Press Statement By Michael Kong:
It is time that the State Disaster Management Committee put a proper definition of ‘essential services’. Many times, we hear people being able to travel without any restrictions on the pretext of being involved in ‘essential services’.
Sim Kui Hian is one of the beneficiaries of this relaxed rule. On 17.12.2020, Sim Kui Hian was photographed attending a meeting at Putrajaya with other representatives from the PN coalition. Since then, Sim Kui Hian has returned to Kuching without any quarantine order and was seen visiting many public places within Kuching.
In his defence, Sim Kui Hian has said that he was granted an exemption from any quarantine because he falls within the ‘essential services’ category. Bear in mind that this political meeting was merely to discuss the setting up of a presidential council. If it had been DAP state committee members flying to Kuala Lumpur for a PH meeting, likewise will SDMC then say that it was an essential service (or meeting for that matter) too? We know that the answer will be no. It is non-essential because there is no urgency in having the meeting and therefore the attendees should not be accorded any exemption from quarantine.
Sim Kui Hian is a doctor and should understand the severity of Covid-19. As at 20.12.2020, there are over 76 million confirmed cases in the world with about 1.7 million deaths. Locally in Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor collectively averaged over 800 cases per day over the past 3 days.
The Sabah state election showed us the consequences of relaxing Covid-19 measures. Even the aftermath was enough to convince Abang Johari to postpone his plans for a Sarawak state election (originally planned for this year).
As such, while exemption from the State Disaster Management Committee may be necessary for some services, political meetings should not fall within this ambit. As leaders, politicians should set an example by undergoing self home quarantine to spread the message and curb any possibility of spreading the disease further.
Michael Kong Feng Nian
Special Assistant to YB Chong Chieng Jen