Factory workers get jabbed

KUALA LUMPUR: Over the past few months, many new Covid-19 cases have been reported in workplaces, either in factories or in workers’ accommodations.

“This is because most employers still fail to abide by the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 (Act 466),” said Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

The Public-Private Partnership Industrial Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (Pikas) is expected to be able to control the spread of the virus in the manufacturing sector and play an important role in the implementation of the National Recovery Plan.

Based on the Health Ministry’s report, Muhyiddin said the sector should be given attention as it was among those badly affected by the transmission of the coronavirus in workplaces.

Pikas, which kicked off yesterday, was initiated in response to calls from industry associations, business chambers of commerce and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to help the government hasten immunisation of employees in the manufacturing sector, with on-site vaccination at designated factories and industrial locations.

Meanwhile, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali said companies could not transfer the costs of Covid-19 vaccination to their workers under Pikas.

Apart from providing the vaccine free to the workers, companies will also have to bear the costs of administering the vaccine for both doses.

Smooth operation: Muhyiddin visiting the vaccination centre at the Texas Instruments factory in Ampang.Smooth operation: Muhyiddin visiting the vaccination centre at the Texas Instruments factory in Ampang.

“The companies will also have to bear administration, support personnel and security costs, which cannot be passed down to their workers,” he said after accompanying Muhyiddin to witness the vaccination process at Texas Instruments here yesterday.

These are among some of the conditions imposed on manufacturers who want to vaccinate their workers employed in the critical manufacturing sub-sectors under the programme.

Azmin said that some 150,000 doses of vaccine would be made available under the Pikas pilot programme which was launched simultaneously in Selangor, Penang, Johor and Sarawak.

So far, he said Miti had received applications from more than 500 companies with a workforce of about 106,000 workers to join the programme.

Azmin said that manufacturers would have the option of setting up their own vaccination facilities at their respective plants.

Alternatively, he said the companies could send their workers for vaccination at six vaccination centres located throughout the country.

Asked if the programme was open to only local workers, Azmin said: “We promised to provide free vaccinations to all Malaysians and foreign workers also.”

There were an estimated 2.25 million local and foreign workers employed in the critical manufacturing sub-sectors, he added.

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