Do not impose strict inter-district travel for tourism, Abdul Karim tells SDMC

File photo depicting a roadblock in Sarawak during the Conditional Movement Control Order.

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By Nancy Nais

KUCHING, Sept 30: The State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) has been urged not to impose stringent inter-district travel restrictions such as mandatory requirement of a police permit for leisure cross-district travels.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah also asked SDMC to be specific when it comes to its standard operating procedures (SOP) on the opening of the tourism industry in the State.


“SDMC has got to beef themselves up or else it will cause a lot of inconvenience. Once you open up the tourism sector and with proper SOPs, I personally do not agree with the need to have a permit for inter-district travel.

“In my opinion, once a person has received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccines, they should be allowed to move around. Otherwise, it is very inconvenient. When you go to the police station, they will ask for all sorts of documents. How do you expect people to get a letter when they want to go back to their village?” Abdul Karim said at a press conference after launching the ‘Program Ziarah Belia’ today.

Abdul Karim speaking to reporters at the press conference.

Likening it to the procedures faced by those who wish to enter Sarawak, Abdul Karim explained that there was a lot of inconvenience and frustration involved, such as obtaining a police permit, the SDMC online permit and having a negative rt-PCR or RTK Antigen Covid-19 test result.

To make matters worse, he added that there were cases where people had to buy their flight tickets in advance due to outrageous airfares but in the end, they had to forfeit their tickets because SDMC did not approve their entry.

On Sarawak’s preparedness to receive visitors from Oct 1 onwards, Abdul Karim asserted, “If SDMC has given the approval to open up Sarawak’s tourism sector, then they must be ready to do so or else the committee will receive the wrath or complaints from the public.”

Sarawak will reopen its domestic tourism sector tomorrow, where activities such as hotels, home-stays, tourism attractions, arts, culture and heritage premises and even spas, reflexologies or massage centres will be allowed to operate once more.

He also cited that Sarawak will receive an increase in flight frequency from the current 22 flights to 87 flights per week.

“That is a lot of passengers coming in. Therefore, SDMC needs to look into this matter and refine the SOPs,” he added. — DayakDaily