National Security Council says no to Malaysia Cup

The National Security Council (NSC) has decided that the Malaysia Cup be postponed despite attempts by the guardians of football to get it going amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Senior Minister (Defence) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, said during his daily briefing today although matches were behind closed doors, the footballers were in close contact with each other during play.

“They sweat … the contact is more dangerous than normal. If you compare it to a singles match in badminton, there is no contact,” said Ismail Sabri.

“The Health Ministry feels it’s quite dangerous (to allow Malaysia Cup to continue). Also the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) has been imposed in almost all states nationwide.

“As such, the Malaysia Cup will be postponed.”

He urged fans to be patient.

“We are trying to break the chain. Hopefully, once the chain is broken, we will start having matches,” Ismail Sabri said.

The Malaysian Football League (MFL) had all this while been scrambling to convince NSC to make an exception.

It is understood Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican spoke to Ismail Sabri about the matter.

“It’s NSC’s call,” said a ranking official from the Youth and Sports Ministry.

“NSC feels strongly against it (Malaysia Cup).”

A series of meetings were held as MFL officials gave several suggestions to convince NSC.

The CMCO, which started today and ends on Dec 6, covers all of peninsular Malaysia expect Perlis, Kelantan and Pahang.

It is understood that MFL was toying with the idea of hosting matches in Pahang where three stadiums are available – Darul Makmur in Kuantan, Tun Abdul Razak Stadium in Jengka and Stadium Temerloh.

It remains unclear to how the sponsors of the participating teams and the title sponsor Telekom Malaysia will react to the latest announcement.

The partial lockdown imposed in March crippled the domestic leagues (Super and Premier) and it was shortened to just 11 matches. The FA Cup was not held with only the Malaysia Cup left on the domestic football calendar.

The fear is that the sponsors could pull the plug due to the economic downturn although the telecommunication industry was not severely impacted, unlike other industries.

The initial Malaysia Cup schedule indicates that the quarterfinals are to be held this Thursday and Friday, the semifinals on Nov 17, and the final on Nov 22.

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

HOW DID GOVERNMENT ESTIMATE EXPENDITURE FOR COVID-19 VACCINATION?

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim wants to know how the government allocated RM3 billion for Covid-19 vaccination in Budget 2021 and where it has gone to.

Speaking in Parliament today, the Port Dickson MP said: “We couldn’t find the (details of the) RM3 billion supposedly allocated for the vaccine, as announced by the government in the Budget. We only found allocations for others.

“(Also) if the vaccine hasn’t been developed, how could the government estimate its expenditure?”

Anwar also urged the Finance Ministry to be more transparent in the tender process and have competitive prices for public health procurements.

DIRECTORS CHARGED WITH POLLUTING SG KUNDANG PLEAD NOT GUILTY

Four directors of a palm oil processing company pleaded not guilty after being charged at the Selayang Sessions Court in connection with the pollution of Sungai Kundang, Rawang.

Ong Seng Khek, 71; Low Sze Wai, 66; Ong Chee Ming, 34; and Siow Lee Chen, 66, pleaded not guilty before judge Syafeera Mohd Said.

The offence was allegedly committed at United Fineoleo, Lot 19701, Jalan KPK 1/3, Kawasan Perindustrian Kundang, Kundang Jaya in Gombak, Selangor on Oct 22.

TV3 APOLOGISES FOR CALLING BLUNDER ON KAMALA HARRIS

TV3 has issued an apology for saying during yesterday’s 1.30pm news broadcast that United States vice-president-elect Kamala Harris is the daughter of an illegal immigrant.

In the widely shared clip, a TV3 newscaster said Harris is the daughter a Jamaican and an illegal immigrant from India.

Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, was admitted to the University of California at Berkeley and became a respected biomedical scientist.

MENTAL HEALTH IS IN OUR SCHOOL BOOKS, TIME TO TAKE IT SERIOUSLY

Pendidikan Jasmani Dan Pendidikan Kesihatan (PJPK) covers not only physical health but mental health too.

It isn’t just surface-level stuff. Chapters on mental health taught kids to understand the whys and hows of mental health and where to get help. Essentially, it teaches ways to recognise mental health issues faced within or beyond schools.

However, PJPK teachers aren’t well-versed and trained in the subject.