Grassroots leaders to monitor 6,000 villages, longhouses to fend off Coronavirus

Uggah at Covid-19 press conference today (Jan 29, 2021).

By Ling Hui

KUCHING, Jan 29: Government-trained grassroots leaders consisting of longhouse chieftains, village chiefs, community leaders, councillors, the Rela, army veterans, police retirees and neighbourhood watch areas (KRT) are called to monitor existing 6,000 villages and longhouses in rural Sarawak to fend off Covid-19.

State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said these leaders are the ones that the committee expects to act on its behalf in curbing the Covid-19 wildfire at longhouses and villages.


This strategy of community policing, he added, would be of great help to Sarawak as longhouses are scattered across the state’s vast territory and most of them are far from cities, police stations and health clinics.

He said with trained leaders stationed in each village and longhouse, they could be mobilised in monitoring and enforcing the people’s compliance with standard operating procedures.

“We believe we could mobilise them and guide them to ensure that their villages are under control. They are to advise the people not to travel to cities unnecessarily and in the situation nowadays, to stop all social activities.

“With that type of network, we hope our ability to control the spread (of Covid-19) will be better,” he said during the Covid-19 press conference today.

Adding on, Uggah said these individuals are given the authorities to implement any form of restriction, warning or detention.

Referring to social media posts showing pictures of notices in red set up at the entrances of some longhouses to warn off outsiders, the Deputy Chief Minister commended such action taken by these grassroots leaders.

On the same issue, he noted that SDMC is on its second phase of delivering briefings and seminars to these grassroots leaders but focusing more on the dangers of Covid-19.

In the first phase since October, 2020, he said the trainings were more on illegal immigrants (PATI), drugs and rabies.

“With that, I think our effort to stop the chain (of transmission) will be a lot better,” said Uggah.—DayakDaily