Chong to Dr Sim: Has SDMC been withholding info about Covid-19 situation in S’wak?

Chong (left) and Dr Sim.

KUCHING, July 16: What other information related to Covid-19 have Local Government and Housing Minister Dato Sri Prof Dr Sim Kui Hian and the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) withheld, if any, from the public, questioned Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak today.

DAP Sarawak chief Chong Chieng Jen said this concern arose from Dr Sim’s recent statement about SDMC having concealed certain information of eatery outlet clusters in the past.

Chong said on July 8, the Institute of Health and Community Medicine (IHCM) of Unimas announced that a 56-year-old man from Kuching was detected with the Delta variant on June 18.

He pointed out that thereafter, on July 12, the SDMC announced that dine-ins will be allowed on July 14, but only to revoke this on the night of July 13, disallowing dine-ins.

The reason for such a U-turn was that 16 cases of Delta variants were detected on July 13.

To Chong, in an attempt to justify the U-turn and the ‘no dine-in’ decision, Dr Sim had said that there were all along eatery outlet clusters, but that the authority did not disclose the names of such outlets.

“He spoke as if he is not part of the authorities, even though he is the advisor to SDMC and the State Minister in charge of healthcare in the State,” said Chong in a statement today.

Chong, who is also Kota Sentosa assemblyman said following the so-called “justification” by Dr Sim, in less than 48 hours after the issuance of the ‘no dine-in’ order, SDMC made another U-turn announcement that starting July 16, dine-ins will be allowed.

“Such an announcement by SDMC is clearly a slap in the face of Dr Sim who less than two days before, still tried to justify the ‘no dine-in’ order issued by SDMC,” Chong opined.

Following the series of events, Chong raised the following questions:

1. If it were true that there were previously coffeeshop or eatery outlet clusters, why is the SDMC not disclosing such information to the public?
2. Dr Sim seems to be putting all the fault of the Covid-19 outbreak on the federal Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM), but is it not true that SDMC is the highest autonomous agency in Sarawak for the management and control of the Covid-19 pandemic? Without the endorsement of SDMC, how could KKM implement its order or policy in Sarawak?
3. Why keep blaming the Federal government for the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in Sarawak while the GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) is also part of the Federal government?
4. How does the government expect the people and business sector to comply with the flickering and confusing SOPs (standard operating procedures) when even the enforcement units themselves are confused?
5. Since Dr Sim has now openly admitted that SDMC has been concealing information of certain clusters from the public in the past, what other information has the SDMC been concealing from the public hitherto? How then can the public have confidence and trust on SDMC and the authority in all the announcements in respect of the Covid-19 pandemic including the daily figures?

“On these premises, my advice to Dr Sim, being a Minister, please be careful and think before you make any public statement. Do not add fear and confusion to the already very difficult situation of the pandemic,” said Chong, who is also Stampin MP. — DayakDaily