Mosti, MoHA to discuss plan for migrant workers

Both ministries will execute a strategic plan to ensure foreign workers come forward and get vaccinated


THE government will have further talks on the Immigration Department’s operation to locate and detain undocumented migrants in the next two weeks, as it may hamper the plan to vaccinate them.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar said he will meet up with Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin on the operation — expected to begin during a two-week lockdown tomorrow.

“We are going to submit a joined paper between Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (Mosti) and Home Affairs Ministry (MoHA) on how we will approach the vaccination programme for the undocumented migrants.

“Notwithstanding the announcement on Saturday, we will be discussing with the home minister on what should be the priority for the country, which should be the public health at the moment,” he said during a press conference yesterday.

On Saturday, Hamzah said the Immigration Department will be conducting operations on tracking undocumented migrants during the lockdown period along with the National Registration Department and the police.

He said 55,000 police personnel will be mobilised during the lockdown, which is an increase from the current 37,000 with the additional 13,000 personnel from various agencies under the ministry.

This appears to contradict the government’s plan to get at least 80% of Malaysia’s population vaccinated, including the refugees and illegal migrants. Khairy had assured that the quarters would not be arrested when they turn up to receive the vaccines.

He added that MoHA and the Human Resources Ministry (MoHR) will execute a strategic plan to ensure foreign workers will come forward and get vaccinated.

While MoHA — through the immigration department — would have the relevant data of legal foreign workers in the country, MoHR would facilitate the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) to trace undocumented workers through employers.

Khairy said the government will also partner NGOs and embassies to reach out to refugees in Malaysia for the vaccination programme.

Undocumented migrant workers and refugees will be included in the national vaccination programme during its third phase, he said during a press conference with Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba in April.

Khairy said the government is expecting 500 general practitioner (GP) clinics to administer Covid-19 vaccine distribution by June 15 and the amount would double by the end of next month.

He said out of 2,500 GP clinics that have registered to assist CITF in vaccine distribution, about 1,800 have received training on how to handle the coronavirus vaccines.

“Although vaccination is a routine procedure at GP clinics, we need these health practitioners to be able to handle Covid-19 vaccines, which have their requirement in handling them.

“More than half of the GP clinics that have registered with ProtectHealth Corp Sdn Bhd to become a Covid-19 vaccination centre (PPV) have gone through the training.”

He said the government has also eased the registration process for GPs to become a PPV as they no longer require Health Ministry’s pre-approval while the observation visit, which previously required to be conducted before the PPV is set up, could now be made after the PPVs begin operation.

Khairy said the government is expecting GP clinics and private hospitals to give out 40,000 doses of vaccines per day, a target that could be reached before the end of June.