Rejecting briefing, DAP calls for assembly sitting to evaluate Covid-19 management

Chong Chieng Jen (file photo)

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KUCHING, Sept 3:  Democratic Action Party (DAP) opines that the Sarawak government should convene a proper Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting to fully debate and discuss Covid-19 management and operations instead of merely holding a briefing for state elected representatives (ADUNs) on Sept 8, 2021.

DAP Sarawak chief Chong Chieng Jen said he received a notice from the DUN secretary that there will be a briefing for the ADUNs by the State Disaster Management Committee on Covid-19 management procedures and operations.

“With the present Covid-19 pandemic threatening the lives and livelihood of all Sarawakians, the government, by merely holding a briefing instead of a proper DUN sitting, is taking the matter too lightly and is not serious about it.

“A briefing has no force of law. More importantly, in such a briefing, issues affecting all Sarawakians cannot be raised by all the ADUNs and ministers in charge of the matter can easily avoid answering questions or deflect responsibilities on the mess created thus far in the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Chong in a statement today.

He listed 10 questions that needed to be addressed in a proper DUN sitting.

1. Why are there just a huge spike in the new infected cases and increase in the Covid related deaths in Sarawak despite the fact that more than 80% of Sarawakians have been vaccinated?

2. What are the reasons why Sarawak recorded the most Delta variant cases as compared to all other States in Malaysia?

3. How is the Government going to effectively resolve the overcrowding issues in all the Covid testing centres which are now becoming potential Covid spreading centres?

4. Why, after more than one year into the pandemic, the State government is still caught unprepared of late with outbreaks and thus creating a huge shortage of quarantine centres for PUIs and close contacts?

5. How effective are the quarantine orders on those close contacts in containing the spread of the Covid-19, especially those subjected to home quarantine?

6. How much should the State Government allocate as economic stimulus packages in order to save businesses and livelihood of the people and to revive the State’s economy?

7. Why is there delay in the disbursement of BKSS financial aid funds to the people?

8. Given the closures of markets and the no dine-in order in the Southern Region, how and how much in total should the Government allocate to help hawkers and small businesses affected?

9. How is the State Government going to help and how much should the State Government allocate for the Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to help these SMEs survive this difficult time?

10. Given that many countries are contemplating “living with Covid” and starting to open up their economy, is the State government going to implement such a strategy and what implications and effect will such a strategy have on the lives of the people in Sarawak?

To Chong who is Kota Sentosa assemblyman, these are all very pertinent issues to save lives and livelihoods of the people in Sarawak which cannot be fully deliberated and discussed in a mere briefing as they involve government general policies, strategies and allocation of fund from the Consolidated Fund of the State Government and thus must be fully debated and approved in a proper DUN sitting.

“I thus call upon the government to convene a proper DUN sitting in stead of just having a briefing so that the management and operation of the Covid-19 pandemic can be properly discussed and ministers held accountable therefor,” said Chong, who is also Stampin MP. — DayakDaily