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By Nur Ashikin Louis
BINTULU, Aug 31: Bintulu MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing has chided the Opposition for having a “lack of understanding” when it comes to rented room owners, who he felt also had to shoulder an equal amount of responsibility for the safety of their tenants or general public during the Covid-19 pandemic.
He took a jab at Democratic Action Party (DAP) Bintulu branch publicity secretary Chiew Chan Yew, who he stated has been giving false statements by confusing the people’s living conditions with rented room security requirements.
“Whether or not Chiew is making his statements as part of his publicity work for his party, it is not right for him to make assumptions about the people’s lives, not to mention his level of understanding towards this issue.
“Does Chiew really think that landlords or owners of bilik sewa/rumah sewa (rented rooms/houses) should not have to bear the responsibility for other tenants or the general public when it comes to outbreaks within their residences?
“If irresponsible landlords are allowed to take in tenants who may be carriers of Covid-19, who would then be ultimately responsible for the lives and health of the other tenants?” he questioned in a Facebook post yesterday.
Tiong further said that while such owners are allowed to rent their property out to others, they must also shoulder the responsibility of containing the virus from infecting others when it comes to areas within their control.
“The most basic thing is that new tenants must be tested for Covid-19 before being allowed to move in so that this would assist the authorities in contact tracing and cutting off the source of infection.
“At this critical moment, making money should not be a priority. Is it fair for the existing tenants if a new tenant from a high-risk area is allowed to move in without being tested?” he added.
Tiong mentioned that under local council regulations, most ‘bilik sewa’ operations are illegal, but the Bintulu Development Authority (BDA) has offered some leeway and opportunity to help the people who are under the most economic pressures.
“For now, the fight against the pandemic is the utmost priority alongside protecting the lives and health of the people. The authorities must carefully handle all matters related to pandemic prevention, including removing any virus hotbeds at risk of outbreak to prevent the pandemic in Bintulu from getting worse,” he emphasised.
He also informed that Bintulu has detected 20 cases of the Covid-19 Delta variant at present.
He stressed that the authorities have no intention to bring an end to rented room businesses but many of these properties have failed to comply with the necessary standard operating procedures (SOPs) set to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Tiong also advised Chiew to conduct his politics in a more humane and reasonable way and not expect the government to assist the landlords in upkeep of the cleanliness of their premises while the owners just collect rent. — DayakDaily