KUCHING, Aug 26 — The Sarawak government’s special Covid-19 allowance for medical frontliners in the state has not been paid since May as the updated name list from the Sarawak Health Department has not been submitted to the state government yet, said Local Government and Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian.
Dr Sim said he has been told by the department that the name list would need to be updated before it can be submitted to the state government, which has caused a delay in the payout process.
“What happened is the name list has to come from the Sarawak Health Department before we (state government) can pay. Otherwise if we keep on paying according to the outdated name list since March, then there will be many of those who are eligible from April onwards who would miss out.
“But ultimately the name list has to come from the Sarawak Health Department first,” said Dr Sim.
He was responding to Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii, who earlier in a statement highlighted a report from an online news portal quoting a medical officer from Sibu General Hospital alleging that medical officers in all hospitals in Sarawak have yet to receive their RM300 monthly state Covid-19 allowance for the last four months since May.
“This, again, is not the first time for such a delay and we have received complaints before from medical frontliners, not just on the delay, but how many qualified frontliners could not apply for this allowance.
“This has affected medical frontliners from different departments and hospitals all over Sarawak, including the emergency department (ETD), medical staff, and even anesthesiologists,” said Dr Yii in the statement.
Dr Sim also denied rumours claiming that the reason for the delayed payout of the Covid-19 special allowance was because the state government was out of money.
“No. Because the name list (for medical frontliners) is evolving. Otherwise there will be many people missing out on this allowance,” he said.
Dr Sim said if the Sarawak Health Department were to submit the outdated name list, the state government will still pay out according to the name list on time, but those whose names are not included would miss out.
He added that the decision on who is eligible to receive the special allowance or who is not lies with the department, not the state government.
According to the online news portal, the Sibu medical officer claimed that while the Sarawak special allowance has been paid out for March and April, they had yet to receive any payments from May onwards.
“For the federal Covid-19 allowance, we are asked to fill up forms and send them to the accounts department. However, for the state government incentive, we only need to fill in a name list and send that name list to the Sarawak Health Department, who forwards it to the state to bank in our claims.
“From March till April, we received our RM300 as planned without any issues. From May onwards, however, they set deadlines when the name list has to be sent to the state, but the money has not been banked in. I have personally checked with a few colleagues from various hospitals in Sarawak, and we have all not received our state claims,” said the medical officer, who was not named in the online report.
All in all, the amount due to be paid for each medical frontliners was RM1,200 or four months’ worth, said the medical officer. — Borneo Post