IPOH, Aug 30 — Perak state executive councillor Mohd Akmal Kamarudin who has been roundly accused of underperforming in the state battle against Covid-19 sought to explain his position in the state legislature today.
The exco in charge of health, science, environment and green technology explained that Mentri Besar Datuk Saarani Mohamad has decided to take full charge of the state’s Covid-19 vaccination programme who is aided by the state secretary.
According to Mohd Akmal, this structure originated from the federal government and is followed not only by Perak but other states concerning Covid-19 matters.
“The Opposition’s claims that I am not performing my job as the health exco in managing Covid-19 is an attempt to sabotage my relationship with Mentri Besar Datuk Saarani Mohamad,” he said.
However, he said it would not work and said he would continue to help the MB in dealing with the pandemic in the state.
Mohd Akmal explained that while he is the state exco in charge of health overall, the MB and the state secretary lead the state Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) and handle everything concerning the viral disease and inoculation efforts.
“I don’t have any post in the state CITF. But I have been invited to attend the meetings. So far I have attended 13 meetings. This is how I know the latest developments on the Covid-19 related issues,” he said.
He also responded to critics who accused him of dereliction of duty because he was not spotted visiting Covid-19 vaccination centres (PPV) and areas under lockdown areas.
Mohd Akmal said that he had other duties to attend to as he was not only in charge of health but also the environment.
He also chided his detractors, saying that his visits to PPVs may not have received widespread media publicity because the CITF has called for restricted access to prevent the viral disease from spreading further.
However, he promised to improve on such coverage in future.
Mohd Akmal also said that claims that hospitals were running out of resources to treat Covid-19 were not accurate.
He explained that while there insufficient beds in intensive care units, the hospitals designated to handle Covid-19 cases were able to continue treatment as the facilities can be upgraded as necessary.
Mohd Akmal had come under intense scrutiny in the state assembly since last week following increasing Covid-19 cases in the state.
Earlier in the state assembly, the Opposition assemblyman lashed out at the state health exco and accused Mohd Akmal of deliberately vacillating answering their questions by speaking about environmental issues first.
They piled him with questions, demanding to know the what the state was doing to counter the surge in Covid-19 cases and told him to come clean on oxygen supplies, ICU beds and a perceived delay in the vaccination process.
The Opposition assemblymen also accused Mohd Akmal of using Saarani as a shield.
However, Mohd Akmal said he would reply their questions in due course and asked them to put it in writing.