More initiatives needed

Madeline Berma

KUCHING: In order to fully address spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic slump, the state government should introduce more initiatives in its assistance package.

Academy of Sciences fellow Datuk Dr Madeline Berma said all the initiatives introduced in the Sarawakku Sayang Special Assistance (BKSS) 5.0 were continuations of previous assistances.

“There is no new approach or initiatives to curb the spread of Covid-19 or the economic contraction,” she said when contacted today.

She said to contain the spread of the pandemic in Sarawak which has spiked recently, the state government must take an innovative step by introducing new contact tracing methods.

“This is by setting up a drive-thru, one-stop centre where testing, tracing and sample collection are being done swiftly,” she said.

Madeline also said while BKSS is done to protect, retain and prepare for economic resilience among the people, it should also prepare the public for post Covid-19 economy.

“They should also utilise digital economy to detect, report, and treat Covid-19. This is as well as improve and strengthen social security network involving workers in the informal and gig economy,” she said.

She stressed that, during this time, it is crucial that the state government invest in human resources.

“This is through financial assistance to develop talent and provide assistance for new types of jobs and reduce digital gaps.

“Besides that, they should also enhance the accessibility of the rural population and the interior of Sarawak to digital infrastructure,” she said.

Nonetheless, Madeline said BKSS 5.0 complements the four previous BKSS packages introduced by the state government and the federal government aid package.

“BKSS 5.0 was also launched in no time as it is important to ensure that those in need are receiving assistance which are due to them. It was also announced without much bureaucracy,” she said.