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Friday, October 29, 2021

Malaysia Budget 2022


 The theme for Budget 2022 is "Keluarga Malaysia, makmur sejahtera" (Malaysian family, prosperous and peaceful). 

Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz said it is based on three core concepts "rakyat yang sejahtera" (people's wellbeing), resilient businesses and a prosperous economy.

Screengrab from the live broadcast of the Budget 2022 speech from Parliament on Oct 29, 2021.

PETALING JAYA: Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz has started delivering his Budget 2022 speech in Parliament here on Friday (Oct 29).

The Finance Minister is expected to deliver a Budget in line with the Malaysian Family concept, which will concentrate on the country's recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Wednesday (Oct 27) Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said Budget 2022 was from the people, by the people, for the people and would be of high impact for all layers of society and businesses.

Ismail Sabri said Budget 2022 would also generate more jobs to tackle unemployment and enable the recovery process to return the country and its economy to the pre-Covid-19 pandemic with new norms in place.

He added that Budget 2022 was drawn up carefully and comprehensively, taking into account the views of all quarters, including Opposition parties.

Here are the highlights of the Budget 2022 speech as they are delivered:

Budget 2022 allocation

Budget 2022 has a total allocation of RM332.1bil, the largest-ever for the country. This surpasses Budget 2021 allocation of of RM322.54bil.

Tengku Zafrul said this involves RM233.5bil in administrative expenses, RM75.6bil in development, RM23bil for the Covid-19 fund and RM2bil for unexpected expenses.

Family focus

The Bantuan Keluarga Malaysia outlined in Budget 2022 will benefit over 9.6 million recipients with an allocation of RM8.2bil.

Households with three children or more with household income less than RM2,500 will receive RM2,000 in aid. An extra RM500 will be given to for single mothers/fathers with dependents and monthly income of up to RM5,000. This means single mothers/fathers with three children and above are entitled to a maximum RM2,500 in aid.

An additional allocation of RM300 will be given to senior citizens.

Overall, RM2.4bil in welfare aid is allocated to benefit over 440,000 households.

Education first

Education gets the biggest slice of the pie in Budget 2022 with RM52.6bil for the Education Ministry and RM14.5bil for the Higher Education Ministry.

Tengku Zafrul said this includes RM450mil in aid to be provided to three million students.

Health matters

Health Ministry gets an allocation of 32.4bil, the second-largest after the Education Ministry.

From the allocation, RM2bil will be channeled to purchase of vaccines and RM2bil for additional Covid-19 expenses.

He added that the government would be purchasing another 88 million doses of vaccines, which includes the third dose for children between the ages of 12 and 17.

PTPTN repayment incentives

Government to give discounts to PTPTN borrowers for payments from Nov 1 to April 30.

Borrowers will get a 15% discount for full settlement; 12% for payments of at least 50% of the outstanding balance in a single payment. Those who make repayments through salary deduction or scheduled direct debit will get a 10% discount.

Just for jobs

Allocation of RM4.8bil to create 600,000 job opportunities under the JaminKerja initative.

With a target of 300,000 hires, the initiative will offer incentives to employers such as 20% of the first six months' pay, and 30% of the following six months pay for hired employees making above RM1,500.

Among others, RM1.1bil has been allocated for training and upskilling programmes for 220,000 trainees.

The Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector will receive an allocation of RM6.6bil under Budget 2022.

Tengku Zafrul said the focus is on eeting industry needs and an additional allocation of RM200mil has been allocated for joint venture programmes with industries.

Boosting healthy lifestyles

There will be an excise duty imposed on nicotine-based gel or liquid products for vaping and electronic cigarettes, says the Finance Minister.

"Towards a healthy lifestyle the government plans to broaden the scope of excise duty to include premix sugary drinks made from chocolate, malt, coffee and tea," said Tengku Zafrul.

Women matters

The goverment will make it mandatory for all publicly-listed companies to appoint at least one woman to its board of directors.

Tengku Zafrul said RM5mil would also be allocated for the Women Leadership Foundation to encourage female participation in the economic sector.

Free self-hygiene kits will be given to young women in the B40 category monthly, which will benefit some 130,000 youths nationwide.

Tengku Zafrul added that RM11mil would be allocated for free mammogram and cervix examinations.

New villages

A total of RM200mil has been allocated for the Chinese community, among them for the purpose of upgrading Chinese new villages, as well as financing schemes for the small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

RM145mil has been set aside for the Indian community, among them for the implementation of programmes to strengthen the community's social economy through Tekun Nasional, the national Entrepreneurial Group Economic Fund, under the Indian Entrepreneurs Development Scheme.

Levelling up eSports

To push the eSports industry in the country, RM20mill will be allocated under Budget 2022.

This includes RM5mil to develop an excellence centre for drone sports in the country.

Housing for all

RM1.5bil has been allocated for continuing low-cost housing projects. Another RM2bil allocated for housing credit guarantee scheme to help those without a stable income to buy a house.

Tengku Zafrul also said the government would no longer impose the real property gains tax (RPGT) on Malaysians, permanent residents and companies when they dispose of their real property assets from the sixth year onwards.

For sporting excellence

To further improve the national Paralympics team, the National Sports Council (NSC) will receive a RM10mil allocation. This is to enhance training programs and organise leagues for various sports to prepare for the 2024 Paris Paralympics.

RM158mil will be allocated to renovate, enhance and build sporting facilities around the country.

RM50mil will be allocated to encourage people to continue leading an active lifestyle.

Cash in hand

Employees’ contribution rate to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) that was reduced to 9% in 2020 will remain until June 2022.

Boost for youths

A RM300mil allocation to provide RM150 in credit into eWallets of youth aged 18 to 20 who are students at institutions of higher learning.

Lower vehicular taxes continue

To reduce the cost of vehicle ownership, the government will extend the 100% sales tax exemption on completely knocked down (CKD, locally-assembled) passenger vehicles and 50% on completely built-up (CBU, imported cars) including MPVs and SUVs for six months until June 30, 2022.

The exemption was introduced by the government in 2020 to drive sales in the automotive sector which was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Defending the nation

The Defence Ministry will get an allocation of RM16bil, of which RM1.6bil is to upgrade the readiness of main assets of the Armed Forces. This allocation also involves RM14mil to replace main equipment of Naval Special Forces (Paskal) and Air Force Special Forces (Paskau) such as parachutes, closed-circuit diving equipment and boats.

e-vehicles to get a power up

Tengku Zafrul said the government sees the potential of electronic vehicles (EV) to minimise pollution, and therefore plans to give up to 100% exemption of import and excise duties as well as sales tax.

Road tax exemptions of up to 100% will also be given out for electronic cars.

Tax relief of up to RM2,500 will be given for the purchase, assembly, renting and leasing of EVs.

Tourism budget

A total of RM1.6bil has been allocated for the tourism industry. RM600mil will be allocated under the Penjana Tourism Financing dan BPMB Rehabilitation Scheme while RM85mil will be go towards a three-month special assistance for over 20,000 tourism operators.

Zafrul also announced matching grants for the purpose of the renovation of budget hotels and homestays, with an allocation of RM30mil.

To spur domestic tourism, the RM1,000 tax rebate will be extended until 2022.

Sabah and Sarawak

The two states will receive increased development allocations of RM5.2bil and RM4.6bil respectively under Budget 2022.

Fisheries and agriculture

RM1.7bil allocated for the various incentives and subsidies for the fisheries and agriculture industries.

Please folllow The Star's coverage of Budget 2022 here.

Click on the logo to see the full text of Tengku Zafrul's Budget 2022 speech in Malay.Click on the logo to see the full text of Tengku Zafrul's Budget 2022 speech in Malay.

Related stories:

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Budget 2022 focused on helping 'Malaysian Family' tackle post-Covid-19 challenges, says Tengku Zafrul

Budget 2022: RM32.4bil allocated for health

Budget 2022: RM2.4bil in welfare aid allocated to benefit over 440,000 households

 Source link


 Here are five key takeaways from Malaysia’s 2022 budget:

5 key takeaways:

1. What’s in it for households, firms hit hard economically by COVID-19?

Households are set to benefit from a new cash aid scheme - Malaysian Family Assistance. Under the scheme, RM8.2 billion will be allocated to households, benefitting more than 9.6 million recipients, said Mr Tengku Zafrul. 

 Households with three or more children and a monthly income of less than RM2,500 will receive a one-off payment of RM2,000. 

Additionally, single parents or households earning less than RM5,000 each month will receive a one-off payment of RM500. Senior citizens will also receive RM300 each. 

Companies will also receive aid to get back on their feet.

Among others, income tax instalment payment for micro, small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) can be deferred for up to six months until Jun 30, 2022. 

Landlords who give rental discounts of at least 30 per cent to businesses will be granted tax relief. 

Firms are also given tax deduction of up to RM300,000 to renovate their spaces, such as to improve seating arrangement or air circulation, in order to minimise the spread of COVID-19. 

2. What additional resources will the health sector get?

The Health Ministry is set to receive RM32.4 billion, the second largest allocation behind the Education Ministry. 

Mr Tengku Zafrul outlined that RM4 billion has been allocated for COVID-19 management, of which RM2 billion is for vaccines and another RM2 billion is to boost the capacity of public health facilities such as by purchasing test kits, personal protective equipment and medication. 

He added that the government has signed agreements to obtain 88 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, which are sufficient to immunise more than 140 per cent of the population, and enough to give third doses to all residents above the age of 12.

Mr Tengku Zafrul also announced that RM100 million will be allocated to sponsor 3,000 contract medical and dental officers to pursue specialist programmes.

3. What are the green measures?

Meanwhile, Mr Tengku Zafrul said the 2022 budget was formulated while keeping in mind the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (under the the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development) and the implementation of environmentally friendly programmes. 

In line with Malaysia’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2050, he announced that the Voluntary Carbon Market initiative will be launched under the auspices of Bursa Malaysia. 

“This initiative will act as a voluntary platform for carbon credit trading between green asset owners and any entity towards a shift to low-carbon practices,” said Mr Tengku Zafrul. 


Tengku Zafrul added that the government is also looking to support the development of the local electric vehicle (EV) industry, and intends to provide full exemption on import duty, excise duty and sales tax for EV vehicles. 

Road tax exemption of up to 100 percent is also given to the vehicles.

In addition, individual income tax relief of up to RM2,500 will be given to offset the costs of purchase and installation, rental and hire purchase as well as subscription fees for EV charging facilities.

4. How will tourism industry players benefit? 

The budget also encompasses initiatives targeted at players in the tourism industry, which have been hit badly by COVID-19. 

Mr Tengku Zafrul said a total of RM1.6 billion will be allocated for a number of efforts, including a RM600 million wage subsidy for tour operators who have experienced at least 30 per cent dip in income. More than 26,000 employers and 330,000 workers are expected to benefit from these subsidies, he added. 

Tengku Zafrul added that matching grants worth RM30 million will be given to more than 700 budget hotels and homestays registered under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture for repair works. 

He said RM60 million in incentive funds will be allocated for activities to promote domestic tourism. Moreover, special individual income tax relief of up to RM1,000 for residents who spend on domestic tourism will be extended until 2022. 

5. What kind of assistance will be given to women, children?

A key highlight for the 2022 budget is the special assistance given to women and children. 

Mr Tengku Zafrul announced that the government is making it mandatory for all public listed companies to appoint at least one woman to its board of directors in order to recognise women’s roles in the decision-making process. 

“Currently, women hold 25 per cent of the board positions in 100 main public listed companies. 

“However, 27 per cent or 252 companies listed on Bursa Malaysia still do not have women on their boards,” he said. 

The minister added that companies who hire unemployed women, housewives and single mothers will receive government incentives. Putrajaya will pay incentives amounting to 30 per cent of their monthly wages for the first six months, and 40 per cent for the next six months. 

This applies to monthly salaries of RM1,200 and above, the minister said. 

Additionally, the government is looking to allocate an additional RM13 million to the police’s Sexual, Women and Children’s Investigations Division (D11). 

Addressing the issue of orphaned children whose parents succumbed to COVID-19, Mr Tengku Zafrul said that RM25 million will be allocated to Yayasan Keluarga Malaysia to ensure their education, welfare and future.  

“The government urges all parties, including NGOs, local communities, local leaders and even corporate companies to play a role to ensure that the welfare of these children continue to be safeguarded so that everyone can live together as one family without separation and build a bright future,” he said. 

  Source link


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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Guidance on Cryptocurrency investments, Digital asset exchanges cintinue to thrive in Malaysia

Representations of cryptocurrencies Bitcoin, Ethereum, DogeCoin, Ripple, Litecoin are placed on PC motherboard in this illustration taken, June 29, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration


 Dr Tan says the forum is meant to assist the public with the best investment strategy

 Guidance on investments

Experts to speak on  Cryptocurrency at online forum on Nov 6

TWO experienced financial professionals will share their thoughts and analyses at the ‘Investment and Cryptocurrency’ online forum on Nov 6, 2021.

One of them is German-born Mustafa Aydemir who is a senior investment analyst at Saturna Fund Management Company.

He is one of the fund managers licensed by the Securities Commission Malaysia.

Besides being familiar with conventional financial investment, he is also good at Islamic financial investment.

Another speaker is Edgar ‘Jobe’ Gasper, the chief operating officer of SINEGY involved in digital asset trading, which is legal and approved by the Securities Commission Malaysia.

He has extensive practical experience in digital transactions, blockchain technology and cryptocurrency mining operations.

Both of them will conduct in-depth sharing of investment knowledge at the online forum organised by the Malaysian Financial Planning Council (MFPC) Penang Chapter from 9.30am to noon.

MFPC Penang Chapter chairman Dr Tan Chuan Hong said the forum was meant to assist the general public and retail investors to ride out the pandemic crisis with the best investment strategy.

Citing a report from the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research, he said the Government had been utilising large-scale borrowing to assist civilians and small medium enterprises as well as boost the economy since the country was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic almost two years ago.

“This has resulted in a rising debt ratio.

“Up to June this year, the debt ratio exceeded the statutory 60%, reaching 61.1%.

“This has created a lot of concern on whether Malaysia can rapidly recover from this economic crisis.

“Can our stock market this year perform like it did last year when it soared by more than 10% again in just two months? Or is it the end of the bear market?

“To make wise investment decisions, investors need time to collect and analyse the information cautiously,” he said.

Dr Tan said that many still needed more proper education about cryptocurrency investment.

He said many Malaysians had been scammed and lost their money due to inaccurate information obtained online.

“Cryptocurrency investment is originally a high-risk and high-return investment tool.

“Therefore, investors who are blinded by greed for high returns often suffered huge losses,” he said.

On the same day, MFPC executive director Chung Kar Yin, Universiti Sains Malaysia School of Management dean Prof Dr Noor Hazlina Ahmad and Tunku Abdul Rahman College Penang Branch Campus head Assoc Prof Dr Toh Guat Guan will also hold a brief sharing session.

Participants have to fill in the online evaluation form after the session to obtain a certificate of participation and 3CPDs.

Those interested can register online for free.

The public registration link is and the MFPC members registration link is

Source link

Digital asset exchanges continue to thrive

 About 300,000 new accounts created to date

KUALA LUMPUR: Despite market uncertainties following the Covid-19 pandemic, about RM16bil worth of digital assets and cryptocurrencies have been traded in Malaysia between October 2019 and September 2021.

Securities Commission (SC) chairman Datuk Syed Zaid Albar said digital asset exchanges in the country would continue to thrive this year, with about 300,000 new accounts created to date.

“Investor participation in alternative and digital platforms continues to be robust. New digital investment management (DIM) entrants have contributed to the segment’s assets under management growth.

“In fact, compared to last year, our eight licensed DIM holders have opened 90% more DIM accounts from January to July this year,” he said at the SCxSC Fintech Conference 2021.

In addition, Syed Zaid said the increased demand for online brokerage services resulted in close to 35% increase in new accounts opened as of July 2021.

Given the positive developments, he expects the industry to maintain the encouraging growth performance this year.

Meanwhile, Syed Zaid disclosed that equity crowdfunding (ECF) and peer-to-peer (P2P) financing platforms have raised about RM1.3bil since April last year, given the funding needs of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

Citing data, he said about RM625mil funds were raised through ECF and P2P in the first half of this year, an increase of 151% and 220%, respectively, from a year ago.

Both platforms attracted young investors, with 60% of participants aged below 35.

Since their inception, 21 ECF and P2P financing platforms have raised about RM2.2bil for nearly 4,000 MSMEs.

Moving forward, the SC said fintech could be the crucial enabler in helping the country to recover as the pandemic had an adverse impact on businesses.

“The SC would seek to drive greater adoption of digital capability to enhance capital formation efficiencies and increase investor participation in the capital market,” added the regulator. 

Source link



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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

A leading cause of disability and fatality

#NASAM #STROKE #StrokeSurvivor National Stroke Association of Malaysia (NASAM)

#NASAM #STROKE #StrokeSurvivor #Caregiver #Physiotherapy #OccupationalTherapy #SpeechTherapy #FAST #REHABILITATION

CONSULTANT neurosurgeon at MSU Medical Centre Prof Dr Badrisyah Idris explains, “There are two types of stroke; ischaemic and haemorrhagic. Occurring in 80% of stroke cases, ischaemic stroke is owed to a narrowing of blood vessels by fat deposits or blood clots disrupting blood supply to the brain. The remaining 20% is owed to ruptured blood vessels caused by uncontrolled high blood pressure or a weakened blood vessel wall. 

“Stroke survivors suffer different deficits according to the affected brain area. They may suffer from memory and emotional disturbances, or be challenged by speech, vision, sensory, or movement difficulties. In a transient ischaemic attack, commonly called a mini stroke, the symptoms hit for only a few minutes or hours and then disappear. Mini strokes happen when blood supply to the brain is interrupted only momentarily, though the chance of getting permanent stroke within 48 hours raises tenfold and the risk remains high within three months.”

He adds, “With increasing age, the likelihood of getting an ischaemic stroke rises with the increased narrowing of the blood vessels. Other factors leading to stroke include smoking, obesity, alcoholism, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and high blood sugar. Lifestyle changes and treatment optimisation may reduce the risk of getting a stroke.”

Recognising an onset of stroke is crucial to reducing deaths and disabilities from delayed stroke treatment. Tools such as ‘‘BE FAST’’ help make an informed society to spot the onset of stroke and act timely. • B – Balancing difficulties
• E – Eye and vision disturbances
• F – Facial weakness
• A – Arm or leg weakness
• S – Speech difficulties
• T – Time to call ambulance

Treatment for ischaemic strokes includes restoring blood flow to the affected area by injecting a bloodthinning medication called alteplase into a vein in the arm to dissolve blood clots inside the brain’s blood vessel.

Another technique called endovascular therapy dissolves blood clot inside the blocked brain vessel by directly injecting alteplase through a small catheter placed inside the affected blood vessel, or removes the blood clot by retrieving it with a special device through a catheter placed inside the affected blood vessel.

For haemorrhagic strokes, the main goal of treatment is to control bleeding and to reduce the increased pressure in the brain. The high blood pressure must be controlled by antihypertensive drugs, and the effect of the bloodthinning medication needs to be reversed to reduce further bleeding. Ruptured blood vessels caused by cerebral aneurysms or arteriovenous malformations need to be treated by surgical intervention or endovascular therapy.

The recovery phase for each patient depends on the extent of disabilities resulting from the stroke. Most stroke patients need to undergo physical therapy to regain limb functions. Some need to undergo speech therapy to be able to speak and understand conversations.

Prevention of stroke involves lifestyle modifications such as controlling one’s high blood pressure and blood sugar level, consuming low-fat diet, fruits, and vegetables, avoiding tobacco use and practising active physical activities such as exercise, jogging, or hiking.

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National Stroke Association of Malaysia (NASAM)


• South East Asia’s first non-profit organisation offering rehabilitation services for stroke survivors

•Founded in 1995 by Janet Yeo after her remarkable recovery from a stroke

> •Advocates ‘There is life after stroke’

•Aims to improve the quality of life of stroke survivors and their families and help reduce the risk of stroke amongst Malaysians through stroke awareness and prevention advocacy

> •Stroke specific rehab focuses on the physical, emotional and social wellbeing of survivors

•Services include physio, occupational and speech therapies, recreational activities, alternative therapy and counselling

•Long term mission to make stroke rehabilitation accessible to as many stroke survivors as possible

•9 clubs in Malaysia – Petaling Jaya, Ampang, Penang, Perak, Malacca, Johor, Kuantan, Sabah, Kedah

•NASAM is a non-profit organisation, depending wholly on the generosity of its supporters and the public

National Stroke Association Of Malaysia (HQ)
12, Jalan Bukit Menteri Selatan 7/2,
46050 Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
contact: 03 - 7956 1876 | fax: 03 - 7931 0087
email: | website:


No. 12, Jalan Bukit Menteri Selatan (7/2), Seksyen 7,
46050 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia.
Tel: +603 7956 4840 | Fax: +603 7931 0087 | Email:


No. 9, Lorong Awan 1, Kuala Ampang,
68000 Ampang, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia.
Tel: +603 4256 1234 | Fax: +603 4251 5360 | Email:


No. 6, Lorong Midlands, George Town,
10250 Pulau Pinang, Malaysia.
Tel: +604 229 8050 | Email:


No. 9, Lorong Pinji, Off Jalan Pasir Puteh, Taman Mayfair,
31560 Ipoh, Perak Darul Ridzuan, Malaysia.
Tel: +605 321 1089 | Fax: +605 322 4759 | Email:


No. 5132-C, Jalan Datuk Palembang, Bukit Baru,
75150 Melaka Darul Azim, Malaysia.
Tel/Fax: +606 231 0177 | Email:


No. 59, Jalan Chendera, Serene Park,
80300 Johor Bahru, Johor Darul Takzim, Malaysia.
Tel: +607 223 0075 | Fax: +607 223 0076 | Email:


No. A2134, Lorong Kubang Buaya 2, Taman Happy,
25250 Kuantan, Pahang Darul Makmur, Malaysia.
Tel/Fax: +609 566 8195 | Email:


Kompleks Badan-Badan Sukarela,
Wisma Pandu Puteri, KM4, Jalan Tuaran,
88400 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.
Tel: +6 088 261 568 | Email:


No. 69, Taman Putra,
Kampung Tunku Putra, 09000 Kulim,
Kedah Darul Aman, Malaysia.
Tel: +604 490 3479 | Email:



Feel the Flow | The Star

For Better Blood Circulation | The Star



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  Better access for stroke patients, and Helping stroke

survivors in a pandemic 



When A Stroke Strikes

Monday, October 25, 2021

Shocking to allow a convicted criminal to travel overseas !


He is barred from contesting in the coming general election, but he is allowed to travel overseas? 

The Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4 Center) is appalled at the news that former Prime Minister Najib Razak has been allowed his passport for travel, especially since he has already been convicted of serious corruption and criminal breaches of trust.

We urge the Attorney General’s Chambers and the prosecution team to explain to the public why there was no objection to Najib’s application for temporary custody of his passport. There are real reasons for concern about flight risk, as he is appealing his conviction, and continues to face more daunting charges in court, all related to 1MDB and its subsidiaries.

He is also appealing an amount of RM1.7bn of fines to be paid to the Inland Revenue Board.

In addition, the 1MDB scandal was again named in the Pandora papers and linked to Russian and Indian frauds, signalling no end to this gargantuan financial heist, of which he is a central figure.

Despite the heavy load of charges and a slew of court dates still before him, and with repeated delays due to Covid, the prosecution did not see fit to object to the application. We ask for an urgent explanation of what constitutes a fair request.

C4 Center asks for the full reasons behind the decision not to object to his application for the return of his passport.

It bears stating again that Jho Low and Nik Faisal, central allies of Najib, are both still at large, and Malaysia cannot afford to give Najib any opportunity to escape, after being charged with multiple counts of money laundering and corruption in such a massive financial heist. We ask again what measures are in place to ensure he does not slip away

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READ MORE: The Najib Razak 1MDB Trial Ep 57: No action taken

As it stands, how is it that Najib, who owes the government such a hefty sum, is allowed to leave the country, while PTPTN (student) loan and income tax defaulters get blacklisted?

While the blacklist for PTPTN loan defaulters has since been overturned, this still represents a gross inequity in treatment. Double standards in the execution of the law will greatly affect the upholding of the rule of law.

Should it really be a case of class and caste, action has to be taken to protect the judiciary against the pulling of strings and offering of favours, to ensure that justice is meted out properly, with the punishment befitting the crime.

We are dealing here with a convicted criminal who is barred from contesting in the coming general election, but he is allowed to travel overseas. Where is the logic in this?

We urge the Ismail Sabri Yaakob government to assure Malaysians that former PM Najib must account for his misdeeds and cannot be given preferential treatment. – C4 Center

\ Thanks for dropping by! The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

Our voluntary writers work hard to keep these articles free for all to read. But we do need funds to support our struggle for Justice, Freedom and Solidarity. To maintain our editorial independence, we do not carry any advertisements; nor do we accept funding from dubious sources. If everyone reading this was to make a donation, our fundraising target for the year would be achieved within a week. So please consider making a donation to Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara, CIMB Bank account number 8004240948.

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Allowing convicted criminal to travel overseas shocking, says C4





Allowing convicted criminal to travel overseas shocking, says C4


Allowing convicted criminal to travel ... -


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Sunday, October 24, 2021

Non-invasive COVID-19 breath test results in 10 minutes

A medical worker takes a swab sample from an elderly man for COVID-19 test at a testing site in Nanjing, east China's Jiangsu Province, July 21, 2021.(Photo: Xinhua)

No swabs – experts develop new screening method with simple breath exhalation

BEIJING: A NEW Chinese developed technology can return novel coronavirus test results within five to 10 minutes with a simple exhalation of breath, eliminating uncomfortable throat or nostril swabs and long waits.

According to a study published recently in the Journal of Breath Research, an academic journal based in the United Kingdom, Chinese scientists and researchers have developed a noninvasive rapid screening test for Covid-19 by analysing breath-borne compounds.

The technology was developed by a team led by Yao Maosheng, a professor at Peking University’s College of Environmental Sciences and Technology, together with colleagues from the centre for disease control and prevention in Beijing’s Chaoyang district.

The research team has applied for a national patent for the new system.

Yao said that because SARS-COV-2 infection causes changes in metabolism, the composition of exhaled breath of Covid-19 patients was different from that of others.

He said that analysis of 12 key organic compounds could discriminate Covid-19 from other subjects with 91% to 100% accuracy.

To take the test, people only have to exhale into a disposable plastic bag for 30 seconds or less. Compared with nucleic acid tests, such screening is cheaper and faster.

“Experiments with recruited subjects have proved that the system is effective,” Yao said. “It’s fast, and sensitive enough.

“Now we need to test more breath samples for the system to go from the experimental stage to clinical application.”

He said their published work involved 74 Covid-19 patients, 30 patients with non-covid-19 respiratory infections and 87 medical workers and healthy people.

Yao said that common nucleic acid tests sometimes report false negatives for confirmed Covid-19 patients, creating dire risks in controlling the spread of the disease. Yao said the noninvasive screening system could save time and overcome the nucleic acid test’s sensitivity problem, particularly in scenarios where rapid screening was desired, for example in hospitals, airplanes, high-level meetings, quarantine hotels and customs entry points.

Scientists and researchers in some other countries, including Japan, Indonesia, Israel, France and the Netherlands, have been working on developing similar technology since last year. But Yao said the research teams in China were the first to report experimental data.

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 Researchers develop quick, noninvasive COVID test - China ...


Chinese scientists create COVID-19 breath test that generates result in 10 minutes

The latest research by a Chinese team could save people from the discomfort of taking a throat or nasal swab for COVID-19 nucleic acid testing, and save time too, as a new test method only requires the patient to exhale into a bag for 30 seconds, with 5-10 minutes needed to finish the analysis.

The Global Times on Wednesday learned from the team leader Yao Maosheng, a professor at the College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at Peking University, that the test is highly accurate, and can differentiate among COVID-19 carriers, healthy people and patients of other respiratory infections.

The study was based on exhalations of 74 COVID-19 patients, 30 patients with other respiratory infections and 87 healthy people. There are 12 s

ignal breath-borne volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from their exhalations, which can be regarded as "fingerprints."

Higher levels of propanol were detected in the exhaled breath of COVID-19 patients and other respiratory infections than healthy subjects, while breath-borne acetone was found to be significantly lower for COVID-19 patients than those with other respiratory infections, Yao said.

Based on the 12 signal VOCs, an algorithm was created, and verification of the algorithm found its accuracy ranges from 91 to 100 percent.

The quick procedure and high accuracy give the new method an edge in comparison with the antigen-based quick testing. Yao told the Global Times the new technology didn't require any reagents and has a lower detection limit for detecting VOC species.

The new method is also cheap, costing 10 yuan ($1.5) in comparison with a nucleic acid test that charges 80 yuan for takers.

The test is capable of identifying a COVID-19 infected person with a false negative throat swab test. Asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic infections can be detected early, the Global Times learned.

The research was co-conducted by the Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control of Peking University and Chaoyang district's Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing.

It can be used in various scenarios, including the Beijing Winter Olympics, Yao said. But the expert noted that as China doesn't have many cases, further data and validation tests may be needed before the technology is applied. 

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Saturday, October 23, 2021

Can the great powers avoid war?

 Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire with Michael Hudson  

The Rise and Fall of Great Powers? America, China, and the Global Order


When the meek are weak, they suffer because they must. But when the strong are insecure, that is when war begins.

AS tensions over the Taiwan Strait mount, everyone needs to think through whether war is inevitable.

Leon Trotsky once said: “You may not be interested in war but war is interested in you.”

And if we slip into war by what World War I historian Barbara Tuchman called the “March of Folly”, can the great powers step back from mutual nuclear annihilation?

When the world’s unipolar power incurred more pandemic deaths (at last count 752,000) and got defeated in Afghanistan by tribal warriors, no one should be surprised to ask whether America (and by extension Western civilisation) is in a decline.

The prestigious US magazine Foreign Affairs devoted three issues this year to: “Can America Recover?”, “Decline and Fall – Can America ever Lead Again?” and “Can China Keep Rising?”

For those reading the endless barrage of invectives against America’s rivals, it certainly feels like the Cold War has returned with a vengeance.

However, for Greta Thunberg and fellow climate activists, surely the world leaders’ priority is to work together to address our looming climate disaster.

Why are alphas fighting in a burning planet? Shouldn’t we call “time out” to see how to address collectively the urgent and existential issues of human and planetary distress?

Next month, the World Economic Forum is meeting in Dubai with an agenda to move from a Great Reset to a Grand Narrative Initiative “to shape the contours of a more prosperous and inclusive future for humanity that is also more respectful of nature.”

Grand Narrative may sound like a media story but the reality is that the masses are unlikely to buy an elite-driven dream until they are part of the conversation.

Take Harvard historian Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilisations” narrative. Written in 1996, Huntington seemed prescient in predicting the clash between Western civilisation and the rest, namely, Sinic, Japanese, Hindu, Islamic and Latin American.

He asked poignantly: “The central theme for the West is whether, quite apart from our external challenges, it is capable of stopping and reversing the internal process of decay. Can the West renew itself or will sustained internal rot simply accelerate its end and/or subordination to other economically and demographically more dynamic civilisations?”

Huntington basically reflected the worry of British historian Arnold Toynbee (18891975) that since civilisations are born out of primitive societies, the key is whether the elites can respond effectively to new challenges, internal or external.

Toynbee saw clearer than other Western historians like Gibbon (Decline and Fall of Roman Empire) that collapses are not necessarily due to barbarian invasions but whether the ruling elite can overcome their own greed or interests to address the new challenges.

In pure economic, financial, technology and military terms, few question that the West remains superior in almost all aspects, except in population numbers.

According to the Maddison projections of population and GDP, the rich countries (essentially Western Europe, plus Western offshoots (the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) and Japan would be 947 million people and 36.3% of world GDP by 2030, whereas Asia (China, India and other parts of Asia) would have a population of 4.7 billion and 49.6% of GDP.

This reverses the 2003 position when the West (including Japan) accounted for half of world GDP, compared with one-third for Asia.

The dramatic reversal is due to the rise of China, India and the rest of Asia to higher-middle-income levels by 2030, mainly through trade and catch-up in technology.

In the coming decades, roughly one billion rich West must contend with the rising powers of China (1.4 billion), India (1.3 billion) and Islamic countries (1+ billion), which have cultures and ideologies very different from the West.

If the planet heats up as expected, expect more Latin Americans, Africans and Middle East poor arriving on the West’s borders to migrate.

At the same time, with the American demonisation of Russia and China pushing them closer together, the United States is confronting at least three fronts (including the Middle East) amid a fractious domestic arena, where political polarisation prevents policy cohesion and continuity.

This current situation reminds Islamic countries following their great historian Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406 AD) of the cycle of dynastic and empires that Islam went through.

When the social cohesion or bonds (asabiya) is strong, there is state legitimacy and empires rise. When it is weak, dynasties fall and empires are lost.

After the Jan 6, 2020 insurrection in Washington DC, many are inclined to believe that fratricidal tribalism is happening now inside America.

Similarly, Chinese macro-historians Sima Qian (Records of the Grand Historian, 146-86 BC) and Sima Guang (Comprehensive Mirror for Governance, 1019-1086 AD) also recorded that empires fall not so much from external invasion but internal decay.

In Yale, historian (Rise and Fall of Great Powers) Paul Kennedy’s terminology has the United States arrived at the point of “imperial over-reach”, when the country’s global ambitions and responsibilities exceed its financial and industrial capacity.

After all, the US government debt has reached as high as the end of World War II level without even starting World War III.

But all historians know that rise, decline or fall is never pre-ordained. The past is not a scientific linear predictor of the future. The unipolar order has weakened, without any grand bargain between the great powers on what the new order should even begin to look like.

Any grand bargain requires the incumbent hegemon to admit that there are equals and peers in power that want the rules of the game reset from the old order.

This does not mean that anyone will replace the United States soon because everyone wants to buy time to set their own house in order after the pandemic.

In short, before any Grand Narrative, we need a whole series of conversations with all sides, from the weakest to the most powerful, on what individually and collectively the post-pandemic order should look like.

There can never be one Grand Narrative by the elites until there are enough dialogues between the many.

When the meek are weak, they suffer because they must. But when the strong are insecure, that is when war begins.

By ANDREW SHENG. Andrew Sheng writes on global issues from an Asian perspective. The views expressed here are the writer’s own.

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