KOTA KINABALU: Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Sabah are calling for an increased vaccination rate in the state in order to achieve herd immunity sooner.
They are also urging the Federal Government to come up with recovery plans and SOPs that focus on the needs of the state instead of looking at the nation as a whole.
Pertubuhan Angkatan Gabungan Rakyat Sabah president Datuk Micheal Frederick said apart from subsidies and government assistance, vaccinations must be made readily available nationwide and procedures simplified for recipients to get their jabs.
“What’s important is for vaccinations to be hastened so that herd immunity can be achieved as soon as possible.
“Without herd immunity, it will be hard for us to get back on our feet,” he said.
Frederick added that measures to fight Covid-19 must focus on the needs of each state.
As an example, he said that the Federal Government could create separate SOPs for Selangor as it contributes a huge chunk of the total Covid-19 cases in the country.
“On the other hand, states that record fewer than 300 daily cases should be allowed more moving room economically and socially,” he said, adding that more economic sectors should be opened up in these states and inter-district travel allowed.
He said the government would save a lot in assistance funds, as only those who are in dire need should get aid.
Pertubuhan Rumpun Etnik Sabah president Yahya Ahmad said authorities in charge of Covid-19 matters in Sabah, including the State Health Department director, should make it their mission to fight for more vaccines for Sabah.
He said the low supply of vaccines to the state and low vaccination rate was hampering socio-economic revival efforts.
“I hope to see a bigger-scale vaccination outreach programme conducted,” he said.
Meanwhile, he also felt that Sabah, which had certain constitutional rights, should manage its own fight against Covid-19.
“We know for ourselves what’s best to help our people so it is only right that we get to draw up recovery plans that suit us,” said Yahya.