Media statement by MP for Bangi, Dr. Ong Kian Ming on 1 July 2021:
Prioritise Vaccination for Factories and Industries in Selangor to reduce the number and severity of Covid-19 cases in Klang Valley and nationwide
Yesterday, the number of Covid-19 positive cases in Selangor reached 2836 cases out of a total of 6276 cases nationwide or 45% of total cases. It is likely that the number of cases will remain high in Selangor for another few weeks for a variety of reasons including the possible spread of the more infectious DELTA variant, and the continued infection of workers via their hostel / dormitory accommodations.
There is an urgent need for the PIKAS program at the federal level and for the SELVAX Industry program in Selangor to run concurrently so that the vaccination of workers at factories and construction sites can be ramped up to reduce the number and severity of transmissions in the Klang Valley. We can only reach the “magical” figure of below 4000 Covid-19 cases nationally that will allow the Phase 2 opening of the economy under the National Recovery Plan (NRP), when the number of cases in the Klang Valley is reduced. By saving Selangor, we can save the entire country.
The Selangor Menteri Besar, YAB Amirudin Shari, announced yesterday that 81% of the active clusters are factory related (or more accurately, related to the factory workers accommodation quarters) while 11% are construction site related.
When we drill down the numbers, the situation is even clearer at the national level:
- Of the total 325 new factory clusters identified since the start of MCO 3.0 in May 2021, 199 or 36.6% are in Selangor or Selangor related (meaning that part of the cluster started in Selangor and is part of a larger Klang Valley cluster).
- Of the 10802 positive cases identified in the factories nationwide during MCO 3.0 (including the lockdown period), 4891 were in Selangor or 45.3%.
This is because Selangor has a higher number of factories and also more workers per factory than other states.
Under the SELVAX program for industries in Selangor, approximately 2 million doses have been set aside for 1 million workers for industries in the state, covering manufacturing, construction, retail, and others. The manufacturing and construction sectors should be given priority because of the high percentage of foreign workers, many of whom are living in very cramped living quarters.
The industrial and construction zones which have recorded a high number of Covid-19 cases in the past 2 months should be prioritized, for example those in Hulu Langat, Petaling and Klang districts. These vaccination programs should take place in the industrial zones or nearby, to minimize travelling for the workers since there is some fear that undocumented workers may be targeted by the immigration authorities, and the risk is higher when they venture farther from their workplaces and accommodation quarters.
Due to the high number of workers in the manufacturing and construction sectors in Selangor, the PIKAS program under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) which is focused on vaccinating workers in the manufacturing sector should run concurrently with the SELVAX industry vaccination program. To date, two sites in Selangor have been identified as PIKAS sites namely the Setia Alam Convention Center and the Shah Alam Convention Center. The number of PIKAS sites in Selangor should be increased and should be located at the industrial and construction zones or nearby.
The PIKAS program charges approximately RM90 (to cover the administration fee for two doses, vaccines are provided free by the Federal Government) while under the SELVAX industry program, two doses will cost RM350. Therefore, MITI should ideally focus the PIKAS program on the SMEs that are less able to fork out as much compared to the large MNCs. I strongly recommend for MITI and STFC (with SELANGKAH and POIS) to sit down together to discuss the strategy for the industry vaccination program in Selangor moving forward, especially since a larger number of vaccines will become available in July and in August. As the former Deputy Minister of MITI and a current member of the POIS committee, I stand ready to facilitate this discussion between MITI and the relevant government agencies and politicians in Selangor.
Only with a unified effort between the federal and state governments, starting in Selangor, can we start to make a noticeable dent in the number of Covid-19 cases in the Klang Valley and by extension, the whole country.