Penang assemblyman says no to Covid-19 vaccine priority for MPs, assemblymen

Bukit Tengah assemblyman  Gooi Hsiao Leung said Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s decision for all MPs and assemblymen to get vaccinated first as part of the vaccination rollout plan is unacceptable.. ― File picture via Shutterstock/ETX Studio
Bukit Tengah assemblyman Gooi Hsiao Leung said Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s decision for all MPs and assemblymen to get vaccinated first as part of the vaccination rollout plan is unacceptable.. ― File picture via Shutterstock/ETX Studio

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GEORGE TOWN, Feb 17 — The first phase of the vaccination rollout plan should go to frontliners and medical health workers in high-risk environments instead of MPs and assemblymen, said PKR assemblyman Gooi Hsiao Leung.

The Bukit Tengah assemblyman said Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s decision for all MPs and assemblymen to get vaccinated first as part of the vaccination rollout plan is unacceptable.

“The government should just stick to the priority list of people to be vaccinated following the three phases as set out by the government,” he said in a statement today.

He said frontliners and medical health workers should be prioritised in phase one while phase two is for the vulnerable groups, the elderly aged above 65 years and those with medical conditions. Finally, phase three is for the rest of the adult population above the age of 18.

While he said it is acceptable for senior government officials such as the prime minister, the health minister, chief ministers and even the parliamentary Opposition leader to be given vaccination priority to reduce the risk of any disruption to the running of the country, there was no need for all elected representatives to be given preferential treatment.

“If it is the intention of the government to promote public confidence in the vaccines and follow official protocols, then shouldn’t His Majesty, our King and all the Rulers be vaccinated first before our prime minister?” he pointed out.

Gooi rubbished the prime minister’s explanation that elected representatives often have to meet the people at the grassroots level, and therefore, deserve special treatment.

“Supermarkets, retail workers, and bus drivers for example too, have to come into contact with many people daily in their work, and they have to wait for their turn to be vaccinated,” he said.

He asked Muhyiddin if the priority given to politicians meant that the lives of the common people are less important compared to politicians.

He said allowing politicians to “jump the queue” in getting vaccinated first is “unethical, indecent and wrong”.

“As elected representatives, we can still carry on our daily responsibilities just as everyone else by strictly following the SOPs,” he said.

Gooi stressed that the priority now is to provide the vaccines to doctors and nurses who are risking their lives for everyone daily in the fight against the virus.

He called on the prime minister to review his decision as this move will not promote public confidence or gain any public trust in the government’s national vaccination plan.

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