Statewide MCO will affect our economy badly, says Sarawak CM

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg explained that past experiences have led to Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) deciding not to implement the statewide MCO amid rising Covid-19 numbers. ― Picture courtesy of Sarawak Public Communications Unit (Ukas)
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg explained that past experiences have led to Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) deciding not to implement the statewide MCO amid rising Covid-19 numbers. ― Picture courtesy of Sarawak Public Communications Unit (Ukas)

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KUCHING, May 12 ― The state’s economy would be badly affected if another round of statewide movement control order (MCO) is implemented in Sarawak, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

In his Hari Raya Aidilfitri message, Abang Johari explained that past experiences have led to Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) deciding not to implement the statewide MCO amid rising Covid-19 numbers.

He pointed out that SDMC will instead continue to enforce Enhanced MCO at localities with cases of infections based on data and situation on the ground.

He said this move is in line with the “Trace, Test, Quarantine, Isolate” policy which is found to be a more practical approach instead of locking down a whole district or state through MCO.

“The state government also takes into consideration the impact by MCO on the economic activities. A statewide MCO will cause harm to the state’s economy which was already dealt a great blow by the MCO and Conditional MCO for the past one year.

“The state’s economy needs to be continually generated so that our people do not lose jobs, and for development programmes to continue,” he said.

SDMC yesterday announced Sarawak will not follow suit the nationwide MCO 3.0 which is effective today until June 7.

Regarding this year’s Aidilfitri celebrations, Abang Johari said it is the second one in a row to be celebrated with limitations due to the pandemic but he believed the limitations would not dampen the significance of the auspicious day which is to mark the end of the Ramadan fasting month.

He called on Muslims to stay safe and comply with all the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and guidelines put in place by SDMC through Sarawak Islamic Council with regards to Takbir Hari Raya, Solat Sunat Adilfitri and others.

“The activities which are not allowed include receptions or feasts after Solat Aidil Fitri at the mosque and surau, house to house takbir and open houses.

“Avoid visiting graves, mass gatherings where physical distancing cannot be observed, and do not make any inter-zone travel without authorisation from the police, especially from red zone areas,” he said.

He added that it was understandable that many people miss sharing the celebrations with their families and friends or to pray at the graves of their loved ones, but the priority for public safety and health must come first.

Although open houses are not allowed, he called on Sarawakians regardless of race, creed and political leaning to preserve the harmony and mutual respect among each other.

“Our unity is important not only during good times but also at this current time when we are facing a disaster such as Covid-19 pandemic. It is not the time for us to be divided or quarrel with one another, but the government is ready to accept any different opinion that is constructive.

“Let us continue to celebrate this auspicious occasion with spirit of goodwill and fellowship without looking at our differences in faith and ethnicity during these challenging times,” he said. ― Borneo Post

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