PUTRAJAYA, April 21 — “On the occasion of my birthday tomorrow, April 21, the most special gift for me will be if Malaysians remain staying at home and observe high hygiene standards,” said Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah with a smile.
The director-general of Health, who has been the focus of media and Malaysians since the COVID-19 outbreak, turns 57 on Tuesday, April 21.
Every day, Dr Noor Hisham who was born in Sepang, Selangor appears on television at 5 pm, with mush-awaited COVID-19 updates and related news.
On the eve of his birthday, Dr Noor Hisham brought good news on the COVID-19 outbreak saying that the number of new positive cases recorded in Malaysia on Monday was the lowest since March 12 with 36 cases and no deaths reported.
Speaking to Bernama, he sent a message asking all Malaysians to stay at home in compliance with the Movement Control Order (MCO) as a birthday gift in an effort to break the COVID-19 infection chain that has has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives worldwide.
Listed among three of the world’s top doctors, ‘born’ from public health officials, for his approach in handling the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr Noor Hisham, described the request as one of his most important birthday gifts.
The two other doctors, who are listed on the China Global TV Network (CGTN), are United States’ infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci and New Zealand’s director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield.
CGTN said it has crowned Dr Noor Hisham as one of the top doctors in the world for his straightforward and calm approach in handling the COVID-19 outbreak in Malaysia.
Before this, said CGTN, hardly anybody knew of Dr Noor Hisham, and the other two doctors but they have now become the most ‘trusted’ source of information for the pandemic in their respective countries.
Dr Noor Hisham, who is also a surgeon, holds a Master’s Degree in Surgery and a Doctorate of Medicine from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), was appointed as director-general of Health on March 1, 2013 replacing Datuk Seri Dr Hasan Abdul Rahman.
More individuals face jail time, fines
In a another news, a total of 185 individuals were charged in several states today for violating the Movement Control Order (MCO).
In PAHANG, 14 individuals were charged in the Raub Magistrate’s Court, with six of them including a foreigner fined RM700 in default 14 days’ jail for mining gold at the Kekal Tersang Forest Reserve in Batu Talam on April 16.
Another eight aged between 32 and 52 were fined RM600 in default 10 days’ jail each for opening stalls selling perishables at the side of the road in Kampung Gali Tengah yesterday morning.
In KEDAH, 23 men were handed a seven-day prison sentence and fined RM1,000 by the Sungai Petani Magistrate’s Court for loitering and other offences committed between March 27 and April 13, while the director of a recycling firm was jailed seven days and fined RM10,000 for allowing two of his employees to work during the MCO.
In TERENGGANU, 27 men were charged in the Kuala Terengganu Court.
A 33-year-old unemployed man was fined RM5,000 in default three months’ jail for insulting a police officer at a roadblock, while another 26 including a disabled man and 17-year-old teenager also pleaded guilty to defying the MCO.
Among the excuses given by them when arrested was to attend Quran classes, deliver burgers and throw rubbish.
In PENANG, 37 individuals including three women were fined between RM1,000 in default one months’ jail by the Butterworth Magistrate’s Court for violating the order, while another was fined RM500 or two weeks’ jail.
Another two men were sentenced to one month in jail, while the court set May 14 and June 1 for mention of three cases involving teens between the ages of 15 and 18 who were also charged with violating the MCO.
In SELANGOR, 44 individuals were charged in two courts, including 41 Myanmar nationals involved in a water festival celebration in Bandar Baru Salak Tinggi during the MCO.
The foreigners aged 19 to 34 who committed the offence at a men’s hostel near a factory in the area, were fined RM1,000 in default a months’ jail each by the Sepang Magistrate’s Court.
Meanwhile, at the Petaling Jaya Magistrate’s Court, two Indonesians were jailed three months, while a local was fined RM800 in default three months’ jail for being outside without valid reasons.
In KUALA LUMPUR, 33 people including several foreigners were charged in three courts for violating the MCO, with most fined between RM800 to RM2,000, and a few sentenced to jail terms of between six days and two months.