Kuching MP urges Sarawak to settle outstanding Covid-19 allowances for frontliners

Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen during an interview with Malay Mail at Parliament August 25, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen during an interview with Malay Mail at Parliament August 25, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUCHING, Aug 26 — Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii today urged the state government to settle the unpaid special allowances that it promised to the frontliners working in the fight against Covid-19.

He said he has received complaints and concerns from the medical doctors and healthcare workers in hospitals in Sarawak that they have not received their allowances since May from the state government.

“Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg had announced that under Bantuan Khas Sayangku Sarawak (BKSS) the frontliners and medical staff involved in Covid-19 would each receive RM300 per month for six months starting from March this year, but since May, they have not got their allowances,” Yii said in a statement.

He said the delay in settling the allowances has affected medical frontliners from different departments and hospitals all over Sarawak including the emergency department, medical staff and even anaesthesiologist.

“When they followed up with their hospital administration, the excuse given was that the allocations have yet to be given by the state,” he said.

“At this point, these medical workers have not received a total of RM1,200 per individual as promised by the state government, which is no small amount especially for those under contract, and have other family or financial commitments,” Yii said.

He stressed the medical frontliners are putting their lives at risk to exposure of the virus and also exposure to their loved ones while trying to keep the rest of society safe.

He added in April this year, he also suggested that the state special allowance should be expanded to other health workers who are also involved in managing the whole Covid-19 ecosystem, including those in Sarawak.

He said the state government agreed with his suggestion and has expanded the special allowance to other healthcare workers working beyond the for main hospitals in the state.

“However, what is even more important is that the allocations that were promised must go directly to its intended target without delay.

“That is why I urge the state government to address this matter swiftly and pay them what is due to them including the Covid-19 claims that are backlogged, and for some even their on-call claims,” he said.

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