Shafie`s U-Turn on CMCO causing Confusion
Kota Kinabalu, May 8, 2020
Warisan President Shafie Apdal’s sudden u-turn on the implementation of the Conditional Controlled Movement Order (CMCO) in Sabah has led to much confusion among the people in the state.
Barely two days ago, he outrightly rejected the CMCO announced by the Federal government on May 4, saying Sabah will stick to the guidelines of Phase 4 of the Controlled Movement Order (CMO) and would only allow certain sectors to open up on May 12 when it ends.
He was quoted as saying “We are not looking to open up everything. The reality is that we cannot open up everything. This is why I said to give us time. We are aware that Phase 5 of the MCO is coming.”
This decision to not comply with the Federal policy was then supported by the Sabah Police, which protocol wise, was strangely announced by the Kota Kinabalu Police Chief instead of the Police Commissioner.
Despite growing criticism by the legal fraternity on the legality of Shafie’s decision, he decided to ignore the federal government policy that was enforceable throughout the country.
While there were a few detractors, a majority of legal experts said the regulations were made under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act were specifically for preventing and controlling the spread of Covid-19.
It prevailed over the provisions of other written laws in respect of the prevention and control of infectious diseases.
Then yesterday, Shafie suddenly made a u-turn against a previous State government decision and announced that the Sabah government has decided to enforce phase 5 of the movement control order (MCO) by allowing certain industries to operate.
The Sabah government needs to clarify are we still in Phase 4 or Phase 5 of the MCO?
The people want to know are we adhering to CMCO or MCO?
Federal says we must comply.
The Chief Minister says no but shifts gear the very next day.
The Sabah police previously said it will abide by the State decision.
With so many inconsistent statements, the people do not know what is permissible by law.
Can they travel inter district? Can they be on the road after 6pm? Can 4 people really be in a car or is it 2?
Clearly, this flip flopping has led to much confusion among the people.
The people are already suffering from the far reaching impact of this deadly pandemic.
We have lost lives, jobs, incomes and businesses.
So many sectors have been greatly affected and it will be awhile before they see any signs of recovery.
Yet we have a State leader dismissing it as “it’s nothing personal” when he initially refused to comply with relaxing the constraints on MCO.
This is not the time to be playing politics. The world is and will continue to face unprecedented dark days for a while due to the ravages of Covid19.
Until a vaccine is found, we must work together and put aside bipartisan politics to save lives and still keep some semblance of the economy going.
The State government needs to take stock of the real situation on the ground.
We are not talking about keeping big businesses going and making rich towkays richer.
The government must empathize with a multitude of people who depend on daily wages.
On a good day, these people can barely put food on the table, let alone afford other basic amenities like electricity and water.
Nonetheless, with its latest decision to comply with the CMCO, it is our hope that the State government will be more consistent in its decision making.
DATUK JONISTON BANGKUAI
PBS INFORMATION CHIEF/KIULU ASSEMBLYMAN