MMA: Immigration raid on migrants may complicate Covid-19 battle

These raids will cause migrants to flee and hide from the authorities, impeding the efforts to curb Covid-19

by LYDIA NATHAN / Pic by HUSSEIN SHAHARUDDIN

THE Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) expressed concern that the raid on undocumented migrants will complicate the efforts to curb Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are in the middle of a pandemic. These raids will cause migrants to flee and hide from the authorities and this will impede the battle to fight Covid-19.

These are the types of incidents that have led to migrants not trusting the authorities. This trust deficit needs to be addressed,” MMA president Datuk Dr Subramaniam Muniandy said in a statement yesterday.

He also strongly condemned the Immigration Department’s treatment of undocumented migrants during a recent raid conducted in Cyberjaya, describing it as inhumane.

“The authority’s usual practice of ‘raid and detain’ must stop and better ways should be sought to tackle the problem of undocumented migrants. More raids will result in more detention centre clusters as we have repeatedly seen,” he added.

MMA urged the government to engage the NGOs in reaching out to the undocumented migrants.

“The migrants need to be given the assurance that they will be helped and not harmed. We may not achieve herd immunity if we fail in our efforts to vaccinate our significantly high migrant worker population,” he said.

Last month, Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar said he will meet Home Affairs (MoHA) Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin on the operation to hunt undocumented migrants.

“We are going to submit a joint paper between Mosti and 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 public health at the moment,” he said during a press conference on May 30.

Meanwhile, MCA Youth in a separate statement called for the government to look into speeding up the inoculations for workers in the transport and logistics sectors which include food and goods delivery services.

“They are among our ‘unsung heroes’ who are willing to sacrifice regardless of fatigue and risks while carrying out their responsibilities for the sake of society,” MCA Youth spokesperson Jacob Lee said.

Lee said the party welcomes the government’s decision to dispense Covid-19 vaccinations to media practitioners, but it hopes that workers in the logistics and essential services sector will be afforded the same protection as well.

“Once these doses are given, we are certain that these workers will be instilled with more confidence to work, in view of the security that comes with the vaccines,” he said.

Khairy recently said members of the media will start receiving their vaccination dates on June 9, 2021. However, he said the number of vaccine recipients have not been decided yet and is still being looked into.

Lee added that as the government plans to ramp up the dispensation process to more than 30,000 people daily within the Klang Valley via its mega vaccination centres, he hopes the mobile vaccination trucks will be in force soon and stationed at the proper locations.

“MCA Youth also urges that more mobile vaccination trucks be stationed at community halls, nursing or retirement homes in addition to the People’s Housing Projects.

“Prior public announcements should be made via social media and notifications to the residents association or overseeing committee, so that more residents will be aware and arrive to receive the doses,” Lee said.

He also suggested MySejahtera to feature an assessment of employment details to hasten identification and administer a jab to individuals who stand a higher risk of getting infected.