Village and longhouse chiefs being equipped to face Covid-19 ‘wildfire’

Uggah answering questions from reporters during the Covid-19 press conference today (Jan 26, 2021).

By Ling Hui

KUCHING, Jan 26: Sarawak is equipping village chiefs, longhouse chieftains and community leaders to combat the threat of Covid-19 ‘wildfire’ in longhouses.

State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said courses are being conducted to educate the leaders on their responsibilities, roles and authority when confronting the novel coronavirus.

This strategy of community policing, he said, is vital in Sarawak as longhouses are scattered across the state’s vast territory.

“So at the end of the day, the most important fortress that we (Sarawkak) have is the community itself and within the community whether at villages, longhouses or small towns, the community leaders must play their roles.

“We have also entrusted them with the responsibility to do citizen arrest if they see people they don’t recognise coming from outside,” he told reporters during the daily Covid-19 press conference at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Complex here today.

Noting that the first phase of these courses started in October 2020, Uggah said the second phase is now being carried out throughout Sarawak with district offices directed to organise related briefings.

These briefings would focus on measures to take care of respective villages and longhouses, and to identify individuals with Covid-19 symptoms.

“We need to reemphasise the roles of village chiefs and community leaders in the war against Covid-19. They are a very important network,” Uggah remarked. — DayakDaily