Opposition chided for politicking amid pandemic

Michael Tiang

KUCHING: Opposition politicians and their parties should focus on helping Sarawakians during the current Covid-19 pandemic instead of politicking.

In a press statement, a political secretary to the chief minister, Michael Tiang, called out Parti Bumi Bersatu (PSB) and Padungan assemblyman Wong King Wei for ranting against Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian.

Dr Sim, who is also Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) president, is very much involved in helping medical frontliners fight the pandemic.

“It is Dr Sim’s official duty to do watching brief over public health matters in the state whereas all public health issues and decisions are directly managed by the Ministry of Health (MOH).

“Both PSB and Wong are trying to mislead the public by labelling Dr Sim as just a politician who is unfit to be involved in the efforts to fight Covid-29 pandemic. They are clearly politicising the issues instead of supporting the fight against the pandemic,” he said in a press statement on May 3.

The SUPP Youth chief also pointed out that it is any licensed medical practitioner’s professional duty to assist Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) if the need arose, and Dr Sim as a professional cardiologist, also owes such professional duty to help the hospital, especially in curbing the Covid-19 pandemic.

He also assumed that PSB and Wong were well aware that at the daily media conference by the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC), both state Health director Dr Chin Zin Hing, and SGH director Dr Ngian Hie Ung were present to answer medical questions.

“The opposition selectively and maliciously picked on Dr Sim for political reasons, for cheap publicity. I challenge both PSB and Democratic Action Party (DAP) leaders staying at home currently to share with Sarawakians their plans and strategies for the state for the next two years,” he said.

Regarding a call to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg to establish an independent team of professionals to look into issues concerning healthcare workers at SGH, Tiang said it was “absurd” because public health is a federal matter under MOH and not the state.

Tiang also asserted that PSB should have directed their appeals to MOH concerning the needs of Sarawak’s healthcare workers.

“And while we are still on the subject, I say the party should have fought to get state autonomy over public health when Pakatan Harapan (PH) was in power, but they failed to fulfil their promise to do so,” he said.