KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA – Media OutReach – 9 September 2021 – The recent report produced by the Crisis Management Centre has exposed several gaps in the critical response to those adversely impacted by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study “Consolidated Data Analysis of Malaysia’s Kita Jaga Kita Movement” was carried out by collecting publicly available data from the three leading applications developed to facilitate direct aid from the community to individuals and families.  Over a two-week period in the beginning of August data from the 478 households was gathered from the Kita Jaga Co app, Sambal SOS app, and the MyBendera app., this was further augmented with a detailed case study from 39 households in the Titiwangsa area who received aid.

“By compiling the publicly available data from these various sources into one database, the study identified some alarming trends. This study revealed that there is a need for greater utilization of community and social media generated data to inform the design of critical response programs. In addition, we need to make available other forms data previously designated not for public consumption to encourage open-sourced solutions.” Stated Nordin Abdullah the Founder of the Crisis Management Centre.    

“These apps are important in that they represent the first step in a “community driven data generation” able to respond to a problem impacting individuals and families in the broader society.  As a strategic approach there is a need to effectively integrate these data sets together with other real-time data. This data, once mapped and geotagged, can be dealt with in a hyper-local manner and at the higher level by various stakeholders. Better decisions are made with better data.” 

The research revealed that families and individuals needed assistance for food (46.1 per cent) and childcare necessities (21.5 per cent), while rental assistance comprised of 31.5 per cent of the requirements. Social media data suggested that the public and institutional response primarily focused on food and childcare as they were delivered in kind. This has exposed a considerable gap in the response. 

“The report highlighted a critical are of concern, a “rental gap” which may have a greater impact on mental health than we expect. According to the Maslow’s theory of Hierarchy of Needs, which places shelter at the base of the pyramid is required for an individual to feel safe. There needs to be a concerted effort to address this problem.” Explained Nordin who is an EXCO member of the Malaysia Australia Business Council.   

The research finding echoed this sentiment with 67.7 per cent of people self-declared stress levels before receiving assistance as “very stressed”.  The report also stated that an increased understanding through mental health research is required, while the economy many recover in due course the long term phycological impact of two years of pandemic lockdowns will have a spill over effect into a post-pandemic Malaysia.

“A holistic approach towards effective communications needs to be developed. This crisis increases the number of people pushed below the threshold for assistance, the data further indicated that 76.9% of those who require aid are not recipients of aid programs. Which means in a crisis numbers change and the response needs to be flexible” stated Rizal Kamaruzzaman the Executive Director of Tindakan Strategi Sdn. Bhd. who contributed to the strategic insights and recommendations of the report.   

By NewsNarratives Admin

NewsNarratives is a women-led independent online magazine that focuses on underreported social issues and human interest stories in the Philippines, written in longform.

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