KOTA KINABALU, July 27 — Kota Kinabalu MP Chan Foong Hin today accused the federal Perikatan Nasional (PN) government of bias against his Warisan-led state government in the disbursement of subsidies to address the Covid-19 pandemic.
Chan, who is also Sabah DAP secretary, said differing political ideologies should not affect the federal government’s allocations to states in dealing with a health crisis.
“I’m questioning how the subsidies were unfairly applied in different ways to different people or groups when all are similarly imposed mandatory quarantine for Covid-19.
“Why were there clear double standards regarding the RM150 previously allocated as subsidy for mandatory quarantine in hotels if the purpose is the same, namely to contain the spread of Covid-19 in a clean, safe and comfortable environment?” he asked in a statement.
Chan said that as of July 7, a total of RM105.4 million was allocated as subsidy for mandatory quarantine in hotels.
“But it seems that not a single cent had been allocated to Sabah returnees from within Malaysia that were imposed similar Covid-19 mandatory quarantine.
“Any decision to forcibly quarantine a person is ultimately approved by the federal government as the state has no jurisdiction on health matters according to the Federal Constitution,” he said.
He urged the federal government to consider reimbursing RM150 to all Sabahans who were forced to undergo mandatory quarantine in hotels at their own cost.
Chan said several other federal directives during the movement control order (MCO) were also unclear and resulted in clashing orders issued by the state government and cited the two-person limit in a vehicle issued back on April 29 and the reopening of non-essential businesses from May 4 as examples.
“In both cases, the federal orders were supposed to be enforceable nationwide, but there were a few state governments, including Sabah, that had decided that their states were not ready for the imposition of such relaxation orders.
“The most honourable thing that the federal government could have done was to at least consult the respective state government before making any orders that would bind their states. Clearly, that was not done. The issue here then is whether the federal government had such powers to ride roughshod over the state government,” he said.
Chan pointed out that Public Health was a matter listed under the Concurrent List in the Federal Constitution, meaning that the federal and state government had to work together.
He urged Putrajaya to break the significant centralisation of power and allow the state government jurisdiction over health matters and disaster management.