KUCHING, April 23 — DAP’s Bandar Kuching Member of Parliament Dr Kelvin Yii today reminded the state government to take heed of the Ministry of Health’s advice not to hastily relax the restrictions under the movement control order(MCO) prematurely, just to accommodate the upcoming Ramadhan, Hari Raya, and Gawai Dayak celebrations.
He said this is especially so in Kuching and Samarahan districts which have been classified as red zones with over 40 positive cases of coronavirus diseases (Covid-19) infections.
“While I understand the economic consideration for this decision especially in view of the Ramadhan celebration, but I believe that such decision was made hastily without proper consideration of the risk involved as it has the possibility to derail the good and hard work done for those that have complied with the MCO order for the past weeks,” Dr Yii said.
He was referring to yesterday’s announcement by Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) that allowed Sarawakians to sell food for takeaways from their houses’ compounds during the Ramadhan month from 3pm to 10pm.
He said he has received multiple feedback even among the Muslims that they disagreed with the decision as they could get what they need for “buka puasa” or even “sahur” much earlier before 10pm.
“This decision also effectively open people’s home to outsiders which may be carriers of the virus without knowing it, especially for asymptomatic patients.
“This may also encourage lingering outside or unnecessary travels late at night even though we are still not out of the woods yet,” he said, pointing out that the Covid-19 positive cases are still high and that the death rate and other statistics are still worrying.
He said proper enforcement will also be difficult as to how do the authoriries to monitor every residential neighbourhood to make sure compliance is being made.
“On top of that, we are now expecting the enforcement officials to extend their services for an additional three hours daily even when they are already over-stretched,” he said.
Dr Yii said restrictions under MCO should be relaxed only when the spread of the virus has been fully contained.
“I, therefore, urge the state government to reconsider the relaxation as I believe, without an extensive testing mechanism in place, the availability of effective antiviral treatment and vaccine, meticulous planning of strategy against another possible spike after reopening of economy, it is premature to call for relaxation or an end to MCO especially in the red areas all around our country,” he said.
SDMC member Datuk Karim Rahman Hamzah, when asked for his comment on criticisms by the people, said the state government is sensitive to comments and views of the public with regards to the announcement he made yesterday.
“We will amend accordingly,” he said.