KUCHING, Dec 29 — The State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) has been asked to review policies under the EnterSarawak application as they are affecting the tourism industry, said Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
The Asajaya assemblyman said SDMC should not make it difficult for people to enter Sarawak, as the state is only reporting around 20 to 30 new daily Covid-19 infections.
He was responding to the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) Sarawak Chapter’s appeal for SDMC to review the EnterSarawak application.
Abdul Karim said the association must have received various complaints from the public following the latest criteria set by SDMC for individuals applying for entry into Sarawak.
“Why is the committee making such decisions even though we now record 20 to 30 new daily infections? I think the committee ought to look into this matter because it is hurting our tourism industry in Sarawak,” he told a press conference for the Ministry of Youth and Sports Sarawak (MYSS) Appreciation Nite 2021 yesterday.
He also shared his disagreement with SDMC’s new policy for Sarawakians travelling back into the state from abroad through the peninsula to be quarantined in Kuala Lumpur before entering the state, whereby the state government has to pay for quarantine fees there.
“Who is making these decisions whereby Sarawakians who want to return to the state must be quarantined at the nation’s capital first?
“(If it is not the decision by SDMC), then they should not be timid in requesting the Sarawakians to be quarantined in Sarawak instead of Kuala Lumpur. They should fight for it and not be dictated by national agencies because we can decide for ourselves,” he said.
In a statement yesterday, Matta Sarawak Chapter chairman Oscar Choo said based on feedback received from applicants, the EnterSarawak application is not user friendly, troublesome, and may cause unnecessary anxiety due to last-minute confirmation.
Choo pointed out SDMC only approves applications a day before the departure date to Sarawak, which makes clients uncomfortable paying tour and travel agents the packages booked, be it a deposit or in full.
Last week, SDMC decided Sarawakians together with their spouses and family members travelling back into the state from abroad through the peninsula will be quarantined at the first point of entry, either at KLIA1 or KLIA2 starting Dec 22.
SDMC said that the quarantine centres there will be managed by the Sarawak State Liaison Office.
Non-Sarawakians, including long term pass holders who want to travel into Sarawak via Peninsular Malaysia, are also required to be quarantined at KLIA1 or KLIA2, which would be managed by the Ministry of Health. — Borneo Post