Muhyiddin: Communities must be ‘frontliners’

The govt announces the Community Empowerment Programme as an effort to combat spread of the virus

By ASILA JALIL / Pic By RAZAK GHAZALI

THE community playing the role of frontliners is the best approach to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

Prime Minister (PM) Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said although the number of new cases is lower, the total cases for Covid-19 remain alarmingly high.

“The government has decided that among the best approaches to overcome the spread of this virus within the community is to ensure that the communities step up efforts in playing their role as front-liners,” he said in his speech which was broadcasted on RTM’s TV1 yesterday.

The government announced the Community Empowerment Programme, which is in line with the National Unity Policy strategy launched in February that aims to empower families and communities, as an effort to combat the spread of the virus.

He said issues and challenges faced by communities due to the pandemic need to be tackled creatively and innovatively.

Village heads, religious leaders, heads of longhouses, Village Development and Security Committees, Federal Village Development and Security Committees, Orang Asli Village Development and Security Committees and other community leaders must be mobilised to ensure the efforts will be successful in handling Covid-19, Muhyiddin said.

The government had also introduced Covid-19 Eradicating Agent (ABC-19) via the whole-of-society approach which is mobilised by government agencies, community leaders and NGOs nationwide.

“As of March 23, 2021, a total of 29,407 agencies and community leaders have met 1.33 million Malaysians through the pro-gramme at more than 22,166 hot- spots,” he said.

He also urged those with expertise in specific fields such as psychology to provide services to community members who are affected by the Movement Control Order in the past year.

Community leaders who spearheaded ABC-19 were also told to spread health awareness on measures to avoid Covid-19 and help communities who do not have access to MySejahtera app to register for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.

He said the government aims to vaccinate at least 80% Malaysians by February 2022.

As at March 23, 6.4 million people have registered for the pro-gramme via MySejahtera and the total number of the first and second dosages of the vaccine given out currently stands at 481,989.

“If we look at the statistics by the Health Ministry, infection rates among communities are still high and this is very alarming. We do not know who among us might have been infected because they do not show any symptoms.

“Therefore, I would like to stress the importance of surveillance among communities, such as over-seeing community borders to ensure entrance by outsiders will be under control,” he said.

He added that community leaders should also ensure the members comply with the standard operating procedures under the new normal and provide advice or reminders to communities.

“To carry out these approaches, the government had instructed the National Disaster Management Agency via the disaster management secretariats at the state and district levels to coordinate the implementation of ABC-19 nation- wide,” said Muhyiddin.