Nadma: We want everyone involved in Covid-19 battle

The government’s decision to adopt a bottom-up approach in combatting the Covid-19 pandemic will empower communities and give them a sense of responsibility.

National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) director-general Datuk Dr Aminuddin Hassim said since March last year, there has been too much reliance on frontliners and government agencies.

This led to Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin throwing support behind the Empowering Communities programme through the Covid-19 Eradicating Agent Programme (ABC-19).

The programme is to ensure Malaysians continue to observe standard operating procedures (SOPs) and to get more people to register for the Covid-19 vaccine.

“We want everyone involved in the battle against Covid-19,” Aminuddin said.

“All this while we have seen frontliners and enforcement personnel fronting such programmes. There have been 12,000 activities by government agencies throughout the year.

“It has always been top-down. But now it’s the other way around as we want communities to play a bigger role. They understand the conversations that take place in their areas better.”

Twentytwo13 had this morning, published views by two senior doctors who said their colleagues, including retired government medical practitioners, want to assist the government in educating the public regarding the government’s Covid-19 immunisation plan to address concerns related to the vaccine.

They said the government ought to share as much data and information related to the programme so that they can play advocate and advice the public on the importance of getting vaccinated.

Aminuddin, who was interviewed on RTM1, said discussions on empowering communities started last month involving various parties and stakeholders.

“The locals know how to communicate with one another. They don’t need technical language, just simple everyday language so that they understand what needs to be done.”

Aminuddin added district officers and local community leaders will be able to identify spokespersons to disseminate information regarding Covid-19.

“It doesn’t stop at the community leaders. We want voluntary uniformed personnel like Rela and non-governmental organisations to also be involved.

“This will allow us to activate more programmes and that hotspots and red zones will be better monitored.

He said local leaders can help to ensure people adhere to the SOPs and sign up for the vaccination.

“This bottom top is a good approach.”

Muhyiddin, during his televised speech this afternoon, said the community empowerment programme is a weapon to battle Covid-19.

“The penghulu, ketua kampuang (village heads), ketua rumah panjang, religious leaders … they are all the backbones of the community. They all need to be involved,” he said.

Malaysia recorded 941 new Covid-19 cases today, the lowest this year. The last time the country saw cases below 1,000 was on Dec 9, 2020 (959 cases).

Here’s the round-up of The News Normal today.

COVID-19 VACCINATION PHASE 2 TO START ON APRIL 19

Phase two of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme will start on April 19.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said of the targeted nine million people under the second phase – which involves the elderly, disabled and those with comorbidities – two million had registered for the vaccination.

He said the immunisation programme will be brought forward once Malaysia receives more doses of the vaccine, allowing those in Phase Three and economic frontliners to get their jabs while waiting for those in the Phase Two group to register.

However, those in Phase Two who are late in registering will be prioritised and brought to the top of the queue once they sign up.

POLICE PERMIT NEEDED FOR SOCIAL GATHERINGS, WEDDINGS IN KELANTAN

Those wishing to attend social gatherings, including wedding ceremonies and receptions in Kelantan, must get permission from police.

Kelantan deputy police chief Senior Assistant Commissioner Abdullah Mohamad Piah said the decision was made at the state Security Working Committee meeting on Covid-19.

“The decision was made after the state authorities realised there was a spike in Covid-19 cases in Kelantan lately.

“The police warn the public that they can be compounded for violating the SOPs if they fail to get the permit,” he added.

DISCUSSION ON USAGE OF ‘ALLAH’ BY NON-MUSLIMS SOON

The second discussion session, known as munaqasyah, on the usage of the word Allah, will be held in two weeks’ time.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri said the discussion will involve legal experts from the Islamic Development Malaysia Department (Jakim).

Findings of the first discussion session were submitted to the Conference of Rulers on March 17.

The discussions are being held following the March 10 Kuala Lumpur High Court ruling that Christians can use the word Allah, Baitullah, Kaabah and solat in their religious publications for educational purposes.

MELAKA GOVT TO UPGRADE TOURIST SPOTS

The Melaka government has launched the Special Area Plan (RKK) for the Ayer Keroh Tourism Zone to upgrade tourist spots to continue luring visitors.

The zone spans over 190.62 hectares and houses among others, the Melaka Zoo, Botanical Garden, Dataran Sejarah and a crocodile farm.

“To strengthen and make the RKK area a leading iconic recreation centre incorporating elements of botany, ecology and family recreational, there are 42 development proposals which will be divided into three categories – high-impact projects, 14 major projects and 19 supporting projects,” said Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali.