By Adrian Lim
KUCHING, Jan 3: Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii has criticised Bintulu MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing for dismissing the former’s call for politicians not to be exempted from quarantine upon returning from high-risk Covid-19 areas.
Dr Yii pointed out that Covid-19 does not differentiate between politicians and normal citizens, adding that there is no hierarchy and privileges when it comes to the control of infectious disease.
Citing the recent case of a patient from the Mador cluster as an example of people returning from high-risk areas who tested negative at first and subsequently tested positive upon returning to Sarawak, Dr Yii reminded Tiong not to take the Covid-19 swab test results for granted and to take precautionary measures to protect the safety and health of Sarawakians.
He reiterated that Sarawak has one of the advantages of using immigration autonomy to restrict entry into Sarawak but should not compromise it for politicians.
Dr Yii also urged Tiong to think about the safety of the people in rural areas although serving the people is the responsibility of a politician.
“The need for quarantine order in Sarawak to be fairly practised to all including VVIPs and politicians is not merely “playing politics”, but an important infectious disease control in order to protect the people we serve especially here in Sarawak.
“YB Tiong King Sing recently dismissed my call for fair treatment for all including VVIPs and politicians to go (for) proper quarantine when coming in to Sarawak from red zones especially Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, claiming that I was merely playing politics and seeking cheap publicity.
“I reiterate that in Sarawak, we have one of the best advantages in terms of controlling the disease which is our immigration autonomy where we can limit those coming in and subject them to quarantine thus reducing chances of local transmission especially for those coming from high-risk areas.
“However, this advantage will be compromised when we start making too many exemptions even for the VVIPs,” he said in a statement.
Dr Yii opined that the Covid-19 swab test performed in high-risk areas prior to a person returning to Sarawak does not guarantee that the person will not catch the virus after being tested.
He explained that when the initial screening was done, the virus might still in the incubation period and thus it did not show up in the test results at first.
Citing the Mador cluster as an example, he questioned Tiong whether politicians will not face the same infection risk of Covid-19 as the patient.
“Based on YB Tiong’s statement, he claims that he knows what precautions to take including avoiding crowded areas.
“But, from his public photos, he was clearly seen visiting public markets and even visiting rural longhouses where there is not only crowds but also risk exposure to vulnerable groups especially the elderly.
“While I am also given exemption, I took my initiative to self-quarantine based on the concerns expressed but even in quarantine, we continue to remain productive to serve our constituency through modern technology for meetings and also mobilising our team to serve the ground for the time being.
“I believe our people will understand as this move is protecting and prioritising the health concern of all of them first and foremost.
“There is no reason that YB Tiong and the rest of state leaders cannot follow the same procedures not just to protect the people, but set an example that there should not be double standards in the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to curb the spread of an infectious disease,” he added.
While it is the responsibility of politicians to serve their constituency, Dr Yii stressed that it is more important to protect them and not be reckless especially when the risk of asymptomatic infection of Covid-19 is real. — DayakDaily