By Emma Victoria
THE SARAWAK government has been urged to get greenlight from the federal government to waive customs duty and sales tax for all imported Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) destined for the private medical sector.
Bukit Assek assemblywoman Irene Chang said, the exemption is currently only given to supplies from China and those for government hospitals and clinics.
“Critical medical supplies such as PPE for the private medical clinics are not exempted.
They still have to pay a hefty sum in taxes of about 20 per cent customs duty and 10 per cent sales tax,” she said in a statement.
Since these are private practices, the duties would be passed on to the patients to bear.
It will discourage smaller clinic practitioners from donning their PPEs in order to protect themselves from sick patients, who might not know if they have Covid-19, she said.
All medical practitioners, including dentist, are on the frontline attending personally to patients.
Sarawak should encourage, if not make it mandatory, for them to wear PPE such as gloves, face masks, and visors, in order to protect themselves from patients, who could potentially have Covid-19.
Chang called on Sarawak to make PPE supplies more accessible to private hospitals and clinics by waiving the duties payable, for as long as the pandemic lasts, as this would ultimately help to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the state.
The assemblywoman also agreed with the extension of the Movement Control Order (MCO) as the fight against the pandemic is far from over.