Lau refutes criticisms over state govt aid for residents under Covid-19 lockdown

Senator Robert Lau

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SIBU, Feb 24: Senator Robert Lau Hui Yew has slammed critics for implying that the state government is not helping people who are affected by the Covid-19 lockdown in their area.

The Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Bawang Assan chairman pointed out the Sarawak government had disbursed a few rounds of aid to the people since the outset of the pandemic.

“When MCO (Movement Control Order) was imposed in Sibu and nearby divisions, the government rolled out food aid to all the affected area costing millions (of ringgit). This aid is still continuing for areas which is under Targeted Enhanced MCO (TEMCO),” he said.

He added that there are still more than 40 longhouses in Sibu Division under TEMCO and they are still being given food aid.

Lau also refuted allegations that the frontliners were not doing enough to help curb the coronavirus outbreak.

He pointed out that security forces consisting of the police, military and People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) are still out in the field where the TEMCO is enforced 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Our frontliners have been working extremely hard for this (past) one year and those in Sibu Division were and continue to be at the forefront when the cases here surged in January,” he explained.

On the issue of the delay faced by those housed at quarantine centres at Kolej Laila Taib, Lau revealed he was made to understand that patients assigned there have to go through several steps before being settled into their allotted rooms.

“This is because when the person has tested positive he or she will have to be picked up and sent to Sibu Hospital. A thorough health check has to be done including an X-ray taken. He or she will have to be confirmed as asymptotic before being approved to be transferred to the quarantine centre,” he explained.

After that, there is the process of moving the person to the quarantine centre, the allocation of beds, the registrations and the food arrangement, which all have to be made.

“These all take time. All these require human input and actions. These are additional work with the quarantine centre set up separately. But this is the best solution to cater for the surge of cases over the last one month in Sibu division,” he added.

Accommodation, food and transport for quarantined citizens are all paid for by the Sarawak government.

“To say the government has done nothing is not true and demoralising at a time when we need to all come together. We need to constantly be reminded that the best defense lies within us and that is to strictly follow the SOP (standard operating procedure),” Lau concluded. — DayakDaily