Klang MP Charles Santiago believes it is too soon for the government to close 29 vaccine administration centres (PPVs) across nine districts in Selangor.
Instead of issuing a “blanket decision” on the closures, he urged for individual districts to be allowed to tailor such decisions to ground realities.
Speaking at an online press conference today, Charles urged the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (Mosti) to hold off the move until more were inoculated.
“I urge Mosti to rethink and cancel this instruction to close the PPVs.
“And to decentralise the decision to districts as opposed to making a blanket decision without taking into consideration the local situation, local dynamics and problems in the respective areas in Selangor,” he said.
In Klang alone, Charles calculated that some 35 percent (453,318) of his 1.3 million constituents had yet to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
This, he said, contradicted Mosti’s basis for the PPV closures - that “90 percent” of people in the state were already vaccinated.
“You (Mosti) are claiming the mission is already accomplished.
“But really, you have not given us a reason to believe the numbers you are putting forward because 35 percent of Klang has not been vaccinated yet,” said the DAP lawmaker.
On Aug 19, the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) instructed the Selangor government and other stakeholders to close a slew of PPVs this month and next.
It explained the move was to “optimise resources in line with how the vaccination rate in Selangor has reached more than 90 percent and is expected to be completed in the near future”.
Charles disputed this reading and urged the federal ministry to corroborate its data with what was happening on the ground.
“I think we have two realities. One is the MySejahtera reality and one is the ground reality.
“I like to think that Mosti would like to focus on the ground reality as opposed to the MySejahtera reality,” he said.
The opposition MP further shared that infections in his constituency had been rising month on month.
“Infections are going up. That means the claim you (Mosti) are making that 90 percent of people in Selangor have been fully vaccinated and we have herd immunity is not true and cannot be sustained,” he stressed.
Malaysiakini has contacted Mosti and CITF for comment.
Infection risk at mega PPVs
Also at the press conference was Pelabuhan Klang assemblyperson Azmizam Zaman Huri.
The PKR lawmaker echoed his Pakatan Harapan colleague’s call for Mosti and CITF to review the closures.
“I urge the CITF to review its decision and as Charles said, more detailed studies are needed before this decision is made.
“They need to compare (the data) they look at in meetings with ground realities. Based on my experience and observations, many have complained that they have yet to get a vaccination appointment,” he said.
Azmizam opined that existing smaller-sized PPVs were located in strategic and easily accessible areas.
By closing down these facilities and redirecting people to bigger venues, he was concerned about potential infection clusters.
“If only one PPV is open, we are worried that people with gather in only one place to get their jabs.
“This may result in a rise of new cases. Because (appointments) are concentrated in one place and people will gather at these PPVs,” he cautioned.
Both lawmakers were joined by several local industry leaders who also called for the PPVs to remain open.
They were Klang Coalition of Chinese Associations chairperson Tony Tang, Little India Entrepreneurs Association Klang president Charles Manikam, Primas secretary N Shamugam, Klang Chinese Chamber of Commerce representative Kelvin Ng, Hokkien Association Klang president Soo Hak Min and National Cancer Society Malaysia member Dr M Muralithan.
Hokkien Association Klang PPV coordinator Professor Selvam also attended the press conference.