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news without borders


| THURSDAY MAY 21 2009


No local transmission of viral strain: D-G
by Husna Yusop

Residents complain of Juru camp’s filthy conditions
by Himanshu Bhatt

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia was declared free from local transmission of influenza A(H1N1) yesterday as all contacts of the two patients showed no symptom of the disease during the seven-day home quarantine. “The 222 contacts placed under home quarantine since May 13 will be free to leave their home beginning today,” said Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican. “The home quarantine period for all 222 contacts ranging from flight passengers, crew, family members and other related individuals ends today. If they do not show any symptoms they will be considered free from being infected by the A(H1N1) virus. “This means there is no local transmission in the country to date,” he told a press conference in the ministry yesterday. The virus’ incubation period is seven days. As for the two 21-year-old students found to be A(H1N1) positive after returning from the United States and were admitted to the hospitals on May 14 and 15, they will be discharged today and tomorrow. The first, a male student, is receiving treatment in Sungai Buloh Hospital and the second, a female student, is in Penang Hospital. Both are in stable condition. As of yesterday morning, only 39 passengers of Malaysia Airlines’ flight MH091 from Newark, New Jersey to Kuala Lumpur International Airport and AirAsia’s flight AK5358 from the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal in Sepang to Penang, still could not be traced. The rest of the 108 from MH091 passengers and 15 crew and 74

passengers of the AK5358 and six crew have been traced and placed under home quarantine until yesterday. There were also two American passengers of Cathay Pacific flight CX831 from United States to Hongkong – contacts of a Hongkong citizen on board found positive of A(H1N1) – who have been placed under quarantine in Kota Kinabalu until Saturday. Ismail said both of them were healthy as of yesterday. He said the people should not be unduly worried about the situation as long as they take care of their personal hygiene and cleanliness. “The cases we found in Malaysia were brought from outside the country and not locally transmitted. However, the public must all give serious attention to the current situation of the disease and get the latest and accurate information from the ministry. “Those with symptoms of flu, even though they have not been to the affected countries, should avoid going out shopping or being in public places. And, please make sure you wash your hands properly,” he added. As of yesterday, the National Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre had received 156 notifications of people being admitted into hospitals nationwide. All tested negative for A(H1N1) except for the two. On Tuesday, 22 notifications were received – 11 in Sungai Buloh Hospital; two in Sultanah Aminah Hospital, Johor; five in Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital, Pahang; two in Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital, Selangor;

and one each in Kuala Lumpur Hospital and Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital, Kedah. All were A(H1N1) negative. According to the World Health Organisation, there were 41 affected countries as of yesterday with Greece (two cases) as the latest addition. Altogether, there were 10,243 cumulative cases of A(H1N1) around the world with 610 more reported on Tuesday – 545 in Mexico, Japan (47), Panama (four), Spain (four), El Salvador (four), Chile (two) and one each in Colombia, France, Peru and Poland. Four new deaths were also reported in Mexico, resulting in 80 fatalities to date.

Speaker’s exit fails to end clamour for UK clean-up pg 7

SEBERANG PERAI: Residents around the immigration department’s detention camp in Juru here, which was hit by a leptospirosis outbreak, have submitted a memorandum to the state authorities complaining about the facility’s filthy and unhygienic conditions. Penang Environment, Health, Welfare and Caring Society Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh received the memorandum when he visited the camp yesterday. He said the unsanitary environment has affected surrounding housing estates, industries and a school for years. “I shall write to the federal government to address the complaints,”

said Phee. “The previous state government had asked the federal government to shift the camp out but nothing was done.” Two Myanmar detainees in the camp died of the disease and more than 30 others were admitted to hospitals. Leptospirosis is commonly transmitted to humans through contact with water contaminated by urine of infected animals like rats, mice and dogs. He said that many illegal immigrants were afraid to come out for medical examination as there was no legal amnesty by the federal government for them to do so. Phee appealed to factories and construction companies housing foreign workers to ensure that their hostels meet hygiene requirements.

A(H1N1) cases surge past 10,000

30 NS trainees show flu symptoms
PETALING JAYA: Thirty National Service trainees at the Setia Ikhlas NS training centre in Semenyih have been showing flu symptoms the past week. The trainees started coming down with fever, light cough, sore throat and aching muscles last Thursday. To date, 26 trainees are being treated in the camp’s isolation room, three are warded in Kajang Hospital and one was discharged on Tuesday. The Health Ministry, in a statement yesterday, said it was monitoring the situation at the camp.

New date for bus tragedy driver
KUALA LUMPUR: The magistrate’s court in Selayang yesterday fixed July 22 for re-mention of a case involving the driver of a double-decker bus which crashed on the North-South Expressway near Rawang last month, killing six people. Magistrate Riny Triany Muhamad Ali fixed the date after counsel Rajpal Singh, who represented Fauzi Muhamad, 33, asked for a new date as he needed more time to get the necessary documents. Fauzi, from Kuala Nerang, Kedah, is charged with reckless driving on Km442.9 of the North-South Expressway at 5am on April 13. – Bernama

June 19 mention for couple
BUTTERWORTH: The sessions court yesterday fixed June 19 to mention a case of a couple charged with spreading an obscene comment on the Perak Sultan’s website. Judge Julie Lack Abdullah fixed the date to enable counsel Jagdeep Singh Deo, who represented Chan Hon Keong and wife, Khoo Hui Shuang, to submit preliminary objections. Chan, 26, and Khoo, 27, are alleged to have committed the offence in their house in Permatang Pauh, near here at 12.05am on Feb 13. They are charged under Section 292(a) of the Penal Code which carries a jail sentence of up to three years or fine or both, if convicted. The couple also face an alternative charge for posting the obscene remark on the internet with an intention to hurt other people’s feelings. – Bernama

TOKYO: The number of worldwide (A)H1N1 flu infections surged past 10,000 yesterday, as the epidemic gathered pace in the United States and the first case was recorded in Tokyo. The announcement in the Japanese capital that a 16-yearold high school girl had caught (A)H1N1 on a trip to New York underlined the scale of the challenge to contain the virus which has now been recorded in 41 countries. The health ministry said that the number of (A)H1N1 virus inflections in Japan rose to 251, excluding the Tokyo case, as of late yesterday. The number of confirmed swine flu cases now stands at 10,243, said a spokeswoman for the World Health Organisation. The number of dead stands at 80, spokeswoman Fadela Chaib added. “There is an increase of 413 cases in the past 24 hours, with most in the United States with 346 new cases ... and in Japan there are 51 new cases,” Chaib told journalists. The increase in the US raised the total there to 5,469 cases in 47 states plus Washington’s District of Columbia. The number of confirmed A(H1N1) infections in Mexico, the epicentre of the outbreak, rose by almost 100 in 24 hours to 3,660, health authorities said as they also announced four new deaths. Local officials say 76 people have died in Mexico, although not all of these BATU PAHAT: An unemployed man pleaded not guilty in deaths have been registered by the WHO. the sessions court here yesterday to a charge of causing And as dozens more cases were reported in Japan, the death of a pregnant woman in a robbery early this Taiwan became the latest Asian government to record a month. case of the virus on its soil – in an Australian doctor who Mohamad Ariffin Anang, 26 (pix), from Taman Flora, arrived by plane from Hongkong earlier in the week. is charged with culpable homicide not amounting to Australia itself reported four new cases, including murder in the death of Jamilah Selamat at 7.15pm on three young brothers, raising the overall number of May 3 in Jalan Kaloi, Air Hitam. confirmed infections to five. He also pleaded not guilty to another charge of volVictoria state health authorities quarantined the untarily causing hurt on the woman during a robbery at family, along with some of the boys’ classmates. the same place and time. Meanwhile, Egyptian health minister Hatem al-Gabali The incident happened when Jamilah, 31, an assistant warned of the dangers posed by the flu to millions of at a handicraft shop in Air Hitam, was riding her motorMuslim pilgrims travelling to Saudi Arabia. cycle to return home to Taman Air Hitam. Gabali told the independent daily Al-Masri Al-Yom Judge Indra Nehru Sabandiah, who refused bail for that “there is a large possibility” the A(H1N1) virus may the accused, ordered that he engage a lawyer and fixed reach Egypt with returning pilgrims. – AFP July 13 to mention the case. – Bernama

Man denies causing death of pregnant woman

Company director charged with cheating
KLANG: A Merces Holdings Berhad director was charged in the sessions court here yesterday with cheating a director of another company over a transaction involving 15 million shares five years ago. Yap Seng Yew, 50, from Southern Park here, however, pleaded not guilty when the charge was read out to him before Judge Datin Anita Harun. Seng Yew is alleged to have deceived Te Soh Peng , 34, into believing that he (Seng Yew) would pay RM13 million on May 2, 2006, for the purchase of Merces Holdings shares. His action is alleged to have caused Soh Peng to transfer 15,009,000 units of Merces Holdings shares to him (Seng Yew). Seng Yew, who was arrested on Jan 2, is accused of commiting the offence at No 51 & 53, Jalan Batai Laut 5, Kawasan 16, Taman Intan here between July 2004 and Nov 2004. Anita set bail at RM50,000 in one surety and fixed Aug 12 for re-mention. – Bernama

Singaporean acquitted of drug trafficking charge
KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court acquitted and discharged a Singaporean of drug trafficking yesterday. Justice Datuk Ghazali Cha made the decision after finding that the prosecution had failed to make out a prima facie case against Poh Peng Chye. He said there was no evidence at all to prove that Poh, 42, was in possession of the drug. Based on the testimonies of witnesses, Poh’s room was not locked from inside and the cupboard, as well as the safe box which contained the drug was open, he added. He also said the testimony by hotel security guard Azman Abdul Aziz did not rule out the possibility of other people entering the room. Poh was charged with trafficking in 1,098gm heroin in a room at a hotel in Jalan Conlay, at 9.55am on Feb 5, 2005. – Bernama