What are Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes?



WOLBACHIA is a natural bacterium present in up to 60 per cent of insects, including some mosquitoes.

However, it is not usually found in the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is the primary species responsible for transmitting human viruses such as dengue, chikungunya and Zika.

When male mosquitoes infected with the Wolbachia bacterium mate with the female Aedes mosquito, the female mosquitoes will produce eggs which won’t hatch into larvae.

When male mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia mate with female Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes they will produce Wolbachia bacteria-infected eggs.

When female mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia mate with male mosquitoes without the Wolbachia bacteria, the eggs produced will turn into larvae which will have the bacteria, thus reducing Aedes mosquitoes.

Wolbachia bacteria cannot be passed to humans as it is too big to travel down the salivary gland ducts of a mosquito.

Research has shown that when introduced into the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the Wolbachia bacteria can stop these viruses from growing inside the mosquito and be transmitted to people. This important discovery has the potential to transform the fight against life-threatening viral diseases.

Tozo mosquito


The Subang Jaya Municipal Council has initiated the toxorhynchites (toxo) mosquito programme.

Toxo mosquitoes, also known as “elephant mosquitoes”, eat other mosquito larvae, including the Aedes, at its larval stage.

They will also eat their own larvae if there is no other mosquito larvae available.

Adult toxo mosquitoes feed on plant nectar, and not blood, and are harmless to humans.

It would take a few years for the toxo mosquitoes to live and breed naturally.

There are two phases in the programme. The first phase will see a decrease in Aedes mosquitoes, and the second involves the toxo mosquitoes breeding naturally in the area.

The mosquitoes are not genetically modified and they originate from tropical forests.

Penang to help civil servants who owe loan sharks

GEORGE TOWN — Civil servants should seek the help of the Penang government if they had taken loans from loan sharks, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said.

“Those who have borrowed from the Ah Long, come to us. We will make reports and take action to help so that you only pay back the capital and not the high interest rates,” he said at the monthly civil servants’ assembly yesterday.

Lim said that once civil servants borrowed from loan sharks, they had to pay back the sum, but the state and the police would ensure the lenders would not get any interests for the loans.

“This is so they know they will not profit from giving loans to civil servants and this stop them from lending money to them,” he said.

Lim said he believed there were currently civil servants drowning in debt as they were unable to repay the loan sharks who charged high interest rates.

“This may be a sensitive issue but this problem exists among the civil servants as it exists among the public,” he said.

This was why the state government must stop the unhealthy habit.

“We are not blaming the Ah Long or those who borrowed from them, we will not punish anyone. The Ah Long will get back their capital but without the high interest, so they get the message they must not loan money to civil servants,” he said.

State Secretary Datuk Seri Farizan Darus said he had issued a circular last month to all department heads to check for “high risk” staff.

“The high risk group is those whose take-home pay is 40 per cent and less of their salary where deductions constituted more than 60 per cent of their salary,” he said.

Farizan said the heads were to list out those in this group and arrange for one-to-one meetings with them.

“I am still awaiting reports from the head of departments and we will also check if any of them took loans from the Ah Long,” he said.
— Malay Mail Online

Umno Youth wants RCI to probe 1990s forex losses

PETALING JAYA — Umno Youth wants the government to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to investigate claims that Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) had lost billions in the foreign exchange (forex) market in the early 1990s.

Its vice president, Khairul Azwan Harun, said the commission should not only look into claims of the losses, which almost led to the bankruptcy of the central bank, but also into allegations of a cover-up.

He said US$150 billion (RM664 billion) in forex trading exposure and over US$30 billion (RM133 billion) in forex trading was lost.

“The youth wing views the allegations on BNM’s losses in 1991 seriously and calls for the setting up of an RCI,” Khairul Azwan said in a
statement yesterday.

“Investigations should also be made on the financial state of BNM to determine whether the loss was higher than stated in the financial report for the year 1991.”

Referring to the expose by former BNM assistant governor Datuk Abdul Murad Khalid last month, Khairul Azwan said the alleged cover-up was a criminal offence and should be investigated by the RCI to nail the culprit responsible for the major loss.

Abdul Murad had said in a news report last week the forex market losses were higher than admitted and that no one was investigated or charged with the losses.

Dubbed the biggest forex loss in the world, he said there was no proper documentation of the transactions and that only two BNM personnel had a record of all the deals.

Abdul Murad said the losses amounted to US$10 billion (RM44 billion), much higher than the RM9 billion disclosed by BNM.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had on Jan 27 said the cabinet would look into the allegations and that the government took the accusations seriously.

He said the government would wait for an explanation from the central bank before deciding on the next course of action.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said it would only step in if any element of corruption was found once internal investigations had been
carried out.


Averting another tragedy

A BOY looks on as a tractor dumps soil into the pool of a former bauxite mine in Taman Sungai Karang, Kuantan, yesterday where three children drowned on Saturday. Sasabella Zulhairi, 12, her brother Mahathir Mohamad, seven, and their friend, Nureen Ain Juwita Mohd Sharif, 10, were buried on Sunday. The authorities are filling the pool following calls from the children’s parents to do so. — Picture by Bernama


Qatar recognises Malaysian driving licence

DOHA — The Qatar government has agreed to recognise the Malaysian driving licence, hence exempting the holders from having to sit and pass the driving test in that country.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the “gift” from the Qatar government to the Malaysian people was acquired during his meeting with Qatar Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah Nasser Khalifa Al Thani, who is also the interior minister, on Sunday.

“The Qatar prime minister immediately approved my request after I informed him on problems facing Malaysians, especially those working in the country,” he said at a dinner with Malaysians here.

The announcement by Ahmad Zahid was welcomed with an applause from those present, including Malaysian Ambassador to Qatar Datuk Ahmad Jazri Mohd Johar.

Before this, Malaysians were required to sit and pass the driving test in Qatar to be able to drive in the left-hand driving country.

Ahmad Zahid said it was the special relations enjoyed between Malaysia and Qatar that problems facing Malaysian citizens and companies could be resolved through meetings by leaders of both countries without having to go through diplomatic channels that could take a longer time.

As such, he said, Malaysians in Qatar should protect the good image and reputation of their homeland so the Qatar government’s confidence in Malaysia would not be affected.

Ahmad Zahid said the outcome of his meeting with several Qatar leaders showed the Qatar government looked highly on the

contributions made by Malaysians and the capability of Malaysian companies.

He said the Malaysian workforce in Malaysia comprised those in technical fields and professionals, and not labourers or unskilled workers like from other countries.

Ahmad Zahid arrived in Qatar on Saturday for a four-day working visit on the invitation from Sheikh Abdullah Nasser.

Malaysia Association of Qatar president Ahmad Hasnan Mohd Zaki welcomed the Qatar government’s move in recognising the Malaysian driving licence.

Otherwise, Malaysians would have to wait for at least four months and fork out 2,500 Qatari riyals (RM2,951) to sit for the driving test. — Bernama

Perak Sultan chides 
Malays who forget roots

IPOH — The Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah, yesterday criticised the attitude of some Malays who displayed attributes of forgetting their roots soon after beginning to enjoy a little success in comparison to the advance made by the other communities.

He likened the attitude to the kind of lifestyle that prevailed during the fall of Malacca to the Portuguese where the people lost out in their haste to pursue wealth and engaged in a power struggle.

“It is feared that the newly acquired wealth of the Malays will not last long if they relish in lavish spending to reflect their social image, instead of saving and investing to accumulate a bigger asset for the community in the long run,” he said when opening the “Muzakarah Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah” discourse here.

The programme, with the theme “Mengakar Kuat Umat Melayu, Menjunjung Tinggi Islam” (Strengthening the Malay Roots, Upholding Islam), was also attended by the Raja Permaisuri of Perak, Tuanku Zara Salim, and Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir.

Sultan Nazrin Shah said the Malays were now in a race to ridicule one another, not realising that they were exposing their own weaknesses.

“While being grateful for their success, the Malays should not take lightly the misconduct of their own people,” he said.

He said policies formulated to aid the Malays did not meet their objectives because of leakages.

“Today, the dignity of the race has been disgraced with acts of corruption, breach of trust, fraud and power abuse. It is apt that the race should be wary of the adage that a rotten apple can spoil the barrel,” he said.

Sultan Nazrin Shah said Malays who continued to be at loggerheads would not be a strong community and Muslims who continued to be in conflict would not be able to uphold Islam. — Bernama

Terengganu MB injured while 

KUALA LUMPUR — Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman has been admitted to a private hospital after he is believed to have fallen during training at an equestrian centre here yesterday.

Ahmad Razif is reported to be in stable condition and is required to rest, said a statement by his office in Kuala Terengganu.

The statement said all programmes involving Ahmad Razif had been postponed indefinitely.

“Let’s all pray for the speedy recovery of Yang Amat Berhormat,” it said.

The statement said Ahmad Razif was required to be under the supervision of doctors for at least 24 hours.

A Facebook post by Ahmad Razif’s special officer, Ahmad Fauzan Abd Kadir, said the menteri besar was in stable condition at a private hospital in Kuala Lumpur.

“Nothing serious happened to Menteri Besar Terengganu. He is now being treated and under doctor’s surveillance at a private hospital in Kuala Lumpur. He is in good condition. Thank you for all the wishes and prayers,” the post said.

It is learnt that Ahmad Razif was admitted to the hospital at about 11am following the accident at the equestrian centre. — Bernama

Trafficking ring busted, children rescued

PETALING JAYA — Twenty-two Myanmar nationals, including a two-month-old infant, were rescued from a human trafficking syndicate in Ampang, Selangor, on Saturday.

The police had kept watch over the syndicate since Jan 4 before they launched multiple raids last weekend, resulting in the rescue of eight adults, 13 children and the infant.

An Indian national and a Myanmar woman, in their late 30s to mid-40s, were arrested. Police believe the man is the mastermind behind the illegal activities.

The duo allegedly exploited children by forcing them to sell flowers and begging for alms at entertainment hubs, shopping malls and restaurants in the city.

Dang Wangi police chief Assistant Commissioner Mohd Sukri Kaman said those rescued were given accommodation in Ampang.

“The eight adults — three men and five women — are parents of the children who were rescued,” he said.

The children, comprising seven boys and six girls aged between six and 12 years, plied their trade in the area until the early hours of the morning, when the nightspots were closing down.

Sukri said the suspects would fetch the victims from their rented homes at 9pm and dropped them off at designated places to sell flowers for the day.

“Their target areas are Jalan Changkat, Jalan Alor and Jalan Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur,” he said.

Sukri said the children were forced to sell flowers packed at home for RM10 each until 6am the next day.

Among the items seized during the raids were a taxi registered under a company here, a handphone, flowers and wrappers, and RM145.

The man has been remanded for five days, and the woman for 14 days to facilitate investigations.

The case is being investigated under the Anti-Trafficking in Person and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act for trafficking of children.

In a separate statement yesterday, Sukri advised the pubic not to sympathise with these children or buy flowers from them. Instead, he urged the public to report the matter to police.


Ready to render aid

VOLUNTEERS on the ‘Food Flotilla For Myammar’ humanitarian mission don life vests as part of their fire drill as the Nautical Aliya sails off Thailand yesterday. Bad weather could delay the ship’s arrival in Yangon, its first port of call. The supplies, which include 2,300 tonnes of medical aid, daily provisions and other essentials, will be distributed to Rohingya refugees there before the ship sets sail for Bangladesh. — Picture by Bernama

Fight for FAM presidency on

KUALA LUMPUR — After months of ambivalence, Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) owner Tunku Ismail Ibrahim is shaping up to contest the FA of Malaysia (FAM) presidency following a successful plea by representatives of some of the national bodys affiliates to the Sultan of Johor at Pasir Pelangi Palace yesterday.

If, as expected, he does contest, he will likely face a challenge from Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

Representatives from affiliates — including Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Malacca — and from the Coaches Association were granted an audience with Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar as part of efforts to convince Tunku Ismail to stand for election at the FAM Congress on March 25.

In a statement on the Johor Southern Tigers Facebook page yesterday, Sultan Ibrahim commanded Tunku Ismail to “change Malaysian football”.

“FAM delegates were at Pasir Pelangi Palace to seek consent from the Sultan of Johor for the presidency nomination of Tunku Ismail at the national football congress in March, to lead the FAM and change the local football scene,” read the statement in the Facebook account.

Sultan Ibrahim asked Tunku Ismail his thoughts during the meeting. The Crown Prince replied: “I will follow Tuanku’s command.”

Other than Tunku Ismail and Khairy, other nominees for the post are Tan Sri Annuar Musa and Tan Sri Aseh Che Mat.

Khairy and Annuar were once FAM deputy presidents while Aseh is FAM integrity committee chairman.

Annuar, who was also the former FA of Kelantan president, confirmed he will contest the president’s post on his Facebook account yesterday.

Meanwhile, FAM secretary-general Datuk Hamidin Amin reserved comments and even declined to confirm which candidates confirmed acceptance of nominations.

“I will only reveal the confirmed candidates on Feb 13,” he said, referring to the closing date for acceptance of nominations.

Each nominee must inform FAM whether they want to proceed as candidate for posts by then as there will be an executive council meeting a week later when the final list of candidates would be announced.

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