No Merdeka parade this year, higher learning institutions to reopen in October

Other National Day programmes will still be held, such as the waving of the Jalur Gemilang flag

by S BIRRUNTHA/ pic by BERNAMA

THERE will be no Merdeka parade on the upcoming National Day on Aug 31 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, said Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (picture).

The decision was made in the special ministerial meeting as the parade may risk the spread of the virus.

“Such gatherings are very big and will be attended by thousands of people at least. Also, it is very difficult to implement social distancing among the parade’s participants and audience.

“However, other National Day programmes will still be held, such as the waving of the Jalur Gemilang flag,” he said in his Recovery Movement Control Order briefing yesterday.

The senior minister added that the special ministerial meeting will issue a relevant standard operating procedures for the National Day.

He also said there are several programmes which will take place leading up to Aug 31 and the government will announce if there are any further changes to the details.

According to the minister, Malaysia Airlines (MAS) will be offering a 20% discount on domestic flight tickets to students, teachers and lecturers who will be returning to schools and campuses soon.

The senior minister said this was after the special ministerial meeting reviewed the proposal by the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) regarding the pricing of flight tickets.

He also added that he recently met up with the Malaysia Airlines Bhd CEO Capt Izham Ismail to discuss the issue, and he agreed to come up with the promotion.

Teachers and lecturers from public and private institutions of higher learning will enjoy a 20% discount if they book MAS flights from July 9toAug10.

The discount will be valid for travels from July 10 until Nov 30.

It can be used for online reservations by inserting the promotion code which will be announced by the Education and Higher Education Ministries soon.

The 20% discount will also be given to students who need to take a flight to return to schools or campuses.

Additionally, the minister announced that Malaysians are now free to travel across the states within the country without going through the 14-day home quarantine.

He said this includes those who want to enter the peninsula, as well as Sarawak and Sabah.

Bernama reported that the government has allowed four more categories of institutions of higher learning (IPT) students to return to their campuses in stages starting this month and the full student intake would be in October.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad reportedly said the group of students was in addition to the five categories of students who were earlier allowed back on campus.

She said the four categories included 30% of local students at private IPT as requested by the Malaysian Association of Private Colleges and Universities.

“Public IPT students from Year One to Year Four in fields of studies that require clinical training, practical training, workshop, laboratory, studio or specific equipment and those who have to sit for professional body examinations.

“Year One to Four public IPT students who have no Internet access or lack conducive environment, such as small space to study or uncomfortable circumstances to carry out online learning,” she was quoted as saying in the report.