SDMC: Chong’s quarantine order due to system error, misunderstanding

Signature. — file pic. // Photo: Pixabay

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By Adrian Lim

KUCHING, Dec 20: The State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) blamed an electronic blunder and misunderstanding for causing Stampin MP Chong Chieng Jen to be inconvenienced upon his return to Kuching from Kuala Lumpur yesterday (December 19).

SDMC in a statement today disclosed the circumstances which led to the mix-up which caused the Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman to vent his frustration online on his Facebook page.

The committee noted that Chong had applied to be exempted from quarantine upon his return to Sarawak on December 18 as an MP.

The committee also noted that Chong had attached his rapid test polymerase chain reaction (rt-PCR) results taken on December 16 which was negative but he was given a “Mandatory Quarantine Order” by the system.

Upon arrival at Kuching International Airport (KIA) at 3:30pm, SDMC noted Chong had informed the officer-on-duty that he had taken a recent Covid-19 swab test but failed to show the officer his results.

Thus, the committee said Chong was required to take another Covid-19 swab test at the airport.

SDMC added Chong had also reapplied through the committee’s electronic health declaration system to be exempted for quarantine at 3.58pm while waiting to be screened at the airport.

The committee said his application was approved by SDMC at 5.12pm as the paperwork was in order.

It added Chong’s electronic health declaration form and other documentation were re-verified by the officers before he was allowed to leave the airport and exempted from quarantine.

“We would like to inform the public that the SDMC and ground staff take the implementation of standard operating procedure (SOP) including the application and declaration to enter Sarawak very seriously and will take precautionary steps to ensure the safety of the state.

“We would also like to record our appreciation for the cooperation given by those who had adhered to the SOP strictly,” it said.

Yesterday, Chong who is also the Kota Sentosa assemblyman on his Facebook page claimed that there were double standards for the SOPs for entry into Sarawak practised by SDMC.

He alleged politicians and MPs from Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) were not required to undergo the mandatory quarantine while members of the opposition needed to undergo the quarantine although both parties attended the same Parliament session.

“It seems that the Sarawak GPS ministers, deputy ministers and MPs and even their ‘pegawai’ (officers) have a different set of SOP.

“They attended the same Parliament sitting with me, spent the same amount of time in the same Parliament building with me.

“But, they do not need to be quarantined.

“While all common Sarawakians are compelled to go through a 14-day quarantine regardless of how many negative Covid tests they undergo before their entry into Sarawak, why are the GPS politicians so special?

“If the SOP for the GPS politicians are safe, why can’t such SOP also be made available to common Sarawakians?,” Chong questioned. — DayakDaily