Covid-19

No Mykad,No Jab For Penans.

20 June 2021: Miri– Sarawakians, especially indigenous people from interior areas, who do not possess identity documents, are being barred from receiving the Covid-19 vaccine, said a native rights body.

Baram People’s Action Committee (BPAC) chairman Philip Jau told The Vibes today that his organisation has received information from numerous natives about being prohibited from receiving the jabs when they went to the Long San government clinic in central Baram district.

Personnel at the clinic, which is serving as a walk-in vaccination centre, asked for their MyKad, the residents said.

“These native farmers told us that, when they arrived at the Long San clinic and wanted to register for the vaccination, they were barred from entering by those at the counter because they had no identity cards.

“If this is going to be the normal procedure, then there will be tens of thousands of Sarawakians who will not be vaccinated since they are still without birth certificates and identity cards (MyKad),” he said.

It is believed at least 60,000 across Sarawak do not have a MyKad.

This may be the result of parents giving birth in remote settlements and not registering their births with the National Registration Department, whose offices are usually located in cities and towns.

Jau today appealed to the Sarawak Health Department for leniency.

“Please allow those without identity cards to receive the vaccines, too, or else, they could be infected easily.

“Among those who are still without identity cards are many Penans, and their settlements are seeing swift spread of the virus,” he said.

“Dozens of Penans have been infected and one person has died already due to Covid-19.

“We are in a health crisis, so there is a need to exercise flexibility to allow those with no MyKads or birth certificates to get the Covid-19 vaccine, too.” 

Recently, a Penan housewife from Long Luteng died of Covid-19, and the infections of three dozen other Penans in Long Win and Long Lamai were also reported in the past few days.

Inject first, register later.

The Covid-19 vaccination drive for those in Sarawak’s interior is reaching full swing as the fight against the virus takes on greater urgency in rural frontiers.

“The move by the Sarawak Health Department to carry out the ‘inject first, then register’ method is a great help in facilitating injections for rural folks, but sadly, those without MyKads are being denied the vaccine,” said Jau.

The Sarawak Public Communication Unit has, in its reports, said the vaccination programme in the remote northern Sarawak enclaves of Bario, Long San, Long Bedian and Mulu is proceeding well.

Mulu assemblyman Datuk Gerawat Gala and Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau said they are also happy with the walk-in method.

“This method is helping a lot, as it is easing movement of people and preventing overcrowding and long waits,” Ngau told The Vibes.

Gerawat Gala said the Covid-19 vaccination programmes are being run at public health clinics in Bario, Mulu, Long San and Long Bedian.

“We are getting more villagers to come. It is proceeding very well,” he said.

Sarawak has seen 366 deaths to the virus and more than 57,000 Covid-19 cases to date.

The Vibes, June 18, 2021.

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