by S BIRRUNTHA / pic by TMR FILE
A TOTAL of 53 suicide reports were received and 19 attempted suicide cases were reported in Penang between January and May this year, Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said.
He said these figures were based on the data shared by the state police chief during the Penang State Security Special Committee (JKKN) meeting yesterday.
“There were a total 19 attempted suicide cases and 53 suicide cases reported in the state between January and May this year.
“The increase in such cases will be given special attention by the state Health Department, where the emphasis should also be given to the aspect of mental health,” he said.
The Malaysian Reserve had previously reported that Malaysia is witnessing an increase in suicide cases or near-suicide cases during the Covid-19 pandemic as prolonged uncertainties have put many under immense distress.
Several key statistics, including by the National Fire and Rescue Department Operations, indicated that the department alone had responded to 88 suicide cases, with 78 people rescued, seven injured and three fatalities recorded between March and July this year.
Befrienders Malaysia received about 4,142 calls between March 18 and May 16 during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period, where over a third of the calls on Covid-19 were suicidal in nature.
TMR had also reported that the country needs to prepare for a much higher rise in mental health issues during Phase 1 of the third Movement Control Order (MCO 3.0).
Mental health experts have urged individuals to educate themselves on the common signs and symptoms of mental health issues, while friends and family have been asked to constantly monitor, stay connected and support their loved ones to maintain psychological closeness.
As for the Covid-19 situation in Penang, Chow said a total of 101 factories have been ordered to close due to the spread of Covid-19 infections between January and June 20 this year.
Of the 101 factories, 45 were in the districts of Seberang Perai Tengah; Barat Daya (36); Seberang Perai Selatan (14) and three each in Seberang Perai Utara and Timur Laut.
“The enforcement authorities will continue taking action from time to time, including identifying factories that act fraudulently as well as hiding facts about Covid-19 cases in their premises,” he noted.
Chow said the data shared by the state Health Department during the JKKN meeting yesterday also revealed that workplace clusters are still the highest with 27 factory clusters, three non-manufacturing clusters, two construction site clusters, as well as two community clusters, one detention centre cluster and one religious cluster.
He said a total of six vaccination centres (PPVs) under the Covid-19 Public-Private Partnership (Pikas) have been approved to further boost the immunisation process involving the industrial and manufacturing sector in the state.
He added that apart from the PPV at Bukit Jawi Golf Resort which started operations on June 16, the PPV at Equatorial Hotel will start operations on June 28 and onsite PPVs will be set up within the premises of multinational companies.
The multinational companies involved are Intel Technology Sdn Bhd, Jabil Circuits Sdn Bhd and Plexus Manufacturing Sdn Bhd in Bayan Lepas; and Inari Amerton Bhd in Batu Kawan.
“All PPVs will continue to operate, including providing services to staff of other companies until all economic frontliners have been vaccinated.”
Chow also said a total 93 old folks’ homes have been visited under the Covid-19 vaccination outreach programme.
He said the state government uses various approaches, including the vaccination outreach programme, to ensure that no group is left behind.