June Vaccine Registration Deadline Unfair To Rural Folk: MP

Ipoh Barat MP M. Kulasegaran says many of his constituents did not know how to register for Covid-19 vaccination, some didn’t have mobile phones, and others had concerns on post-vaccination side effects.

KUALA LUMPUR, March 23 — M. Kulasegaran today urged the government to retract setting a June deadline for Covid-19 vaccination registration, saying it would alienate the low-income without internet access.

The Ipoh Barat MP, while launching Covid-19 vaccination registration at an Ipoh wet market in Perak today, said that the proposal doesn’t take into account the lack of information about the vaccination process, especially in the rural areas and among the bottom 40 per cent (B40) community. 

“There are many flaws with this proposal as many Malaysians still do not have access to the internet or smartphones. Some in rural areas do not have these capabilities,” said Kulasegaran, who is also former human resources minister. 

Yesterday, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin reportedly told a town hall in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, that the government might consider a deadline for Covid-19 vaccination registration, most likely in June, amid slow registration on the MySejahtera mobile app mainly touted by the government to sign up for jabs.

Kulasegaran pointed out that the deadline is advantageous only to those living in the cities, but unfair to those in the rural areas. 

“There are some people in cities that are still unsure if they should take the vaccine due to the spread of false information and it goes to show that the government still has a huge task ahead to convince them,” Kulasegaran added. 

Today, Kulasegaran and his volunteers registered over 50 people at Buntong, the Ipoh wet market, for the coronavirus vaccine. He noticed that many have not registered because they did not know how to do it, while some did not have mobile phones. 

Meanwhile, some also had concerns on the possible side effects after vaccination. 

“I am surprised that the government is so aloof to the situation, perhaps because they are not on the ground. If Parliament was allowed to convene, we who are on the ground every day would bring it up so the government can have more information to work with before making these proposals,” the DAP lawmaker said. 

“It is incumbent on the government and elected representatives to assist with the registration of the people, the process should go on and no one should be denied the right for vaccines.”

Kulasegaran said he hoped that the government retracts the deadline for the vaccine registration.

As of March 21, a total of 6,155,213 people have registered for the Covid-19 vaccine through MySejahtera. As of February 25, MySejahtera recorded nearly 21 million unique users, which means that only 29 per cent of the app’s users have registered for coronavirus vaccination. 

Vaccine Minister Khairy Jamaluddin yesterday said that the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) will be calling up all users of MySejahtera who have yet to register for the vaccine to remind them to register, as well as to assist them for the registration. Authorities will also be going door-to-door in the rural areas to encourage residents to register.

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