Covid-19 test kit ceiling price still too high for B40 families, says MP

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Covid-19 test kit ceiling price still too high for B40 families, says MP
Covid-19 test kit ceiling price still too high for B40 families, says MP

The RM19.90 retail ceiling price set by Putrajaya for Covid-19 rapid test kits is still too high for many segments of the society, claimed Bandar Kuching DAP MP Kelvin Yii.

In a statement, he said that the price is unaffordable for the B40 and lower M40 especially those who have many family members that have to be screened frequently.

“That is why I urge the government to take an extra step to subsidise the price of the Covid-19 self-test kit to make it affordable and accessible to the mass public as we facilitate the public into accepting it as part of the new normal, especially as one of the important steps to progressively re-open our economy safely and sustainably,” he said.

Yii’s statement came in response to a joint announcement by Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Alexander Nanta Linggi and Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, who said their ministries are cooperating to set the price in view of the increasingly challenging Covid-19 situation.

The government also set RM16 as the ceiling price per test kit for wholesale purchase.

According to Yii, test kit prices that are subsidised would also help small and medium enterprises to incorporate the FTTIS-V strategy, which is needed to deal with the pandemic.

FTTIS-V is a policy approach that incorporates Find, Test, Trace, Isolate and Support, and with Vaccination, to stem the spread of Covid-19.

“SMEs are already struggling due to the slow economy and the government must look at alleviating some of their burdens while encouraging safe practices among them to build a frequent testing culture to ensure that the economy keeps going.

“The government should also look into reducing red tape and bureaucracy when it comes to approving self-test kits that meet the necessary requirements.

“When there are more brands in the market, this will encourage competition in the market which will drive down the price once ordered in bulk, especially when the demand increases as the government cultivates a culture of testing throughout the community.

“From there, the government can look at subsidising it further to make it even below RM10 to make it affordable and accessible as they cultivate a culture of self-testing among our community,” he said.

The politician also urged the government to conduct the necessary enforcement against fake test kits that are being sold online and those that have not been approved by the Malaysian Medical Device Authority.

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