Tuesday, November 30

DAP Sarawak chief upset over Covid-19-related info being concealed


Chong Chieng Jen

KUCHING (July 18): Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen has expressed his disappointment over the issue of ‘hidden information’ related to Covid-19.

This has arisen from Local Government and Housing Minister Dato Sri Prof Dr Sim Kui Hian’s recent statement about Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) having concealed certain information about the food outlet clusters in the past.

“What other information concerning the Covid-19 pandemic that Dr Sim Kui Hian and the SDMC are still withholding from the public?

‘On July 8, the Institute of Health and Community Medicine (IHCM) of Unimas (Universiti Malaysia Sarawak) announced that a 56-year-old man from Kuching was detected with the Delta variant on June 18,” said Chong in a statement Friday.

On July 12, the SDMC had announced that dine-in at eateries would be allowed on July 14, only to revoke it on the eve of implementation (July 13).

Chong, who is Stampin MP and Kota Sentosa assemblyman, believed that the key reason behind such U-turn was that 16 cases of Delta variant were detected on July 13.

He pointed out that to justify the U-turn and the ‘no dine-in’ decision, Dr Sim said there were eatery outlet clusters, but that the authority did not disclose the name of these outlets.

“He (Dr Sim) spoke as if he was not a part of the authority, despite being the advisor to SDMC and the minister in charge of healthcare in Sarawak,” said Chong.

The DAP lawmaker said amidst the so-called ‘justification’ by Dr Sim, in less than 48 hours after the issuance of the ‘no dine-in’ order, SDMC made another U-turn by announcing that effective July 16, dine-in at eateries would be allowed provided that the operators and their workers had received at least the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

With respect to these announcements, Chong then highlighted the following questions:

  • If it were true that there were previously coffeeshop, eateries or food outlet clusters, why did the SDMC not disclose such information to the public?
  • Dr Sim seems to be putting all the fault of the Covid-19 outbreak onto the federal Health Ministry (MoH), but is it not true that SDMC stands the highest autonomous agency in Sarawak for the management and control of the Covid-19 situation? Without the endorsement of SDMC, how could MoH implement its order or policy in Sarawak?
  • Why keep blaming the federal government for the Covid-19 outbreak in Sarawak, when the state’s ruling coalition Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) is also part of the federal government?
  • How does the government expect the people and business sector to comply with the flickering and confusing SOP when even the enforcement units themselves are confused?
  • With Dr Sim having openly admitted that the SDMC had concealed the information about certain clusters from the public in the past, what other information has the SDMC been concealing from the public hitherto? How then can the public have confidence and trust in SDMC and the authority in all the announcements and the daily figures of the Covid-19 cases?

“On such premise, my advice to Dr Sim, being a state minister – please be careful and think before you make any public statement.

“Do not add fear and confusion to the already very difficult situation,” said Chong.