by Elill Easwaran, Published on 6 Jul 2021, The Malaysian Insight
A CIVIL society group is urging Putrajaya to give them the approval to transport the elderly and wheelchair-bound to hospitals and vaccination centres as they are being inundated with calls for help.
Persatuan Mobiliti Selangor dan Kuala Lumpur, which is registered with the Registrar of Societies, has had to turn down 241 bookings this year as they do not have the approval for interstate travel during the lockdown.
Its president Dawamani D. Ponnusamy told The Malaysian Insight the group was established to provide transport for wheelchair dependents and the elderly for their medical check-ups, and recently for vaccination appointments.
He said 98% of their customers have appointments at government hospitals, where they have to make sure the patient arrives on time.
“Personally I feel the visits to the government hospitals are very important because if they miss it, they have to get back on the waiting list, which could be very long,” Dawamani said.
The association has been operating since January 2002 to provide “door-to-door” transport service for wheelchair users.
Its operations manager Earnest Jude said the authorities have been giving them a hard time in getting permission to operate during the lockdown to curb Covid-19 infections.
“Each police station is giving us different answers when we go to them for help. Some say we can operate, others say we can’t,” Earnest said.
“We even wrote to the International Trade and Ministry Ministry but our application was rejected without any reason given.”
He said the association recently received approval from the National Disaster Management Agency to operate in Selangor but the issue is most of their patients have appointments in the capital.
“This is the main reason why we have to reject almost 20 to 30 calls a day as there is nothing much we can do on our side to resolve this issue,” he said.
Earnest said they would charge the customer RM12 for each ride but if the user is not able to pay for it, the association will waive the fee.
The organisation currently has six vehicles with four drivers who are operating from Monday to Friday.
Several sub-districts and localities in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur have been placed under the enhanced movement-control order for two weeks from July 3 to 16 where high infection rates are still prevalent.
The country recorded 7,654 new Covid-19 cases today, its highest number in 31 days.
Selangor continued to account for the bulk of the cases with 3,260, followed by Kuala Lumpur with 1,550. – July 6, 2021.