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  1. BUKIT MERTAJAM: The Seberang Perai City Council (MBSP) has taken proactive measures by enhancing its monitoring on compliance with standard operating procedures (SOP) by residents in areas under its jurisdiction following the detection of a new Covid-19 cluster, the Alma cluster, in Penang two days ago.

    MBSP Mayor Datuk Rozali Mohamud said in line with the announcement by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on the Alma cluster on Oct 18, MBSP has outlined eight Immediate Action Plans to curb the spread of Covid-19 in Seberang Perai.

    They included increasing the number of staff to four or five people daily, from only two previously, to monitor and conduct body temperature scanning of visitors at the public market and also the MBSP hawker complex starting today,” he said live on the MPSB official Facebook today.

    He said MBSP would also enhance perimeter monitoring at the public market and the MBSP hawker complex to ensure that the premises only had one entrance point and one exit point to facilitate registration of visitors.

    MBSP will also make it compulsory the use of the MySejahtera application on traders and visitors at the MBSP public market and hawker complex to avoid the issue of customers giving false personal formation and telephone numbers, he added.

    He said MPSB would also step up checks at hair and beauty salons, barber shops, night and morning markets, restaurants and massage parlours, to ensure compliance with the prescribed SOP by operators. — Bernama

  2. KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s retirement income system has been ranked third in Asia and 19th overall by the 12th annual Mercer CFA Institute Global Pension Index, a study of 39 retirement income systems across the globe which cover almost two-thirds of the world’s population.

    However, Malaysia’s overall index value fell slightly from 60.6 in 2019 to 60.1 in 2020 due to several small movements in the sustainability sub-index, Mercer, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies, said in a statement today.

    “Of the study’s three sub-indexes, Malaysia scored highest for integrity (78), followed by sustainability (58.6) and adequacy (50.1). The global average sits at 71.3 for integrity, 50 for sustainability, and 60.8 for adequacy,” it said.

    The 2020 Global Pension Index, which measures each retirement system through three sub-indices, namely sustainability, adequacy and integrity, includes two new systems – Belgium and Israel.

    The repor stated that Malaysia is ranked 13th for sustainability which measures the likelihood a system will be able to provide benefits into the future; 18th for integrity which considers factors such as regulation, governance, communication and operating costs; and 31st for adequacy which looks at benefits, system design, levels of savings, and home ownership among others to determine its ability to provide adequate retirement income.

    Mercer’s wealth business leader for Asia Janet Li said it is heartening to see that Malaysia continues to rank above the global average for integrity and sustainability.

    The overall index value for the Malaysian system could be improved by increasing the minimum level of support for the poorest aged individuals, as well as raising the level of household saving and lowering the level of household debt.

    “As life expectancy increases, the pension age should also be raised. A requirement that retirement benefit must be taken as an income stream should also be considered,” she said.

    According to the report, Malaysia retained its ‘”C+” grade, connoting a pension system that has some good features, but also major risks or shortcomings that should be addressed.

    “The country was awarded the same grade as a number of developed economies such as Hong Kong, France and the United States,” it added. — Bernama

  3. KUANTAN: A contractor’s hope of owning a four-wheel drive (4WD) vehicle which he had paid more than RM14,000 for it was dashed when he failed to get delivery of the Ford Ranger which was advertised for sale on Facebook at a cheap price.

    Pahang Commercial Criminal Investigation Department head Supt Mohd Wazir Mohd Yusof said the contractor, aged 53, claimed he had paid RM14,412 for the vehicle which was advertised for sale on Facebook last Oct 3 for RM36,000.

    “The victim claimed he contacted a man through Whatsapp a telephone number given on the Facebook last Oct 5 and was asked to pay a deposit of RM2,500 as well sent copies of his personal documents and bank statement.

    “The victim claimed the man contacted him again to ask for another payment of RM11,912, including for advance payment, road tax and insurance, as well as for transfer of ownership, which the victim claimed he transferred the money for the amount on last Oct 6 and 7,” he told reporters here today.

    Mohd Wazir said the victim was also told that the vehicle would be sent using a tow truck service to his house in Pekan and was given the telephone number of the tow truck driver.

    However, he said, the victim claimed the tow truck driver did not deliver the vehicle as promised and feeling that he had been duped, the victim lodged a report at the Pekan district police headquarters yesterday. — Bernama

  4. THE reimposition of a conditional movement control order (CMCO) in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya has taken a heavy toll on Port Dickson’s hospitality industry.

    The hotel occupancy rate plunged to 25% last weekend, from 50% before the “lockdown” of the three places, which are a significant source of domestic tourists.

    This is the second time that the hospitality industry at the beach resort destination in Negeri Sembilan was hit in a month.

    The first was after the outbreak of the third wave of Covid-19 infections following the Sabah state election, which caused the hotel occupancy rate to drop from a high of between 80% and 90% to just 50%.

    According to a report in Nanyang Siang Pau yesterday, hoteliers and tour operators had an uneasy feeling right after the CMCO was announced but did not expect the hotel occupancy rate to drop to 25%.

    They believe the occupancy rate will slide further should the Covid-19 situation worsen in the coming days.

    It was not too long ago that the hotel occupancy rate in Port Dickson’s coastal resort stretch had hit a new high of between 40% and 60% for weekdays and 80% during weekends after taking a battering from the first wave of the Covid-19 infections and the movement control order implemented to curb the pandemic. A few hotels even achieved 90% occupancy during peak periods.

    Malaysian Association of Hotels Negeri Sembilan secretary Andy Chong disclosed that Port Dickson depends very much on visitors from Selangor and Kuala Lumpur to sustain its tourism industry.

    He said the last weekend saw the hotel occupancy rate, which had already tumbled from between 80% and 90% to 50% the previous weekend, plunge to 25%, a record low since the first wave of the pandemic.

    He said Port Dickson’s tourism industry has to rely on travellers from the south for the time being. The report also said Lukut, 5km from Port Dickson and known for its food, was similarly affected.

  5. KUALA LUMPUR: Three men were arrested on Friday in connection with a RM1.6 million heist involving a cryptocurrency company in Kepong on Oct 8.

    Following the arrest of the suspects, aged between 31 and 42, police recovered RM1.03 million of the loot.

    Kuala Lumpur police chief Commissioner Datuk Saiful Azly Kamaruddin said yesterday investigations revealed the suspects had eyed the movements of an employee of the cryptocurrency company for about five days before pulling of the robbery in a carpark at a shopping mall in Kepong.

    The staff, who was carrying the cash that was wrapped in a black plastic bag, was assaulted before the suspects made away with the loot.

    Saiful said on recovering the cash and an undisclosed quantity of gems from the suspects, police learned they had spent part of the cash, including full payment for a car.

    In a separate case, Saiful said the motive behind the murder of a 36-year-old Nigerian student, who was found dead at his rented apartment in Jalan Kuching on Sept 23, is believed to be linked to a love triangle.

    He said two weeks after his death police nabbed the victim’s 34-year-old housemate, who is also a Nigerian student, and solved the case. The victim and the suspect had a fist fight over a local woman in her late 30’s.

    Police held the woman soon after the victim’s housemate was held and she was freed on bail upon completion of investigations.

    Saiful said the victim’s housemate was charged with murder last week.