KUCHING, March 22 — Sarawak People’s Aspiration Party (ASPIRASI) supports the move by the federal government to deploy armed forces personnel to assist the police to enforce the movement control order (MCO) to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (Covid- 19) pandemic in the country.
Its president Lina Soo said this is justified as this involves the security of the country in the face of a global pandemic and where not just land forces but air and naval forces may also be called upon if the need arises.
“Many people have the wrong perception of military operations which leads to unnecessary fear and panic by the public.
"Military operations other than war can be invoked in response to the need for humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and other domestic crisis such as an epidemic which threatens lives and livelihoods,” she stressed.
“In this respect, we support the government’s effort to deploy the armed forces to combat the Covid-19 national crisis,” Soo said.
As the global pandemic deepens with more than 300,000 infections and 13,000 deaths from Covid-19 worldwide, Soo called for severe and stringent measures to prevent Malaysia from tracking the paths of Italy, Iran or Spain.
“As medical supplies and protective personal equipment (PPE) run short with some doctors and Covid-19 carers succumbing to the virus, healthcare worldwide is running close to system failure,” she noted.
She also noted that Malaysia has breached the 1,100 mark and nine deaths with thousands more waiting to be tracked and tested.
“But the fact is, the infected persons and deaths that we continue to hear are not just numbers, they are people,” she said.
She added testing of potential victims who have been exposed to Covid-19 must continue relentlessly, and mitigation actions taken, without which the virus will spread through the community, like wildfire.
With 68 positive cases and three deaths in Sarawak, Soo wanted the Sarawak government to order a lockdown until there is no more community spread.
“We have our natural barrier to separate us from mainland Asia by thousands of miles of international waters, and we must seal off completely all borders with Brunei, Sabah and Kalimantan,” she added.
Soo also called on both federal and Sarawak governments to observe openness, transparency and keeping the public fully informed to win public trust and support, adding that efforts to fight the Covid-19 must be based upon evidence, facts and science.
“The government must not allow panic, fear and phobias to be played out. It is only with the spirit of collaboration and esprit de corps that a crisis such as Covid-19 can be overcome,” she stressed.