PETALING JAYA: Migrant workers, refugees, asylum seekers and foreign spouses should not be left out of the mass Covid-19 vaccination programme, says the Migrant Workers' Right to Redress Coalition (MWR2R).
The coalition urged that as plans for the national Covid-19 vaccination exercise are being firmed up, the government should also make sure that the circumstances of every person are considered.
"This includes the situation facing documented workers, undocumented workers, workers in different sectors including domestic workers, all those within the refugee communities, foreign spouses, the stateless and others.
"Every effort needs to be made to ensure that all these people are able to access the vaccination programme and are not excluded on any basis, including by a possibility that they cannot afford it," said MWR2R in a virtual press conference on issues faced by migrant workers on Monday (Jan 25).
Earlier this month, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Committee will be discussing the decision to provide free Covid-19 vaccination to foreign workers, expatriates and permanent residents in the country.
MWR2R said the issue of vaccination, if not addressed, could cause a serious gap in the efforts to make a difference to the Covid-19 pandemic that people are hoping for.
Apart from that, the coalition said there continue to be several alarming issues affecting migrants, domestic workers, refugees, asylum seekers and foreign spouses in the country.
Among the issues include the treatment of these workers with regards to long hours, sub-standard conditions, abuse of employment laws, non-payment of wages, arbitrary repatriation and neglect of support for the right to redress.
The coalition hoped the government would provide resources for the community to address their grouses.
"Ensure that adequate resources are provided to the Labour (Department) to allow them to far more effectively carry out their monitoring and enforcement of conditions at the workplace.
"Otherwise abuses will continue with impunity and conditions of modern-day slavery will continue to develop," said the coalition.
MWR2R is also asking for a meeting with the Human Resources, Health and Home ministries to discuss action plans and to have effective communication with civil society organisations for the wellbeing of the communities.