KOTA KINABALU: The State Government has decided to temporarily suspend operations in Foh Sang Market due to reports of overcrowding.
State Secretary Datuk Safar Untong said that the market would not be allowed to operate during the extended Movement Control Order period (MCO) until April 28.
“This decision will take effect immediately,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Pictures of huge crowds at the market went viral earlier yesterday, sparking public outcry among fellow Sabahans.
Luyang assemblyman Phoong Jin Zhe had also expressed his concern over the issue on his Facebook account.
“I am extremely worried when I saw the pictures this morning. I am sure everyone feels the same too,” he said, stressing that during the MCO perid is not the time for shopping or having coffee with friends.
“My whole team was deployed in Foh Sang market alongside Rela and we had even implemented traffic control. However, the outcome was disappointing,” he added.
He said he would welcome suggestions from the public on how to address the issue further.
Phoong reminded the public that the MCO period was implemented by the Government to stop the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is MCO. It’s extraordinary time. Only when we all stick to the order, we can win this together. I welcome your views and comments, meanwhile, I will discuss with relevant authorities on the next steps,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, Agriculture and Food Minister Datuk Junz Wong, who also commented on the matter, urged the public not to panic or go out unnecessarily just because the Prime Minister had announced the extension of the MCO to April 28.
The Tanjung Aru assemblyman said Sabah had been controlling the situation well and he opined that the chances of opening up the State were also very high.
“So we don’t want to jeopardise the efforts everyone has put together for the last 24 days. We surely don’t want Foh Sang to be the new cluster of Covid-19 and we need to lock down Foh Sang like what we did with Tawau and Lahad Datu.
“Please adhere to all Covid-19 precautionary procedures. Keep your social distancing and wear masks etc,” said Junz.
He also assured Sabahans that there is absolutely no need for panic buying because when people buy excessively to stock up, it will create a scenario where it seems like there is shortage of food.
“But in fact, it is only a situation where shops haven’t ordered more stocks for your panic buying (because they didn’t expect it) and problem with delivery due to logistics challenges.
“Sabah has more than enough food supply. After all Sabah is blessed with ample fertile lands that we can and have already started to plant and grow food,” he said.
“I can understand that they get panic sometimes, there is absolutely no need to get panic and overreact. We can overcome this Covid-19 but we cannot do it alone. Only when we all work together, can we win this war,” he stressed.