Press Statement By Chong Chieng Jen:
The State ministers should stop making confusing statements on the SOPs and MCO, be it lockdown or “tightened SOPs” for MCO.
Just as Dr Sim Kui Hian announced in his Facebook that “Sarawak will go straight to MCO 1.0 (instead of small step up from CMCO to MCO 3.0) from 29 May 2021”, Abdul Karim announced that Sarawak will not go into full lockdown like that of the MCO 1.0. For a matter as important as such, there ought to be an official announcement by the SDMC instead of facebook postings by one minister contradicting the announcement of another minister.
To add more confusion to the matter, especially for the business sector, after the SDMC announcement that Sarawak will go into MCO 3.0 from 29.5.2021 to 11.6.2021, the Prime Minister announced that there will be full lockdown nationwide from 1.6.2021 to 14.6.2021. Is it lockdown up to 11.6.2021 or 14.6.2021 for Sarawak?
This is not the first time that the State and Federal governments have conflicting policies and SOPs despite being in the same coalition government.
In the past week, the federal government has made multiple statements in regards to MCO being implemented in Malaysia, the SOPs for the MCO implemented and now the total lockdown. At the same time, the Sarawak government has also made several statements in regards to Sarawak continuing with CMCO with tightened SOPs, the tightened SOPs, the implementation of MCO in Sarawak and another set of SOPs.
All these changes of SOPs were made within a short period of one week, leaving the people and the business sector breathless in trying to cope and comply with the changes in the SOPs and policies.
What is more frustrating to the people and business sector in Sarawak is that, despite the different names used by the Sarawak government, the SOPs implemented are, in essence, very similar to the ones imposed by the Federal Government.
The Sarawak government has to understand that this is not the time for them to play with cheap publicity of autonomy. Autonomy is meant for the State to make better decisions for the good of the people, not to create more confusion in time of an emergency.
Amidst all these confusions, we are witnessing rising Covid-19 cases in Sarawak, making Sarawak one of the worst-hit states, with increasing high new infection cases for the past weeks. Fellow Sarawakians are dying from Covid-19, patients in the intensive care unit are suffering from Covid-19, front liners are risking their lives to protect us from Covid-19, and here the Sarawak government is still indulging itself with playing up the local sentiments of autonomy.
It is time for the State Government to put its political agenda aside and have a thorough discussion with the federal government to come up with a set of clear, certain and effective SOPs to effectively curb the spread and save Sarawakian lives.
Chong Chieng Jen
DAP Sarawak Chairman