Asean adopts joint stand on killer disease

  • Letters
  • Sunday, 04 May 2003

OFF THE SHELVES (April 30): Australia ordered the recall of 219 products by Pan Pharmaceuticals and suspended its licence after a series of safety and quality breaches. Malaysia said it would follow the move to recall the medical products, which include vitamins, health supplements and non-prescription drugs. The Health Ministry recalled 346 products and advised the public not to consume them until the recall order is revoked. 


ASEAN STAND (April 27): The Asean + 3 Health Ministers Special Meeting on Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) adopted a joint stand, including mandatory screening of individuals before they leave affected countries and the barring of suspected and probable cases from travelling.  


IMPROVED COVERAGE (April 28): Socso coverage is now being extended to include all forms of impairments and occupational diseases which can cause mild to severe disability to affected workers. The comprehensive social security coverage is used by most developed countries. 


HOSPITAL SEALED (April 28): A mental hospital in Kuching was sealed off as a precaution against SARS after several patients came down with respiratory problems. Sarawak has discouraged all public gatherings in Kuching and in Samarahan to check SARS. The state authorities also closed the Sarawak General Hospital until further notice.  


THERMAL SYSTEM READY (May 1): Thermal imaging to check the temperature of plane passengers will be installed at airports and the Causeway in two weeks, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ling Liong Sik said.  


LOCAL SARS TEST (May 1): Malaysia will do its own laboratory tests to identify the genetic make up of SARS to come up with accurate diagnostic methods.  


ANNUAL LEAVE (April 29): Employees ordered to be quarantined for SARS are to use their annual leave. Deputy Human Resources Minister Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad said employers must approve the leave application without any delay or hassle. 


POLYGAMY LAWS (May 3): The conditions for polygamy have become tighter in Selangor under revised Islamic family laws, which impose additional layers of procedures for Muslim men. A Muslim man who wants to take a new wife must appear before the syariah court with his wife or wives, his future wife and the wali (male guardian of the future wife). 


PM RETURNS (May 3): Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad returned home on Friday after a two-month break abroad.  


JUDICIARY ETHICS (May 1): Chief Justice Tan Sri Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim is drawing up a new set of ethics for the judiciary, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.  


NEW SEATS (April 27): The motion to create new parliamentary and state seats received royal assent on April 14. Commission secretary Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said the Election Commission can no longer accept complaints on the matter. 


IRB BOOTHS (May 3): With the May 31 deadline for taxpayers to submit their returns approaching, the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) has started opening offices and booths in shopping complexes to reduce the 30% non-compliance rate experienced last year. 


POSTPONE UMRAH (April 28): The government has discouraged, but not barred, Muslims from going to Mecca to perform the umrah until there is more positive news about the SARS situation in the world. 


NEW ACT (APRIL 30): Youth organisations will be placed under the purview of the Youth and Sports Ministry under a proposed Act that will also limit the membership age and terms of office bearers.  




WORST IS OVER (April 29): The World Health Organisation said the worst of the SARS outbreak appears to be over in Singapore, Hong Kong and Canada, while Vietnam has become the first country to contain the disease. 


KEY CAPTIVES (April 27): US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfield disclosed that deputy prime minister of Iraq Tareq Aziz and 11 other captive leaders of the collapsed Iraqi government are being questioned by US intelligence teams and could face criminal charges. Aziz has told US interrogators that Saddam Hussein survived two air strikes targeting the former Iraqi leader and his two sons. 


TEMPORARY GOVERNMENT (April 27): The Pentagon has begun sending a team of Iraqi exiles with mostly administrative backgrounds to Baghdad to help set up a temporary government. They are set to take up positions at each of the 23 Iraqi ministries.  


NO WEAPONS (May 1): High-ranking Iraqi prisoners are denying Saddam Hussein's government had any weapons of mass destruction before the war, according to US officials familiar with their interrogations. A group of former intelligence specialists have called on President George W. Bush to investigate the CIA and other spy agencies for failure to uncover weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.  


WARNING LIFTED (April 30): Following pressure from the Canadian Government, the World Health Organisation on Tuesday lifted its warning against non-essential travel to Toronto, saying it was satisfied with measures to stop the spread of the deadly SARS virus. Canadian officials were outraged when WHO last Wednesday advised against non-urgent travel to Toronto, ranking it alongside Beijing and other hard-hit parts of China and Hong Kong.  


TURKEY QUAKE (May 2): A powerful earthquake killed up to 150 people in a mountainous region of south-eastern Turkey early Thursday, including 25 children who were crushed when a boarding school collapsed on dozens of sleeping students.  


BRUISED BLAIR (May 3): Britain's opposition Conservatives bruised Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labour Party in local council elections, dashing his party's hopes of benefiting from a “Baghdad bounce'' in the first post-war test of political strength.  


PULLOUT FROM SAUDI (May 1): The US has decided to end 13 years of military presence in Saudi Arabia, a key demand of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and hardline Islamic groups across the Middle East. US and Saudi officials say the pullout was not due to disputes or demands by Osama.  

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