Decision to allow business to operate should be based on Covid-19 risk assessment, says KK MP
Chan Foong Hin
24 July 2021
By Wartawan Nabalu News
KOTA KINABALU: Kota Kinabalu MP Chan Foong Hin said the federal government should abandon its current method of distinguishing between essential and non-essential sectors in deciding whether a certain economic sector is allowed to operate as it should be based on Covid-19 risk assessment instead.
The secretary of Sabah DAP said the current method would impact many economic sectors despite posing a very low risk of transmission of Covid-19 should the current method continue to be used.
He made the call from Kuala Lumpur in support of the "Sabah Photographers and Makeup Artists White Flag Movement.
He is currently there for a special five-day Parliamentary sitting starting next Monday and has undergone a swab test yesterday at the Parliament in preparation for the sitting.
"In fact, not only photographers and makeup artists have to raise white flags, but also business operators from many other industries, such as textile merchants.
"Shops that sell textile and their customers who buy textiles can always maintain social distancing and have near to no physical contact. However, just because they belong to the special category of 'clothing stores', they are not allowed to operate at all," he said in a statement.
Chan also indicated that there is no major rebound or increase in Covid-19 cases in Sabah even after more than two weeks that dine-ins have been allowed in the state.
In fact, he remarked that the recent increase in cases is due to prison clusters in Kota Kinabalu and Tawau, which is more related to the densely crowded and enclosed living environment.
Even the Sarawak government has also subsequently followed the decision to allow dine-ins, he added.
"Clearly, the question, at the end of the day, is not which economic sectors can be shut down and which can be allowed to operate.
"The real matter of concern should be on managing the actual risk of Covid-19 transmission, to be able to fight the pandemic in line with the science and data."
He opined that many industries chose to not open their doors for business simply because they are branded as 'non-essential', and not because of the high risks of Covid-19 transmissions.
"Take photography activities as an example. With so many politicians uploading images on Facebook every day, it is obvious that there is someone behind holding and working on the camera.
"Unfortunately, the photography industry has been categorised as an unimportant economic field and is left for dead. So much of their business opportunities over the past year had to be sacrificed due to overheads and commitments," he asserted.
For this matter, Chan reiterated his call that the MKN and the Ministry of Health (MoH) should start using risk assessment in considering the actual risk of various economic industries vis-à-vis Covid-19 so that the economy can be restarted and the number of confirmed cases can be controlled within a confined scope.
"Otherwise, the National Recovery Plan (NRP) will only have a false name, and no real recovery performance will ever be seen!"