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.