KOTA KINABALU: Non-governmental organisations in Sabah are calling for Covid-19 vaccinations to be conducted quickly so that the nation can recover faster.
They are also urging the Federal Government to come up with recovery plans and SOP that focus on the needs of the state, instead of looking at the nation as a whole.
Pertubuhan Angkatan Gabungan Rakyat Sabah president Datuk Michael Frederick said apart from subsidies and government assistance, vaccination must be made readily available and procedures for recipients to get their jabs shortened.
“What’s important is for the vaccination to be hastened so that herd immunity can be achieved.
“Without herd immunity, it will be hard for us to get back on our feet while government funds are running out to fight this pandemic.”
Frederick said measures to fight Covid-19 must consider the specific needs of the particular state or locality in some cases.
He said, for example, the Federal Government could consider excluding Selangor before drawing up the SOP as Selangor contributed a huge chunk of Covid-19 cases in the country.
“States that record less than 300 daily cases should be allowed more room economically and socially,” he said.
Frederick added that this included allowing these states to open up more economic sectors and inter-district travels, adding that it does not make sense to use one single rule for all when the circumstances of each state are different.
He said the government could even save a lot in assistance funds as only those who were in dire need would get funding and subsidies, whereas those who were working, getting salaries and earning from businesses did not need them.
Pertubuhan Rumpun Etnik Sabah president Yahya Ahmad said authorities in charge of Covid-19 matters in Sabah, including the state health department director, should make it their mission to fight for more vaccines for Sabahans.
He said the low percentage of supply and vaccination in Sabah was hampering many economic and social revival efforts, bringing the economy and other developments to a standstill.
“I hope to see a proper and larger scale vaccination outreach programme conducted so that many more of our people can get their immunisation,” said Yahya, adding that he was told that many have registered to get their jabs via MySejahtera but they have yet to be called up.
He said statistically, Sabah had among the largest population in the country and should be given more priority, or at least be treated more fairly in terms of vaccine supply distribution.
Yahya also argued that Sabah be given more leeway to manage itself in the fight against Covid-19.
“This is our own home and we know for ourselves what’s best to help our people and what’s right for our state.
“Therefore, it is only right that we get to draw up recovery plans that suit us in Sabah,” he said.