Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Member of Parliament for Bangi and Assistant Political Education Director for the Democratic Action Party (DAP) on the 2nd of September 2021

More Granular Data and Faster Data processing is needed for COVID19 related policy guidance and faster economic recovery

Even though dining-in in the Phase 1 states including the Klang valley since the 20th of August, many restaurants still don’t allow dining in because (i) not all of their workers have been vaccinated (ii) the number of cases in the community is still high so operators are concerned that they and their staff would face a higher chance of infection (iii) customers are still concerned about dining-in because of the high number of reported cases (iv) SOPs on dining-in were not clear (v) it may take some time for restaurant operators to rehire staff which they have let go during MCO 3.0. One way in which the government can build up public confidence for the resumption of economic activity and also put in place better policies to manage COVID19 related healthcare and economic policies is to (i) publish and use more granular data and (ii) process certain COVID19 related information faster especially on the MySejahtera App.

I have outlined FIVE areas where more granular data and faster data processing can lead to better policy guidance and faster economic recovery namely:

  • Publishing the vaccination rate by district over time
  • Publish the number of active Category 1-5 COVID19 cases by state over time
  • Publish the ICU capacity and deaths by state over time
  • Publish the # of COVID19 tests and positivity rate by state over time
  • Process MySejahtera related information faster (on an individual level)

I want to thank the Ministry of Health for already publishing more granular data on GitHub (https://github.com/MoH-Malaysia/covid19-public) including the number of tests and the positive rate by state (data from the 11th of August 2021 is available) but more of such granular data needs to be published and used by the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Finance and other Ministries for policy guidance and for the opening up of the economy in a responsible manner.

For example, showing the reduction in the number and % of Category 3-5 COVID19 positive patients as well as a reduction in the number of ICU cases in the Klang Valley would slowly give consumers more confidence to come out to dine-in and shop at retail outlets (subject to SOPs).

For example, showing the number of tests done and the positive rate by the state over time can be used to demonstrate that the government is doing enough testing, especially randomized testing, to identify COVID19 positive patients in the community and to isolate and support them so that community transmission is decreased. Although the number of PCR and Antigen testing has increased substantially over the past months, it is still insufficient as the testing strategy is focused mostly on targeted areas of infection and not including randomized testing which is important to detect and slow down community transmission. (The number of tests by the state should increase until the positive rate is around 5%, as recommended by the WHO).

For example, the MySejahtera app needs to be made more responsive and “smarter” to allow for the following (i) Quicker issuance of the Digital Vaccination Certificate (I still receive complaints that this has not been updated for some who have had two vaccine jabs administered) so that more people can participate in more economic activities such as dining-in and later, even to watch movies, for example (ii) Quicker registration of vaccine certification for those who have been vaccinated overseas (iii) Allowing vaccine certificates to be “transferred” to dependents so that they can also participate in economic activities as fully vaccinated adults (My mother’s vaccination certificate is in my phone because she is registered as my dependent and some places do not recognize the physical vaccination card nor a screenshot of the digital vaccination certificate). (iv) Faster processing of the status of those who have fully recovered from COVID19 so that they can return to work / participate in economic activities.

While the features of MySejahtera have been greatly enhanced since it was first introduced last year, the response rate needs to be faster, and the APP must be seen as not ONLY a health and vaccination monitoring tool but a crucial part of the economic recovery process.

In addition to releasing and using and processing all of this data, there needs to be effective communication from the government including through the use of various spokespersons (in addition to the Minister of Health and the Minister of Finance), the effective use of Infographics which can be shared via social media and proper communication and explanation of SOPs which has been severely lacking for the past 1 ½ years.

I trust that the newly appointed Health Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin, can continue the good work which he did as MOSTI Minister and work together with his colleagues in the new cabinet to lead the charge in the recovery of our healthcare system and of our economy.

Table 1: FIVE areas where more granular data and faster data processing can lead to better policy guidance and faster economic recovery

More Granular Data / Faster Data ProcessingBetter Policy GuidanceFaster Economic Recovery
Vaccination rate by District over timeMore efficient allocation of vaccines WITHIN a state (beyond focusing only on vaccine allocation between states)   Targeted programs in districts with low registration and vaccination rates in states like Sabah and Kelantan  Increase public confidence in districts with higher vaccination rates   Allow for more opening up of economic activities in districts with higher vaccination rates (even within Phase 1 state, for example)
Active Category 1-5 COVID19 cases by the state over timeTo plan for the opening up of various sectors of the economy and to keep these sectors open even if the number of cases remains relatively high (one or two thousand, let’s say, in the Klang Valley)  To showcase the effectiveness of vaccines in reducing the number of Cat 3-5 cases over time especially in the Klang Valley where the number of absolute cases is still high.   To encourage more people to get vaccinated (especially the vaccine hesitant)  
ICU & Deaths by State over timeTo allow MOH to better plan for and allocate resources by state and also by the district for some of the larger states.    To build public confidence that even if the # of cases increases in states with high vaccination rates e.g. Sarawak, the number of deaths among the vaccinated is much reduced. Hence, economic activity can continue subject to SOPs.  
Testing & Positive Rate by State over timeTo adjust the number of tests according to the positive rate and to increase the # of randomized testing areas when the positive rate is above 5%  To build public confidence that there is a proper system to quarantine and support those who are COVID positive and that economic activity is safe to continue.  
Faster processing for MySejahtera Vaccination Certificates and for the  COVID19 Recovery Status (for individuals)To have up to date information on the vaccination rate in the country e.g. processing the vaccination status of those who have been vaccinated overseasTo allow those who have been fully vaccinated and/or who have fully recovered from COVID19 to resume work and participate in economic activities e.g. dining in  
 MUST BE SUPPLEMENTED WITH (1) BETTER PUBLIC EXPLANATION OF THE GRANULAR DATA (2) EFFECTIVE INFOGRAPHICS WHICH CAN BE EASILY SHARED AND (3) CLEAR SOPS FOR BUSINESSES TO FOLLOW

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Member of Parliament for Bangi and Assistant Political Education Director for the Democratic Action Party (DAP) on the 1st of September 2021

Political Parties, NGOs, and the Government need to work together to increase the registration rate among younger voters before GE15

There have been many activities that have been negatively affected by the ongoing COVID19 pandemic in the country and one of them is the registration of new voters. While the Election Commission should be praised for approving the online registration of voters since July 2019 via its MyDaftarSPR website[1], the reality is that some level of on the ground campaigning and activities are needed to register new voters.

According to the Election Commission’s quarterly update of the electoral roll, a total of 85358 new voter registrations were recorded in Q4 2020. This dropped to 52382 in Q1 2021 and then to 44321 in Q2 2021 which is the latest quarterly update. This means that only 182061 new voters were added to the electoral roll from Q4 2020 and Q2 2021. To compare, an estimated 500,000 citizens turn 21 every year and are eligible to register as voters.

In addition, because voters are constantly taken out from the electoral roll because of death, losing of one’s citizenship and going to prison, the nett number of additions to the electoral roll for Q4 2020, Q1 2021 and Q2 2021 were 33089, 12083 and 3453 respectively. This means that from Q4 2020 to Q2 20212, only 48625 nett additions were added to the electoral roll. There were even some states which experienced a nett DECREASE in the number of voters during some quarters. For example, PERLIS and LABUAN experienced a nett decrease in the number of voters in the electoral roll in ALL 3 of the quarters surveys. Kedah experienced a nett decrease of 486 voters in Q2 2021, Penang experienced a nett decrease of 43 voters in Q2 2021, Perak experienced a nett decrease of 1020 and 842 voters respectively in Q1 and Q2 2021, KL experienced a nett decrease of 1575 and 1910 voters respectively in Q1 and Q2 2021, Negeri Sembilan experienced a nett decrease of 143 voters in Q2 2021. Melaka experienced a nett decrease of 601 and 820 voters respectively in Q4 2020 and Q2 2021, Johor experienced a nett decrease of 650 and 1646 voters in Q4 2020 and Q2 2021 (See Table 1 below).

These low new voter registration rates may be a signal that the younger generation of eligible voters in Malaysia feels more disconnected from the political system than before. They may also be concerned about venturing out to go to the post office to register to vote, for example. And many of them may not be aware that they can register as voters online because of insufficient publicity for this registration method. Political parties and NGOs would also not have been able to do their voter registration exercises at shopping malls and pasar malams and other places with high foot traffic.

To overcome these challenges including voter apathy, we need to have all of the stakeholders working together to register more voters, especially those from the younger generation. The government needs to play its part, for example, by making it mandatory for students in the public and private universities and colleges to register as voters when they start their tertiary education. NGOs such as UNDI18 and BERSIH can also mobilize their volunteers to do voter registration and awareness programs in areas where such activities are allowed. All of us, as citizens, can encourage our friends and relatives who have recently turned 21 to quickly register as voters via the MyDaftarSPR website. Only with a more engaged electorate, including those from the younger generation, can the public at large continue to put pressure on political parties to field responsible and qualified candidates to run for office and to vote in responsible and qualified representatives at the state and federal levels.

Table 1: Voters Removed[1], New Voter Registrations & Change of Address of Voters Q4 2020, Q1 2021 and Q2 2022 Electoral Roll


[2] Voters were removed due to death, change of address, change of IC status (e.g. from an army IC to a civilian IC, loss of citizenship and imprisonment.


[1] https://mysprdaftar.spr.gov.my/

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Member of Parliament for Bangi and Assistant Political Education Director for the Democratic Action Party (DAP) on the 17th of July, 2021

Thankful for the opportunity to play a constructive role in Operation Surge Capacity in the Klang Valley

I would like to thank YAB, Dato Seri Amirudin Shari, Menteri Besar of Selangor, for giving me the opportunity to coordinate the ramp up of COVID19 vaccinations among the industry in Selangor together with the relevant federal agencies as part of “Operation Surge Capacity” (OSC).[1] The purpose of OSC is to ensure that every single adult in the Klang Valley (Selangor and KL) receives at least ONE dose of one of the COVID19 vaccines by the 1st of August. I would also like to express my thanks to the Coordinating Minister for the COVID19 vaccine rollout, YB Khairy Jamaluddin for agreeing to this appointment and for his initiative in coming up with OSC in light of the high number of cases in the Klang Valley over the past two weeks.[2] I look forward to working with Dato’ Teng Chang Kim, who is overseeing the rollout of the SELVAX Industry program in Selangor, and his capable team at SELCARE and also Senator Dato’ Lim Ban Hong, Deputy Minister of MITI, who is overseeing the rollout of the PIKAS program for the manufacturing sector in Malaysia, and his capable team at MITI.

There is still much work to be done to prepare for this ramp up which will see 1.3m doses of vaccines being administered from the 26th of July to the 1st of August 2021 out of which 500,000 doses will be administered for industry workers (250,000 for SELVAX Industry and 250,000 for MITI’s PIKAS). This means that the daily capacity in the Klang Valley will have to be increased from 180,000 daily doses currently (14th to 18th of July) to 210,000 daily doses (from 19th to the 25th of July) and then to at least 272,000 daily doses from the 26th of July to the 1st of August 2021 (Diagram 1 below). This would require an increase in the daily doses administered by the current PPVs under PICK, in the existing 5 sites that are already operating under SELVAX Industry and in the current and soon to be opened PIKAS sites in Selangor and KL.

MITI and SELCARE (who runs the SELVAX Industry program) will have to coordinate to minimize the amount of overlap between companies that want to get their workers vaccinated during the OSC. There also needs to be clear communication by MITI and SELCARE for those companies which have signed up for both programs (SELVAX Industry and PIKAS) and those who have yet to sign up for any program. For example, those who are willing and able to pay for the SELVAX Industry program should remain committed to this program while those who may not be able to afford the SELVAX Industry program can wait and / or apply for the MITI PIKAS program. More PIKAS and SELVAX Industry vaccination sites may have to be opened to cater to the increase in the number of vaccinations.

SELCARE will also have to work MySejahtera to push for those who have been vaccinated under the SELVAX program to have their MySejahtera status updated as soon as possible so that these individuals won’t be allocated slots by MySejahtera to go for their vaccination appointments. The ability of MySejatera to update its database to reflect the SELVAX vaccinations is especially important in impacting the ability of OSC to reach its objective of reaching full vaccination in the Klang Valley by the 1st of August.

Other details will have to be worked out by all of the stakeholders next week, before the OSC begins full force on the week starting 26th of July, 2021. We must work together closely and put politics aside in order for the OSC to work so as to bring down the number of COVID19 daily cases and more importantly, those with serious COVID19 cases and needs to be hospitalized and put in the ICU.

Diagram 1: Key figures in Operation Surge Capacity (OSC) to achieve full vaccination among adults 18 and over in the Klang Valley (Selangor and KL)




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Source: CITF

[1] https://twitter.com/AmirudinShari/status/1416015854886473728

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObeHAhqSotg (Minute 10) and https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2021/07/16/khairy-operation-surge-capacity-to-ensure-every-klang-valley-adult-gets-fir/1990440