Press Statement No. 35-2021_SUHAKAM Calls for a Balanced Approach between Public Health & the Rights to be Treated Fairly

PRESS STATEMENT

KUALA LUMPUR (25 SEPTEMBER 2021)   –   The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) credits the Government for the overall successful execution of the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK), despite some issues faced at the onset. The COVID-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF), on 21 September 2021, reported that 80.2 % of the adult population in Malaysia had been fully vaccinated, and SUHAKAM wishes to congratulate those who made the decision to be vaccinated.

SUHAKAM supports the goal of PICK to achieve herd immunity in the fastest possible time, however, 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 abound.

SUHAKAM have received a number of complaints on allegations of discrimination due to restrictions imposed on those who remain unvaccinated, including persons who were not allowed to get back to work or compelled to pay for their own tests, or movement restrictions in entering premises for the general public. 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. SUHAKAM calls for the Government to take immediate actions to address such issues by having a balanced approach between public health priorities and the right to be treated fairly without discrimination. Additionally the Government could look into the possibility of expanding the role and function of the Pusat Mediasi COVID-19 (PMC-19), to include assistance for employees who are disputing issues related to COVID-19, including their vaccination status, with their employers.

SUHAKAM welcomes recent announcements to permit individuals who have completed their vaccinations some freedom to access various venues, to dine in, and undertake domestic travel bubbles, among others. In order to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, Government or owners of premises may, impose certain restrictions upon those who have yet to complete their vaccination or chose not to be vaccinated. The public should realize that these steps are mainly to protect human and public health, which may also serve as an incentive for people to obtain vaccinations. Such restrictions, however, should not hinder anyone from enjoying their basic human rights including access to education, food and medical treatments, among others; and only be enforced as a temporary measure, until such time herd immunity has been achieved or when the Pandemic transitions to an endemic phase.

-END-

Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM)

25 September 2021

Media queries: Contact Mrs. Norashikin Hamzah at 03-2612 5687 / 019-621 5336 or shikin@suhakam.org.my

KENYATAAN MEDIA

KUALA LUMPUR (25 SEPTEMBER 2021)  –  Suruhanjaya Hak Asasi Manusia Malaysia (SUHAKAM) menzahirkan penghargaan kepada Kerajaan atas kejayaan pelaksanaan keseluruhan Program Imunisasi COVID-19 Kebangsaan (PICK) walaupun terdapat beberapa isu yang dihadapi pada awalnya. Pada 21 September 2021, Jawatankuasa Imunisasi COVID-19 telah melaporkan bahawa 80.2% populasi dewasa di Malaysia telah menerima vaksin lengkap dan SUHAKAM mengucapkan tahniah kepada mereka yang telah membuat keputusan untuk divaksinasi.

SUHAKAM menyokong sasaran PICK untuk mencapai imuniti berkelompok secepat mungkin, walau bagaimanapun, Kerajaan perlu menghormati hak setiap orang untuk menentukan kemahuan sendiri dan kebebasan untuk menolak vaksin atas sebab yang tertentu. Walau bagaimanapun, usaha perlu dipertingkatkan untuk menggalakkan mereka yang layak dari segi perubatan untuk mendapatkan vaksin COVID-19 menerusi penglibatan berterusan dengan komuniti untuk mempromosikan manfaat vaksin yang disokong oleh bukti secara saintifik bagi menghindari sebarang keraguan atau maklumat yang tidak benar.

SUHAKAM telah menerima sejumlah aduan berkenaan dakwaan diskriminasi yang dikenakan kepada mereka yang masih tidak divaksinasi, termasuk tidak dibenarkan kembali bekerja atau terpaksa menanggung sendiri kos ujian calitan, atau sekatan daripada memasuki premis bagi orang awam. SUHAKAM mengingatkan majikan untuk tidak menetapkan keperluan vaksinasi mandatori kepada pekerja atau mengenakan denda kepada pekerja yang enggan divaksinasi, sebaliknya majikan boleh menawarkan insentif bagi menggalakkan pekerja untuk divaksinasi. SUHAKAM menyeru Kerajaan untuk mengambil tindakan segera bagi menangani isu-isu ini yang memerlukan pendekatan yang seimbang antara keutamaan kesihatan awam dan hak untuk dilayan secara adil tanpa diskriminasi. Selain itu, Kerajaan perlu melihat kepada kemungkinan untuk meluaskan peranan dan fungsi Pusat Mediasi COVID-19 (PMC-19) dengan memanjangkan bantuan kepada pekerja yang mempunyai pertikaian berkaitan isu COVID-19, termasuk status vaksinasi, dengan majikan mereka.

SUHAKAM menyambut baik pengumuman baru-baru ini untuk membenarkan mereka yang lengkap divaksinasi beberapa kebebasan, antaranya, memasuki pelbagai tempat, makan di kedai makan dan menyertai gelembung perlancongan domestik. Bagi mengekang penularan pandemik COVID-19, Kerajaan atau pemilik premis boleh mengenakan sekatan kepada mereka yang masih belum lengkap divaksinasi atau memilih untuk tidak divaksinasi. Orang ramai perlu menyedari bahawa tujuan utama langkah-langkah ini adalah untuk melindungi manusia dan kesihatan awam; dan sebagai insentif kepada mereka yang telah mendapatkan vaksin. Walau bagaimanapun, sekatan tersebut tidak seharusnya menghalang sesiapa jua daripada menikmati keperluan hak asasi mereka termasuklah antaranya akses kepada Pendidikan, makanan dan penjagaan kesihatan, dan hanya boleh dikuatkuasakan sebagai pendekatan sementara sehingga imuniti kelompok dapat dicapai atau apabila pandemik telah beralih ke fasa endemik.

-TAMAT-

Suruhanjaya Hak Asasi Manusia Malaysia (SUHAKAM)

25 September 2021

Pertanyaan Media: Sila hubungi Pn. Norashikin Hamzah melalui 03-2612 5687 / 019-621 5336 atau shikin@suhakam.org.my

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