Masing: Sarawak must bar entry of Chinese nationals amid coronavirus threat

A file photo of Masing fielding questions from reporters.

KUCHING: Jan 31: Sarawak must enforced its immigration autonomy and bar Chinese nationals from entering the state, now that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency.

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing said the state must take preventive and precautionary measures, considering that there has yet to be any antidote for the Wuhan virus.

“Sarawak should be extra vigilant against this outbreak. If the virus can’t be stopped in the next few weeks, Sarawak must enforce its immigration autonomy by barring Chinese nationals from coronavirus infected areas in China from coming to Sarawak,” he said in a statement.

He reminded that Sarawak enforcing its immigration autonomy was not a question of one government two immigration policies, but rather to protect the state from the deadly virus.

“Whether the federal government allows entry of Chinese nationals from infected areas in China, that is their business but Sarawak must protect its people from the coronavirus by exercising our immigration rights.

“If we can and had barred ‘naughty’ Malayan politicians from coming to Sarawak, we can also bar Chinese visitors from China with better reason,” he said.

As in Thursday (Jan 30), China’s National Health Commission said there have been an additional 43 deaths and 1,982 new confirmed cases, which brings the country’s total to 213 deaths and 9,692 confirmed cases.

In Malaysia, eight cases of the novel coronavirus infection have been detected. Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said all eight cases comprise Chinese nationals. Laboratory test results for five other suspected cases were pending.

On Monday, Putrajaya has halted all immigration facilities including issuing visas for Chinese citizens from Wuhan and areas around the Hubei province with immediate effect. — DayakDaily