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5:59pm 05/10/2021
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MEF: govt should mandate vaccination for private sector employees

PETALING JAYA, Oct 5 (Sin Chew Daily) – The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) agrees that the government mandates private sector employee vaccination and that employees refusing to be immunized without valid reasons should be barred from workplace or be dismissed.

MEF president Datuk Dr Syed Hussain Syed Husman said after mandating vaccination for federal government servants, MEF hopes that the government would also make it mandatory for private sector employees to be immunized against COVID-19 for the protection of other employees as well as customers.

He also urged the government to set out clear guidelines for the compliance of those refusing to go for vaccination.

He told Sin Chew Daily, under Sections 15 and 17 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) 1994, the employers have the obligation to secure the safety, health and welfare of their employees, and provide them a safe and healthy work environment.

Under Section 24 of the same Act, an employee also has the obligation to take reasonable care of the safety and health of himself and other workers.

As such, Syed Hussain said it is reasonable for employers to demand that their employees be vaccinated.

“An employee refusing to be vaccinated without valid reasons may be barred from entering the workplace until he or she is fully vaccinated or the government announces that the country is no more threatened by COVID-19.

“Additionally, the employee may also face the consequence of being dismissed.”

Meanwhile, MEF executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said before the government mandates vaccination for civil servants, civil servants who refuse to go for vaccination would still be allowed to go to their workplaces in personal protective equipment (PPE) while costs like swab test fees will be borne by the the employees themselves.

“If the private sector allows unvaccinated employees into the office, other employees might be afraid to go to office as they will be exposed to infection risks.”

He also agreed that the government should mandate COVID-19 vaccination for private sector employees unless they have valid reasons and evidences that they cannot be vaccinated.

‘Employers cannot take actions against unvaccinated employees’

In the meantime, deputy human resources minister Datuk Awang Hashim said the private sector cannot force employees to go for vaccination or deliberately take actions against those refusing to do so.

“No, employers cannot do this.

“Employers’ actions are bound by the labor law. They cannot sack the employees or cut their salaries.”

He said most importantly the employers must try to find out why their employees refuse to go for vaccination. If they have no faith in the vaccines, they should get the doctors to explain to them.

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