Sarawak launches community policing programme in fight against Covid-19

KUCHING: Sarawak has launched a community policing programme for grassroots leaders to help the authorities manage Covid-19 in their respective villages.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah said the programme would empower village development and security committees (JKKK), in line with the National Security Council's seven-pronged strategy which includes community empowerment.

He said JKKKs would also be empowered to help manage security and other disasters under the programme.

"With community policing, they become the eyes and ears of agencies such as police and the Health Department. For example, they can report the presence of illegal immigrants to the authorities.

"They cannot make arrests but they can report the matter," he told reporters after the programme's launch by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg here on Friday (Aug 7).

Uggah said ground training for JKKK leaders statewide would start within the next two weeks.

"Each division will organise their own training," he said, adding that the programme would involve JKKKs in about 7,000 villages and longhouses in the state.

In his speech earlier, Uggah said the community policing programme encompassed the roles and responsibilities of community leaders in managing disasters, from Covid-19 to dengue, rabies, floods and fire.

To kickstart the programme, he said the state disaster management committee conducted training for trainers in all 12 divisions on July 21-29.

"A total of 500 people comprising personnel from district offices, police, Health Department, Unity Department, Veterinary Services Department and local NGOs underwent the training.

"They will later conduct workshops for JKKK personnel in villages and longhouses, in accordance with standard operating procedure (SOP) and physical distancing," he said.

Meanwhile, Abang Johari said JKKKs could help to ensure SOP compliance in their villages under the programme.

"We need everyone to work together in the fight against Covid-19. JKKKs can help to look after their respective villages," he said.

He also said the state government had allocated RM60mil to the state disaster management committee for its Covid-19-related operations.

Among others, the funds were used for acquiring personal protective equipment (PPE), PCR tests, food for frontliners and affected communities, quarantine costs and free face masks for Sarawakians.

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