Second MCO for Sarawak triggers mass shopping at supermarkets

Officers from KPDNHEP Sarawak inspecting premises in Kapit after allegations of panic buying due to MCO from May 29 to June 11.

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KUCHING, May 28: The Movement Control Order (MCO) announcement by State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) yesterday in Sarawak has triggered consumer mass shopping throughout the city.

The second MCO for Sarawak will begin at May 29 (midnight) to June 11, due to the surge of Covid-19 cases.

Consumers in Kuching started to throng several supermarkets and hypermarkets since yesterday evening, with people joining long lines to stock up on essential items.

However, when asked randomly by DayakDaily, several shoppers said they were not ‘panic buying’.

“Today is Friday and we have a longer lunch break. So I came here with two colleagues to get our usual groceries. Once we log off duty, we can go home straight away,” one of them, who did not want to be unidentified, said.

Another shopper who was also patiently waiting in the line claimed that he was keeping a cool head and that there was no need for panic buying, as it has been proven during the previous MCO back in March 2020 where places selling essential items will remain open.

Ann Riley, a 49-year-old teacher, expressed that she was amazed with the long queue and wondered why were there so many people in the line.

“I came here to replace my mobile phone battery because my house is just across the road. I was shocked to see the line stretching all the way from the main entrance to the hypermarket entrance,” said Ann, who was spotted in a telecommunication shop.

“Once I get my mobile phone fixed, I am leaving this place as fast as I can. It’s not worth the risk going to a crowded place,” she added.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) Sarawak said there was no panic buying in Kapit as alleged in social media.

KPDNHEP Kapit officer James Usit Kayan said an investigation into the issue that went viral on social media was made this afternoon.

“We went to inspect the venue and there was no panic buying. The increase in number of people going out to Kapit town was due to the fact that they need to buy basic necessities such as vegetables because the public market only operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Apart from that, they need to purchase goods for the upcoming Gawai festival.

“We also found all business premises complied with standard operating procedures set by providing temperature scan, MySejahtera code, manual registration book and social distancing marker. These premises also used the rotation system to control the number of visitors entering,” James said in a statement. — DayakDaily