Give All MOH Staff RM500 Payment: Parit MP

Mohd Nizar Zakaria also asks how the government will refute anti-vaccination narratives against the Covid-19 vaccine.

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 17 — Parit MP Mohd Nizar Zakaria today asked the government to expand an RM500 one-off payment for 100,000 frontliners to all Ministry of Health (MOH) staff.

For Budget 2021, the government has decided to give a one-off payment of RM500 to MOH frontliners, which is expected to benefit 100,000 medical staff, costing RM50 million.

Extending the RM500 one-off payment would cost the government at least RM94.3 million for an estimated 188,704 health workers alone, according to MOH’s Health Human Resources 2018 estimate.

“I would like to suggest that the one-off payment be extended to all MOH staff so that this initiative is more complete,” Nizar said during his debate on Budget 2021 in Parliament today.

“This is because I am confident that each MOH staff has their own contribution and sacrifice in managing this Covid-19 pandemic,” the Umno lawmaker from Perak added.

In appreciation to MOH frontliners for their contribution in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, the government is also continuing the monthly RM600 special Covid-19 allowance for them until the Covid-19 pandemic is successfully ended.

Nizar acknowledged the government’s efforts in joining the COVAX global Covid-19 vaccine access plan co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO) in procuring a vaccine for Malaysia.

However, he asked the government what actions would be taken against anti-vaxxers, whom he said have already started to influence the public to reject the Covid-19 vaccine even before it arrives.

“This will invalidate all the efforts of the government to destroy the Covid-19 virus,” the Umno lawmaker said today.

“What action will the ministry take to eradicate the ideology of anti-vaccine groups that try to influence many people against receiving the vaccine? And what action will be taken towards anti-vaxxers that try to portray wrong understanding about the vaccine?”

Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MOSTI) Khairy Jamaluddin, who is the co-chair in the Special Committee On Access To Supply of Covid-19 Vaccines (JKJAV), tweeted recently about how YouTube had taken down a video of an individual who tried to spread misinformation on vaccines, upon a complaint lodged by MOSTI.

“We will continue to monitor misinformation from anti-vax and take action,” Khairy tweeted.

While sharing comments from anti-vaxxers, Khairy also acknowledged that this would be a huge communication challenge when the vaccine is rolled out.

Among the comments include “Malaysia has the most number of recoveries from Covid-19. Why do we need a vaccine!” and “Now the percentage of recoveries is high, so no need a vaccine”.

Nizar, during his debate earlier today, also asked how the government is going to ensure that the Covid-19 vaccine is halal-certified.

Khairy, in his tweet, previously mentioned that the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) is on-board, as some anti-vaxxers may use the non-halal issue to dissuade people from being immunised.

Khairy said that the government will make sure that JAKIM is satisfied with the vaccines that they procure.

The Halal Development Corporation said last month that standards to certify vaccines, including Covid-19 vaccines, as halal, will be made available as early as next year, Malay Mail reported.

Currently, the development process of this standard is almost 70 per cent complete and will be fully completed in the first quarter of 2021.

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