusing and exploiting employees at a restaurant in Petaling Jaya, here, on Friday.

Petaling Jaya District Police chief ACP Mohamad Fakhrudin Abdul Hamid said the 33-year-old man’s activities were uncovered through a Tamil-language video that went viral after being aired by a television station in India last week.

He said that based on translation, an Indian man claiming to be a former employee of the restaurant had narrated his experience of working there and how he was allegedly exploited for his wages as well as being beaten and abused.

“He also claimed to have seen his fellow Indian colleague being burnt in the leg by the employer at the restaurant in question, believed to have happened in March last year.

“Police then conducted further investigations and subsequently managed to rescue two Indian male victims, aged 22 and 34, an employee and a former employee of the restaurant,“ he told reporters at a press conference at the Petaling Jaya District Police Headquarters today.

Mohamad Fakhrudin said the result of further investigation on the two of them later led to the arrest of a local suspect, believed to be a former supervisor at the restaurant, at about 4.30 pm.

He said the suspect had six prior records related to crime and drugs and has been remanded for six days from yesterday to June 24.

“This case is being investigated under Section 13 of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007 (ATIPSOM) while both victims have been placed in a men’s shelter after a 21-day Interim Protection Order (IPO) under Section 44 (2) of the ATIPSOM 2007 was obtained,” he added.

He said his team would seek the assistance of the Interpol to track down the man who made the allegation in the video recording. — Bernama


Najib: Muhyiddin makes it sound like Parliament convening for first time – Malaysiakini

Ex-prime minister Najib Abdul Razak said Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin was making it appear as if Parliament would be convening for its very first time.

This was after Muhyiddin said a bipartisan committee will look into the reconvening of Parliament and whether it can be held in a hybrid mode – a combination of digital and physical.

Najib explained the matter was straightforward and there was nothing to study.

“There is no need for a study. I can provide the solution…


Covid-19: Vaccination passport may be introduced for travel after more M’sians inoculated, says Health DG – The Star Online

PETALING JAYA: Once more Malaysians are fully immunised, a form of “Covid-19 vaccination passport” may be introduced by the government as a requirement for interstate, inter-district and international travel, says Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

Dr Noor Hisham was optimistic about the rate of vaccination in the country, as he said herd immunity may be achieved as soon as the end of the year if daily vaccination figures can be stepped up.

“Give it two or three more months and increase the rate of vaccination. Maybe in November or December, we can achieve herd immunity.

“This has not been implemented but it is being considered. There must be SOPs for going to mosques and vaccine passport for travel,” he said during a webinar on Islam and current affairs organised by Pertubuhan Intelektual Negara and Persatuan Ulama Malaysia on Saturday (June 19) night.

“When more people are vaccinated, we will use vaccination as a pre-condition to travel across states, districts and internationally,” he added.

Dr Noor Hisham said it is still too early to implement the vaccination passport system, as many Malaysians aren’t vaccinated yet.

“Not even 10% of the population have received both doses. So we must widen (this immunisation) programme as soon as possible,” he added.

Earlier on the webinar, Dr Noor Hisham said the current vaccination rate is at 250, 000 doses a day and the aim is to increase it to 300, 000 soon.

“We will step up vaccination in August. If we can achieve herd immunity faster, then we can break the chain of Covid-19 infections.”

He also said that once herd immunity is achieved, SOPs can be relaxed, such as wearing masks, practising social distancing, among others.

“As long as we have not achieved herd immunity, we must abide by public health instructions and increase the rate of vaccination.”

As of Saturday (June 19), Malaysia administered a total of 164, 282 Covid-19 vaccines.

The Special Committee on Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee (JKJAVMY) in a tweet on Sunday (June 30) said that 128, 400 people had received their first dose on Saturday while 35, 882 had completed both doses.

The total number of vaccination jabs given in the country stood at 5.675, 002 with 4, 086, 087 or 12.5% of those eligible receiving their first dose.

The number of those who have completed both doses is 1, 588, 915.


Govt will involve opposition in hybrid Parliament plans – Muhyiddin – Malaysiakini

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said the government will involve the opposition in a committee to study the reconvening of Parliament and also whether it should be done in a hybrid mode – a combination of physical and virtual presence.

This followed opposition complaints that they were excluded from the committee and their concern that it was a ploy to prevent Parliament from functioning properly…


Electronics factory accused of exploiting migrant workers – Malaysiakini

The largest electronics manufacturing services (EMS) provider in Malaysia, ATA Industrial (M) Sdn Bhd (ATA IMS), has been accused of allegedly exploiting its migrant workers, by making them work excessive hours and forcing them to live in substandard conditions.

The company made international headlines after a worker complained of having to put in 186 hours of overtime a month just to make ends meet.

“The work is very hard, the hours very long and we have no space to ourselves – but we need to…


Committee formed to look into reconvening of Parliament, says PM – The Star Online

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): A committee comprising government and opposition representatives has been formed to look into important aspects before Parliament reconvenes, says Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

The Prime Minister said the committee would consider whether it should be a physical or hybrid parliamentary sitting.

“Whether it (the sitting) will be held hybrid or physical will be referred to the current Parliament Standing Orders,” he told reporters after visiting the KLCC vaccination centre (PPV) here Sunday (June 20).

He said the government needed to scrutinise all matters to avoid problems after its implementation.

“I will need to closely look into this. I understand (the matter) very well and I was advised not only by the Minister of Law but by the Attorney General that my actions and those of the government must be in line with what is stipulated in the Constitution,” he said.

He said the government, among others, needs to take into account whether the sitting can be held physically and whether a hybrid session was in line with provisions in the Standing Orders.

Besides this, he said there was also a need to consider whether Parliament itself was ready for a physical sitting, including with regard to sitting arrangements which needed to comply with the set standard operating procedures (SOP).

Muhyiddin said it was not his intention to delay the reconvening of Parliament, but those were the issues that needed to be looked into carefully.

The Prime Minister also gave his commitment that both government backbenchers and opposition members represented in the committee will have a say in the decision-making process on whether to reconvene Parliament or not.

“I asked the committee comprising representatives of the government and the opposition to evaluate the matter and only after that will they inform me whether they are ready or not to commence the parliamentary session,” he said.

In this regard, he hoped the people would understand the situation, adding that it was not a matter of the government denying the rights of the elected representatives or acting against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or Malay Rulers’ views.

“I understand my responsibilities as prime minister but I have to act fairly to ensure there are no arising issues or problems later on… This is something I hope the people can understand and wait for (the Parliament session),” he said. – Bernama


Works Ministry: Report on scaffolding collapse at DASH construction site ordered – The Star Online

PETALING: The Works Ministry has ordered the Malaysian Highway Authority and an independent consulting engineering firm to complete a report on the scaffolding incident on the Damansara-Shah Alam Elevated Highway (DASH) within a week.

The ministry added that it has issued a stop-work order to DASH developer Projek Lintasan Damansara-Shah Alam Sdn. Bhd (Prolintas) and also said that it will also review the report from the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH).

It said in a statement on Sunday (June 20) that it expressed regret for the incident that injured two Bangladeshi workers on Saturday (June 19).

The ministry also said that during the concrete pouring process that led to the accident, the whole construction area was fully closed from the public in line with the current standard operating procedures.

“Works using the same engineering methods had involved 14 locations in the area, and four of them has been completed. The incident took place at the fifth active site,” said the Ministry.

It added that the initial checks by the Malaysian Highway Authority showed the scaffolding design was conducted in proper order and has been certified by the Consulting Engineer.

“The rest of the work, involving 10 locations can only proceed after the audit report by the Independent Consulting Engineer has been completed,” said the ministry.

It added that the concessionaires had also been ordered to provide appropriate assistance to all the victims involved and that as a safety precaution, the right lane on both ways of the South Klang Valley Highway (SKVE) at the area had been closed.

The metal scaffolding of a highway under construction along the Sungai Buloh – Kota Damansara stretch of the DASH collapsed on Saturday injuring two workers on site.

The incident was reported at 7.14pm before a team from the Sungai Buloh Fire and Rescue Department arrived at the scene 13 minutes later.

Two Bangladeshi workers who were on duty underneath the 12 metre-tall construction site suffered light injuries in the incident, said Selangor Fire and Rescue Department director Norazam Khamis, in a report by Sinar Harian.


PKR revives religious unit to provide alternative views on Islam – Free Malaysia Today

Saifuddin Nasution (left) says statements like the one by Abdul Hadi Awang asking the younger generation not to be ‘fooled again’ need prompt response by PKR.

PETALING JAYA: PKR has decided to revive its religious affairs bureau in a bid to project alternative views on Islam each time such matters are raised in public.

In announcing this at the party’s congress today, its secretary-general, Saifuddin Nasution, cited a statement by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, who had used a religious slant asking young Malaysians not to make the same “mistake” by voting in Pakatan Harapan (PH) in the next elections (GE15).

“We hope the bureau will respond and give alternative views to various religious issues in regard to current developments.

“For example, the PAS president warned people to be careful yesterday when voting in GE15. This statement needs to be clarified to the people in terms of the party’s stance,” Saifuddin said at the party’s 15th national congress held virtually.

He said the central leadership had decided this on May 1, adding that it will be led by Amidi Abdul Manan. He hoped the committee will be able to revive and mobilise this bureau smoothly and convey the party’s stand on religious matters promptly and effectively.

Yesterday, Hadi had warned the younger generation of voters against “being fooled a second time” by allowing PH to return to power.

He claimed that in just a few days of taking over Putrajaya after the 14th general election in 2018, PH had revealed its “extreme attitude” towards Islam and its leaders, when both matters should have been defended as per Allah’s commands.

“To the younger generation who did not witness events from the past, don’t be easily swayed by media without borders that will bring regret on Earth and in the afterlife. It is enough for this major thing to serve as a lesson,” he said in a statement.

On another matter, Saifuddin said PKR’s national congress for 2021 and 2022 will be held simultaneously next year.

He said the central leadership had also decided to leave some of the party’s top posts vacant until the next party election, to be announced at a later date.

“The party’s direction will remain as it is now without filling any of these positions, which were left vacant by our former friends,” he said.

He said the annual general meetings of all branches for 2021 would also be postponed to 2022, although their annual reports must still be submitted to the Registrar of Societies by this year.

Saifuddin also announced the formation of a bureau for disabled persons.

He urged all PKRs members to continue supporting its leaders, adding that the party must position itself as a “problem solver” for the people amid a national crisis.

The national congress was held entirely online today, with 2,000 delegates taking part through the Zoom application from their homes.