KUALA LUMPUR: The government has warned employers against forcing their workers to pay for on-site Covid-19 vaccinations.
“I don’t see any reason for this,” said human resources minister M Saravanan in reference to a proposal by the Malaysia Shopping Malls Association (PPK) that workers pay a small fee of RM50 for on-site vaccinations after malls agreed to subsidise the cost of the exercise.
All the vaccines to be used in the exercise are free under the government’s National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK).
“I would like to remind everyone not to force workers to pay for vaccines as the government is giving them free to everyone,” Saravanan told FMT.
The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) has denounced PPK for the proposal, saying all costs for the vaccination programme should be picked up by employers.
MTUC deputy president Mohd Effendy Abdul Ghani said it was unfair to make employees pay for their vaccines even if the cost of the exercise was subsidised.
He advised retail workers to report to the MTUC if they were forced to pay for their vaccines.
In February, vaccine minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the Cabinet had decided that foreigners living in Malaysia, including documented and undocumented foreign workers, would be vaccinated for free under PICK.
Saravanan noted that the International Labour Organization Convention had said all workers must be treated equally. He said this meant local workers should also be vaccinated for free.
He also said he would be following up on the matter with Khairy, whom he will meet today.
“We will discuss this issue of vaccination for workers,” he said.
“The government has agreed that in principle, all foreign workers will be vaccinated. So I want to know when this will be.”
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