The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) said it has received allegations of discrimination due to restrictions on unvaccinated people and urged employers not to penalise employees who refused to be vaccinated.
“Suhakam reminds employers to avoid imposing mandatory vaccination requirements for their employees or from penalising employees who refused to be vaccinated.
“Instead, employers may provide incentives to encourage their employees to be vaccinated,” the commission said in a statement today.
While Suhakam commended the government for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NIP) it called for more community engagement to encourage vaccinations.
“The government should respect every person’s right to self-determination and the freedom to refuse vaccination due to various reasons.
“Efforts should be intensified to encourage those medically eligible to get the Covid-19 vaccination through continuous engagement with the communities, to promote the benefits of vaccinations backed by scientific evidence, and to dispel any doubts or misinformation,” Suhakam said.
It called on the government to address possible vaccine discrimination by balancing public health priorities and the right to be treated fairly without discrimination.
It said the government could also expand the role of the Covid-19 Mediation Centre to assist employees who are disputing issues related to Covid-19, including their vaccination status, with their employers.
Suhakam clarified that it welcomed the government's recent move to grant freedoms to fully vaccinated people, including access to certain venues, dining-in, and participating in domestic tourism bubbles.
It also said the public should understand that steps taken by the government are to protect public health and incentivise people to be vaccinated.
“Such restrictions, however, should not hinder anyone from enjoying their basic human rights including access to education, food, and medical treatments.”
The commission added that such restrictions should only be enforced as a temporary measure until herd immunity has been achieved or when the pandemic transitions to an endemic phase.
The government had announced fully vaccinated individuals were given various freedoms including dine-in and travelling during Phase 2 of the National Recovery Plan (NRP).
As of yesterday, 82.5 percent of the country’s adult population are now fully vaccinated, according to the National Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF).
Meanwhile, as backlogs of cases are still uncleared, the Covid-19 death toll is likely to breach the 25,000 mark tomorrow.
Meanwhile, a closer examination of the Covid-19 death records shows that unvaccinated people make up the majority of recent Covid-19 deaths in the Klang Valley.