Karim calls for urgent review on entry SOP

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KUCHING: Tourism, Arts, and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) need to urgently revise the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for entry into the state.

“We are opening up more sectors, especially in the tourism industry, such as interstate travel. Our ministry itself is commencing the Sia Sitok Campaign to encourage domestic tourism.

“In accordance with this, the SDMC should not put too many travel restrictions such as the need for permit to enter Sarawak,” he said.

He noted that as there would be an increase from 22 flights to 87 flights per week as of Oct 1, the SDMC must have the capability and capacity to manage the measures that they were implementing.

“If the SDMC are unable to cater for these thousands of people entering Sarawak, why is there a need to stop the fully vaccinated individuals from coming in?

“In light of this, the SDMC will also need to fine tune the inter-district travel as the people still need a police permit before traveling between districts although the state has transitioned to Phase 3 of the National Recovery Plan (NRP).”

He said this during a press conference after officiating at an upgrading and improvement works at the Sarawak Cultural Village on Sunday (Oct 3).

Commenting on the state’s standard operating procedure (SOP) that prohibits parents from taking children out to public places, Karim opined that the authorities need to open up and build confidence in the people.

“With the high vaccination rate, there should be nothing to fear as 99 percent of the individuals infected by the Covid-19 are in Category 1 and Category 2.

“Children, on the other hand, are rarely affected by this virus. Hence, I feel that there is no need to be fearful in letting the family members to bring their children out as it is part of the bonding in family institutions when they are still young.

“If we keep on restricting every single tiny thing in the state, how long can we live like this?” he asked.

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