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Bridging online, offline retailing

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DUE to the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdowns in 2020, retail businesses had to scramble to go online in order to regain sales and survive, while work-from-home workers adapted to shopping online.
Lazada Malaysia chief marketing officer Diana Boo noted that the online shopping platform saw a 300% increase in new sellers on-board last year, via its Pakej Kedai Pintar stimulus plan which aimed to assist local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to sell online.
“The overall digital economy has grown. We’re not the only e-commerce platform. There are many small businesses that have gone online. And even after the movement control order (MCO) was lifted, consumers continue to stay online, ” said Boo at the Smart Retail: Powering Nation’s Digital Economy two-day live virtual conference, held at end-March.

Online cookie businesses are huge pandemic hits

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Online cookie businesses have been wildly popular during the Covid-19 pandemic and the trend shows so signs of abating anytime soon.

Covid-19: EMCO in Sarikei, Mukah, Kinabatangan from April 3-16

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PETALING JAYA: An enhanced movement control order will be enforced in Sarikei and Mukah in Sarawak and Kinabatangan in Sabah from midnight on Saturday (April 3) to April 16, says Senior Minister (Defence) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
He said the enhanced MCO at the Sungai Tenegang factory quarters in Kinabatangan was enforced after 33 people were found positive out of 290 Covid-19 screening tests.
Ismail Sabri said the Health Ministry had advised the government to enforce the enhanced MCO after a risk assessment was carried out by several agencies.
He added that an enhanced MCO was enforced in Kampung Baji in Sarikei after 20 cases were detected recently.

Istana Budaya all set to roll out its 2021 season

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For its 2021 season, Istana Budaya has a total of 24 performances lined up until November. Photo: Bernama
After having its 2020 season disrupted due to the pandemic, Istana Budaya is all set to welcome back live audiences with its 2021 programme.
The performing arts venue’s new season was launched recently at the Panggung Sari hall, with Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri in attendance.
Istana Budaya was forced to postpone or cancel 32 shows since March last year, including several big shows such as
Sleeping Beauty By St Petersburg Theatre Russian Ballet,
Puteri Gunung Ledang The Musical and
Matilda The Musical.

Higher profits from recovery path

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PETALING JAYA: As the country marks a year into the movement control order (MCO) that was first imposed in March 2020, corporate Malaysia has to an extent rebounded from the lows seen a year ago.
Earnings are picking up once again and some companies – apart from glove makers and semiconductor players – have posted a better bottomline than their pre-Covid-19 levels.
Based on data compiled by MIDF Research, the aggregate normalised net profit of FBM KLCI’s 30 constituents has hit RM15.38bil in the fourth quarter of 2020, marking a 21.6% year-on-year (y-o-y) increase from RM12.65bil in the fourth quarter of 2019.
While the biggest contribution of earnings came from the glove makers in the index, it is noteworthy that the quarterly earnings of FBM KLCI constituents in five other sectors were also higher than pre-pandemic levels.

March 18, 2020 and beyond: One year with Covid-19 and life under lockdown in Malaysia | Malaysia

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Thursday, 18 Mar 2021 06:19 AM MYT
A man is seen at the balcony of his apartment in Kuala Lumpur as people adhere to the MCO, April 4, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
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KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 — A year has passed since Malaysia first went into a partial lockdown after the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
This saw the public forced into complying with numerous unprecedented measures introduced by the government to contain the virus’ spread.
Here is a recap of some of the ups and downs that the nation has survived.

Give your mental health a natural boost during the pandemic

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The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating psychological effect across the world.
In particular, there has been an increase in feelings of overwhelming fear, stress and anxiety, as well as experiences of physical and social isolation.
The outcome of loneliness has partially been due to public health mandates, such as the movement control order in Malaysia.
While the various restrictions implemented throughout the MCO are necessary to reduce the spread of Covid-19, the general happiness of the population could be badly affected.
Our research has suggested that getting out of the house, switching off devices and spending less time in front of a screen, could improve happiness levels during such restrictions.

Covid-19: With 28 clusters in state, Negri folk reminded to stay vigilant

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SEREMBAN: With 28 active clusters in the state, the people of Negri Sembilan have been urged to continue adhering to standard operating procedures (SOPs) to check the spread of Covid-19.
In commending the authorities and frontliners for a job well done during the movement control order, Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Aminuddin Harun said the public cannot afford to take the pandemic lightly.
“Although the government has got the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme going, we must continue to adhere to all SOPs.
“The past year has been a very challenging one especially for the frontliners and we need to play our part to break the chain (of infection), ” he said in a social media post on Thursday (March 18).

Dr Noor Hisham receives 'Ibn Khaldun Merit Award' on behalf of frontliners

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PUTRAJAYA: Exactly a year since the first movement control order was imposed in the country due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Malaysia’s frontliners have been awarded the “Ibn Khaldun Merit Award” by International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) for their services.
Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah, who is the chancellor of IIUM, presented the award to Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah who received it on behalf of all health and security frontliners in the country.
“I humbly accept this Ibn Khaldun Merit Award for Global Social Transformation, on behalf of all the medical and security agencies, who have shouldered the responsibility as frontliners, in recognition of their contributions and valiant efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic situation, ” said Dr Noor Hisham in a Facebook post.

Interstate travel still a no-go

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PUTRAJAYA: No interstate travel is allowed despite more areas enjoying Covid-19 green zone status, with Kedah, Perak and Negri Sembilan set to join six states under the recovery movement control order (MCO).
With the exception of a travel bubble that has been allowed between recovery MCO areas, cross-border movement between recovery MCO states and conditional MCO states, between MCO areas, and inter-district travel in Sabah and Sarawak is still not allowed yet.
Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (
pic), who announced this, said Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Johor, Penang, Kelantan and Sarawak remain under a conditional MCO as the number of new cases remains high and most of the districts in these states are categorised as either red or amber.

Govt to clarify liable offences

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Fair warning: Food court operator Sam Thong putting up the RM10,000 fine poster on the wall near her stall. — LOW BOON TAT/The Star
PETALING JAYA: Acknowledging the many complaints from the ground, including businesses which have been slapped with a higher compound, the Covid-19 Emergency Management Technical Committee is still holding discussions over the matter, says Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan.
The government is working to categorise which offences are liable for a RM10,000 and RM50,000 compound for violation of the movement control order, and a mechanism to reduce those fines.

Cheng Beng rituals allowed with strict SOPs | Malaysia

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Tuesday, 16 Mar 2021 11:32 PM MYT
File picture shows people visiting the cemetery to burn prayer papers and place food in front of the family’s graveyard as a sign of respect in conjunction with the Qing Ming festival, March 31, 2019, in George Town. — Bernama pic
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PUTRAJAYA, March 16 — The standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the Cheng Beng or Qing Ming festival at cemeteries and columbariums that will be celebrated by the Chinese community on April 4 was approved today.
The National Unity Ministry (KPN), said in a statement today, that the SOPs will apply 14 days before the actual festival date, which is March 20 to April 4, and 14 days after, from April 5 to 18, throughout the duration of the Movement Control Order (MCO), Conditional MCO (CMCO) and Recovery MCO (RMCO).

No more guesswork: Find out fine amounts for various MCO offences

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PETALING JAYA: The list of Covid-19 standard operating procedure (SOP) offences and the fines for flouting them has been finalised by the authorities and will be available online soon, says Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan.
The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) detailed the offences and their examples that were subject to the maximum RM10,000 compound under the Emergency (Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases) (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 (Act 342).
“The government has decided that the offences under Act 342 are classified into three categories, ” he said in a press conference.
The press conference was held jointly with Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba at the Health Ministry headquarters on Wednesday (March 17).

IGP: Emergency is to control Covid-19 pandemic, not 'apple-polish' politicians

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SHAH ALAM: The Emergency is needed to curb the spread of Covid-19 and not for any other purpose, says Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador.
The Inspector-General of Police said the police, together with the Armed Forces and the Health Ministry, agreed over the need for the Emergency.
"There was a spike in Covid-19 cases during the recovery movement control order (MCO) last year after interstate travel was allowed.
"We told the government that there were repeat SOP violators and fake news was being spread, thus we needed more power (for enforcement).
"There is no intention of 'apple-polishing' politicians as we are sincere and express our concerns based on facts," he said in an interview with Tan Sri Johan Jaafar on Sinar Harian's Facebook live show on Wednesday (March 17).

PM: No blanket MCO needed if targeted approach used to control Covid-19

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PUTRAJAYA: The government will implement a more targeted approach to control Covid-19 infectivity based on data and science and may not have to enforce the movement control order any more, says Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
This is among the initiatives to be put in place in the battle against Covid-19 under the People and Economic Strategic Empowerment Programme (Pemerkasa).
Muhyiddin said this approach would lessen the negative impact on the economy caused by a lockdown.
He said instead of enforcing the MCO nationwide or on a state, it could be done based on affected localities or specific clusters instead.

Eateries enjoying brisk business

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Effects from the relaxation were immediately felt with more dine-ins and reservations.
However, there were now some concerns over the RM10,000 fine on those who violated the standard operating procedure.
The Pan Malaysia Koo Soo Restaurants & Chefs Association vice-president Datuk Ringo Kaw said eateries in the Klang Valley were seeing positive increase in patronage, especially during weekends.
“Although interstate travel is still not allowed, people are utilising the opportunity to gather with their loved ones.
“Many are also making plans to see their family before Ramadan begins next month. This is a good sign and we hope things will improve further, ” he said.

More Malaysians opt for spontaneous and last-minute holidays amid Covid-19

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More Malaysians are opting for last-minute holidays during this uncertain time. — RONNIE CHIN/The Star
Malaysian travellers are among the top three in the region to go on spontaneous and last-minute trips during these uncertain pandemic period, according to a digital travel platform.
Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand – according to search data from Agoda – are the top three Asia Pacific markets to embrace the thrill of the impromptu travel experience searching for same day check-ins.
These markets are followed by travellers from Vietnam, Hong Kong, Japan, India, the Philippines, South Korea and Singapore.
“There’s a growing group of travellers choosing last-minute adventures – couch dwellers who might make spontaneous decisions to either watch a show or book a staycation for the thrill of it, ” said Agoda regional director Enric Casals.

Qing Ming rituals allowed with strict SOPs

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PUTRAJAYA: (Bernama) - The standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the Qing Ming festival at cemeteries and columbariums on April 4 was approved on Tuesday (March 16).

Drawing crowds to Alor Setar

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THE city of Alor Setar in Kedah is busy getting ready for better times when the pandemic blows over.
The old Kota Setar district police headquarters in Lorong Setar now sports a vibrant display of murals, ready for visitors to hop over for beautiful, artistic selfies.
Most of the murals depict the state’s olden days and everyday life of its people.
Lor San coffee shop owner Chew Kee Leong, 46, said his business had improved by about 20% since the murals were painted.
“The murals are painted along Lorong Setar behind my shop.
“Before the movement control order, many people especially from Penang, visited my shop to eat noodles and they asked me where the murals are located.

Ismail Sabri: 458 arrested for violating SOP on Sunday (March 14)

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PUTRAJAYA: Police arrested 458 people for violating the movement control order, the highest on the list being activities at entertainment centres.

'RM10,000 for all MCO categories'

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KUALA LUMPUR: The RM10,000 compound under the Emergency (Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases) (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 applies to all categories of the movement control order, says Senior Minister (Security) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Pandemic-hit Chinese firms facing cash crunch, 80pc don't have enough to last six months | Malaysia

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Monday, 15 Mar 2021 06:28 PM MYT
Customers pack food to go at an eatery in Kuala Lumpur March 24, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
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KUALA LUMPUR, Mar 15 — Most local Chinese businesses and industries have insufficient cash flow to cover operations, inventory and staff costs for the next six months as the prolonged Covid-19 pandemic and movement curbs took a heavy toll on revenue.
The Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) said today up to 80 per cent of its members reported alarmingly low levels of cash reserves, prompting concerns that many could be forced to fold by June if conditions fail to improve.

Home or office, both have benefits

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JOHOR BARU: Despite enjoying the comfort of working from home, corporate communication executive Ariff Mohammad Nizam had no qualms returning to the office last week.

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