Army to help police enforce MCO

Frontliners....Police personnel from IPD Dang Wangi together with Army Forces personnels conducting the road block at Jalan Ampang during the conditional movement control order. File photo: Azman Ghani / The Star

KUCHING: The Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) will be mobilising the army to assist the police in the enforcement of the movement control order (MCO), especially at the longhouses under lockdown.

Its chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said SDMC would be working with police and the army on the matter.

“We express concern over this issue. So tomorrow (Jan 27), we have directed Sarawak Commissioner of Police and the army to present their enforcement programme, especially at the lockdown areas.

“We close the areas and police is there to ensure people do not go out. But I was told that some of them still try to get out and this is an irresponsible act.

“Please, do not think you will never get infected. No one is kebal (immune). Especially for those in Sibu, if you go out, then you are exposing yourself and may catch the virus and infect those around you and your families,” he said during the SDMC’s daily Covid-19 update in a press conference on Tuesday (Jan 26).

Uggah added with the country under emergency, the army was allowed to carry out their enforcement with the police to curb the spread of Covid-19.

“In Sarawak, we have moved our army, People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela), the state safety team including the community leaders to assist the police.

“But at the end of the day, the most important fortresses that we have are the communities in the longhouses or towns,” he said.

Uggah also appealed to the people to obey the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to curb the spread of Covid-19.

He said more and more green zones are turning yellow or red due to the increasing cases.

“We, the Sarawak government and SDMC, are doing our best to find ways to ensure that Sarawak is safe and the virus does not spread.

“But several districts have reported positive cases and the virus has spread throughout Sarawak. This means that we have a problem — non-compliance with the SOPs,” he said.

He said during the first to the third wave of the pandemic, no longhouse was infected, but during the fourth wave, more than 100 longhouses had been placed under lockdown and the virus had even spread to Long San.

“Again, I want to remind the public to stay at home. Do not go anywhere if there is no necessity.

“Yes, we have the police and the army to help us. But we also need the public cooperation. We have done this before and I am sure we are able to do it this time,” he said.

Uggah added besides the authorities, SDMC had also entrusted the community leaders and longhouse chiefs with the responsibility of making a citizen’s arrest if they saw an unknown individual entering their villages.

“We have provided courses and community policing programmes for the community leaders during the first phase in October last year on how they can help keep their villages safe from Covid-19 and identify those showing symptoms,” he said.

Asked for SDMC’s view on an election during the pandemic, Uggah who is also the Deputy Chief Minister said the state’s focus was to fight the spread of the virus.

“We are not holding any election. We are busy fighting Covid-19,” he said.