PETALING JAYA: Employers are ready to get their migrant workers registered for their Covid-19 jabs and are awaiting further details.
Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai said it had been appealing for members to lend their support to the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.
“FMM is of the view that companies have more control of their foreign workers and can assist in facilitating the registration process.
“Having employers register foreign workers on their behalf instead of having these workers registering themselves would make it easier to coordinate and administer the vaccination as a group, ” he said.
Soh said to date, FMM had not received any directive requiring employers to carry out the Covid-19 vaccination registration for foreign workers. “We look forward to more details from the relevant ministry to further this process, ” he said.
National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme coordinating minister Khairy Jamaluddin recently said migrant workers would be vaccinated in the third phase (May to February 2022) in the programme.
He said this phase would likely start in June when the vaccine supply has increased, and employers would be responsible for registering their workers.
National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia president Tan Sri Ter Leong Yap said it has urged employers to register undocumented migrant workers while also applying for the recalibration programme.
“The recalibration programme must be made simpler, with lower costs and minimal qualifying conditions, ” he said.
He also proposed that the government allows an amnesty period for self-employed, undocumented migrant workers to register for vaccinations.
A Master Builders Association Malaysia spokesman said the industry had not yet received plans on how employers could register their workers but was ready to work with the government on the matter.
He said the authorities have asked companies to find out how many of their employees have voluntarily registered for vaccines and to target at least 80% of their staff to do so.
Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association president Datuk Jawahar Ali Taib Khan agreed that employers must be responsible for signing up their migrant workers for vaccinations, but hoped a mechanism would be introduced to make it easier.
Migrant workers’ rights groups have asked for clear directives issued to companies to immunise their employees.
Tenaganita executive director Glorene Das said allaying fears among migrant workers was still a big hurdle in encouraging them to get vaccinated.
She added that companies or employers may find themselves in a dilemma over getting their undocumented workers vaccinated for fear of repercussions by authorities for harbouring them.
“The workers, too, will not come forward, for fear of arrest. For undocumented workers, it is important to work with community leaders on this.
“However, if they are documented, then it is the responsibility of the employers to get them registered, ” she added.
North South Initiative director Adrian Pereira said clear instructions should be given soon to community leaders and embassy representatives on how to register migrant workers to get their jabs.
“The registration mechanism must be decided upon quickly as the issue can be complex, ” he said.