KOTA KINABALU, April 1 — A Parti Warisan Sabah leader today said that Sabah is behind on its economic recovery because of its alignment to the Perikatan Nasional federal government and the latter’s “one size fits all” approach to the Covid 19 pandemic.

Warisan deputy president Datuk Darell Leiking said it is sad that the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) government allowed Putrajaya to decide the action plans and decisions on the management of Covid-19 in Sabah which may eventually render it as the “biggest loser”.

“The stand by the GRS-led state government can potentially delay the economic recovery of Sabah,” said Leiking, pointing out that Sarawak is handling the pandemic by itself.

“With the vaccination process now taking place in the country, we can say that we are now entering the post Covid-19 period where the economy is slowly opening up with people going back to work.

“However, it is rather sad to note that several important sectors in Sabah are now facing inefficiencies due to the unnecessary SOPs decided by the PN-led federal government. These unnecessary SOPs are troublesome to Sabahan employees because it can reduce their performance and productivity at the workplace,” he said in a statement today.

“While Sarawak has its own State Disaster Management Committee that is empowered to manage the vaccination process for Sarawakian employees in the service, hotel, construction, manufacturing and plantation sectors, GRS disbanded the Sabah Covid-19 Command Centre — established by former chief minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal — and has instead allowed the National Security Council to make all the decisions for Sabah,” he said.

The Penampang MP said that the direct dependency is causing inconvenience and losses to the state.

He said among the issues was that offshore workers currently have to endure unnecessary SOPs of 10 days in quarantine before leaving for offshore, and another 10 days when returning to the state with two swabs for each way of travel.

He said such practice was time- and money-consuming as well as unnecessary considering that Sabahans can now travel to KL without being placed under quarantine.

“Obviously, this type of SOP will create some reservation among oil and gas investors who want to reap full benefits from the recovering global economy by investing in this sector here, but Sabah will be the biggest loser when these investors eventually shift their attention to Sarawak instead,” he said.

The former minister of international trade and industry said that it is imperative that Sabah must now manage its own post Covid-19 SOPs to prevent the state from missing out on the recovering global economy.

He called on the government to engage with all the industry players in Sabah and to come out with its own methodology in managing the state during this post Covid-19 period instead of leaving everything to the federal government to decide.