Casual attitude among longhouse residents hindering efforts to arrest spread of Covid-19

Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas

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BETONG, March 2: The lackadaisical attitude of some longhouse residents when facing the threat of Covid-19 has contributed to the increase in Covid-19 cases reported in Sarawak.

To counter this situation, State Disaster Management Committee chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah is now empowering grassroots leaders from nine longhouses under lockdown in Betong Division to carry out community policing to enforce full compliance with standard operating procedures (SOPs) to prevent the spread of the deadly disease.

These grassroots leaders comprise leadership and members of Development and Security Committees (JKKKs) of each respective longhouse.

Uggah said this system is basically aimed at enforcing self-discipline within the longhouse.

“The time has come now for us to pass on the responsibilities of self-regulation to the longhouse chief and his JKKK members. We actually have been doing community policing all this while.

“Now we are doing it (empowering the JKKKs) during this very difficult time and circumstances. We will see how this work out. We have seen in the past how some longhouse residents seemed to have difficulty in (having) discipline. (They) had sneaked out and their lackadaisical attitude had resulted in increases in positive cases,” said Uggah who is also the Deputy Chief Minister.

Uggah announced this after chairing a Betong Division Disaster Management Committee meeting on the Covid-19 pandemic situation in the said division.

The meeting was attended by political secretary to the Chief Minister Dr Richard Rapu and heads of various government departments at the Resident’s Office here.

Uggah chairing Betong Division Disaster Management Committee meeting this morning (Mar 2, 2021).

Betong Resident Friday Belik and the Divisional Medical Officer Dr Johnny Pangkas earlier briefed Uggah about the current situation on the ground.

Betong today registered 48 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the cumulative total for the division to 202 and one fatality.

According to Uggah, the Resident’s Office would brief the JKKKs on how to execute their new responsibilities.

“We want them to ensure all inhabitants stay in their own ‘bilek’ in the longhouse during the (lockdown) period. We want them to continue to observe the SOPs. They are not to move around (in order to mix around) so that they can help in preventing and ending the spread.

“In this way too, the committees (JKKKs) can relieve other enforcement authorities like the police, Rela (People’s Volunteer Corps), local councils and the military of such tasks. These authorities can then focus on implementing the lockdown from outside,” said Uggah who is also the Bukit Saban assemblyman in a statement today. — DayakDaily