Update MCO checkpoints in red and yellow zones to close security loopholes — SUPP Bawang Assan chief

Robert Lau (file pic)

KUCHING, May 3: Security checkpoints in the state’s declared red and yellow zones need to be updated in order to efficiently curb the spread of Covid-19, opines Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Bawang Assan chairman Robert Lau.

According to Lau in a statement today, at the moment, traveling between red zones (Kuching, Samarahan and Serian, or in the southern region) and the Rajang Basin can be done by road whereby no health screening is conducted on travellers.

“In fact, the security check is in the wrong place. The check points are still located at the same place as day one of the Movement Control Order (MCO). Yet the areas of infections have changed over the last six weeks and the check point at Paradom (common border of Sibu and Sarikei) remains when both are in the green zone,” he said.

Lau also questioned the logic of guarding the border between Sibu and Kapit, and between Sibu and Sarikei when they are all in green zones.

He pointed out that there is no checkpoint for those leaving the Samarahan red zone using the coastal road and security forces should be deployed to guard the borders of red zones instead of borders between green zones and within green zones itself.

“These details need to be looked into by the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) and updated regularly,” he added.

Meanwhile, Lau opined that it is time for both state and federal governments to strategise and plan for the long-term in view of the most likely scenario that Covid-19 will be around for quite a while.

He asserted that life will not return to what it was before and everyone must adjust their life to the new normal.

“It is therefore time to plan and regulate for the long-term so as to alleviate the socio-economic impact the restrictions of movement have on the lives of the people. There is a huge cost being paid socially and economically.

“One area to work on is the environment that we live and work in. Housing and commercial areas have to be planned to prevent easy spread of diseases. Healthcare investments have to be ramped up to build capacity, and cash should be replaced with digital banking,” he added.

On another note, Lau also suggested that the SDMC, under the purview of the Sarawak government, regulate the application process for reopening of business premises and its conditions, such as working hours.

“The mechanism should be fast and efficient. I believe this is best done by the Divisional SDMC headed by the respective Residents rather than centralised in Kuching,” he added. — DayakDaily