Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said the government is considering lifting travel restrictions for those who have completed their Covid-19 vaccination and have been issued a digital certificate proving this.
However, this prompted a quick rebuke from Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh, who said those who have been vaccinated should get to work by attending Parliament.
This came after Muhyiddin reportedly said that despite earlier concerns those who have been vaccinated may become silent carriers of Covid-19 even if they don’t become ill themselves, subsequent research showed this was not the case.
“There were earlier views that those who have been vaccinated may be protected from infection but could be a potential carrier of the virus. But now, it has been found that this is not true.
“I have discussed this in the National Security Council meeting. We want to decide if this is the case, those who have received two doses can travel across states and districts.
“Boleh ke sana ke sini (go anywhere) without being stopped by the authorities,” he was quoted as saying at a town hall session in Kuching today, according to The Star.
“If you have not been vaccinated and do not have a digital certificate, then you cannot go. But if you have received two doses, then you can fly anywhere,” he added.
He added that Malaysia is also in talks with several countries to recognise Malaysia’s Covid-19 vaccination certificate and facilitate international travel.
As recent as the past week, however, both National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme Coordinating Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and Health Ministry director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said it is still too early to say how well vaccines could block Covid-19 transmission, rather than merely preventing illness.
On March 29, Khairy told a press conference that those who have already receive both Covid-19 vaccine doses should continue to take all precautions against the disease for the time being, such as masking and social distancing.
“The message is simple: Until we obtain data on whether the vaccines are effective in stopping transmission, non-pharmaceutical measures will be maintained,” Berita Harian quoted him as saying.
A day later, Noor Hisham echoed the need for more data on how much vaccines could block Covid-19 transmission, amid questions regarding quarantine exemptions for those arriving from abroad after being fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile, Yeoh responded to The Star’s report on Facebook by saying: “I have a better suggestion: Those with two doses of vaccine should get to work by attending parliament.”
MPs and assemblypersons are among those prioritised for Malaysia’s Covid-19 vaccine programme, and some such as Muhyiddin have already received both doses.
As of the end of Wednesday, 215,395 people in Malaysia (0.67 percent of the population) have received both their vaccine doses, out of 647,398 people targeted for Phase One of the vaccination program.
The second phase targeting senior citizens, people with chronic illnesses, and remaining frontline workers is slated to begin on April 17.
Parliament is suspended since Jan 11 through a proclamation of emergency.