Opposition MP demands transparency, accountability from Sarawak Disaster Management Committee over decision not to adopt MCO

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Bandar Kuching Member of Parliament Dr Kelvin Yii said while he supported Sarawak’s 'autonomy' to decide SOPs that reflect local context and needs, this must be based on science and data rather than any purported political considerations. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Bandar Kuching Member of Parliament Dr Kelvin Yii said while he supported Sarawak’s 'autonomy' to decide SOPs that reflect local context and needs, this must be based on science and data rather than any purported political considerations. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUCHING, May 12 — The Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) has been urged to make clear its intended targets and even exit strategy, following its decision to not adopt the nationwide movement control order (MCO).

Bandar Kuching Member of Parliament Dr Kelvin Yii said while he supported Sarawak’s “autonomy” to decide standard operating procedures (SOPs) that reflect local context and needs, this must be based on science and data rather than any purported political considerations.

“It is also important for the public to know exactly what SDMC is trying to achieve in adopting such a strategy rather than a full MCO, especially in areas where there is a high infective rate, high numbers, and the healthcare system, especially ICU beds, are full,” Dr Yii said in a statement when commenting on the SDMC’s decision yesterday.

SDMC had announced that Sarawak would stick with the conditional movement control order (CMCO), instead of switching to the MCO announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Monday to curb the rising number of Covid-19 cases nationwide.

However, SDMC had said more stringent SOPs would be enforced, such as not allowing dine-in at any food and beverage outlets.

Dr Yii said he found concerning a recent statement by state Health director Dr Chin Zin Hing over how intensive care units (ICU) at government hospitals in Sarawak had reached a critical level following the surge in Covid-19 cases in the state.

“I was made aware that supplies of the personnel protective equipment (PPE) in certain hospitals are also at a critical level.

“Which means, if effective interventions are not done, our healthcare system especially in main outbreak areas may be overrun especially with the detection of the different variants here in Sarawak,” he added.

Dr Yii also called for greater transparency in the state government’s strategy and projected outcomes.

“What is the target number of cases, infective rate, hospital occupancy among others when this CMCO ends on May 17?

“If it does not achieve its intended target, what are the government’s plans? Will there be a strict lockdown in outbreak areas for a short period of time to really serve as an effective circuit-breaker, then open again to allow business into some form of normalcy?” he asked.

On a statement by Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg that the state government prefers to stick to the CMCO for economic reasons, Dr Yii said the pandemic must be brought under control, if not businesses will continue to suffer.

He said the state government must look at providing financial assistance for industries that are severely affected by the CMCO.

“More importantly, the government must have a clear and comprehensive exit strategy for all businesses after this including how to help the economy stagger to normalcy while ensuring our community is safe and protected,” he said.

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