Malaysia extends anti-virus lockdown until June 9

Soldiers wearing face masks patrol next to barbed wire at a newly locked down coronavirus affected area at old town of Petaling Jaya, Malaysia on Sunday. (AP)
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Updated 11 May 2020

Malaysia extends anti-virus lockdown until June 9

  • Move to curb mass movement of people during Ramadan, officials say

SINGAPORE: Malaysia has extended its nationwide lockdown until June 9 to curb the movement of people during Ramadan and Eid celebrations at the end of the month, Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said in an address to the nation on Sunday.

“On the advice of the Health Ministry and the National Security Council, I would like to announce that the conditional MCO (movement control order) effective until May 12, will be extended until June 9 or another four weeks,” he said.
Ramadan is an important month for Muslims across Malaysia who comprise 60 percent of the total population of 32.37 million.
However, Malaysia is also home to a multicultural society, where almost all religious and cultural festivities are celebrated and considered a national holiday.
“During this period, there are major festivals celebrated and these will usually involve a mass movement of people, namely the Hari Raya Aidilfitri and the Harvest Festival. Thus, I would like to remind people that the interstate movement ban is still in force during this period,” Muhyiddin said.
It is common practice for Malaysians to travel across state borders to visit their grandparents and relatives during festivities and public holidays, with several hosting large gatherings as part of Ramadan celebrations.
“I know many people are sad as they are unable to return for the holidays in the village with the family,” said the 72-year-old Malaysian leader, urging Malaysians to “be patient” and wait until thing return to normal.
However, the public is allowed to visit neighbors and relatives and celebrate festivities within state borders, while spouses with partners working in different states are exempted from the ban.

FASTFACT

Ramadan is an important month for Muslims across Malaysia who comprise 60 percent of the total population of 32.37 million.

As an additional measure, a maximum of 20 people are allowed to gather at a time, as long as they practice proper social distancing and hygiene measures.
While most places of worship remained closed on Sunday, authorities said that they were considering whether or not to allow Friday prayers and other congregational prayers during the month.
Malaysia imposed the Movement Control Order (MCO) on March 18 to flatten the coronavirus curve.
With a significant decrease in the infection rate, the latest tally stands at less than 100 cases, with 5,025 recoveries reported.
As part of efforts to gradually build up the country’s economy, Malaysia eased the MCO earlier this week to allow most businesses to operate.
Experts commended the move, with Malaysian physician and public health specialist, Dr. Khor Swee Kheng, telling Arab News on Sunday that he “welcomed the extension.”
“Malaysia has to prepare for an ultra-long-term strategy for COVID-19, as we will be in this until 2021 at least. This means strategic and predictable decision-making, not short-term reactions,” Dr. Khor said, adding that a “phased restart of public life was imperative.”
“The longer the MCO or CMCO lasts, the more important it is to focus on the social determinants of health. Citizens and residents of Malaysia must receive adequate economic, social and psychological support, not only health care. The social safety net must be strengthened now,” he said.


Pakistan PM Khan slams ‘oppressor’ India on Kashmir anniversary

Updated 05 August 2020

Pakistan PM Khan slams ‘oppressor’ India on Kashmir anniversary

  • Solidarity marches were held in all major Pakistani cities to mark the anniversary of New Delhi stripping Muslim-majority Indian Kashmir of its semi-autonomous status
  • Kashmir, a disputed Himalayan territory, has been split since 1947 between India and Pakistan, both of which claim it in full and have fought wars over it

MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan branded India an “oppressor and aggressor” on Wednesday, a year after New Delhi imposed direct rule on Indian-administered Kashmir.
Solidarity marches were held in all major Pakistani cities to mark the anniversary of New Delhi stripping Muslim-majority Indian Kashmir of its semi-autonomous status, a move that outraged Islamabad.
Kashmir, a disputed Himalayan territory, has been split since 1947 between India and Pakistan, both of which claim it in full and have fought wars over it.
“India stands exposed before the world, yet again, as an oppressor and aggressor,” Khan said in a statement.
“Its so-called secular and democratic credentials stand fully discredited,” he added, calling India’s action last year a “crime against humanity.”
Khan led a march through Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered-Kashmir, before addressing the region’s legislative assembly.
Across the city, more than 2,000 people turned out at a series of anti-India protests.
“We ask the world to give Kashmiris their right of self-determination, otherwise we will cross the Line of Control and help our brothers on the other side with arms,,” Arslan Ahmad, a refugee who fled Indian-administered Kashmir, told AFP.
“Half of my family is under siege in Indian-occupied Kashmir, my mother is dying to meet her sister, this dispute has left our generations torn apart,” 31-year old Usman Mir added.
Police were enforcing tight restrictions in Indian-administered Kashmir on Wednesday, where religious and political groups had called on residents to observe a “black day.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government had promised the move would bring peace and prosperity to Indian Kashmir after three decades of violence sparked by an anti-India uprising.
Pakistan, however, has alleged it is a violation of the rights of Kashmiri people.
Khan accused India of trying to turn Kashmir’s Muslim majority into a minority by ending restrictions on outsiders buying up property “in blatant violation of... UN Security Council Resolutions and international laws.”
The change in rules has sparked fears that the Modi government is pursuing an Israel-style “settler” project.
A referendum in Kashmir mandated by a UN resolution in 1948 has never taken place.
“India has learned from Israel how to change the demography (of Kashmir),” President Arif Alvi told a rally in the Pakistani capital Islamabad, which observed a one-minute silence.
Hundreds of billboards and banners displayed graphic images purportedly of human rights violations by Indian authorities in Kashmir.
On Tuesday, Pakistan released a new official map showing all of Kashmir as its territory.
The Pakistan military, meanwhile, said Indian troops had fired a shell across the de-facto border, killing a young woman and wounding six other people.
Such exchanges are common along the Kashmir demarcation line, with shells blasted in both directions.