Sarawak CM’s visit to Kapit was in full compliance with Covid-19 SOPs, state agency tells PSB man

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg speaks to reporters after a symbolic launching of the food assistance distribution at Kampung Haji Baki June 8, 2021. — Picture courtesy of the state Information Department
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg speaks to reporters after a symbolic launching of the food assistance distribution at Kampung Haji Baki June 8, 2021. — Picture courtesy of the state Information Department

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KUCHING, June 11 — The Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) today clarified that Chief Minister Datuk Abang Johari Openg’s official visit to Kapit yesterday was in total compliance with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) of the current movement control order (MCO).

It said it had approved the chief minister’s short and accompanying activities in Kapit.

“As a responsible leader, the chief minister has to go to the ground to gauge the preparedness of Kapit Division to implement the vaccination programme, view and assess the local medical facilities, including the army field hospital and symbolically handed over food packages to the people via local elected representatives at the Kapit Town square,” SDMC said in a statement.

SDMC was responding to an earlier statement made by Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) Pelagus branch leader Kristoffer Nyuak Bajok.

It explained that prior to the visit to Kapit yesterday, the chief minister had visited other towns including Miri, Sibu and Bintulu for similar purposes and visited the vaccination administration centres in Kuching in a genuine concern for the people and situations on the ground.

“For that particular event held at Kapit Town Square, only limited and relevant guests were invited in accordance with the SOP protocol,” SDMC said.

It added that the recipients of the Bantuan Bekalan Makanan Sarawakku Sayang comprised one representative of a Member of Parliament, six assemblymen and four community leaders from Kapit Division.

“All those who attended the event also went through strict temperature checks and scanning carried out and monitored by officers and staff of the Health Ministry,” SDMC said.

It said the others who were present at the event were members of the organising committee, security personnel and the members of the media while members of the public were not involved.

SDMC said the chief minister’s entourage even skipped lunch prepared by the organising committee in further compliance with the SOPs.

“In this regard, it is inaccurate to say that the event had breached the SOP as mentioned by the individual,” it stressed.

In a statement early today, Nyuak had claimed that it had been unwise to organise the large gatherings attended by the chief minister amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

He also said that they contravened the standard operating procedures (SOP) of the ongoing MCO.

He said the visit by the chief minister to Kapit had attracted big crowds and could trigger a rash of Covid-19 infections.

“All the VVIPs may be well protected by having been vaccinated, but certainly not all the people in Kapit,” he said in a statement.

Nyuak called on the Ministry of Health (MoH) to make swab tests mandatory for all attendees of the three functions.

He said MoH must avoid double standards because the lives of people are at risk.

“We cannot compromise on that,” he said, adding there might have been SOP compliance during the gatherings but there was no guarantee it was 100 per cent effective.

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