Media statement by MP for Segambut, Hannah Yeoh on 28 May 2021:
A centralised system that is unreachable
Over the last 2 days, Malaysians wanting a chance to be vaccinated with the AstraZeneca shots walked away complaining about the frustrating “I’m not a robot” feature and securing no slots. The irony is not lost on me when a website www.vaksincovid.gov.my designed to ensure it facilitates the best experience and to help someone prove they are not an automated program searching through it walked away feeling exactly like they have just encountered an unresponsive robot!
So many people have complained about the difficulty of contacting the National Covid-19 Vaccination Line – 1800888828. My office tried too, one too many times. Senior citizens who have given their best to adapt with technology today, after having downloaded MySejahtera and encountered obstacles for a variety of reasons, were unable to reach out to the hotline. My interns and assistants tried every 5 to 10mins but were immediately given the automated response “This line is currently busy, please try again later”. One particular example for us – being put on hold as caller no. 30 waiting in line and when it finally got down to caller no.2, they cut the call to a similar automated response to say they are busy and to try again later.
A centralised system is only as good as its reachability.
As Covid-19 positive cases continue to surge, the unsettling feeling for those without a vaccination appointment will also continue to grow. Having no one to answer queries will only result in more panic and shouting matches whenever Ministers walk the ground.
The Perikatan Nasional Federal Government must immediately fix this basic hotline service (which is part of an estimated RM70 million budget for data integration costs and appointment system) before talking about removing opt-in choice and consolidating more features on the centralised appointment system.
When you have less than 2 million people vaccinated and only 11 million registered, treat every phone call wanting vaccination with a sense of urgency. Let them talk to anyone but a robot on the line!