NGO: State govt needs to give clearer direction to prevent more Covid-19 infections

KUCHING, May 4: Solidariti Anak Sarawak (SAS) calls for clearer direction from the state government with regards to the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) implementation in the state, in order to avoid another wave of Covid-19 infections.

According to the group’s founder Peter John Jaban in a statement, SAS supports the decision to maintain the MCO in Sarawak as new cases continue to appear, especially with the rate of infections among healthcare workers.

He noted that Sarawak has her own state security council and has taken the decision to make a response that is more finely tuned to the situation here in the state, and is not obliged to take orders from the federal government on this.

“Sarawak is right to take its own action, but it must make clear what that action is. Clear information is needed by all so that people do not fall foul of the MCO fines unknowingly.

“Come up with a plan and publish it immediately. Sarawakians looks to its state government for direction right now and then we can follow. We are taking our lives and those of our communities into our own hands and we must do so in collective agreement,” he added.

Peter also noted that Sarawak’s economy and society are different to that in Malaya (West Malaysia) and so it is a must to have a more nuanced approach to allow for that.

At the same time, he questioned who will be responsible for the many Sarawakians who could be potentially infected, as the lack of investment in healthcare over decades means that the people are vulnerable to this kind of health emergency.

“I hope that Sarawak state government thinks carefully about their procedures to fully uplift (sic) the MCO. If people are sick or dying, then opening up the economy becomes irrelevant. Who is going to run businesses and more importantly who will be there to buy their goods and services?” he added.

He pointed out that as of now, prioritising lives over livelihoods in the short-term is a must in order to have a long-term future.

“Thankfully the Sarawak government had built up huge reserves, and these can be used to mitigate the problems of Covid-19 and kickstart the economy in various sectors,” he opined.

Meanwhile, Peter also urged Sarawakians to take responsibility for their own actions, including their community wellbeing.

Apart from that, he asserted employers must also take responsibility for their workers when they finally do return, for example, and allow them to work from home where possible.

“Sarawak must look to itself. In red zones like Kuching and Samarahan, the MCO should not be eased until the death and infection rates are reduced substantially. Sarawak still has a high Covid-19 death rate of 3.4 per cent compared to the national figure of 1.7 per cent.

“Even worse, I won’t be surprised that there will be further waves (second waves of covid 19 after Hari Raya and Hari Gawai) if there is no control of movements,” he added. — DayakDaily