MPs do their bit with subsidised Covid-19 tests

The subsidise test initiative is about assisting the authorities that will complement the govt’s immunisation programme

by RAHIMI YUNUS / pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

SOME politicians have stepped in to provide subsidised antigen rapid test kit (RTK-Ag) for Covid-19 screening to make the test accessible to everyone, particularly to the lower-income group.

Lembah Pantai MP Ahmad Fahmi Mohamed Fadzil said these mass testing drives would complement the wider programme provided by the Health Ministry (MoH) in becoming more proactive in identifying people with Covid-19 in the community.

“This is about assisting the authorities with mass testing. Right now, most of the time, testing follows the cases, as in once the cases appear, then there is targeted testing.

“Instead, what should be offered is facilities where people can come and get tested easily while simultaneously complementing the wider net that is thrown by the MoH,” Ahmad Fahmi told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

The PKR communications director also said certain parties got in touch with him and worked together to offer RTK-Ag tests for RM70 in Lembah Pantai, which is a similar price to many of his colleagues’ initiatives in Selangor.

Although practically half of the price available in private facilities, he said many Malaysians are still in a state where RM70 is quite an amount to pay.

So far, Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng, Kampung Tunku assemblywoman Lim Yi Wei, Bukit Gasing assemblyman Rajiv Rishyakaran and Subang Jaya Assemblywoman Michelle Ng Mei Sze have launched

their RTK-Ag test campaign, while in Port Dickson, its MP Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced last week that residents there can get the RTK-Ag for as low as RM30.

Malaysian Public Health Physicians Association president Datuk Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar said the initiative would help identify people with risks of spreading the infection and put them in quarantine accordingly.

He said politicians can also do more in providing counselling and aids to the community.

Ahmad Fahmi said they, particularly elected representatives, can help the community get through the pandemic in many ways including welfare, mental health and vaccine confidence.

Pakatan Harapan (PH) has called on the government to roll out a “vaccine confidence” campaign to convince the people to get inoculated.

The PH Immunisation Taskforce questioned whether there will be such a campaign nationwide to convince the public that the vaccines will be safe and effective in significantly lowering the risk of getting Covid-19.

It further said the voices of anti-vaxxers can easily be amplified online in this age of fake news.

At the same time, it added that there are also many anti-vaxxers with legitimate concerns regarding one or more of the vaccines which will be made available in Malaysia this year.


Read our previous report here

Demand for COVID-19 testing surges as new cases spike