Petaling Jaya, 17 June 2021 – Non-governmental organisation, OKU Sentral, and Sime Darby Plantation Berhad (SDP) has started to welcome the first group of OKU (Orang Kurang Upaya or Persons with Disabilities) COVID-19 vaccine recipients to the world's inaugural OKU Sentral Drive-through Vaccination Centre (PPV) at SDP's headquarters in Plantation Tower, Ara Damansara, Petaling Jaya.
SDP is the venue and logistics provider, while its philanthropic arm Yayasan Sime Darby is the financial sponsor for the five-month programme initiated by OKU Sentral after discussions with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI). Ara Damansara Medical Centre, part of the Ramsay Sime Darby Health Care group of hospitals, is the exclusive partner hospital to the initiative with its team of 30 staff members comprising of doctors, nurses and ancillary personnel on duty per day.
Some 13,500 Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) together with carers will be the first to receive their vaccines from the 16,000 people who registered for the programme earlier this month. Registration for this vaccination programme was opened for PWDs above 18 years of age from all seven government-recognised disability categories – Blind, Deaf, Speech Disability, Physical Disability, Multiple Disabilities, Learning Disability and Mental Disability – from Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Selangor.
As a community-driven solution out of a public-private partnership, the programme aims to help accelerate the government's goal to achieve herd immunity by providing easy access to the disabled community and their caretakers to receive their vaccines.
Chairperson of OKU Sentral, Yang Berhormat Senator Datuk Ras Adiba Radzi said, "During the pandemic many of my friends within the OKU community continue to feel a sense of being left behind, this programme will go a long way to bridging the gap. The ability to get vaccinated while driving through is extremely considerate, as mobility remains one of our community's many concerns. It will also ensure that more come out and get vaccinated."
"I feel that it is extremely important that everyone comes together during these trying times, when everyone chips-in we create a modern day' gotong royong' be it with ideas, time, motivating each other or through financial contributions like Sime Darby Plantation. Programmes like these makes people realise that Malaysians have always been caring, and working together during this pandemic is how we need to fight COVID-19," said Datuk Ras Adiba, who is also a Member of the Senate of Malaysia to represent PWDs.
"According to the World Health Organisation, the OKU community makes up 15 per cent of the country's population, which is approximately 4.7 million in Malaysia. But less than 600,000 are registered with the Welfare Department of Malaysia (JKM)," Datuk Ras Adiba continued, "So, a lot of my friends out there are still unregistered. We have a long way to go to get our friends registered with JKM; I feel that this could be one of the ways to get our friends who are not registered to do so."
Extending her gratitude, Datuk Ras Adiba said, "I am very thankful to the Almighty for being given this opportunity by MOSTI Minister, YB Khairy Jamaluddin, to carry out OKU Sentral's mission in ensuring PWDs are vaccinated, which means a lot to me and the rest of the PWD community in the country. I am especially thankful that my friends out there have decided to come out and register for the vaccine under this programme as this means they understand the importance of getting vaccinated from COVID-19, and I'm hoping others within the community will follow suit.
"I would also like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to all our programme partners and supporters – the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), Ministry of Health (MoH), the Special Committee for Ensuring Access to COVID-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV), COVID-19 Immunisation Taskforce (CITF), Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development (KPWKM), Selangor State Government, Selangor State Department of Health, Sime Darby Plantation Berhad, Yayasan Sime Darby, Ara Damansara Medical Centre, ProtectHealth Corporation Sdn Bhd, Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ), Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), Fire and Rescue Department of Malaysia (BOMBA), Malaysia Civil Defence Force (APM), the Malaysian Volunteer Department (RELA), and the OKU Sentral Volunteers (OSV) – for their tireless support and guidance towards making this programme a reality."
SDP's Group Managing Director, Mohamad Helmy Othman Basha said, "As the official venue sponsor of this initiative, Sime Darby Plantation is humbled to be given the opportunity to be part of this historic initiative. We view it as our duty to contribute back to society by supporting the government's initiative to help ease and accelerate the rate of vaccination, so that our nation can achieve herd immunity.
"We would not have been able to set up this special drive-through PPV without the collaboration, guidance and support from all programme partners. On behalf of all at Sime Darby Plantation, I would like to thank the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Ministry of Health and OKU Sentral for considering our offer to provide the venue for this drive-through PPV, as well as to all programme partners and our employees for their support," added Mohamad Helmy.
Upon hearing about the programme and SDP's involvement, employees of the Company had signed up as volunteers to assist and ensure a smooth flow of the entire process throughout the five months. In addition, SDP Group's downstream operations, Sime Darby Oils, is also sponsoring special treats made with its own products for all volunteers, including medical personnel from Protect Health, Ara Damansara Medical Centre, The People's Volunteer Corps (RELA), and OKU Sentral members.
For further information, please contact OKU Sentral Hotline: