SEPANG: Malaysia Airlines is reinstating some of its international flights from April to May for those who were not able to return to their loved ones due to travel restrictions in many parts of the world.
The national carrier’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Captain Izham Ismail said many customers from Malaysians to foreigners had reached out to their global offices requesting for flights mostly between Kuala Lumpur and Australia, KL - New Zealand as well KL - London.
“Being a network carrier, Malaysia Airlines is able to maintain connectivity and bring our customers direct or closest to their intended destination. And being Malaysia’s national carrier, it is our duty to ensure accessibility for Malaysia domestically and internationally during these difficult times,” he said in a statement, here, today.
Izham said since the enactment of the Movement Control Order (MCO) in Malaysia, Malaysia Airlines has had to reduce the frequency of its domestic flights.
It is running at minimum mostly to facilitate essential travels and cargo movement.
“Together with our sister airlines under the Malaysia Aviation Group, we support the Health Ministry (MoH) with dedicated belly space across our domestic and international network and on MABkargo's global freighter network for the transport of medical devices and supplies.
“Most recently we transported two tonnes of face masks and personal protection equipment from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu as well as 300,000 pieces of disposable masks, 50,000 pieces of protection suit and 8000 pieces of protection suit with eye mask courtesy of the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation from Shanghai to Kuala Lumpur," added Izham.
He said that in the next few days, MABkargo will be flying in more than 10 million pieces of masks and ventilators from Shanghai and Guangzhou.
This is made possible by the National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA), the Transport Ministry and, Pharmaniaga Berhad, he informed.
He added that domestically, Malaysia Airlines, Firefly and MASwings will facilitate movement of goods as well as medical staff across Peninsular Malaysia, crossing between the peninsula to Sabah and Sarawak, as well as within the two East Malaysian states.
“The three airlines have also positioned standby aircraft at Subang Airport, KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) and KKIA (Kota Kinabalu International Airport) to initiate rapid mobilisation of medical staff and professionals as well as other (non-Covid-19) patients to support MoH's capacity/resource management efforts across Malaysia."
Meanwhile, on the reinstated flights, it is as follows:
Kuala Lumpur - Auckland (MH145) - departure dates on April 3, 5, 10, 12,19, 26 as well as on May 3, 10,17. The returning Auckland - Kuala Lumpur (MH144) flight will take place on April 4, 6, 11, 13, 20, 27 as well as May 4, 11, 18.
Bookings on the Malaysia Airlines website for the flights will open from March 31, onwards.
Kuala Lumpur - Melbourne (MH149) - departure dates: April 1, 4, 8, 11, 15, 22, 29 and May 6, 7, 13, 14. The returning Melbourne - Kuala Lumpur (MH148) flight will take-off on April 2, 5, 9, 12, 16, 23, 30.
Kuala Lumpur - Sydney (MH123) - departure dates: April 2, 7, 9, 14, 16, 21, 28 as well as on May 5, 6,12, 13. The returning Sydney - Kuala Lumpur (MH122) flight will take-off on April 3, 8, 10, 15, 17, 22 ,29.
The third Australian destination will see the Kuala Lumpur – Perth flight MH 126 depart on April 6, 13, 20, 27 and on May 4, 11, whereas the Perth - Kuala Lumpur returning flight MH127 will depart on April 7, 14, 21, 28 and May 5, 12.
The Kuala Lumpur - Melbourne and Kuala Lumpur - Sydney as well as the return flights from the two Australian destinations on April 1, 2 and 3 are bookable from March 30, with the rest of the flights bookable from March 31 onwards.
The Indonesia sector will see the Kuala Lumpur - Jakarta flight MH720 depart on April - 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 and May 7, 14, whereas the Jakarta - Kuala Lumpu
r returning MH721 flight will take place on April 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 and May 7, 14.
The China sector will see the Kuala Lumpur - Guangzhou flight MH376 depart on April 6, 13, 20, 27, and May 4, 11, with the returning Guangzhou - Kuala Lumpur flight MH37, taking-off on April 6, 13, 20, 27 and May 4, 11.
The Jakarta and Guangzhou flights are available for booking on the Malaysia Airlines website from March 30, onwards.
Passengers looking for flights to return home on Malaysia Airlines may book their tickets on Malaysia Airlines’ official website at https://www.malaysiaairlines.com/my/en.html or via the Malaysia Airlines’ app with some departure dates available for booking from 30 March onwards.
Source: New Straits Time
PUTRAJAYA: The government has decided to extend the movement control order (MCO) for another two weeks until April 14, says the Prime Minister.
Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said he was given a briefing by the National Security Council and Health Ministry and the trend showed new Covid-19 positive cases had spiked.
"The trend is expected to continue for a while before we can see the number of new cases reported decline.
"The government is of the opinion that the movement control order should continue.
"In line with this, the government have decided to extend the MCO until April 14. I am informing you on the extension earlier so that the people can be prepared," he said
Muhyiddin said it was important to stop Covid-19 infections and the strategy can be a success if the people are not exposed to the virus through daily interactions.
As at noon Wednesday, 172 new Covid-19 positive cases were reported, bringing the cumulative cases to 1,796.
The Prime Minister noted that in the past week alone, 673 new cases were reported.
"The public must be.mentally and physically prepared to stay at home for a reasonably longer period of time," he said.
The Prime Minister said those who had left for their respective hometowns need not rush back to Kuala Lumpur or other cities at the end of this week.
Students who are scheduled to return to hostels also need not do so and offices that are closed need not resume operation.
"Please stay calm and don't panic. Even though we have extended the movement control order (MCO), you don't have to unnecessarily stock up on food because the supply is sufficient. I assure you that there is enough food for everybody.
"I know you feel burdened but I don't have a choice. I have to extend the MCO for your own safety," he said.
Source: The Star
Australia’s parliament convenes Monday for a special sitting to pass stimulus measures to support the economy, including an additional A$66 billion ($38.2 billion) package aimed at averting recession and saving jobs.
A reduced number of lawmakers are meeting from 10 a.m. in Canberra, with the stimulus plans the only legislation on the agenda. The opposition Labor party has signaled its support, meaning they should become law this week.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday announced details of his government’s second package in a month, including payments of as much as A$100,000 to small businesses and charities totaling A$25.2 billion.
The government will also partially guarantee loans to support A$40 billion in lending to small and medium-sized firms. Unemployment benefits will double and the worst-hit workers will be allowed to access pension savings early.
The new measures dwarf an initial A$17.6 billion stimulus package announced on March 12. As the crisis continues and the economic impact becomes clearer, the government also expects to announce a third fiscal injection as Australia’s economy spirals toward its first recession since 1991.
“There will be more packages, there will be more support,” Morrison said at a press conference at the parliament. “We’ll be supercharging our safety net, we’ll be supporting our most vulnerable.”
All told -- including support for the banking system from Australia’s central bank -- some A$189 billion is being injected into the domestic economy in an unprecedented release of funds to get through the crisis. That’s the equivalent of about 10% of Australia’s gross domestic product.
Preparing the country for at least six months of hardship, Morrison said all non-essential travel in Australia should now be canceled. He urged the country to heed social-distancing advice and warned “more draconian” restrictions were on the way.
“The next few months are going to be a difficult journey,” Morrison said. “But we all have a role to play to adapt to the changes we’re facing, to cushion the impact of what is happening and to pull together so we can bounce back when we get to the other side.”
The Reserve Bank of Australia cut interest rates to a record 0.25% on Thursday and will aim to keep three-year government bond yields at the same level. The central bank has also announced a term funding facility of at least A$90 billion for the banking system to support business credit. In a complementary program, the government is investing up to A$15 billion to help smaller lenders support consumers and businesses.
The new package announced Sunday will be available to businesses with revenue under A$50 million and also some not-for-profit charities. Firms will get 100% of the tax they withhold from their employees’ salary and wages, with a minimum payment of A$20,000 and maximum support of A$100,000.
The government will also guarantee 50% of loans taken out by firms affected by the outbreak, to be used for working capital.
For the next six months, those eligible to receive income support will receive an extra A$550 each fortnight, on top of their normal payment. The early release of pension savings will put as much as A$27 billion back into the pockets of working Australians.
Morrison, who has described the coronavirus as a “once in a 100-year type of event,” closed the nation’s borders to non-residents on Friday and has banned indoor gatherings of more than 100 people.
Cases of coronavirus in Australia reached 1,098 as of 6.30 a.m. on March 22, up 224 from a day earlier.
After it adjourns this week, when parliament will sit again isn’t clear. On Friday, Morrison announced that the annual budget, originally due on May 12, is now scheduled for Oct. 6.
KUALA LUMPUR: The government has imposed a 14-day Movement Control Order from March 18 to 31 nationwide to curb the spread of the Covid-19 infection in Malaysia.
The Movement Control Order is imposed under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and well as the Police Act 1967, which cover a range of activities.
Speaking to the nation in a special address on Monday night, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the order will entail a ban on all mass gatherings for religious, sport, social and cultural activities.
In addition, all houses of worship and business premises will be closed, with the exception of supermarkets, public markets, and sundry and convenience shops which sell daily essentials.
Muhyiddin said for Muslims, all mosque and surau activities – including Friday prayers – will be suspended in accordance with a decision made by the Muzakarah Committee of the National Council for Islamic Religious Affairs on Sunday.
All Malaysians will also be banned from travelling overseas during this 14-day period; while those recently returned from abroad must undergo health checks and self-quarantine for 14 days.
All foreign tourists will be banned from entering the country during this time.
Muhyiddin also announced the closure of all pre-schools, government and private schools including daily schools, residential schools, international schools, tahfiz centres and other primary, secondary and pre-university institutions.
All public and private institutions of higher learning and skills training institutions nationwide will also be shuttered for 14 days.
Muhyiddin added that all government and private sector premises will cease operating, with the exception of premises involved in the provision of essential services such as water, electricity, energy, telecommunications, post, transportation, irrigation, oil, gas, fuel and lubricants, broadcasting, finances, banking, health, pharmacies, fire and rescue, prisons, ports, airports, security, defence, public cleansing, retail and food supply.
“I realise that you, my brothers and sisters, may feel that this decision will make it difficult for you to go about your daily lives.
“But this move is necessary to prevent the spread of Covid-19 which could claim the lives of Malaysians, as it has thousands of people in other countries.
“Drastic action should be taken immediately to prevent the spread of the disease by limiting the movement of the public. This is the only way we can prevent more people from being infected by the outbreaks that can destroy lives.
“I hope all of you can endure this challenge. Don't panic, don't worry, and stay calm. I believe that with this, we will be able to block the spread of this outbreak in the near future,” Muhyiddin said.
Rumours of an imminent lockdown saw Malaysians engage in panic-buying nationwide today, leaving supermarket shelves bare of everything from toilet paper to canned goods.
Source: New Straits Times
Australia unveiled a A$17.6 billion ($11.4 billion) fiscal stimulus package geared toward the second quarter as it tries to buttress the economy from the coronavirus outbreak that threatens to end an almost 30-year recession-free run.
The program announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison Thursday includes A$1.3 billion to safeguard the jobs of 120,000 apprentices and one-off cash payments to welfare recipients and lower-income households. The government will also spend A$6.7 billion to support the cash flow of small- and medium-sized firms to allow them to keep paying wages during the expected downturn.
Morrison also announced the government will expand a tax write-off program with an additional A$700 million over four years to help businesses invest in new equipment.
“This plan is about keeping Australians in jobs,” he told reporters in the courtyard outside his Parliament House office in Canberra. “This plan is about ensuring the Australian economy bounces back stronger on the other side and the budget bounces back with it.”
The announcement sets up a fiscal-monetary injection for the economy after the Reserve Bank cut interest rates last week and is expected to do so again next month. Morrison joins international counterparts in opening the fiscal spigots to fight the economic impact of the coronavirus that shut down China and has since spread to other nations.
More than $84 billion in worldwide budget support has already been pledged or is under consideration, with governments adopting a mix of cash handouts, tax breaks and transfers.
Announced stimulus measures include:
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said modeling showed that A$11 billion of the package to be delivered by June 30 could add up to 1.5% to second-quarter growth. With the first quarter almost a write-off from the dual hit of wildfires and the coronavirus, the government is trying to avoid a second-straight quarterly contraction that would result in the first recession since 1991.
But Frydenberg acknowledged it was unclear how the virus would evolve.
Morrison estimated the package at 1.2% of gross domestic product. It follows the central bank’s March 3 cut that kicked off easing by counterparts including the Federal Reserve, Bank of Canada and Bank of England.
The coronavirus has slammed Australia’s tourism and education sectors, which are expected to cut 0.5 percentage point from GDP in the first quarter. Government revenue is set to slide as firms’ profits plummet and commodity prices decline.
The economic hit comes on top of a summer of devastating wildfires that were already expected to crimp growth.
Markets have been volatile in recent weeks as investors try to price the risk of the economic fallout. Australia’s benchmark stock index fell as much 5.8% at 1p.m. Sydney time Thursday, slumping deeper into a bear market.
Australia had 112 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Wednesday morning local time; actor Tom Hanks, who is in the nation to work on a movie, on Thursday revealed he and his wife had tested positive for the virus.
Morrison announced Wednesday that his government will open as many as 100 pop-up clinics to test for the virus as part of a $1.6 billion health package. Worldwide, more than 124,000 people are infected and fatalities stand at more then 4,600.
The stimulus package suggests the government is all but certain to fail to return the budget to its promised surplus. Morrison said the measures don’t extend beyond June 30 next year as he tries to avoid the “fiscal hangover” that dogged Australia’s response to the 2008-09 crisis.
The then-Labor government won international plaudits for its fiscal response that included cash payments to households and programs to improve infrastructure at schools and insulation of housing. But the rushed nature of the response resulted in elements being bungled, including checks being sent to dead people, and the budget was thrown into deficit for years.
S&P Global Ratings said Wednesday Australia’s AAA rating will remain intact despite the fiscal slippage, while joining Bloomberg Economics in forecasting the economy would nonetheless fall into a recession.
Morrison’s reputation was tarnished during summer wildfires that engulfed the nation’s east coast amid heavy criticism of his performance, and his Liberal-National coalition government now trails the main opposition Labor party in opinion polls.
The stimulus announced Thursday may help win back the electorate’s trust.
KUANTAN: Lynas Corporation’s Malaysian operation has received a new three-year operating licence until early March 2023. The rare earth materials producer said the licence is subject to several key conditions, which it expects to be able to satisfy. Among the conditions, Lynas is to begin the process of developing the permanent disposal facility (PDF) within the first year from the date of the licence approval. Lynas is also required to submit a work development plan for the construction of the PDF and report on its development status as determined by the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB). The company said in a statement that it would ensure the cracking and leaching plant outside Malaysia is in operation before July 2023. After that period, Lynas would no longer be allowed to import raw materials containing naturally-occurring radioactive material into Malaysia, said the statement yesterday. In the meantime, the holding of the financial deposit would be maintained for compliance with the licence conditions. Lynas stated that it deposited a total of US$50mil (RM210mil) in cash and bank guarantees with AELB and would seek access to the money to partially pay for the PDF project.Lynas Corporation CEO and managing director Amanda Lacaze thanked AELB for its decision to renew the operating licence. “This follows Lynas Malaysia’s satisfaction of the licence renewal conditions that were announced on Aug 16, 2019. We reaffirm the company’s commitment to our people, 97% of whom are Malaysians, and to contributing to Malaysia’s Shared Prosperity Vision 2030. “Over the past eight years, we have demonstrated that our operations are safe and that we are an excellent foreign direct investor. We have created over 1,000 direct jobs, 90% of which are skilled or semi-skilled, and we spend over RM600mil in the local economy each year,” said Lacaze in the statement. She also confirmed Lynas’ commitment to develop its cracking and leaching facility in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. “We thank the Australian government, the government of Japan, the government of Western Australia and the city of Kalgoorlie Boulder for their ongoing support of our Kalgoorlie project,” said Lacaze. Meanwhile, Save Malaysia, Stop Lynas chairman Tan Bun Teet questioned whether all conditions and procedures had been fulfilled before the issuance of the licence by AELB. “Has the Department of Environment consulted with AELB on Lynas’ proposed site for its PDF? Is there a technical committee set up to scrutinise the plan? When can the public view and comment on the detailed environment impact assessment?” he asked. “And yet the licence has been renewed before all these are put in order. Isn’t AELB jumping the gun?” Tan called for transparency, saying that AELB must have solid grounds for renewing the operating licence and not base it on Lynas’ submission of documents and its claims of expert studies.
KUALA LUMPUR: MDEC has set up a new division called Global Growth Acceleration (GGA) to help boost high-potential Malaysian-headquartered tech companies to skyrocket on the global stage.
The new division will spearhead the Global Acceleration and Innovation Network (GAIN) programme (https://gainconnex.com.my) that was launched by MDEC in 2015 to render business-growth interventions to local tech scale-ups, spanning the sectors of cloud, big data, artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), e-commerce, blockchain, cyber security, drone technology, robotics, finance, fintech, etc.
“In a short time span, the GAIN Programme has achieved exceptional results, yielding a cumulative export revenue of over RM4 billion. We have also witnessed an upward trend of Malaysian tech companies expanding exponentially into the region. These success stories must be amplified without reservations,” said MDEC's CEO, Surina Shukri.
She said that Malaysia is increasingly recognised as the destination of choice for digital initiatives in Asean, and the country has been actively rolling out business-friendly initiatives and policies to encourage higher foreign direct investment.
“The Malaysian government has laid a strong foundation for stable and sustainable economic growth. The time is ripe for tech entrepreneurs around the world to capitalise on Malaysia’s potential as the Heart of Digital Asean,” she said.
On hand to brief representatives from Malaysia’s leading tech companies was MDEC's vice president of GGA, Gopi Ganesalingam, who shared the refreshed mandate of the new division and key initiatives for the year.
“Beginning 2020, the GAIN programme will be embracing prolific tech startups to leverage on the tried and tested growth-intervention strategies that we have been deploying for tech scale-ups. This will allow MDEC to provide clear end-to-end expansion support for Malaysian tech companies at all growth stages,” said Gopi.
Asean is on track to become the world’s fourth-largest economy by 2030 and the Economic Research Institute for Asean and East Asia projects that Asean’s digital economy is expected to expand 6.4 times from US$31 billion (RM130 billion) in 2015 to US$197 billion by 2025.
“As Asean’s digital economy is increasingly driven by younger tech-savvy entrepreneurs, we welcome companies to leverage on our eight tech ecosystems in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan, Australia and United Arab Emirates. With over 200 strategic partners consisting government and trade agencies, investors, business associations, resellers, end customers and regional media, the GAIN Programme has positioned itself as a credible business growth enabler that has united the digital Asean landscape,” said Gopi.
The success of the GAIN Programme is attributed to MDEC’s year-round growth intervention initiatives, grounded on four unique pillars:
• Gateway (curated market access and business matching events at regional and international levels);
• Amplify (high-impact visibility initiatives to elevate the credibility of GAIN companies);
• Invest (facilitation of funding discussions with venture capitalists, private equity and other funding avenues);
• Nurture (involvement in professional development with influential mentors and aspiring mentees).
Also present at the GGA Kick-off 2020 were founders of three prominent Malaysian tech companies - Forest Interactive, Innovate2U and Softspace.
Today, many mature GAIN companies are adopting the ‘pay-it-forward’ approach by mentoring younger tech companies in specific aspects of business, similar to the culture practised at Silicon Valley in the US.
Source: New Straits time
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) together with its sister companies under the Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG) pledged to contribute RM1 from its ticket sales to support relief and recovery efforts for those affected by bushfires in Australia.
MAS said it will contribute RM1 from ticket sales of each passenger flown by the airline for the month of January 2020.
“The airline is also working with the National Disaster Relief Management Agency (NADMA) Malaysia to fly in volunteers if required by the Australian government,” it said.
MAG group chief executive officer Captain Izham Ismail said he is concerned on the escalating bush fire that has ravaged many parts of Australia, forcing several areas to be declared state of emergency.
“Malaysia Airlines is a global company that operates in 20 countries around the world. Australia has always been close to our hearts, having had one of our earliest cadet pilot and engineer training there.
“The Australian government has also provided us various forms of assistance during our time of difficulty.
“Our employees in Australia and their families are saddened by the situation and our other employees globally who share their sorrow, have been asking how they can help to ease the situation,” Izham said.
He said due to the severity of the situation, MAS have decided to make a monetary contribution in addition to supporting NADMA in their aid on behalf of the country.
“It has been reported that the fires have generated violent weather, which can influence regional and global climate.
We are committed to not just limit our assistance in the form of monetary, but we have also initiated discussions with various organisations that can offer skills and expertise in the recovery of the ecosystems,” he said.
MAS said the airline has been in touch with the Australian High Commission in Malaysia to channel the proceeds towards wildlife protection, the firefighter benevolent fund and Red Cross, the major organisation managing the affected people.
“We pray that the situation can be contained very soon. We sincerely hope that our contribution will help ease some of the burden of the Australian people. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and the families of those who perished in the fires,” added Izham.
Malaysia Airlines flies to five cities in Australia (Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth) and operates 53 flights a week to the country.
Source : New Straits Times
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 6 — International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Darell Leiking today expressed his sympathy to Australia for the devastating bushfire incidents that are ravaging the southeast part of the country.
Darell said Malaysia recognises that global climate change has brought about effects that have resulted in increased frequency, magnitude and scope of natural disasters like wildfires, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.
“Every economy has now become vulnerable to this threat and we must, therefore, be prepared in managing the situation individually as an economy and collectively as a region.
“These natural disasters present great challenges to our global supply chain, affect people’s health and mobility as well as threaten the lives of animals and endangered species,” he said in a statement today.
As the host of Apec 2020, Darell said Malaysia stands by Australia in support of its efforts to fight the wildfires and Malaysians pray that the situation will return to normalcy soon.
“We also call on all Apec member economies to come together in support of similar efforts to better mitigate, respond to and recover from emergencies and natural disasters across our region,” he added.
Source : The Malay Mail
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 5 -- Malaysia stands ready to extend necessary assistance to Australia in its ongoing bushfire crisis, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
She said this includes the deployment of National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) personnel, the Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART) and assets to help put out the fires and to support rescue operations in Australia.
“I am deeply saddened to learn about the massive bushfires that have caused the loss of lives and extensive damage in Australia.
“On behalf of the government of Malaysia, I would like to express my deepest condolences to the victims, their families and all those affected. Our prayers are with the people of Australia during this difficult period,” she said in her official Facebook account today.
According to media reports, a total of 24 people have been killed and almost 2,000 homes destroyed in the bushfires that have ravaged three Australian states, burning about five million hectares of land.
Meanwhile, in a statement, Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said Malaysia stands in solidarity with Australia as firefighting teams and emergency services personnel work tirelessly around the clock to battle the blazes.
“This crisis has underscored the devastating impact of climate change globally. Therefore, steadfast commitment towards implementing sustainable policies and collective action by all countries is needed to arrest this trend and prevent it from getting progressively worse.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all who have been affected,” he said.
Source : Bernama
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