Constant change in travel requirements for Sarawakians is confusing and dangerous

I urge the State Government to think through and refine the policy and SOPs for Sarawakians to return back to Sarawak as the constant flip-flop has not just caused confusion, but has hugely inconvenienced the people travelling back.

Yesterday, Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah as the Chairman of Sarawak Disaster Management(SDMC) made the announcement of a change in policy which requires us to apply a police permit on top of the online permit from SDMC.

They added an extra step which requires us to queue at the police station to apply for another permit , then to re-apply again to SDMC for an additional permit before we were allowed to fly back home.

While the people will generally comply with all requirements, I found it unnecessary. Why is there a need for two permits to be applied from two different platforms?

This flip-flop in policy has caused much confusion and we have received constant feedback from Sarawakians that need to fly back from Sarawak. Some who are flying from neighbouring countries and only transit for a short period through KLIA, are unsure how they are supposed to go out to find a police station to apply the permit.

Some Sarawakians that are already quarantined in KL, and awaiting their flight back to Sarawak also complained of the inconvenience that they now need to go out from their quarantine centre to find a police station, exposing themselves to possible infection, just to apply for this permit before going to the airport.

I myself had to queue in the heat for more than 3 hours today at a police station to get my permit before reapplying to SDMC for the 2nd permit. There was a crowd at the police station which would surely increase the risk of another cluster forming especially if proper precautions were not adhered to.

While I understand the rationale behind controlling travel, but you can limit those travels through a singular database or platform, without the need for 2 permits.

SDMC can released permits based on amount of travellers allowed to enter at a particular time without making travellers gather at a police station to apply for another permit.

That is why i believe such additional steps are unnecessary and even if it is still needed, the government should be able to innovate and integrate online applications to address all the different issues faced by the people.

Again, the constant changes in policy is not just inconvenient, but confusing for many people….

Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen
MP Bandar Kuching

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