KOTA KINABALU, April 28 ― After a demonstration in the Kampung Muhibbah Jaya against the enhanced movement control order (EMCO) last weekend, residents of Kampung Baru, Pasir Putih, also in the Tawau district, have done the same.
Some 350 villagers held a peaceful demonstration there last night to demand that the EMCO in their area be lifted in order for them to earn some income in order to eat.
“Many are daily wage earners and need to be able to go out to earn their living and feed their families,” said Tanjung Batu assemblyman Andi Muhammad Suryardy.
“The villagers feel the continued enhanced MCO is unnecessary as the number of cases has not increased,” he said.
In a Facebook Live video streamed by villagers, the people had gathered in their area at night and were complaining about the EMCO affecting their livelihood.
They chanted “Open”, indicating their desire to have the EMCO lifted and security cordon removed.
The demonstration was spirited but not violent.
Police were present to maintain order and seen addressing the villagers via a loud hailer to urge them to remain calm.
Tawau district police chief assistant commissioner Peter Umbuas told reporters that there were no untoward incidents reported and said they would relay the villagers’ demands to the Tawau district disaster operations centre.
Last weekend, villagers in Kampung Muhibbah Raya also held a demonstration, during which seven people were arrested. One protester alleged he was beaten by police during the arrest. All seven were released three days later.
There are currently 33 EMCO areas in Sabah, and more red zones than green zones in the state, prompting the government to declare the status be relegated back to the conditional movement control order from its current recovery movement control order status.