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KUCHING, April 29: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing warns that if Covid-19 SOPs are not followed during the upcoming Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Hari Gawai Dayak celebrations, Sarawak may face a smaller version of India’s devastating Covid-19 outbreak.
He called on all in Sarawak to strictly follow the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) standard operating procedures (SOPs) and guideline when celebrating the two celebrations.
“The Indian Covid-19 tsunami which kills over 2,500 people day in India, is a grim reminder what our failure to follow science in trying to fight Covid-19 would result in,” he said in a statement.
According to Masing, the Indian government permitted a religious ceremony to proceed, involving thousands of people gathering at the Indus river for bathing rituals, which allowed infections to spread rapidly and resulted in fatalities in the hundreds daily.
He reminded that Malaysia will soon have two religious and cultural functions, namely Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Hari Gawai, which tend to attract large crowds where strict SOPs are hard to enforce.
“If we don’t follow KKM (the Health Ministry’s) stringent health SOP, a miniature Covid-19 tsunami can also occur in Malaysia. Please note we in Malaysia can afford to miss one or two Hari Raya or Gawai and be alive,” stressed Masing who is also the Infrastructure and Port Development Minister.
He noted that Sarawakians have their respective religions and a shared belief in a higher power for protection against danger and evil.
“I appreciate the need to practise our religious beliefs, among others, to protect us from dangers and acts of the devil. That I can understand.
“On this note, I can’t help but be reminded of an Arab saying which states: ‘Trust in God but tie your camel’.
“I am pleased to note that Christians in Sarawak, at the height of Covid-19, strictly followed SDMC SOP and guidelines, while asking for divine help to protect them from the menace of Covid-19,” said Masing. — DayakDaily