‘Total lockdown isn’t only option’ as govt decides tomorrow

The business community is hoping that the government will hear its pleas before deciding tomorrow if a total lockdown is required as the number of Covid-19 cases shot up to 6,806 today – the highest-ever total in a single day.

Representing the community at the National Security Council meeting tomorrow is the International Trade and Industry Ministry. Those within the ministry hope to convince Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and others at the table that while saving lives is important, saving livelihoods is of equal importance too.

“The meeting will be about the way moving forward. There is a better way to manage this. Lockdown isn’t the only option,” said an insider.

“There should also be some form of compensation scheme or tax incentives for the people and business community.”

The long-term impact of a movement control order would set the government back in billions of ringgit, and leave businesses reeling from the after-effects. In fact, those within the sports industry have been left to suffer the longest as they are often the first to be forced shut, and the last to reopen.

It is understood the Health Ministry is eager to push for a strict no movement order to bring down the daily Covid-19 cases and ease the situation at intensive care units (ICUs).

“Through the emergency, the health ministry can use the facilities at private hospitals, including the ICUs. That is one conversation that the decision-makers must have,” another insider added.

The messaging by the various stakeholders within the business industry has been clear and consistent, with most of them saying that a complete lockdown as seen in March last year will result in the death of more businesses and batter the nation’s economy even further.

Among those who made their pleas evident in a series of press releases distributed yesterday were the EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers, and SME Association of Malaysia.

The American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce went a step further, calling for clear and consistent messaging by the Malaysian government to minimise confusion, “as this will enable smooth implementation and enforcement of any standard operating procedures.”

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


Pakatan Harapan’s Covid-19 Vaccination Committee urged the Health Ministry and Special Committee on Covid-19 Vaccine Supply to review the current vaccine strategies to hasten the vaccination rate.

PH said the current vaccination drive is too slow and ineffective, consequently failing to curb the record-breaking spike in Covid-19 infections in Malaysia.

“The PH Covid-19 Vaccination Committee would therefore like to put forward three recommendations: speed up the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency vaccine approval; expand the basket of vaccines mix, and; allow state governments and private hospitals to provide vaccines to paying customers.”

The committee added that liberalising the vaccination programme to enable state governments and private healthcare entities such as hospitals and medical providers to procure and vaccinate paying customers will draw market forces to fill the gap.

“The Federal Government will then be able to use their limited resources to focus on efforts to vaccinate the rest of the population.

“Our ‘wait-and-see’ attitude has led to the failure to control the current spike, costing us many lives. As grave as our situation may seem, all is not lost.
Now it is time for us to take a stand to rethink our vaccine strategies and save lives.”


The Kuala Lumpur High Court quashed the government’s plan in wanting to forfeit RM114 million in cash that was seized by police during a raid at the Pavilion Residences in 2018.

This is because the Attorney-General’s Chambers failed to prove that the funds were from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) or money obtained from a criminal breach of trust (CBT) offence, ruled High Court Judge Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin.

Besides the RM144 million in cash, the raid, which was carried out soon after Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s Barisan Nasional government was booted out of Putrajaya, also yielded 12,000 pieces of jewellery, luxury watches and designer handbags.


Noor Neelofa Mohd Noor and husband Muhammad Haris Mohd Ismail claimed trial at the Seremban magistrate’s court after being charged with violating standard operating procedures on May 2.

Neelofa, a 32-year-old entrepreneur, was charged with failing to document her details (either via MySejahtera or in a log book) before entering Kedai Naeem Carpet Sdn Bhd in Nilai, while Muhammad Haris, 26, also failed to document his details, and did not wear a face mask.

Magistrate Mahyun Yusoff set bail of RM10,000 for Muhammad Haris and RM5,000 for Neelofa.

The court set June 4 for mention.


Israel knows it has the support of the Western permanent members of the UN to block any resolution to censure and condemn the atrocities committed by Tel Aviv, said Professor Emeritus Datuk Dr Mohamed Ghouse Nasuruddin.

He added there is a dire need for a sincere and concerted effort by Muslim nations, to not only stand in solidarity with their Palestinian brothers and sisters, but to use their wealth, and political and diplomatic influence to end this carnage once and for all, and to restore the rights of the Palestinians as a free people in their rightful homeland.