KUCHING: Those in essential services that have to operate beyond the 7pm operating hours limit set by the state government during the Movement Control Oder (MCO) to combat the spread of Covid-19 need to apply for permission from the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (JPBN) secretariat.
The committee’s chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said approval can be done on the spot which would be a convenience for those operating essential services especially from the private sector.
“Approval can be done immediately by the committee, depending on your reasoning. We can give you permission all the way till March 31,” he told reporters at Wisma Bapa Malaysia this afternoon.
He was asked if newspaper printing plants are allowed to be open and newspaper delivery services can operate, since they normally operate after the 7pm restriction.
Uggah also said that these newspaper printing plants and delivery services are also considered essential services under broadcast and information.
Sarawak will be implementing operating hour limitation for all essential services and businesses in the state tomorrow (March 24) till March 31 after the MCO is lifted.
All of these essential services, especially in the private sectors like supermarkets, 7 Elevens, eateries and the broadcast and information services must be closed between 7pm to 7am every day till March 31.
Earlier, when asked on the possibility of the MCO being extended beyond March 31, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said it depends on the seriousness of the pandemic.
“If we just abide by the MCO and stay at home, the virus doesn’t spread, then the MCO will be short.
“But if people are still stubborn, the virus may spread further, and the MCO may be extended,” he said.
Nonetheless, Abang Johari said he is confident that Sarawak would be able to reduce the spread of the disease because its government had taken preventive measures since January this year.
One of the measures taken was to ban entry to anyone with symptoms from coming into the state.
“Some people were not happy with Sarawak because we ban these tourists. So now if we can continue like that maybe we can be back to normal (MCO lifted) quickly,” he said.