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ALLOCATE BUDGET FOR YOUTH ORGANISATIONS TO HELP GOVT SPEED UP VACCINATION PROCESS - PHOONG



13 June 2021


KOTA KINABALU: Sabah DAPSY Chief Phoong Jin Zhe suggested that the Ministry of Youth and Sports allocate budget for youth organisations to become volunteers in helping the state government speed up the vaccination process in Sabah.


The former Youth and Sports Minister said this would kill two birds with one stone where unemployed youths would be able to lessen their financial burdens as the ministry would be providing allowances.


He said that there are more than 100 youth organisations registered under the Ministry of Youth and Sports that are allocated with RM5 million annually to organise social events.


"State and district level youth bodies would receive approximately RM100,000 budget annually for event purposes while local youth clubs would get approximately RM3,000 to RM6,000, but the pandemic have prohibited all social events from organizing.


"The state ministry must reform immediately and mobilise these youth organisations to participate directly in the national vaccination program," he said in a statement today.


The Luyang rep also pointed out that Sabah has relatively less vaccination centres comparing to other states with only 29 centres statewide, out of 381 centres throughout the nation.


"If we look into this based on the population size, each centre in Sabah have to vaccinate 135,000 people where national average is only 69,000 people per centre. The gap is way too big," he lamented.


Phoong also stressed facilities under the ministry should be utilised as vaccination centres to lessen the burdens of health front workers.


"These facilities cannot run during the lockdown nor the pandemic, it should be converted into vaccination centres or swab test centres.


"There are more than 20 'arena belias' statewide and they could all be converted to vaccination centres where our youths can volunteer to help," he proposed.


Phoong also listed three recommendations for his successor to ensure that the state government is on track in leading Sabah to achieve herd immunity soon.


He suggested the ministry takes the initiative to enter rural areas and promote awareness besides helping villagers register for the jab.


Members of these youth organisations should also be encouraged to participate in the MyVac programme by becoming volunteers at vaccination centres in all districts, he added.


"Increase more outreach programmes together with local health departments in every district to assist more people to take the jab," he proposed.


Phoong also recommended the ministry to allocate funds to encourage people to take the jab as the ministry could not organise any major competitions amid the pandemic.


"These funds should be utilised in another better way, which is to encourage the youths to become volunteers or the public in taking the vaccine. It could be in the form of lucky draws or as allowances for volunteers," he stated.


He believes that the ministry is capable and have sufficient resources to play a bigger and crucial role in the state's vaccination programme.


He urges the current Minister Datuk Ellron Angin to step up and take the task and mobilise youths to help Sabah to achieve herd immunity and overcome this pandemic.