Penang reps want state to manage Covid-19 pandemic independently of Putrajaya

Live telecast of the Penang state legislative assembly session in George Town, September 2, 2021. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Live telecast of the Penang state legislative assembly session in George Town, September 2, 2021. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

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GEORGE TOWN, Sept 2 ― The Penang government must start developing its own measures to stop the spread of Covid-19 in the state, several lawmakers told the state legislative assembly today.

Deputy Chief Minister II Prof P. Ramasamy (PH ― Prai) and Lim Guan Eng (PH ― Air Putih) said the state should stop depending on the federal government and instead tailor its own response to the pandemic.

“The state government needs to take mitigation measures on its own to prevent further loss of lives,” Lim said.

He said the state needed to procure more vaccines so that at-risk individuals, especially those above 50 years of age, could be vaccinated as soon as possible.

He said the death rate from Covid-19 in Penang was worrying, with a total 211 deaths recorded in 15 days from August 11 to 26.

“If vaccination rates can be increased and expedited, more lives can be saved,” he said.

He said he hoped that the state health committee chairman, Norlela Ariffin (PH ― Penanti), would pay serious attention to this.

Ramasamy also said the federal government had failed to take into consideration the roles of state government and related agencies in managing the pandemic right from the beginning.

“This is why I think the proclamation of Emergency did not help in controlling the pandemic, the Emergency was just to help the previous administration, it has nothing to do with Covid-19,” he said.

He said the Emergency did not help Penang and did not reduce Covid-19 cases in the state, in reply to a question by M.Satees (PH ― Bagan Dalam).

Other lawmakers such as Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail (PH ― Pantai Jerejak) and Heng Lee Lee (PH ― Berapit) also gave their views on how to better manage the pandemic and the vaccination process.

When it was Norlela's turn to give her winding-up speech, Deputy Speaker Dr Amar Pritpal Abdullah (PH ― Sungai Bakap) reminded the lawmakers not to interject with more Covid-19 questions.

“Covid-19 was mentioned repeatedly yesterday and today so I hope you don't interrupt with more repeated questions on Covid-19,” he said.

Backbenchers Lee Chun Kit (PH ― Pulau Tikus) and Satees protested, stating that the topic is an important issue that must be addressed.

Dr Amar Pritpal said Norlela was only given 20 minutes to give her winding up speech so other backbenchers can only ask questions that were not repeated.

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