MTUC calls for fresh lockdown in S’wak, resignation of those responsible for ‘mishandling Covid-19 outbreak’

Andrew Lo

KUCHING, Sept 7: Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) Sarawak has called for a fresh lockdown to be imposed in Sarawak for a month or two after the State, for the first time in many months, overtook Selangor with the highest daily figure of 3,714 cases yesterday.

Its secretary Andrew Lo said that those responsible for “mishandling the Covid-19 outbreak” must resign.

“Those responsible must resign. It has been coming and the writings are on the wall.

“Finally yesterday, we Sarawak recorded the highest new Covid-19 cases in the country, overtaking Selangor (which recorded 2,126 cases) by a wide margin and despite a high vaccination rate.

“What made the ‘victory sweeter’ is that we did it with a much smaller population. It feels like the elusive Olympic gold,” he said in a statement today.

Lo, who is also Sarawak Bank Employees Union chief executive officer (CEO), alleged that some of those in the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) was only good at “parroting Covid-19 news in their personal social media pages and continuing their chest thumping”.

He said this was the outcome when the State government ignored the sentiments and views of the workers and the public.

Had the government listened to the views and recommendations by MTUC Sarawak and Sarawak Bank Union’s call for a total lockdown in May this year, he believed that Sarawak would not be in this dismal situation.

“We must call on employers, especially the connected ones and the business associations to support a full lockdown, otherwise they will be just cutting their noses to spite their faces.

“Almost every business can survive a month or two of total lockdown, but most will die a slow and painful death as what is happening right now,” he said.

Lo pointed out that selective lockdown is inherently unfair as those businesses that are open are benefiting at the expense of those that have to shut down.

“There must not be any exemptions that have been handed out like timber concessions,” he added.

Reiterating its advise issued in May, he suggested that the government, employers and workers equally share the burden which a lockdown would bring as a self-lockdown without income security is impossible for workers struggling to put food on the table.

“Businesses and employers also need assistance. In this regard, we propose the burden be equally shared between the government, employers and workers.

“The government should provide a one-third subsidy, employer to pay one-third and workers to sacrifice one-third of their wages, subject to a minimum wage of RM1,200,” he said.— DayakDaily