Ineffective, Illogical and Confusing SOPs are Causing Unnecessary Hardship on People and Businesses

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Press Statement By Chong Chieng Jen:

The 3 characteristics of the MCO 3.0 SOPs implemented by the GPS Sarawak state government and the Federal Government are ineffective, illogical and confusing.

After 4 weeks of the implementation of the MCO 3.0 SOP, there is no significant reduction in the infection rate.When the MCO 3.0 was introduced on 1-6-2021, the new infection cases in Sarawak were 703. After 4 weeks of MCO 3.0, on 28-6-2021, there were 409 new infection cases in Sarawak and Sarawak remained on the top 3 states with the highest new infection cases for most of the days throughout the MCO 3.0 period. Not only that the new cases remained high, but the nationaldeath cases from Covid also peaked to average between 70 to 90 deaths during this period of time.

In many countries, the people and businesses have gone back to the normal pre-pandemic ways of life. In the telecasted UEFA European Championship matches now ongoing, we can see that the stadiums were packed with the football fans. InChina, we can see through live telecast that there was a huge gathering at Tiananmen Square this morning to celebrate the 100th year of Chinese Communist Party. All need not wear masks anymore.

Yet, in Sarawak and Malaysia, we are still struggling with the ups and downs of the infected cases, lockdown and partial lockdowns and an uncertain lockdown period in days to come. This only goes to show the failure of the present Government in handling the pandemic, as a result of which, everyone suffers.

While the high infection cases dictate the need of MCO and the SOPs to contain the spread of the virus, the SOPs implemented by the State Government were ineffective in that these SOPs are targeting at the wrong sectors. Not only that the SOPs had failed to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus in the State, it had caused unnecessary hardships on the people.

Firstly, one of the sectors most affected by the current SOPs is the coffeeshops and small eateries because of the “no dine-in” SOPs. In the past more than one year of the pandemic, there was no cluster arising from coffeeshop dine-in. On the contrary, there were numerous clusters from the large factories. Yet, the MCO 3.0 SOPs implemented by the State Government is to allow these factories to operate but disallow the coffeeshops and these eateries to provide dine-in services.

Secondly, there was also no known cluster arising from sporting activities. Yet, gyms were ordered to close, sport activities be it contact sports or non-contact sports (except jogging) were disallowed and even cycling alone was disallowed. We all know that exercise will boost one’s immunity system which is the key factor to survive the Covid-19 infection and many other sicknesses. To prevent the people from exercising actually works contrary to fighting the pandemic.

Thirdly, with the half-baked and half-hearted MCO SOPs instead of a clear across the board lockdown, the State Government is prolonging the hardship and pain of everyone. Most of those essential service sectors allowed to operate during the MCO 3.0 have found that their businesses also dropped tremendously and could hardly cover the costs of operation.

Fourthly, as for those sectors expressly prohibited under MCO 3.0, the furniture industry, sports equipment shops, saloons, car wash centres, car accessory shops, attire shops, reflexology and wellness centres, there was no infected clusters arising from the activities in these sectors, yet they are prohibited totally to operate.

So far, for these affected business sectors, the State Government has not been doing much to help them. They were literally left high and dry with the ineffective, illogical and confusing SOPs.

We, therefore, call upon the Government to touch ground with the people and business sectors and formulate a more practical and workable SOPs.

1-7-2021
Chong Chieng Jen
DAP Sarawak Chairman