‘As if no MCO was in effect’: Why authorities were forced to clamp down in Sibu

The crowd in front of the Lanang police station.

By Ling Hui

KUCHING, Jan 26: It was as if the Movement Control Order (MCO) was not in effect in Sibu, and the situation on the ground around the district could only be described as unpleasant.

State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said this was what the Sibu Divisional Disaster Management Committee (Sibu DDMC) saw which forced it to decide to enforce the requirement for police permits for work-related travel.

With regards to this policy, he added, SDMC has no objection to it as the divisional committee members are on the ground monitoring the situation day and night, thus they know what is best for the people.

As Covid-19 infections tend to spread more easily in crowded situations, and Sibu has been recording the highest number of positive cases among other districts in the past two weeks, Uggah said Sibu DDMC had insisted on tightening travel restrictions.

He also said stringent regulations like this would not have been necessary if employers had complied with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) of not having more than 30 per cent of their workforce working from the workplace.

“What’s important is that we want them to cooperate as we need those who travel to work to be not more than 30 per cent.

“It all depends on the sincerity of the employers. If they can comply, they (Sibu DDMC) will not have to put up any stringent regulation,” he told reporters during the Covid-19 press conference at State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Complex today.

Commenting on the long queues in front of police stations in Sibu today (Jan 26) to apply for police permits, Uggah said he has spoken with Local Government and Housing Assistant Minister Dr Annuar Rapaee on improving the communication system.

Now that the application forms are available for download online, he said the next step would be to find ways to refine the process to ensure higher efficiency and less crowds.

“We understand that there may be queues and so on, but there will be adjustments made depending on circumstances,” he said. — DayakDaily