State can’t afford another MCO

Datuk Abang Helmi Ikhwan

KUCHING: Sarawak could not afford to have another total lockdown even though the number of the daily positive Covid-19 cases is at an alarming rate.

Sarawak Bumiputera Entrepreneurs Chamber (DUBS) chairman Datuk Abang Helmi Ikhwan said a total lockdown would cause tremendous economic hardship to the people and it will be costly for the government as well.

“However, I support the imposition of the enhanced movement control order (EMCO) on high-risk areas.

“The EMCO done in certain areas should not disrupt the economic activities at a critical level,” he said.

He also pointed out that there is a need for strict enforcement of movements going in and out of the affected areas and the standard operating procedures (SOPs) must be observed strictly throughout the states.

“I am confident that Sarawak will see economic growth this year provided that the people adhere to the SOPs strictly as it will help to curb the transmission of Covid-19,” he said.

Jonathan Chai Voon Tok

Meanwhile, Sarawak Business Federation secretary-general Jonathan Chai Voon Tok said should another movement control order (MCO) be imposed, it would mean that Sarawak would have to put a stop to all economic activities and that will greatly affect most businesses as they do not have the abilities to withstand it.

“This automatically would bring a lot of financial burden to some families and it will eventually turn into a social issue among the community,” he said.

He also mentioned that keeping the economy open by not imposing the MCO is not an easy task for the government as it would need to strike a balance between the livelihood of the people and public health.

“Personally, I think the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) has made the right decision to enforce the conditional movement control order (CMCO) instead of the MCO.

“This would at least give some breathing space for businesses,” he said.

He reminded that the business operators in return should not take the good intention of the government for granted as they must play their parts in containing the pandemic by strictly complying with the SOPs given.

In another note, Chai urged the general public to register themselves for the vaccination so that herd immunity could be achieved as soon as possible.

“Nobody is able to predict when this pandemic would be over, but until then, I hope that our government will continue to support the private sector by introducing more stimulus measures, possibly with more projects which could provide spinoff effect to our economy as well as subsidies for utilities and assessments to ease our financial burden during this period,” he said.