Two Sabah DAP leaders have taken the government to task for not extending the AstraZeneca vaccines to the state.
“Why is Sabah excluded from the AstraZeneca vaccination drive?” asked Luyang assemblyman Phoong Jin Zhe.
He said that of all the states, Sabah had the lowest vaccination registration rate in the country.
“Why is the government not helping Sabah get its vaccines faster? The first phase (to be rolled out) is 268,000 doses and second phase is 1.24 million doses – that’s over 1.5 million doses, but zero in Sabah. This is totally illogical, unacceptable and downright ridiculous.
“Be reminded that Sabah is no longer an opposition state. They (Gabungan Rakyat Sabah) promised to safeguard Sabah’s interests under Perikatan Nasional,” he told FMT.
Sandakan MP Vivian Wong urged chief minister Hajiji Noor to explain to the people why the federal government had overlooked Sabah twice when it came to the voluntary AstraZeneca vaccinations.
She said the state government must speak up and take concrete action to push for the voluntary roll-out to be extended to Sabah.
“Don’t remain silent on this matter and just follow the instructions of the federal government,” she said, adding that the state’s silence has reflected badly on the GRS-led government.
However, Sabah local government and housing minister Masidi Manjun, in his reply to a question by a netizen over Twitter today, said the state had asked for the AstraZeneca vaccines but had so far not received any.
“Sudah minta, belum perolehi (We’ve asked, but haven’t got them yet),” he said briefly in response to a question asking why the vaccine was not extended to Sabah.
The first round of voluntary AstraZeneca vaccinations opened on May 2, with all 268,000 slots in Selangor fully booked in less than four hours.
Science, technology and innovation minister Khairy Jamaluddin earlier today said the second round of registrations for the AstraZeneca vaccine will be opened to those under 60 in the Klang Valley, Penang, Johor as well as Kuching and Miri in Sarawak from noon tomorrow.
Phoong, who is also Sabah DAP Youth chief, said he understood the concerns of the public towards the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“However, scientifically, the benefits of getting it outweigh the risks. That’s why people were very open to getting vaccinated, especially young people.
“Our citizens are very interested in getting vaccinated, as long as the government keeps it open,” he said.
“It is not about which states have the higher number of cases but the point is to get everyone vaccinated sooner rather than later and achieve herd immunity as quickly as possible,” he added.
Wong said the Sabah government should drive this message across to Putrajaya.
“The people’s grouses must be expressed by the state government to its federal counterparts instead of letting Sabahans shoulder the consequences.
“Hajiji and the state Cabinet must fight to get the AstraZeneca vaccines,” she said. MM