People’s safety our priority for now

Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg (right) stops by for a brief chat with 79-year-old wheelchair-bound Britten Ujang who was on his way for his Covid-19 jab. The chief minister was at the Jalan Masjid Health Clinic vaccination centre (PPV), Dewan Majma, in Kuching to monitor the vaccine rollout. Abang Johari was accompanied by his deputy Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas (third left) and PBB Satok Division deputy chief Datuk Ibrahim Baki (second left). Photo: Ramidi Subari

KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has dismissed talks of preparing for the upcoming state election.

He asserted that the state election was not in the mind of the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) ruling coalition amid the current surge in the Covid-19 pandemic and mass vaccine rollout.

“No, we are not thinking about the election as now is time to focus on administering the public with the Covid-19 vaccines.

“The priority now is ensuring the people are safe, not focusing on the state election – the people’s wellbeing must come first,” he said.

The GPS chairman was speaking to the media after visiting the Jalan Masjid Health Clinic vaccination centre (PPV) at Dewan Majma here today.

Abang Johari said Sarawak had been topping the daily vaccinations for the country in its focus to scale up the vaccine rollout.

“On behalf of Sarawak, I told Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin that I wanted the vaccinations to be increased. I even told him that the state would purchase its own Covid-19 vaccines if it had to,” he said.

He added that the state currently had  an arrangement with the federal government for the vaccine supply. He said the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) was prepared to conduct the mass vaccinations if told to.

“Currently, we have achieved a certain target that we have set which is to protect the people as without the vaccines, we are exposed,” he said.

The chief minister pointed out that the trend of Covid-19 cases in the state had not stabilised. It had dipped below 300 cases a few days ago only to bounce back to over 500 cases today. 

“We will assess the number (of cases) according to the places where the vaccine has been fully rolled out. Vaccination is the only way to fight Covid-19,” he said.