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Malaysia´s Way Forward

By Ravindran Raman Kutty

(This commentary is the personal view of the writer and is not reflective of Bernama's stand on the matter.)

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- Malaysia has had an eventful 2018. The highlight of it was, of course, the Pakatan Harapan’s historical win during the 14th general election on May 9th, when it ended over 60 years of Barisan Nasional rule.

It has been a year of great changes for the nation and we now move into 2019 with greater hope and determination for the nation.

We have had several by-elections, some due to the demise of a few elected members and one to allow Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim entry into the Parliament. The clock is ticking and we have much to do and not much time to do it.

Family Keeps 120-Year-Old Business Alive

By Norul Akma Mohd Zain

NIBONG TEBAL (Bernama) -- Come 'Ponggal', the annual harvest festival celebrated by the Tamil community, clay pot maker D. Reguraj has his hands full as he has to make sure he has enough supply of pots to meet the high demand.

This is because it is a must for those celebrating to have a brand new clay or earthen pot to boil milk and prepare the sweet rice delicacy that is synonymous with the festival.

Ponggal, which falls tomorrow, is celebrated on the first day of the month of 'Thai' in the Tamil calendar, and it always falls in January.

Methadone Proven Effective for Opioid Abuse

By Kurniawati Kamarudin

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- The Health Ministry's methadone therapy for opioid addiction has proven to be successful.

Introduced 14 years ago, this treatment approach is seen to be the most effective way to reduce the risk of  HIV infection among intravenous drug users who share infected needles, according to Health Ministry public health specialist Dr Fazidah Yuswan.

Methadone, a drug used to treat dependency on opioids such as heroin, has been used by several countries such as the United States since the 1960s but Malaysia only started using it in 2005.

New Minimum Wage to Benefit 1.28 Million Workers

By Sakini Mohd Said

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- The new year has brought some cheer to private-sector blue-collar workers and employees in the lower salary scales with the enforcement of the higher minimum wage of RM1,100 a month or RM5.29 an hour starting Jan 1.

Announced by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng during the tabling of Budget 2019 on Nov 2, the new minimum wage will benefit some 1.28 million workers or 18.1 percent of the 7.05 million workforce in the private sector that work at least six hours a day or 20 days a month. (These statistics are based on the Department of Statistics Malaysia's 2017 Salaries and Wages Survey Report.)

This is also the first time the minimum wage is being standardised for the peninsula and Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan.

When Public Figures In India Flaunt Violent Tendencies

By Shakir Husain

Bernama's correspondent in New Delhi Shakir Husain shares his take on the happenings in India.

NEW DELHI (Bernama) -- Foreign correspondents based in India seem to have reached a consensus on when to report a bus accident.

There are just too many bus accidents in the country, so only the most shocking, usually with a high death toll, get reported.

Similar indifference seems to be developing towards mob violence.

Night Curfew for Teens: Is It a Good Idea?

By Siti Fauziah Hasan and Muhamad Saufee Rosman

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- The Kelantan government’s proposal to implement a midnight curfew for teenagers after midnight has raised some debate.

Many thought that it would help in curbing social ills among teenagers while others believed that there were better ways to tackle juvenile delinquency.

Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) criminologist and psychologist Dr Geshina Ayu Mat Saat said that the curfew should be implemented and enforced on a case by case basis, with exceptions given during emergencies and when it involved studies or family matters.

Clearer Guidelines for Antibiotics in the Offing

By Muhammad Basir Roslan

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) --  Government doctors will get a clearer and more structured guide to prescribing antibiotics under the third edition of the National Antibiotic Guideline (NAG 2019) as part of efforts to curtail antimicrobial resistance in this country. 

The Health Ministry is currently in the final phase of reviewing NAG 2014 (second edition of NAG) and is expected to publish NAG 2019 in the first quarter of this year.

NAG, the first edition of which was introduced in 2008, outlines principles of antibiotic therapy and rational antibiotic prescribing.