Selangor MPs slam ‘clueless’ knee-jerk EMCO

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Two Selangor MPs have slammed the “clueless” Perikatan Nasional-led government over the decision to impose an enhanced movement control order (EMCO) over most of the state from July 3 to July 16.

Klang MP Charles Santiago said the EMCO would be pointless if many sectors were still operating while leaving other companies and workers to suffer under the lockdown.

Senior minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob had said “essential” sectors could stay open while workers could leave EMCO areas for work using the letters previously issued by the international trade and industry ministry.

Santiago told FMT that the government must conduct mass screenings and vaccinations in the state, urging Putrajaya to bring the vaccines to the people rather than making them wait and go for appointments.

“Otherwise, it’s just a waste of time and you’re destroying the country and making our people poorer. Do you know the number of people who are out of a job and living in fear? This government has completely lost the plot.

“Go ahead and vaccinate everyone in Klang. I’ll make the arrangements for the minister, including for everyone in the factories, and I’m happy to make available all the resources he needs,” he said.

Describing the EMCO with relaxed SOPs as a knee-jerk reaction, the DAP man said such tight movement restrictions should have been implemented at the start of the lockdown in June.

“If factories are the problem, then make it mandatory for factories to test their workers once every three days using the rapid test kits. Then you can solve the problem.”

Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad said the EMCO announced did not seem sufficiently targeted and failed to identify where clusters were.

Citing how Amirudin Shari had said 80% of clusters in the state came from factories, Khalid said it looked like Putrajaya was not taking into account the views of the Selangor menteri besar or the state’s Covid-19 task force.

Expressing disappointment at Ismail’s announcement, he said the government also failed to give sufficient notice to people, fearing that residents would resort to panic-buying over the next two days.

“People are already in dire straits and you clamp down even more tightly. Even though some places have no clusters and problems, suddenly everyone has to be locked down. It doesn’t seem to be well thought out.

“It’s a knee-jerk kind of reaction just to show that Putrajaya is doing something because of the increasing number of cases. It would be so much better if they worked hand in hand with the state government to analyse where the problems are.

“I don’t know what they are trying to do. They seem clueless to the problems faced by the rakyat,” he told FMT.

The Amanah communications director was also dumbfounded by the limiting of operation hours for eateries to 8am to 8pm again, questioning the government’s logic behind this when they were already allowing food outlets to open.

“When they reduce operation hours in that manner, people will be crowding the shops to buy food in that shorter time frame. I don’t understand the logic behind this regulation.

“It’s really adding burden on the rakyat and not addressing the problem itself.”

The EMCO will affect 34 sub-districts in Selangor and 14 localities in KL from Saturday.

Ismail had said the health ministry would be conducting Covid-19 tests on everyone affected while vaccination efforts would be “increased”. – FMT