1. H5N1 outbreak: Govt defends Kelantan move in declaring ‘state emergency’
KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry has defended the Kelantan government’s move to declare a state emergency following the H5N1 avian flu outbreak there.
Its minister Dr S. Subramaniam said the declaration would allow the state government to mobilise more resources to assist in controlling the outbreak.
“That’s a declaration by the state government. This whole operation now is being done by the Veterinary Services Department (VSD).
“Their concern is that it would spread to other areas including areas in Kota Baru,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby here today, adding that more than 20,000 chickens had been culled so far.
“So far, we’ve been lucky that there have been no chicken-to-human transmissions. So, we have to contain the infection within the chicken population.
“We also advise people who come in contact with chickens to be aware of hygiene concerns, so the risk of them getting it is reduced to the minimum.”
Dr Subramaniam said his ministry would be on standby to treat anyone who displays flu-like symptoms.
“We will do the tests necessary but so far, all tests have come out negative,” he said, adding that there was no need to prevent people from going to Kelantan. – NST
2. 11 Sarawak immigration officers nabbed for suspected graft remanded for a week
PETRA JAYA: Eleven immigration officers here, arrested for allegedly taking bribes to protect illegal immigrants in Sarawak, have been remanded for seven days until Mar 23.
Magistrate Zulhairi Sulaiman granted the remand application by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) against all suspects, including six female officers, which takes effect today.
Clad in orange and purple prison attire, the officers, aged between 33 and 53, arrived at the magistrate’s court here at about 9am.
They were nabbed yesterday by MACC from several locations in Kuching and Serian during an operation codenamed “Op Batas”, aimed at apprehending corrupt enforcement officers linked to the alarming influx of illegal immigrants into the state.
The graft buster also seized RM10,000 from one of the suspects. – NST
3. M’sian passport is 13th most powerful in the world in 2017
SINGAPORE: The Malaysian passport has been ranked second in Southeast Asia after Singapore in terms of travel freedom, according to Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index 2017.
Malaysian passport holders can currently travel to 164 countries without a visa.
Overall, Malaysia ranks 13th globally, Singapore fourth and Brunei 23rd.
Singaporeans can travel to 173 countries freely. Brunei Darussalam, in third spot, has visa-free access to 151 countries.
For other Southeast Asian countries, Timor Leste has visa-free access to 83 countries, Thailand 71, the Philippines 61, Indonesia 57, Cambodia 48, Laos 48, Vietnam 45 and Myanmar 41.
Germany ranked first with those holding its passport being able to access 177 countries without a visa, while Afghanistan ranked lowest at 104, with visa-free access to only 24. – NST
4. Youth slashes ex-schoolmate with knife, ties him to chair for six hours
HONG KONG: A 15-year-old boy was slashed in the neck and right arm with a knife, then tied to a chair for about six hours in what police have reclassified as an attempted murder.
The incident came to light at about 1.15am on Wednesday when the victim’s mother returned to her home in Fanling and found her injured son locked up with his former schoolmate, aged 18, in one of the bedrooms. She discovered blood in the living room and made a police report.
Both were taken conscious to Prince of Wales Hospital in Sha Tin for treatment.
The victim was in critical condition on Wednesday. His condition had improved by Thursday but remained serious, according to a government spokeswoman.
The suspect, who was in a stable condition, was placed under police guard in the hospital’s custodial ward.
Preliminary investigations showed the suspect attacked the boy with a knife in the living room during a dispute shortly before 7pm on Tuesday, according to the source.
It is understood that the suspect had became emotional because he was in love with the victim, who did not wish to see him.
Police initially considered this a wounding case, but reclassified it as attempted murder after further investigation. – THE STAR
EDITOR | JEN CHEONG