Wednesday, March 1, 2023

8 Suggestions during Parliamentary Debate on 2023 Budget


Member of Parliament for Puchong full speech text at the Parliamentary Debate on 2023 Budget (Bahasa Version)


Terima kasih Tuan Speaker. Hari ini, Puchong ingin memberi 8 cadangan kepada kerajaan. I’ll go straight to the point.

1. Mulakan semula program immunisasi HPV dan adakan program “catch-up”.
2. Setiap tahun kira-kira 1,800 wanita didiagnosis dengan kanser serviks dan kira-kira 900 meninggal dunia akibat penyakit itu.
3. Kanser serviks menduduki tempat ke-4 kanser paling kerap di kalangan wanita di Malaysia dan ke-2 kanser paling kerap di kalangan wanita berumur antara 15 dan 44 tahun.
4. Saringan HPV boleh mengurang insiden kanser serviks dengan ketara.
5. Oleh itu, cadangan Pertama Puchong kepada kerajaan ialah memasukkan saringan HPV dalam Skim Peduli Kesihatan (PEKA B40) memandangkan sekarang kerajaan sedia memasukan saringan penyakit kencing manis.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Media Statement by Yeo Bee Yin, Member of Parliament for Puchong on 17 February 2023 (Friday) in Puchong

The government's decision to stand its ground and continue imposing the condition of cracking and leaching process removal on Lynas by July 2023, despite intense lobbying from many fronts, is the right move.

The government's decision to stand its ground and continue imposing the condition of cracking and leaching process removal on Lynas by July 2023, despite intense lobbying from many fronts, is the right move.
1. About four years ago, we imposed a pre-condition for Lynas license renewal to remove its radioactive waste from Malaysia according to its TWO letters of undertaking to the government of Malaysia in 2012 (attached).
2. Lynas fought very hard and they managed to lobby enough people that they didn't need to keep their words, in the name of economic development, jobs, FDI etc.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Lynas and The Rare Earth Industry

The New Straits Times ran a story on 16 August 2019 headlined “Yeo: My view on Lynas remains the same” and this did not go down well with the then Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir. In the report, I maintained my stand announced on 4 December 2018 that Lynas must ship out the accumulated radioactive waste at its rare earth processing plant in Kuantan, as promised in two letters of undertaking dated 23 February 2012 and 6 March 2012.

The Prime Minister expressed his displeasure with my remarks to a few Pakatan Harapan leaders. He wasn’t happy with my “stubbornness” in insisting that Lynas ships out its radioactive waste, as the Australian government, both federal and state, had expressly refused to accept the return of the waste. He was also not pleased that as a minister, I had publicly disagreed with the cabinet's decision. He was of the view that no matter the discussion at the cabinet meeting, the final decision must be presented as unanimous and shouldered as a collective responsibility.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

The Right Environment Ministry Structure: A Big Step Towards Holistic Environmental Governance


Media Statement by Yeo Bee Yin on 7 December 2022 (Wednesday) in Puchong

The Right Environment Ministry Structure: A Big Step Towards Holistic Environmental Governance

 Many people have said many things about the newly formed cabinet. As the former Environment Minister, I am writing specifically to congratulate the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for getting the environment ministerial structure right by combining Energy and Natural Resources (KeTSA) and Environment and Water Ministry (KASA), so the Environment Ministry finally has the right structure to ensure holistic environmental governance in Malaysia. I shall elaborate further.  

Historically in Malaysia, a minister is called Environment Minister when he/she is responsible for the environment sector with punca kuasa from the Environmental Quality Act 1974 (EQA 1974) and its enforcement agency, Department of Environment (DOE). EQA 1974 only deals with pollution control, hence the “Environment Ministry” in Malaysia essentially only had direct power over pollution control. Other areas of jurisdiction depend on the sectors which are combined with the environment sector of the ministry.

Friday, July 23, 2021

The Syed Saddiq I Know

 The Saddiq I Know

When I got the news on Wednesday night that Saddiq was going to be charged, my heart sank. Never have I felt so strongly about how difficult it is to practice good politics in Malaysia, especially for young and idealistic people like Saddiq. Some of you may have started to doubt his integrity after the charge, so I want to share with you here what I know about this young man.

I first knew about Saddiq from the online news portal that introduced him as an award-winning debater student at International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) who spoke up against Najib Razak. Then there were rumors that he was joining UMNO as they were actively courting him. Well, I wasn’t surprised, for a talented young Malay with political ambitions, joining UMNO was a natural choice. But he did not. He joined Tun Mahathir as one of the founding members of Bersatu in 2016. I didn’t really get to know him personally until we worked together under Pakatan Harapan Youth in 2017.
After that, he was given an offer to study at Oxford University and full sponsorship for his study there. Once again, I thought that maybe he’d forget about Malaysian politics and grab the chance to go to Oxford University. Oxford University was his dream, I know how it feels for a young man from an ordinary family to get an offer from his dream university, just as how I felt about my offer from Cambridge University many years ago.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Entering into Politics – The Story Behind

I first shared the story of how I entered into politics on my blog in an article entitled, “Entering into Politics – The Story Behind” in 2012. Five years later, I retold this story with greater details and deeper reflections in Part 8 of my book entitled "Reimagining Malaysia".

I hope that my story will encourage you to pursue your personal dreams and most importantly, the dreams and hopes for this country. 

The Beginning - Seed of Love

It all started in 2001 with a prayer movement - 40-day Fast and Pray for Malaysia, organized by National Evangelical Christian Fellowship (NECF). I was a first year student in University Technology Petronas (UTP) when I came across this movement. Not knowing why, I felt the urgency to pray for Malaysia. 

In order not to feel lonely, I got my good friend in University Technology Petronas (UTP), Lo Thin Thin, to fast and pray for Malaysia with me. For the next five years in UTP, every year around Merdeka season when NECF distributed its 40-day Fast and Pray for Malaysia booklets, we would each grab a copy and do our 40 days fasting together. 

We usually prayed for Malaysia together in Thin Thin’s room before breaking fast (for dinner). Sometimes a few more friends would join us. Our favourite food was nasi ayam goreng kunyit, which was sold at RM 2.50 in the canteen nearby our dormitory in UTP campus. In my memory, it tasted heavenly, especially with a bit of green cili padi and dark sweet soy sauce. 

It was in my university years that I started to see Malaysia differently. I began to sow the seed of love and passion for this nation through the journey of fast-and-pray for Malaysia. 

Nevertheless, I could hardly imagine myself to be involved in politics then. Even though I knew that politics was important to make change in our country through systemic and policy changes, the nearest imagination I had on politics was “let me get married to a politician”, so I could help my husband to make change. 

The thought may sound funny now but it was just natural for me as I grew up seeing more women in the background than forefront.  It wasn’t in my wildest imagination then, that I as a girl from a small town, could be the agent of change for who I am, what I stand for and what I do, not as a wife or a daughter of someone else. 

Looking back now, I know that anyone, no matter how small we are, can play a part in nation building.  

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Covid-19 Immunization Task Force (CITF) need to buck-up its data management capability to fulfill the objectives of Phase 2 of National Immunisation Program (NIP)

Media Statement by Yeo Bee Yin on Tuesday 8 June 2021 in Bakri, Johor


Covid-19 Immunization Task Force (CITF) need to buck-up its data management capability to fulfill the objectives of Phase 2 of National Immunisation Program (NIP) 

Recently MySejahtera has introduced several new features in Helpdesk, one of which is for senior citizens above 60 years old who have registered but not obtained vaccination appointments. This is a sign that the RM 70 million National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme's (NIP) data integration and appointment system does not even have basic data management capability. 

Actually from the database of vaccine registration and tracking system of the progress of vaccination, the data system is supposed to be able to extract out those who are above 60 years old but still not vaccinated and their respective locations just from the age and location fields filled by them during the online registration process. This can even be done with simple filter, sorting and logic functions in Microsoft Excel, why is the RM 70 million data system not able to do it?

In addition, during the vaccine registration process, people are asked to answer several questions including whether they are persons with disabilities or have any comorbidities (if yes, tick what they are). These are all targeted groups for Phase 2 in NIP and they are supposed to be given appointments through simple algorithm in the data integration and appointment system. Why was it not done? Many of these priority groups need to be arranged manually. 

Let me give a simple on-the-ground example. Our office got to know that the vaccination center in Muar district (that covers for 3 parliament constituency – Pagoh, Muar and Bakri) had reached senior citizens born in 1957 years or earlier on 30th May 2021, so we issued notice to people in Muar district to get those who are older to register with us to identify people who fall through the crack and to prepare a backup list for the vaccination center to call. We have received more than 500 calls since then. There were even those in their 80s with comorbidities that have not obtained appointment. While we can solve these problems individually by arranging them through vaccination center back-up list at the local level, this scenario has pointed that there are serious flaws in the RM 70 million data and appointment system algorithm. 

With that, I call upon the immunization minister Khairy Jamaluddin to answer why the CITF data team was not able to extract out the list of senior citizens and priority groups from the database and arrange appointments for them accordingly. CITF needs to buck-up on its data management capability to ensure the objectives of Phase 2 NIP will be achieved soon. In addition, Khairy should also disclose the qualifications and capability of the data team behind the RM 70 million system as their capability in handling data for NIP is seriously in doubt now. 

Lastly, CITF must assess if there is any possibility to improve the capability of the data integration and appointment system in a short frame of time, otherwise they should start looking for a decentralized and simpler system that runs in parallel with this clumsy not-so-smart centralized system to ensure that data management does not become an obstacle for a smooth vaccination rollout. 


Sunday, May 30, 2021

Khairy Jamaluddin must be clear as to when in June the government can achieve daily vaccination rate of 150,000 doses per day and whether it is the maximum or average vaccinate rate?

Media Statement by Yeo Bee Yin, Member of Parliament for Bakri, on Sunday 30 May 2021, in Bakri Johor.

Khairy Jamaluddin must be clear as to when in June the government can achieve daily vaccination rate of 150,000 doses per day and whether it is the maximum or average vaccinate rate?
With skyrocketing infection rate, vaccination rate should increase beyond 150,000 doses per day by involving private general partitioners and government clinics nationwide.
Government should simplify the registration and recordkeeping system of Covid-19 vaccination instead of over relying on MySejahtera and the current management system.

1. Based on the previous estimation of supply and demand curve by the government, our cumulative vaccine administered should be at around 6 million by now (assuming 80% usage rate of the total supply of about 8 million by the end of May).
2. However, due to the hiccups in getting vaccine supply, as of 27th May 2021, only 2.7 million doses have been administered - 1,725,364 first dose and 987,012 second dose, which is about 63% and 37% of total vaccine administered respectively. In terms of percentage of population, only 5.4% and 3% of population receiving at least first dose and fully vaccinated respectively.
3. Based on the estimated cumulative vaccine administered of (1) and the same ratio of first and second dose distribution as (2), we are supposed to be at vaccination rate of 12% and 7% for first dose and full vaccination respectively.
4. What is the cost of the delay of our vaccination rollout? Maybe we can look into US case study and the impact of vaccination toward the number positive cases (US has similar ratio of first and second dose distribution as us). Between roughly 5.4% (first) and 3% (second) vaccination rate and 12% and 7% is more than 40% drop of positive cases!

5. Of course, we can’t compare directly as there are other factors involved such as movement of the people. However, what we can conclude is that the delay in our vaccination rollout has significant impact on the number of positive cases every day.
6. More than 1,000 people has died from Covid in just May alone. If our vaccination rollout were to run as what the government has previously planned, these people did not necessarily need to die! Many more did not necessarily need to go through the suffering Covid-19 sickness caused. Indeed, delay in vaccination has caused unnecessary deaths.
7. Therefore, I would like to seek clarification from the immunization minister Khairy Jamaluddin about his announcement of government plan to ramp up daily vaccination rate to 150,000 doses per day. Is it by 1 June, mid of June or end of June? This is because delay in weeks can be a matter of life and death to hundreds of Malaysians.
8. I would also like to know whether the 150,000 doses per day target is the maximum daily vaccination rate or the average? This is because I’ve noticed that the government tend to announce daily vaccination rate on the days when it was high or use the language of “daily vaccination rate up to xxxx” instead of giving 7 days average so to paint a better picture than reality on the ground. Image below shows Malaysia daily vaccination rate in the month of May. Note that whenever the ministers announced the daily vaccination rate, it was always on the days when the numbers are high.

9. Therefore, whether 150,00 dose per day target is the maximum or average makes a big difference in the total vaccination rate. If we can achieve vaccination rate of at least 150,000 dose per day on average for the month of June from 1 June 2021, we will be able to see vaccination rate of 14% first dose and 8% full vaccination by the end of next month and it will help to bring down the total number positives cases.
10. In fact, with the current skyrocketing infection rate, we should aim even higher than average of 150,000 doses per day by involving private general practitioners (GPs) and government clinics nationwide. As it is, almost all of them already have facilities to store vaccines except with Pfizer vaccine that need special storage.
11. The minister announced recently that there will be nearly 16 million more doses of vaccines supply in June and July, 12 million of which is Sinovac that only require normal refrigeration. Even if the government can achieve 150,000 doses on average from 1 June 2021 (that is a very big IF), at 80% usage rate, it will only need about 11 million doses of vaccine supply. In another word, there will be at least 5 million more extra vaccines that can be distributed to GPs and government clinics around the country.
12. Lastly, let’s just face it, the RM 70 million MySejahtera and vaccination rollout management system are incapable of coping higher vaccination rate. Even at the current vaccination rate, MySejahtera is already making errors in appointment arrangement and the hotline is always down.
13. In addition, the government has listed priority for Covid-19 vaccination for the second phase of the national rollout targeting the elderly and people with comorbidities, but until now, many of them that already registered still haven’t been assigned any vaccination slot by MySejahtera and when called, the hotline was down.
14. This still happen after 3 months of very slow vaccination rollout, what makes the government so confident that by next month the system will become efficient as we ramp up the vaccination rate? Is the team behind MySejahtera and the current management system really capable to revamp the system in such a short time frame? I doubt so.
15. Moving forward, we need a simpler system for registration and recordkeeping, perhaps a decentralized one. My 1-year-old toddler has been injected many vaccines since his birth and all we have to do was for the pediatrician to record them in a card and for the hospital to keep the vaccination records and report to the government. Why when it comes to Covid-19 vaccination, the process becomes so complicated?
16. At the very least, doctors in both private and public hospitals should be able to register their patients with comorbidities, request for vaccine supplies from the government and administer them accordingly. Then we can at least ensure the vulnerable groups are vaccinated, instead of just waiting for MySejahtera to finally get it right.
17. Our healthcare system is at the brink of breaking down. Unprecedented speed of vaccination with special attention to the yet-to-be-vaccinated vulnerable groups in June while the nation is locked down is a major step that we need to take to give breathing space to the healthcare system and to prepare us for opening up. I hope the government will finally take whole-of-society approach to make sure vaccination rollout ramp up really happen in June. Delay no more!