Denying foreign spouse subsidy uncaring, inhumane — Senator


Alan Ling

MIRI: It would be inhumane to keep foreign spouses of Sarawakians and their family separated by closing the door on quarantine subsidy, said Pakatan Harapan (PH) Sarawak secretary Senator Alan Ling.

“I would advocate and call upon the state government to consider subsidising Sarawakians’ foreign spouses, and I believe the state government is capable of doing it as part of the financial aid during this difficult period,” he added.

He found it weird that while children can be subsidised for being Sarawakians, foreign spouses are not eligible.

Ling was responding to the brouhaha over the  stand of the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) as stated by its acting chairman and Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing that the Sarawak government will not subsidise
the quarantine costs of non-Sarawakian spouses who wish to return to the state for a family reunion.

Masing advised non-Sarawakian spouses to postpone their reunion plan given the current standard operating procedures (SOPs) put in place to fight Covid-19, suggesting that those wishing to reunite with Sarawakian spouses wait till the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) is

Ling said the state government should be caring enough to help them as many such families could be experiencing financial crises, having lost their jobs and finding the quarantine costs extremely unaffordable.

Compared to millions in wastage, corruption and abuses of resources, he said the cost for quarantine is relatively small.

The Foreign Spouses Support Group (FSSG) had yesterday told Malay Mail that foreign spouses of Sarawakians were struggling to reunite with their partners in the state due to the high quarantine cost

It reported that it could go up as high as RM5,500 due to the foreign spouses having to quarantine twice — a 14-day quarantine upon arrival in the Peninsula and an additional three days upon arrival in

Ling said the state government should not be prejudiced against foreign spouses as the later are integral component to the family in Sarawak by supporting their partners, bringing up
children, even taking care of the elderly.

“They are legitimately married to Sarawakians and play a pivotal role in contributing to the social well-being, economy and even culture in the state while helping to maintain healthy family structure and relationship staying here most of the time with their children, even helping their husband or wife and looking after other family members.

“Without subsidy, the high cost for flight and quarantine could be too burdensome, forcing some to even resort to getting personal loan or friendly loan presently,” he said.

Ling, in supporting foreign spouses to be allowed to return as soon as possible on humanitarian ground as well as to lessen the burden of those affected, said this is premised on the prolonged pandemic.

He, however, agreed that quarantine costs should be borne by non-Sarawakians coming into Sarawak for business.