OVER 60% of the tenants at several shopping complexes in the Klang Valley agreed to be included in the Economic Frontliners Vaccination Programme (retail sector) and have employees at their outlets get vaccinated.
Shopping centres are currently applying to Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP) to host vaccination centres (PPV) on their premises so retailers can sign up for on-site vaccination.
Central i-City Shopping Centre chief operating officer Anthony Dylan said 65% of its tenants supported the initiative.
“We are hoping at least 70% of the mall’s tenants will register with us as we play our part in achieving herd immunity as soon as possible.
“We are proposing one floor of the carpark to be designated as a vaccination centre, with drive-through function.
“The location is an alternative to event halls and large-scale venues to get the vaccination done.
“It is conducive with natural ventilation, proper ingress and egress ramps for drive-through as well as as a suitable location nearby to store the vaccine in accordance with government requirements.”
CapitaLand, which manages seven malls namely 3 Damansara, Melawati Mall, The Mines and Sungei Wang Plaza in Klang Valley, Gurney Plaza as well as Queensbay Mall in Penang and East Coast Mall in Kuantan (Pahang), had also written to the authorities to consider using three of its malls as vaccination centres.
“We are awaiting further clarifications from the authorities on costs and operational requirements.
“We have communicated with our tenants to take part in this programme, ” said CapitaLand Malaysia Retail head Eddie Lim.
“More than 80% of our tenants are interested to sign up for the vaccination programme for retail frontliners.
“As our malls remain open during this period, the vaccination exercise will help protect the health and well-being of our shoppers, tenants and staff.
“Our aim is to help the government look at different ideas for decentralisation and expedite the whole vaccination process, ” he said.
Sunway Malls and Theme Parks chief executive officer HC Chan said Sunway Malls planned to join the PPV drive rolled out by the government.
“This is still in the early stages and we applaud the government’s efforts to speed up vaccination by opening multiple channels across public and private sectors.
“The road to recovery hinges on how fast and how wide the vaccination reaches the population.
“Sunway had rolled out the first private large-scale vaccination centre for frontliners and the general population in Petaling district since March 2021 at Sunway Pyramid Convention Centre.
“Sunway Malls has a staff strength of 12,000.
“These retail frontliners, especially those in the essential sectors such as supermarket, convenience stores, food and beverage operators as well as pharmacies are in contact with the public daily, thus it is important that they get vaccinated as soon as possible to protect themselves and visitors.
“Our ultimate aim is to work closely with the government to achieve herd immunity as fast as possible, ” he added.
Meanwhile, Bangsar Village 2 could be used as a vaccination centre for workers in the Telawi commercial area.Eng Lian Enterprise Sdn Bhd, which manages Bangsar Village 1,2 and 3 apart from some commercial lots in the area, has offered space for a vaccination centre.
Its leasing manager Vincent Siow said the company had identified a vacant lot on the third floor of Bangsar Village 2 to be used for a vaccination exercise.
Not only would it benefit its retailers’ staff, he said the management had also proposed to include workers in the Telawi commercial centre.
“We are ready to work with the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) and KPDNHEP to propose Bangsar Village 2 as a vaccination centre to speed up the national vaccination programme.
“The response from retailers has been encouraging.
“If all goes well, we expect about 4,000 workers to receive their vaccination here, ” he said.
Suria KLCC in Kuala Lumpur is another mall offering to be a vaccination centre.
Suria KLCC Sdn Bhd, which manages the mall, issued a letter to its retailers on May 31 to submit names of employees interested to be inoculated at the premises by June 1.
The letter stated that the vaccination exercise will begin sometime this month.
The tenants that StarMetro spoke to at various malls said they were supportive of the vaccination initiative despite a nominal fee being charged to tenants.
Caring Pharmacy senior pharmacy practice executive Ng Yi Ling said the company was supportive of the programme for shopping centres to be vaccination centres for their retailers.
“Our staff at Caring outlets nationwide are retail frontliners who deal with a huge number of customers, so they are exposed to a certain level of risk during this Covid-19 pandemic.
“Vaccination for our staff is the best way to protect themselves and at the same time, boosts customer confidence when patronising our stores.
“It is also geared towards achieving herd immunity the soonest possible.
“Caring encourages all our staff to be vaccinated once the request to set up a vaccination centre in malls is approved by the government, ” she told StarMetro.The pharmacy currently has 144 outlets nationwide with more than 1,100 staff, including pharmacists.
Ng opined that a small fee charged to tenants in order to get their workers vaccinated was reasonable.
“The company is willing to chip in as part of its responsibility to get as many employees as we can vaccinated, ” she said.
Din Tai Fung Malaysia business development director Jeffrey Lim said all its restaurant employees, excluding pregnant women and those with allergies, were supportive of the programme and wanted to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
“Our 11 restaurants nationwide serve customers on a daily basis and we are very heartened to be considered as frontliners.
“We believe that we can do our part in flattening the curve by getting vaccinated.
“The company is also bearing the costs for our employees to ensure their safety, ” he said.
TGV Cinemas sales and marketing general manager Mohit Bhargava said the company was fully supportive of the initiative.
“We have enlisted our staff as part of the vaccination programme being rolled out at the shopping centres where we are tenants.
“It is a collective effort to achieve herd immunity and definitely our frontline staff’s safety is our priority, ” he said, adding that TGV had more than 700 employees nationwide.
A nominal fee is charged per employee at various malls for the logistics and administration of the two doses of the vaccines arranged by Protect Health Corporation.