Press Statement By Violet Yong:
Sarawak Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah claimed that Sarawak is close to achieving 100 per cent Covid-19 vaccination for the 10,133 teachers, assistant teachers and registered preschool caregivers in Sarawak.
Although close to 98% teachers, assistant teachers and caregivers of these pre-school and childcare are fully vaccinated, none of our children going to these pre-schools and childcare has been vaccinated because they are under the age of 12!
How can our respected state minister, Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah be so blatant to give false confidence to our parents that it’s safe when only the teachers, caregivers and staff of the pre-schools and childcare are vaccinated?
I would like to remind the Minister that our little ones below 12 years of age are not vaccinated and would be a greater danger if the teachers and caregivers are asymptomatic because they are vaccinated.
“Please be honest with the parents about the risk they are exposing their young children especially when they are between 3 to 6 years old!”
The press release by Minister concerned in my view was just a publicity stun to show how well Sarawak GPS had done in vaccinating our pre-school teachers and childcare caregivers which in fact it is still not safe for our young children to attend preschools and childcare.
I would like to appeal to our state ministers to avoid all publicity stunts during this pandemic and truly focus on the well-being of our beloved Sarawakians. The GPS Government should focus on the improved SOP that can be carried out in the pre-schools and childcare so that the younger generation can flourish in a safer environment.
In order to reduce the risk of infection amongst our children, I humbly suggest that the Sarawak GPS government allocates some financial assistance to help the pre-school and childcare operators, particularly to improve the ventilation system at schools to reduce the risk of infection amongst our young children places in there.
The ventilation system is important because it is contrary to the stagnant condition and it reduces the risk of the contagion saturation reaching the saturation point that is infectious. I am sure that all pre-school and childcare operators are diligently doing all they can to make their premise very safe for the children. But please understand that these operators had been through a tough time throughout the pandemic due to the extended lock downs and are just trying to support our efforts to revive the state’s economy.
In addition, the state government should help our B40 parents to provide face masks and shields for these little ones as a secondary protection from the Covid-19 infection. It may seem trivial to many, but for a B40 family to be providing face masks for their children daily is going to eat into their already fragile family budget. Failing to take these two basic steps will risk higher infection rate among young children attending pre-school education and childcare.
Other than the above, the government should also seriously revise the outdated SOP that will reduce the transmission of the Covid-19 virus. As the delta variant is more contagious, we should propose new ways to curb infections. Is the 1-meter apart rule still applicable, or is the 15-minute limit contact still valid? Is it still effective to only check our body temperature and completion of vaccination to allow entry into our premise?
The recent ruling of testing their employees once a fortnight sounds practical, but can our small business afford it? Can our state government fund this testing or at least help the businesses fund these extra overhead costs especially the suffering pre-school and childcare operators?
Sarawak GPS Government should be well aware that Sarawak is very far from the Peninsular Malaysia, and we are quite different here. Having say so, we must develop a set of SOP that caters to our communities locally to curb the spread of Covid-19. What worries me the most is that the government still continues to stick to the previous outdated SOP saying that they are waiting for Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia to revise it. As mentioned earlier, body temperature scans are no longer effective as most Sarawakians had been vaccinated thus most will be asymptomatic even if they are infected but can still infect our young children! These infected young children will then bring the contagion home and infect their siblings and parents.
“I am worried the situation will spin out of control like in the United States if Sarawak GPS Government don’t take precaution to halt it. “
Unless the old expired SOP is revised immediately, the local enforcement agencies will still enforce the old SOP which seemed to be very ineffective looking at the rising level of infection. Why don’t the GPS government help Sarawakians defend themselves against Covid-19 effectively instead of being dependent of the good will of some masters and administrator far away in the west Malaysia!
ADUN for Pending