Employers to pay for jabs


Making it easy: The number of those being vaccinated is increasing with the various vaccination plans including Pikas, opening up additional vaccine centres and the introduction of the Mobile Vaccine truck. — SAMUEL ONG/The Star

PETALING JAYA: The authorities will ensure that employers do not make workers absorb the vaccination costs under the Program Imunisasi Industri Covid-19 Kerjasama Awam-Swasta (Pikas), says Senior Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali.

According to Azmin, vaccines are free but industries have agreed to absorb the cost of facility to accelerate the vaccination program.

He said the Pikas offer to essential industries comes with strict guidelines to employers that all costs must be borne by employers and must not in any way be passed on to their workers.

“The announcement of Pikas comes with a stern warning to employers. Not only are they not allowed to transfer the costs to employees because government policy is free to all, employers also must complete the whole cycle – two doses to every employee.

“In fact this has been agreed by the industry associations.

“They have agreed to absorb the administrative costs to ensure a smooth running of the vaccination plan for their employees,” said Azmin, who is International Trade and Industry Minister, when contacted.

He said he would be visiting the three states – Selangor, Johor and Penang – involved in Pikas when the pilot phase takes off on Wednesday.

He also pointed out that the Pikas offer was at RM90 per worker.

On Saturay, the International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti) stated that Pikas, which involves voluntary immunisation for employees in the manufacturing sector, would be launched as Phase Four of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.

Companies taking part can get their staff vaccinated at selected vaccination centres or choose on-site vaccination at designated factories and industrial locations.

Miti said companies in critical manufacturing sub-sectors including electrical and electronics, food processing, iron and steel, medical devices, personal protective equipment (PPE), oil and gas and rubber products, including medical glove manufacturing sub-sectors, would be prioritised.

It said it would be coordinating the immunisation for employees in the manufacturing sector while other ministries would be responsible for vaccination of employees in their respective sectors.

To date, Miti said 500 companies with a total of 106,591 workers had applied to take part in Pikas.

Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai said Pikas stemmed from suggestions from employers who wanted to speed up vaccination of the 2.4 million workers in the manufacturing sector.

“We hope with the vaccination of workers, the capacity of workers working on-site can be increased from the current 60%.

“We also ask that Pikas be offered to non-essential industries as soon as possible so that they too can operate as they form part of the chain for essential industries,” he said.

Industries Unite (IU), a coalition of SMEs and small businesses, said that it was timely for a mass vaccination of workers.

IU group coordinator Datuk Irwin Cheong said they hoped the government could further reduce the costs, as it could take a toll on small businesses.

“This is something we have been pushing for. We are grateful our request has been viewed favourably by the government,” said Chong.

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