Minister: Decision on mandatory vaccination support this evening

Syed Jaymal Zahiid
Education Minister Maszlee Malik speaks to reporters after officiating a convention for the ministry's administrative staff in Kuala Lumpur March 20, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, March 20 — The Education Ministry will decide this evening its position on the proposal for mandatory vaccinations at public schools, Maszlee Malik said today.

The education minister is scheduled to meet his Health Ministry counterpart later today, when the two are expected to deliberate on the thorny issue.

“We will convey our decision to MoH this evening,” Maszlee told Malay Mail after officiating a government convention this morning.

Last week Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad said the government is pushing for mandatory vaccination in public schools after a diphtheria outbreak in Johor caused public uproar.

This comes after Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the government is studying the possibility of allowing only children who have received immunisation to enroll for school.

A two-year-old boy died while five others who were in contact contracted the disease. 

Vaccination for children is currently voluntary.

Dzulkefly said new legislations are needed to make vaccination mandatory.

Anti-vaccination parents say they opposed the idea.

Separately, Maszle said the Pakatan Harapan government has undertaken measures to carry out reform in education.

Putrajaya has formed an ad hoc education committee to look at a “total revamp” of the system, he told reporters here.

“It was something we already said we’d do,” the Simpang Renggam MP said.

“We already formed a committee to look at a total revamp.”

He did not state whether this entailed scrapping or improving the newly introduced National Education Blueprint, a reform plan by the previous Barisan Nasional administration.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday his government will implement “bigger” reforms in education in a bid to make public schools “great again”.

He said the education system required a total change to produce a quality workforce.

Employers have long griped about a so-called “skills gap”, claiming the majority of the country’s graduates have skills redundant for the labour market.

Several international economists, however, have refuted the allegation, saying there are no available data to support the “skills gap” claim.

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