Sarawak to set its own MCO times, says new hours would cause confusion

Sulok Tawie
Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian speaks to reporters after chairing the state Disaster Management Committee meeting, March 31, 2020. — Picture courtesy of Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister’s Office

KUCHING, March 31 — Sarawak will not follow the new nationwide time restrictions for the second phase of the movement control order, state Disaster Management Committee chairman Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian said today.

He said the state will stick to the 7am to 7pm schedule that has enforced since the start of MCO on March 18 instead of following the federal government’s prescribed hours of 8am to 8pm.

“This decision is in view of the fact that if we were to change it could result in confusion among the public and disruption to the operations of businesses, especially those in the logistics and transportation sectors,” he told reporters after chairing the disaster committee meeting.

“Whatever the new time of the restriction, the objective is still the same. We want people to stay at home.

“This will allow us to stop further transmission of the Covid-19. This is of utmost importance. We still have many cars on the road now,” said Dr Sim, who is also the state minister of local government and housing.

Yesterday, Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the second phase of the MCO would see tighter measures implemented and operation hours of certain services reduced.

He had said eateries, markets, and petrol stations would only be allowed to operate from 8am to 8pm daily for the entire 14 days of the MCO’s second phase.

Dr Sim told reporters that the police have arrested a total of 276 people for breaching the MCO state-wide from March 18 to March 31, adding that 46 people were arrested yesterday alone.

He said 83 of them have been charged under Regulations 3(1) of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and punishable under Regulation 7(1) of the same Act.

He said 54 were jailed between two and four months while 12 others were fined between RM1,000 and RM2,000 after they pleaded guilty to breaching the control order.

Dr Sim said 17 others pleaded not guilty.

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