SDMC will not halt itinerant traders from operating for now, says chairman

SDMC chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah said there was ‘no justification’ to stop these traders from operating. — Picture courtesy of Sarawak Public Communications Unit (Ukas)
SDMC chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah said there was ‘no justification’ to stop these traders from operating. — Picture courtesy of Sarawak Public Communications Unit (Ukas)

KUCHING, Oct 30 ― The Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) has no intention of stopping itinerant traders from operating here after a hawker who operated out of his van at construction sites tested positive for Covid-19.

Its chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah said there was “no justification” to stop these traders from operating.

“If we shut them down, they are already in the lower income bracket, it will also affect their income. So we have no good reason to do so (shut them down). At the moment they can still sell their cakes,” he told the daily SDMC Covid-19 update press conference here today.

The deputy chief minister was asked if SDMC would prohibit traders from travelling to different areas to trade given the recent confirmed case.

Uggah pointed out that the Health Department would be conducting random screening at construction sites where Case 771 had been trading.

“Everyone at the construction sites would be tested randomly,” he said.

Uggah maintained that SDMC would not disrupt the economic activities of the itinerant traders but would monitor them closely.

He added that it was also for that reason that SDMC decided not to enforce an inter-district travel ban for Kuching.

“We have to look at the impact, look at the spread, and we try to reduce any big impact on the economy and the lives of the people.

“So we have to strike a balance between maintaining the health of the people, and their socioeconomic status,” said Uggah.

Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian, meanwhile, said although itinerant traders were still allowed to carry on with their businesses, they must follow the standard operating procedures (SOP), especially checking-in via Qmunity or MySejahtera at every location they visited.

“When they go to shops, they must follow the SOP, check in, check their temperature and record their names, so that we will know where they go,” he said. ― Borneo Post

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