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Find out why states decline to enforce CMCO, instead of issuing threats: Upko

By Chris Maskilone

KOTA KINABALU: Instead of issuing threats, the Federal Government should find out the reasons that several states including Sabah are unable to enforce the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) beginning Monday.

Upko Secretary General Nelson Angang said there must be valid reasons for the action of these state governments.

Nelson Angang. SNT File Pix

“Did the Federal Government discuss with the respective states before the decision was made?” he asked.

He said everyone understand the importance to restart the nation’s economy but that it must not be done in such haste.

“Sabah for instance has eased restrictions gradually such as on oil palm plantations and mills, petrochemical industries food industries and few others,” he said.

Towards this end, he said question arose whether the Federal’s decision was made in lieu of the situation in all the respective states.

“Take Sabah for example. The Ministry of Health has admitted that screening in Sabah and Sarawak is challenging.

“The Health Director General in his statement which was reported in the news had said that Sabah and Sarawak are vast and that conducting testing is more challenging,” he said.

In the same statement the Director General also announced that the first batch of 50,000 antigen rapid test kits from South Korea would likely be sent to Sabah and Sarawak to help boost samples testing for Covid-19 in both states, he said.

“Bearing in mind also of the huge numbers of immigrant community in Sabah. It has also been reported that Sabah has expressed doubts that they have enough reagents to carry out tests on the estimated 100,000 foreign workers in the state.

“The Health Ministry has sent 10,000 rapid test kits received from South Korea to Sabah only last week,” he said.

“How then did the federal government made the decision that Sabah is ready for CMCO?”

Nelsons said the legality of the Sabah Government’s decision not to comply with the CMCO was also being questioned.

“Some legal experts say that the state must follow the Federal on the matter whilst others believe that the State can choose not to because public health and the prevention of disease amongst others are under State’s control.

“Of course, the argument that Federal laws supersede State laws where there are inconsistencies is well settled.

“But perhaps it is actually beyond all the legal arguments. After all the respective state government would know best the current situation and readiness of the state,” he said.

He agreed that Article 81 of the Federal Constitution talks about the obligation of the States towards the federation and that Article 81(2) holds that the state shall not impede or prejudice the executive authority of the Federation.

“But, truly under this circumstances if the state of Sabah felt that it would be against its best interest and the interest of its people to enforce CMCO when the state is not ready and being forced to do so, would it not be prejudicial and endanger the safety and health that of its people?” he asked.

Nelson said these were unprecedented times where Covid-19 posed challenges not only towards Malaysia but also to the whole world.

“For this reason, I agree with the State Government’s decision not to enforce the CMCO for the time being,” he said.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal has said today that the State Government would not budged from its decision not to enforce the CMCO for the sake of the people.

He also said that Sabah will make an assessment on the matter on May 12 when the fifth phase of lockdown ends.-SabahNewsToday