Economic activities to be evaluated in green zones

Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas

KOTA SAMARAHAN: The Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) will assess whether certain economic sectors and activities in Sarawak’s Covid-19 green zones would be allowed to operate during the movement control order (MCO) period.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said that Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg had tasked SDMC to actively evaluate economic activities within green zones in the state.

“Even though one area was categorised from green to yellow yesterday (Limbang), Sarawak is still about 73 percent green. We now have a team studying what activities can be allowed to operate in green zones,” he said during a site visit to an active case detection programme location in Kota Samarahan yesterday.

He said they are well aware that the MCO brought about negative economic impacts, but the committee had to also consider the lives of people in making their decision.

“This is where the committee will come up with a decision which is most appropriate for Sarawak,” he said, adding that they had a better grasp of the situation here.

He said that SDMC would also look into and decide whether operations would be allowed to resume in full capacity.

On Tuesday, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said that the companies under economic sectors permitted to operate during the MCO would be permitted to resume full operations as of yesterday.

According to Uggah, who is also SDMC chairman, Abang Johari had attended a National Security Council meeting in Putrajaya on Tuesday and informed Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin that Sarawak would follow the federal government’s standard operating procedures (SOPs) on opening up industries.

“However, whether we will go for the full 100 percent operation as announced, the committee has to make the assessment,” he said, adding that SDMC would be the authority to approve any changes in mode of operation in the state.

He said that some of the projects which had been approved by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti) to operate in the state were located in red zones, so SDMC had to review this.

“We are reviewing all the projects which have been approved by Miti to operate in Sarawak under this MCO’s fourth phase to see if it is appropriate, in Sarawak’s environment, for them to be open,” he said.

Uggah said those who had been approved by Miti and wished to operate could submit an application to the SDMC secretariat for review, while those who are already operating in the first three phases of the MCO need not apply.

In a statement by the SDMC secretariat yesterday, it was emphasised that local rules would apply, and the state government was given the flexibility to decide on economic activities and projects permitted to operate in the state.

“Restrictions as announced by SDMC on economic activities in red and yellow zones still remain,” said the statement.