Eateries can open till 2am. Will sports centres be next?

Sports centres could soon be opened until 2am. This possibility comes following the National Security Council’s (NSC) decision to allow eateries to operate beyond midnight.

Senior Minister (Defence) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob hinted a decision could be made by the council next Tuesday.

“I don’t want to jump the gun or make a decision on behalf of anyone. But if eateries can operate till 2am, perhaps sports centres will be allowed too,” Ismail Sabri said.

“It’s still up for discussion.”

Earlier, Ismail Sabri revealed NSC had yesterday decided that the opening hours for eateries and convenience stores will be extended for two hours beyond midnight.

“We have been receiving plenty of grouses, especially from operators at tourists spots like Langkawi. Entertainment (i.e. live bands) is still not allowed, only food, so business owners have asked if they could extend operations beyond midnight.

“The NSC agreed to the request and as such these premises can now open till 2am,” he added.

Sports hub operators, especially those running futsal, badminton centres and gyms, suffered massive losses when the Movement Control Order kicked in on March 18.

Some were forced to close shop for good while others continued to operate, but still found it tough to lure their regulars as the fear of getting Covid-19 lingers while the economic downturn has also impacted the spending power of sports-goers.

Ismail Sabri added foreign nationals are also now allowed to pray at all houses of worship.

As for the upcoming Malaysia Day celebration at the Sibu Indoor Stadium next Wednesday, Ismail Sabri said the number of attendees will be capped at 500.

“Only those who are invited by the federal or state governments will be allowed in. There will be strict SOPs in place.”

Here’s the round-up of The News Normal today.

HAVE DIPLOMATIC DISCUSSIONS, MALAYSIA TELLS CHINA OVER SOUTH CHINA SEA SAGA

Ismail Sabri said Malaysia made its stand clear to China regarding the on-going territorial dispute in South China Sea following a rather low-key meeting between him and visiting Chinese State Councillor and Defence Minister Wei Fenghe on Monday. Wei had earlier met Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

“We spoke about several matters, including South China Sea, and were firm with our stand that there should be diplomatic discussions about the matter,” Ismail Sabri said.

He added the visit was not publicised as the government took heed of the advice by the Health Ministry to limit the number of people during events.

“Strict standard operating procedures were observed. We also didn’t invite the media as it would attract a crowd.”

EMCO IN KOTA SETAR, TAWAU PRISON

Two locations – Kota Setar and Tawau Prison – have been placed under administrative enhanced movement control order (EMCO) starting tomorrow till Sept 25 following the rise of Covid-19 cases in the area.

The partial lockdown in Kota Setar, Kedah is following the Sungai and Telaga clusters.

The border with Thailand will also be closed due to the EMCO. The move will affect more than 360,000 people in 28 townships.

As for Tawau Prison, the lockdown will only affect the prisoners, prison staff and their family members who live within the prison area.

Meanwhile, the targeted EMCO in Amanjaya, Kedah, will be extended by another three days. This is because health authorities have yet to receive results from the second testing.

JAKARTA TO IMPOSE LOCKDOWN, COVID-19 CASES SPIKE IN INDIA

Jakarta will re-introduce restrictions starting Monday following a rise in Covid-19 cases. The Indonesian capital was placed under partial lockdown in April but the measures were relaxed in June.

Indonesia has over 200,000 reported cases – the second-highest in Southeast Asia after the Philippines. The Republic’s death toll is the region’s highest, at over 8,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.

India recorded nearly 95,735 new cases today, bringing the total number cases to 4.4 million. Some 1,172 deaths were recorded in the country, according to health ministry officials.

This is the first time India observed such a spike in Covid-19 cases in just a day.

HOW MANY GOALS DID MOKHTAR DAHARI SCORE?

He is a household name, described as the best Malaysian footballer ever.

Yet, there is no proper record and details on the number of goals the late Datuk Mokhtar Dahari scored during his illustrious career in the 70s and 80s.

That is the tragic reality of Malaysian sports – even more heartbreaking for the nation’s number one sport with its milestones not properly documented.

MALAYSIA’S ATHLETICS SCENE GOING DOWN AND DOWN, SAYS FORMER RUNNER

Former national 400m runner P. Kuganeswari admits the standard of athletics in the country has declined over the years.

She also stressed that the controversial Podium Programme, which is currently being reviewed, is too elite-centric.

“The standard of athletics is going down and down, especially among the women. We don’t seem to have back-up athletes,” said Kuganeswari, who works as an executive in a bank.

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