Extend moratorium, plead Sabahans as Covid-19 cases spike to all-time high

“Just as I was about the start breathing again, the air supply has been cut off.”

That was how former mixed martial artists Ann Osman described the decision to implement Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) in three Sabah districts – Kota Kinabalu, Penampang and Putatan –from 12.01am on Wednesday.

This comes as a record 432 Covid-19 cases were reported today.

While Ann understands the reasons behind the move, she hopes the government would be more supportive of businesses.

“I have no issues with the CMCO. The government is doing its best to stop the spread of Covid-19,” said Ann, who ventured into several businesses after retiring from the cage.

“My sister runs a gym, while I have a poultry business besides my adventure tours which promote tourism.

“Things were looking up in the past couple of months. We were beginning to make ends meet as the government introduced a moratorium for bank loans. That took a big load off our shoulders.

“However, the moratorium ended on Sept 30. But with the spike in Covid-19 cases, and now CMCO in Sabah, perhaps the government should ask the banks to extend the moratorium.”

Ann, however, said the most important thing now is for the public to remain calm and positive.

“We can get through this together. We survived MCO. This won’t be as difficult. Please stay positive and don’t go out unnecessarily.”

Meanwhile, gym owner Rayner ‘King Karabaw’ Kinsiong said he has already temporarily closed one of his outlets while the others have reduced capacity.

“I wish my landlords would give a break on the rents. It’s going to be hard but we have to carry on,” said Kinsiong.

“The last time there was a moratorium and we could survive but now ‘susah’. Business is affected.

“I’m just hoping there is no full lockdown (MCO). Then, I won’t know what to do.”

Ann and Kinsiong also reminded people that Sabah is huge – it takes six to seven hours to travel from the east coast to the west.

“There are misleading rumours about the cases. Sabah is so huge that driving from the east to the west coast would take as long, if not longer than the journey from Penang to Johor,” said Ann.

“Most of the cases were on the east coast but it is only now starting to spread due to the recent state elections.

“Don’t be quick to judge that the whole of Sabah is a red zone,” she added.

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

MINISTER CONFIRMS HE HAS COVID-19, PM TO SELF QUARANTINE

Religious Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad al-Bakri says he has tested positive for Covid-19.

Since returning from campaigning in Sabah, Zulkifli has attended the Bakul Rezeki Khaira PPZ project at PPR Pantai Ria on Sept 26; a briefing on the Endowment Bill (Sept 28); the 2020 Nusantara Syariah Judicial and Legal Conference (Sept 28); a briefing on the Maulidur Rasul national-level celebration on Sept 28, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia’s top management meeting (Friday) and an event at UiTM Shah Alam on Saturday.

He also attended a special National Security Council Meeting last week as he was not displaying any symptoms.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, meanwhile, said he will self quarantine for 14 days after being in contact with Zulkifli.

ACT QUICKLY TO STOP RIVER POLLUTION

Alliance for Safe Community chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye says the authorities need to wake up and be more proactive in fighting river pollution.

He said the powers-that-be should also introduce new standard operating procedures (SOPs) to identify and rectify possible flashpoints to prevent more disruptions.

“Please stop saying you are investigating after an incident has happened. The public would like the enforcers to act before incidents happen,” he said in a statement.

“It is not difficult to identify factories and activities along the rivers – upstream, midstream and downstream, and then conduct regular checks on them to ensure compliance with existing rules and regulations.

“If necessary, relocate the illegal factories and license them,” he added.

E-CENSUS EXTENDED TO DEC 31

The government has decided to extend the e-census which was supposed to have ended on Sept 30 following the spike in Covid-19 cases.

FALLACY OF SABAH’S HARMONIOUS EXISTENCE

Malaysians, especially from peninsular Malaysia, have been singing praises of Sabah as a paragon of intercultural and ethnic harmony, a unified and integrated society that purportedly transcends racial, religious and cultural schisms.

But the recent state elections have exposed their pretence of an integrated society, said Professor Emeritus Datuk Dr Mohamed Ghouse Nasuruddin.