KUCHING, Feb 9 — Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) is calling on the state government to strictly impose the standard operating procedure (SOP) and ensure total compliance to the 14 days quarantine period as required by the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC).

Its president Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh said the party is totally against any minister or elected representative (YB) or very important people (VIP) to be given exemption from quarantine upon entering Sarawak.

“The ministers and YBs are not the towkays and will never be. PSB wishes to remind ministers and YBs that they are there to serve the people. They must get rid of the ‘feudal lord’ mentality that ministers and YBs are towkays.

“The jangan lawan towkay (don’t challenge the boss) mentality must be consigned to the rubbish bin,” he said in a press statement today.

Wong was responding to news reports that cabinet ministers returning from official trips abroad are now exempted from the 10-day observation or home surveillance period.

This was stated in the latest federal government gazette under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Disease (Exemption) Order 2021 published on the Attorney-General’s Chambers website yesterday.

In describing the new ruling as “utterly shocking and unacceptable”, Wong said It is short-sighted and unwise as Malaysians are currently undergoing difficult and challenging times with the Emergency still in force.

“Many Malaysians are still living on the edge under the ever-growing fear of infection by asymptomatic carriers, with the ‘Pasai’ and ‘Top Glove’ clusters as grim reminders of how devastating this Covid-19 pandemic could be on our daily socio-economic life.”

In Sarawak, he said the Pasai Cluster had contributed 2,363 out of the 5,760 infections thus far.”

“We need no reminding that we are already way behind many countries as our country’s mass Covid-19 vaccination campaign will only be rolled out by the end of this month.

“The need to remain vigilant, and safeguarding our people from potential infection must remain the top priority in combating this pandemic. There is no room for recklessness. We cannot allow such a move to exempt our Cabinet of Ministers from the mandatory 10-day quarantine. It smacks of double-standards, if not inconsistency and fickle-mindedness.”

For Sarawakians, Wong said the people’s fears are even more compounded, especially in the light of the admission by Local Government Housing Dato Sri Dr. Sim Hui Hian that the strain of Covid-19 in Sarawak had continued to mutate and there was not enough understanding on how it affects people.

“In Sarawak, 40 per cent of those infected showed symptoms whereas worldwide, only 20 per cent have the symptoms. If this were not scary enough, what else it?

“Lives matter. This is a life and death situation. The government must recognise this and stop all the double-standards and delusion that ministers and politicians are immune to infection. Fact is, the Coronavirus does not discriminate.”

Wong reminded the government that their first responsibility in a democratic society is to protect and safeguard the lives of its citizens.

“That is where the public interest lies. It is the sacred duty of all leaders in government to do all they can to respect and uphold that principle.”

He said in a PSB government, the people will always be the boss.

“More so, under this current Covid-19 pandemic. Every Sarawakian life matters.” — Borneo Post