KOTA KINABALU, Sept 18 — Kota Kinabalu Democratic Action Party Socialist Youth (Dapsy) chief George Wong Hsueh Cheng urged netizens to stop sharing or forwarding unverified messages claiming that a 14-day mandatory quarantine would be awaiting Sabahan voters returning to peninsular Malaysia after casting their votes in the upcoming state election.
Wong, who is also a DAP Sabah Committee Member, said that netizens ought to be more responsible in dealing with such messages, and the best way to do so is to verify such messages before sharing or forwarding them.
“All one has to do is to simply do a Google search to verify the veracity of such messages. In this case, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob had on 13 September specifically announced that there is going to be no quarantine for those returning from Sabah.
“Therefore, any messages saying otherwise would clearly be fake news and ought to be ignored and rejected,” said he in a statement on Thursday.
Wong said that the spreading of such messages containing outright fake news regarding mandatory quarantine, especially to voters working out of state in peninsular Malaysia or Sarawak, is a very serious matter as it would deter them from coming back to Sabah to cast their votes in the upcoming Sabah state elections on 26 September.
“This is no laughing matter. It is very irresponsible to simply spread such fake news. It may end up viral and end up instilling false fear in the people,” he said.
Wong added that he totally understands the worries that some Sabahans may have with having their families and/or relatives being put into mandatory quarantine and having to bear the cost of such quarantine and having to take leave from work.
However, he said that such fears are unfounded, and that as long as the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are complied with, then there is no need to worry about contracting Covid-19.
“Each and every vote is crucial to decide who will become the leaders of our beloved state of Sabah for the next five years, and we should not let fake news on Covid-19 affect such decision,” said Wong.
Wong noted that so far, the situation of Covid-19 in Sabah is well under control, and all new cases in Sabah, namely those in Tawau and Lahad Datu, are isolated cases involving inmates and prison wardens, and are not in the community at large.
“On the other hand, we fear that the low voting turnout will lead to a freak or an unexpected result in this crucial state election, leading to a state government that may care less about the people and not being able to deal with Covid-19 properly,” he said.
Wong then urged all Sabahans working out of state who have not yet make arrangements to come back and cast their vote to do so immediately.
“Each and every vote is precious and amounts to your participation in government. Do not let unfounded fear deter you from carrying out your responsibility to cast your vote,” he said. — Borneo Post