Protecting Malaysian e-hailing frontliners isn’t exactly rocket science, yet PN doesn’t even have the competency to provide basic guidelines
E-hailing drivers and delivery riders have been our unsung heroes throughout this scathing pandemic. Since the very first Movement Control Order (MCO) and its various subsequent iterations, these ’e-hailing frontliners’ have been exposed to the risk of contracting Covid-19 in order to provide essential services to the rakyat. These include transporting thousands of people, food boxes and parcels from various locations every single day.
However, despite the Federal Government categorising them as essential service providers since MCO 1.0, e-hailing drivers and delivery riders have not been treated as frontliners up until today. Worse, their safety have continuously been neglected and ignored by PN.
In a statement today, the DAP Member of Parliament (MP) for Segambut, Hannah Yeoh shared how a Grab driver personally contacted her to express his concern about the danger of Covid-19 infection that e-hailing frontliners are exposed to every single day.
Furthermore, given how imperative e-hailing services are during this pandemic, Hannah found it baffling how the PN government doesn’t have any safeguards in place to protect these industry players.
The Segambut MP commented,
“We have all seen photos of thousands of patients visiting the Covid-19 Assessment Centre (CAC) daily and if they choose e-hailing services to take them there, surely the Government ought to protect these industry players from catching the infection and infecting others.”
Stressing that such protective measures are not exactly rocket science, Hannah suggested three urgent steps that PN must take in order to protect the over 200,000 e-hailing drivers and delivery riders in our country.
The steps are as per below:
1. Immediately vaccinate our e-hailing frontliners
The Ministry of Transport (MOT) and the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) must immediately vaccinate e-hailing drivers and delivery riders.
Considering how these e-hailing frontliners are in contact with several different customers in various different locations every day, we must give them some level of vaccination priority in order to stop them from being infected as well as infecting others. This is simple common sense.
2. Provide ventilation guidelines for e-hailing rides
The Ministry of Health (MOH) should provide guidance and encouragement on ventilation for e-hailing rides to avoid airborne transmission. This is especially crucial for those transporting thousands of customers to CAC centres across Malaysia.
Other countries have already laid out detailed guidelines for ventilation in buildings as well as vehicles to mitigate the risk of contracting Covid-19. For example, the United States’ Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have an easily accessible guideline for ventilation inside a vehicle during this pandemic since 2019!
In comparison, this PN government only introduced a ventilation guideline for buildings earlier this week, with a guideline for vehicles still nowhere to be seen. This is not exactly rocket science, so what is taking PN so long?
3. Share and integrate data with relevant industry players
The MySejahtera platform needs to embrace the open data concept by sharing its data with relevant industry players. For assurance, the government must sure that personal information will only be used for the purpose of managing and mitigating Covid-19 outbreak.
Currently, when a person books an e-hailing ride, the driver is not provided with any information on the customer’s Covid-19 status until he or she hops inside the car and scans the MySejahtera QR code. As such is also dependant on whether the Covid-19 status in the app is current and reflective of the customer’s health.
Hence, with data integration between MySejahtera and the relevant industry players, potential exposure and chain of Covid-19 infection can be easily detected and avoided.
Besides the above suggestions, the Segambut MP also lamented the lack of coordination, competency and care exercised by PN Cabinet Ministers. Hannah then urged for the relevant Ministers to immediately implement the above within their respective jurisdictions. She iterated,
“I call upon these Ministers who can immediately fix this within their respective jurisdiction to act today and I will name each one lest no one in Putrajaya would act – Wee Ka Siong (APAD), Khairy Jamaluddin (PICK) and Adham Baba (MOH).”
Let’s hope that PN would heed the call from Hannah Yeoh and act immediately to protect our e-hailing frontliners. With a whopping 13,215 new Covid-19 infections today, the highest ever recorded in our country, the rakyat need this #KerajaanGagal to step up to the plate before the situation gets worse. – The Rocket.