Malaysia inmates making PPE masks for coronavirus frontliners

Prisoners who learned sewing as part of their vocational training make PPE masks for frontline workers battling the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo courtesy: Malaysian Prison Department)
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Updated 27 April 2020

Malaysia inmates making PPE masks for coronavirus frontliners

  • The raw materials for the PPE masks are provided or funded by hospitals and personal donors

SINGAPORE:  Inmates in Malaysia are making personal protective equipment (PPE) masks for frontline workers battling the coronavirus pandemic.
“The production of PPE (masks) for frontliners is to show the public that these inmates, regardless of social status, can offer aid to relieve the burden of relevant parties,” Rohaida Mohamad, public relations officer at the Malaysian Prison Headquarters’ Division of Prison Policy, told Arab News on Sunday.
At present, 30-40 inmates from 21 prisons across Malaysia are making 100-130 PPE masks every day.
The initiative is championed by the Prisons Department of Malaysia’s Corrective Services (PDMCS), the body that provides corrective programs for inmates.
Mohamad said the PDMCS has taken the initiative to assist the Health Ministry by “utilizing the skillset of prisoners to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

FASTFACT

At present, 30-40 inmates from 21 prisons across Malaysia are making 100-130 PPE masks every day.

She added: “Prisoners, just like anyone else in a functional society in Malaysia, deserve a second chance to correct their mistakes and to give back to the community.”

Vocational training
Many of the inmates are no stranger to sewing — one of the courses offered under the prison’s rehabilitation program, which provides vocational training.
Other courses include knitting, carpentry and baking, with products and handicrafts sold at supermarkets under the MyPride brand.
The raw materials for the PPE masks are provided or funded by hospitals and personal donors.
Malaysia has been under a complete lockdown since March 18, with the latest tally showing 5,742 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Saturday.
Despite a few positive signs of the curve flattening, health authorities said earlier this month that many hospitals were running low on PPE supplies.
Mohamad said she is awe-struck by “the tremendous determination and spirit” displayed by the prisoners.
“It may look modest, but during this kind of crisis it can have a huge impact in helping the country,” she added.


Somalia names new PM, announces plan for national elections

Members of new parliament look on after they were sworn-in at Adan Adde airport in Mogadishu. Somalia is likely to hold elections next year. (AFP/File)
Updated 28 min 25 sec ago

Somalia names new PM, announces plan for national elections

  • The UN had described the pursuit of one-person, one-vote elections as a “historic milestone” on Somalia’s path to full democratization and peace after decades of war and violent instability in the Horn of Africa nation

MOGADISHU: Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has appointed a new prime minister hours after brokering an agreement with regional leaders for elections next year that abandons a promised one-person, one-vote model.
Mohamed’s office announced late Thursday the appointment of Mohamed Hussein Roble, a Swedish-trained civil engineer and political neophyte, and “wished him to take duties and tasks ahead with diligence.”
He fills a vacancy left when former Premier Hassan Ali Khaire was removed by parliament in July for failing to pave the way for fully democratic elections due before February 2021.
The foreign-backed government in Mogadishu has been in drawn-out negotiations with Somalia’s federal states over how to proceed with parliamentary and presidential elections.
However, the process has been held up by political infighting between the president — better known by his nickname Farmajo — and the country’s regional leaders.
Somalia had set itself the goal of holding its first fully democratic, one-man, one-vote election since 1969 — as opposed to a complex system in which special delegates pick lawmakers who then vote for the president.
But an agreement reached between the president, five regional leaders and the mayor of Mogadishu has conceded that such a vote would be impossible within the time frame remaining before Somalia’s parliament expires in November, and Farmajo’s term ends in February.
In an official communique, the negotiators said delegates from Somalia’s myriad clans would elect the 275 MPs of the lower house, which in turn chooses the president.

SPEEDREAD

The foreign-backed government in Mogadishu has been in drawn-out negotiations with Somalia’s federal states over how to proceed with parliamentary and presidential elections.

While the process mirrors the last election held in 2017, it will go a bit further in terms of inclusivity, with 27,775 delegates voting — almost twice as many as last time.
No timeline was given, and it remains unclear what role the country’s independent election commission will play, with the federal and state governments to appoint their own agencies to oversee their respective polls.
The plan still needs to be approved by Somalia’s parliament.
The UN had described the pursuit of one-person, one-vote elections as a “historic milestone” on Somalia’s path to full democratization and peace after decades of war and violent instability in the Horn of Africa nation.
But observers had warned that such a goal was looking increasingly unlikely due to tensions with the states, technical aspects such as voter registration, and security challenges posed by the Al-Shabab militant group.
The fragile central government, chaired by Farmajo, controls only a part of Somali territory and relies on an international peacekeeping force to confront a violent insurgency from Al-Shabab in the countryside.
Mogadishu had been criticized by observers for engaging in political feuds with federal states to gain control in the election process, rather than focusing on the fight against the militants.