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By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Jan 1: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing lauded the decision of the Sarawak government to ban Chinese nationals and foreigners who have been to China in the last 14 days with immediate effect.
“In order to protect Sarawakians from the deadly coronavirus from spreading to Sarawak chief minister (Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg) did the right thing by banning flights from China till the deadly coronavirus is contained.
“The government can’t ‘pussy foot’ around when it comes to protecting its citizens from deadly diseases,” he said.
He added that if the federal government wants to adopt the “wait and see” attitude, when World Health Organisation (WHO) has made its stand clear on the danger of the virus, then that is their business.
“Sarawak must protect its citizens from this deadly menace. We can’t wait and see attitude, whether any Malaysian died from this virus.
“Exercise our immigration autonomy now. Delayed decision could be fatal to Malaysians,” said Masing.
He believed that issues affecting human lives should precede financial benefits derived from tourism dollars.
He was commenting on Transport Minister Anthony Loke, who was quoted as saying that the federal government has not decided to ban all flights from China.
Yesterday, Masing called on the Sarawak government to exercise its right over its immigration autonomy to prevent Chinese nationals from coronavirus infected areas in China from coming to the state.
He reasoned that since the WHO has declared health emergency worldwide, and that there has been no antidote of the virus yet, it was imperative for Sarawak to take preventive and precautionary measures by enforcing its immigration autonomy.
China’s National Health Commission said as of Friday (Jan 31), the country’s total death from the virus outbreak has hit 259 and confirmed cases rose to 11,791.
The virus has been confirmed in more than a dozen countries and territories since it was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan, Hubei province, in December. — DayakDaily