Simplify The SOP System And Stop Keep On Blaming Public When The SOP Itself Is Confusing

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Media Statement by YB Kelvin Yii:

The Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) should take the lead to introduce a clear and specific “alert level system” to replace the current confusing “MCO/CMCO/RMCO” system to ensure better public compliance to break the spread of Covid-19.

This is in view to SDMC’s decision to extend the current Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) in Sarawak to 17th May 2021 and update their Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the different districts.

While I support such a move especially with the high cases and even positive rate in Sarawak, but the ever-changing SOPs and conflicting SOP between districts are causing a lot of confusion among the public and even business owners.

I have been receiving all kinds of feedback from them and many are more confused when they read the updated SOP. Many of them wants to follow the required SOP and are diligently following it since the beginning but would want more certainty and clarity.

That is why the government cannot continue to blame the public for not complying with SOP if the SOP itself is so confusing.

While it is better if the whole nation adopts a clearer and more specific “alert level system”, but if not, I propose that SDMC can take the lead by implementing a better system by asserting Sarawak’s autonomy in Public Health management, under Schedule 9 of Federal Constitution where public health is listed on the concurrent list which means joint responsibility between the federal and the state.

The issue with the current system where different “fancy names” are being used is that each CMCO for example, differs from another CMCO during different periods and even districts. The current CMCO in Kuching is different from the CMCO in Miri, Bintulu or even Sibu. Fact of the matter, the CMCO introduced now is also different from the CMCO introduced last year, but all of it shares the same name.

In comparison, an “alert level system” is clear and specific where clear SOP are designated for each level, for example Level 1, Level 1a, Level 2 and so and so forth. When each SOP is set for each level, all the government needs to announce is which level we are at for each district. So, all the public needs to do is to check the SOP in each level and follow it accordingly.

This category of levels will then be based on specific parameters including transmission rates, positive rates, hospital pressures and deaths. The government then can decide on these scientific measures to categories each district or even sub-district based on such granular data and then properly inform the public.

This has been something i have been pushing since last year in Parliameny. With this, there will be less confusion and conflicting SOPs which will result in better compliance. Enforcement should also be increased to help the public comply with the required SOP but it must be educational in spirit, and not punitive.

Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen
MP Bandar Kuching