Media Statement by YB Kelvin Yii:
The Federal Government and the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry must immediately look at subsidising and controlling the price of the Covid-19 self-test- kit to make it affordable and accessible to the mass public as we facilitate the public into accepting it as part of the “new normal” especially as one of important steps to progressively re-open our economy safely and sustainable.
The current retail price of RM 39.90 per test kit is not affordable especially for the B40 and even M40s especially if there are many members of the family that as needs to be screened frequently.
This also can enable testing at the “point of interaction,” e.g. a factory floor or office, and even allow self-administered home testing, as is now possible in several countries.
This is an important arm for a systematic and comprehensive “FTTIS+V” National Testing Strategy that is needed in our country to deal with the pandemic.
One of the ways the government can look at is to properly regulate such test kits to ensure its effectiveness and accelerate approvals of those that meets the necessary requirements. This will encourage competition in the market which will drive down the price once ordered in bulk especially when the demand increases as the government cultivate a culture of testing throughout the community.
From there the government can look at subsidising it to make it even below RM 10 to make it affordable and accessible as they cultivate a culture of self-testing. The government should also look at incorporating this into the PekaB40 initiative so that such testing are also covered especially for the B40s.
This is the “new normal” that we need to transition into, and the government must provide a conducive environment for that to happen.
The wide use of such testing kits can also help lower risk of workplace or economic clusters without the need for constant closing down or lockdowns that comes at a huge economic cost. Each industry can set requirement for frequent weekly testing to reduce outbreaks in their setting as those tested positives can quickly be isolated, treated and given all the necessary support immediately.
At the end of the day, the ‘new normal’ is not about living with perpetual lockdowns in their various forms. The ‘new normal’ is how Malaysia can adopt measures to minimise and mitigate the presence and impact of COVID-19 within our community while reopening most, if not all of our social and economic activities.
Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen
MP Bandar Kuching