By S. Harrish
THE price of Covid-19 self-test kits should be subsidised and controlled to make it affordable and accessible to the public.
Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry should immediately look at this issue as it was one of the important steps in progressively reopening the economy.
He said the current retail price of RM 39.90 per test kit was not affordable especially for the B40 and even M40 families, especially if there were many family members that needed to be screened frequently.
Dr Yii said in a statement today that the government should regulate the test kits to ensure its effectiveness and accelerate approvals of those that meet the necessary requirements.
“This will encourage competition in the market which will drive down the price once ordered in bulk especially when the demand increases as the government cultivates a culture of testing throughout the community.”
From there the government can look at subsidising it to make it even below RM10 to make it affordable and accessible, he added.
The DAP parliamentarian said the government should also look at incorporating this into the PekaB40 initiative so that such testing were also covered especially for the B40s.
“This is the “new normal” that we need to transition into, and the government must provide a conducive environment for that to happen.”
He said the wide use of such testing kits can also help lower risk of workplace or economic clusters without the need for constant lockdowns that comes at a huge economic cost.
“Each industry can set requirements for frequent weekly testing to reduce outbreaks in their premises as those tested positive can quickly be isolated, treated and given all the necessary support immediately.
“At the end of the day, the ‘new normal’ is not about living with perpetual lockdowns in their various forms.”
He said the ‘new normal’ is how Malaysia can adopt measures to minimise and mitigate the presence and impact of Covid-19 within the community while reopening most social and economic activities.