‘Frontliners first for free face masks’


Those who have to deal with customers during the movement control order such as courier company staff need masks. — Filepic

SIBU: Sibu Businesswoman Association (SBWA) is calling on the state government to prioritise frontliners when giving out free face masks.

This follows Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg’s announcement that the Sarawak Government is ordering two million face masks for distribution to people in the state.

SBWA president Jamie Tiew Yen Houng said the masks should be given to frontliners first over the next few weeks.

“These frontliners are our most important asset. All measures should be taken to protect them. Our government should not even have to consider this, ” she said

Tiew added giving out free face masks would show the state government was serious about overcoming Covid-19.

SBW’s Tiew is asking for Socso and EPF payments by contributors to be waived for the rest of this year.SBW’s Tiew is asking for Socso and EPF payments by contributors to be waived for the rest of this year.

“Look at how China forced its population to wear masks and how they managed to control the pandemic, ” she pointed out.

The association wants both the Federal and state government to implement several measures including strict monitoring of people who have had contact with anyone tested positive for Covid-19.

In one country, Tiew pointed out, authorities were identifying them with a wristband (much like those used by patients in a hospital) which, if removed, could lead to imprisonment.

“This will ensure that these people remain in self-isolation and limit their contact with others, ” she added.

The association is also asking for Social Security Organisation and Employees Provident Fund payments by contributors to be waived for the rest of this year.

Effective economic plans to bailout small and medium enterprises should be put in place immediately before such businesses are forced to close indefinitely, said SBW.

Lastly, protective materials like face masks, sanitisers, disinfectants and gloves should be readily available in public places especially petrol stations, banks, supermarkets and wherever people congregate for essentials.

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