Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian

KUCHING: Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian said the mandatory 14-day quarantine was the only way to keep Sarawak safe amid a spike in cases witnessed in neighbouring regions.

He said Sarawak would not be following Peninsular Malaysia or Sabah, and would retain its current policy of imposing mandatory quarantine for those entering the state.

“…understood that acting Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Tan Sri James Jemut Masing said the policy to enter Sarawak would remain unchanged. 

“Sarawak is surrounded by a ring of fire of Covid-19 from Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Kalimantan.

“The only way to keep Sarawak safe is by not joining Peninsular Malaysia or Sabah but to continue the current policy of 14-day compulsory hotel quarantine upon entry,” he said in a Facebook post on Tuesday (Nov 24).

He was commenting on the change in policy for Peninsular Malaysia whereby returnees from Sabah are not required to undergo mandatory 14-day quarantine, instead they are required to do a swab test three days before departing.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba, in a statement on Tuesday, said the decision was made by the National Security Council (MKN) after seeing the number of Covid-19 cases in Sabah dropping in the last few weeks.

Dr Adham said those who tested positive would not be allowed to leave the state, adding that they would be referred to the nearest hospital for isolation, treatment and monitoring while those symptomatic would be referred for testing.

Dr Sim said Sarawak had been exercising its Immigration and Public Health autonomy since the first SDMC meeting on Covid-19 on Jan 27, 2020.

“If Peninsular Malaysia had been following Sarawak by imposing compulsory hotel quarantine on anyone back from Sabah in September, probably there would be no such outbreak in Peninsular Malaysia now.”