With rising Covid-19 cases and the country still under lockdown, MP for Bangi, Dr. Ong Kian Ming wanted to celebrate Malaysia’s Independence Day a little differently this year. He wanted to do something that is not only proactive but is productive and patriotic.
Rather than issuing a statement wishing everyone a Happy Merdeka, he has decided to set out a Merdeka Action List (Senarai Tindakan Merdeka) which is a list of 10 Merdeka action items which will be undertaken from now until the end of the year.
MERDEKA ACTION LIST
1) Mobile Vaccination for the B40 and especially for the undocumented migrant community
While the vaccination rate among Malaysians in the Klang Valley is very high, there are still pockets of people, especially undocumented migrants, who have not yet received even their first dose of any of the COVID19 vaccines. In a survey exercise conducted last week together with various groups such as the Malaysian Red Crescent, the International Office for Migration (IOM), UNHCR and WHO and NGOs (such as Project Liber8) at a low-cost apartment complex and a nearby commercial area, there were more than 100 persons mostly from the undocumented migrant community who have yet to be vaccinated.
Dr. Ong Kian Ming will work with the relevant authorities at the federal and state governments to provide mobile vaccinations for those who for various reasons are not willing or able to go to the vaccination centers (PPVs) that allow for appointments or walk-ins.
2) Finding new ways to feed the poor and needy
Volunteers along with Dr. Ong Kian Ming’s team have worked very hard for the past 2 months to distribute food baskets and fresh food to Malaysians and non-Malaysians in my parliamentary constituency including 3000 food baskets, 14500kg of fresh vegetables, 3800kg of fresh fish, 300 chickens and 1700kg of rice.
They are now trying source new and more sustainable ways to provide healthy food to the needy which includes working alongside Dr.Billy Tang, the man behind PWD Smart Farmability, a social enterprise which aims to provide fresh fish and vegetables (for a start) to the B40 community in a sustainable manner. For example, fresh vegetables are provided via custom made terrarium boxes where the vegetables can be harvested and regrown for up to one year! Only watering is needed!
3) Finding job opportunities for residents in the Bangi Constituency
One of the main challenges of helping the B40 community find jobs is the lack of knowledge on how to use job sites.
Even though there are now job sites which focuses more on blue collar jobs such as https://www.maukerja.my/, https://www.ricebowl.my/ and https://my.jawatan-kini.com/job.php?q=&l=kajang, low IT literacy may still be a hurdle for many in the B40 communities to use such websites. The DAP Member of Parliament hopes to reach out to the management and tech teams for some of these job sites to see how more user-friendly features can be provided to make the job application process simpler.
He will also use more ‘manual’ ways to pair potential employers with those who have lost their jobs especially at the blue-collar level including many of the factories in my area which are still looking for employees with the caveat that they must be able to provide decent accommodation to workers.
4) Improving living conditions for factory workers and foreign labourers
One of the major challenges faced by factory owners in Malaysia and particularly in the Klang Valley is the poor accommodation arrangements where many workers, especially foreign labourers, are squeezed into cramped apartments and houses, which then makes it very conducive for COVID19 to spread.
Dr. Ong Kian Ming has been appointed by the Menteri Besar of Selangor to the Special Committee on Health Control and Compliance for Industry (Jawatankuasa Khas Pematuhan Kawalan Kesihatan Industri / JKK PKKI) which has the mandate to propose policies to decrease the spread of COVID19 among factory workers.
Following the work of the Prevention of Outbreak at Ignition Sites or POIS initiative under the Selangor state government which has also been adopted by MITI under the [email protected] program, the focus should now be shifted to the accommodation of the factory workers in addition to the work flows at the factories.
This would require the cooperation of the local authorities to implement the circular issued by the Ministry of Housing and Local government on the 23rd of March 2021 which allows for various arrangements for temporary worker housing to be approved including in commercial areas such as shoplots and also on site at factories with spare land to build hostels.
Circular by the Secretary General of the Ministry of Housing and Local government for approval of temporary workers accommodation, issued on the 23rd of March 2021
PLANMalaysia, a unit under the Town and Country Planning Department, has also issued a detailed FAQ on the 2nd of June 2021 on various aspects and issues to do with applying for this temporary approval.
Dr. Ong Kian Ming has also received applications from shop lot owners and property managers who are interested in converting their 2nd and 3rd story shop lots which are currently unoccupied into temporary hostels for workers, especially factory workers.
He will be also working with the local councillors in the city councils where demand for such accommodation arrangements is the highest as well as the Selangor EXCO in charge of local government, Ng Sze Han.
5) Helping various industries open up safely and bounce back stronger
After three Movement Control Orders, many businesses need the economy to open up safely in order for them to survive. The MP for Bangi has been advocating for a few specific industries which he believes can open up safely if they have the proper SOPs in place to operate as safely as possible with COVID19 in our midst.
This includes the cinema chains which has shown that physical distancing and minimal social interaction is possible when watching movies. This includes gyms, swimming pool operators and badminton hall operators which operated safely during the period between MCO 2.0 and 3.0 without the presence of any clusters associated with their activities.
He also hopes to utilize a newly refurbished 400m track in Bandar Baru Bangi to organize a small-scale 5km time trial with different “wave” of runners taking part over a weekend and this can be made easier if it is done with cooperation and endorsement of the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the police as well as the local authority (in this case, Majils Perbandaran Kajang or MPKJ).
6) Using the MPKj Stadium in Bandar Baru Bangi for more running and training activities
The MP for Bangi completed the refurbishment of the 400m track at the MPKJ Stadium at Seskyen 15 Bandar Baru Bangi in April this year using a special allocation from the Pakatan Harapan government. In addition to replacing the 400m track, 8 spotlights have also been installed for use of the track at night.
He wants to procure more track equipment items such as hurdles so that athletes (including state and national athletes) can use them for training purposes and state and national level competitions can be organized here.
7) Continuing the ‘pro bono’ consulting services to companies and industries
Since the announcement of the pro-bono consulting services to those who may need it back in June 2021, Dr. Ong Kian Ming has been fortunate enough to enlist the help of more than 15 volunteers from various industries to assist in this initiative.
Collectively, they have spoken and given consulting advice to more than 20 companies covering sectors as diverse as a hotel in Langkawi to a company which specializes in manufacturing bitumen related products to a pre-school in Petaling Jaya.
While the collective efforts are drawing to a close, Ong Kian Ming will still continue to provide assistance to various companies and industries on how to “build back better” and “open up stronger”. For example, he strongly believes that the travel and tourism industry needs to work with the insurance sector in Malaysia to put out to the market different travel insurance products which take into account the fact that COVID19 is endemic and will be here to stay for a while.
8) Continuing to provide Internship opportunities to young people
During the past 3 months, Dr. Ong Kian Ming has been working with 13 interns on various research and constituency related projects. They have covered many topics and areas in their research from researching US ambassadorial appointments in the region to compiling a list of best-selling OXIMETER brands to looking at various implications of non-extension of the COVID19 relief bill to helping compile list of recipients to receive food baskets.
He will continue to provide internship opportunities for those who want to work with him and his team to do groundwork in my constituency and to research on and advocate for various national issues.
9) Registering new voters
It is easy for young people to feel disconnected to the political process and to be disillusioned with politics because of the feeling that politicians are just fighting among themselves to secure positions and privileges rather than to help the people.
Presumably, the one thing should be made clear to the young people of Malaysia during this COVID-19 crisis which is that if we have bad leaders in our country, the policies (and the SOPs) that they come up will have a significant and negative effect on the lives.
To have a say in who is elected as leaders in this country, we must be registered to vote which means that we have to encourage more young people to register to vote. During the past year or so, the overall number of voters in the country have actually DECREASED because COVID19 has prevented physical voter registration exercises from taking place and online registration has not really picked up yet.
Dr. Ong Kian Ming hopes to work with more NGOs such as BERSIH and UNDI18 to encourage more people to register online to vote and also to do more physical voter registration exercises once they are allowed.
10) Helping out in N24 Semenyih state seat
Finally, Dr. Ong Kian Ming will be assisting the outreach efforts in the state seat of N24 Semenyih which is under the Hulu Langat parliament seat because the position of caretaker or “penyelaras” for this seat has been given to DAP. He will be working with V Ganabatirau, the Selangor EXCO who is in charge of overseeing the caretaker activities in this seat, as well as Nor Zulaila binti Abdul Ghani (better known as Lily) who is the MPKj councilor who is assisting Ganabatirao in the outreach efforts in this area.