8 January 2021
Press statement by MCA Youth Civil Society Movement Coordination Bureau Chairman Heng Zhi Li
Covid-19 vaccine: Instead of politicians politicising it, govt should educate rakyat
Since the global outbreak of Covid-19 last year, all countries have suffered much hardship and face severe challenges. All walks of life look forward to an early cure with a vaccine against the coronavirus, so that life, as it was before, may resume. The government of the People’s Republic of China had joined COVAX or COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access earlier, with pre-purchases of vaccines from R&D companies through various channels.
Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Khairy Jamaluddin had announced that the government has subscribed to several companies to obtained 49.5 million doses of vaccines for 82% of the country’s population. While the whole nation is doing its best to combat this infectious disease, DAP Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang attempts to stir up sentiments over the issue of vaccine procurement. This move is disappointing.
People and countries all over the world are hoping for the most effective vaccine to be able to solve the Covid-19 outbreak as soon as possible. Our country is also actively striving for the best remedy and is not relaxing in this battle. As the world scrambles for a vaccine, supply and price differences among pharmaceuticals is inevitable. The DAP supremo gives the illusion that the government is procuring the vaccines at a steep price, but he did not have the courage to accept Khairy’s invitation to confront him. Therefore, it is plain obvious that Kit Siang has been politicising this issue rather than sincerely raising this issue. Such a move is irresponsible.
On the other hand, there are people who are keen to amplify reports of the sides effects of the vaccine, thereby eroding public confidence on the vaccine. According to survey statistics, about 30% of those interviewed are unsure or unwilling to receive the vaccination. The government should face up to such data, find strategies and use channels to clearly disseminate the government’s overall plans, deadline and target, so that the rakyat are psychologically prepared. Meanwhile, the government could also open up voluntary vaccination application to reduce long queues, waiting in anxiety and confusion.
Certain countries have begun the vaccination process. As R&D and technology of vaccines differ vastly country to country, the Malaysian government could refer to other countries on their vaccination procedures. It is recommended that the government could arrange vaccination lists and procedures, prioritise medical and other frontliner staff, government agencies and high-risk groups according to factors such as region, population density and high-risk community cases.
The Malaysian government should also assess the current situation in the United Kingdom as a reference to avoid mixing vaccines which can cause vaccine failure or increase the risk of disease. At present, the best way to resolve the Covid-19 contagion is for mass-scale vaccination, as movement control orders are not necessary the best strategy besides being a burden to the national economy.
Heng Zhi Li
MCA Youth Civil Society Movement Coordination Bureau Chairman