PIKAS kicks off with manufacturing sector

The programme was initiated in Selangor, Penang, Johor which will focus on critical manufacturing subsectors


THE Public-Private Partnership Covid-19 Industry Immunisation Programme (PIKAS) kicked off in Selangor yesterday, mainly for the manufacturing sector.

It is a part of Phase 4 of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NCIP).

Apart from Selangor, the programme was also simultaneously initiated in Penang and Johor which will focus on critical manufacturing subsectors.

The International Trade and Industry Ministry (MITI) said these subsectors are critical during the lockdown as they are part of the supply chain of essential products and services, as well as to support the smooth functioning of infrastructures such as the public healthcare system.

PIKAS received the nod from the Special Committee on Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Acces Guarantee (JKJAV) to be implemented with on-site vaccinations at designated factories and industrial locations.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar had previously said about 30,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines had been earmarked under the programme for individuals who are working in the essential sectors of the economy.

The allocated doses exclude the portion for Sarawak.

MITI said the programme is implemented in response to calls from industry associations, business chambers of commerce and small and medium enterprises to help accelerate vaccination for the people, particularly employees, to achieve herd immunity in the community.

It said Malaysian Trades Union Congress and other trade unions have shown support for the programme and welcomed its implementation to ensure workers’ safety.

The trade unions also expressed concerns from industry players with regards to the implementation, particularly on costs associated with vaccinating the workers.

“At a video conference with trade union representatives on Tuesday, MITI Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali assured that workers who participate in the programme would not be burdened with additional costs.

“He reiterated that the vaccines are free and that the employers will bear the administrative cost of the vaccination and would not be allowed to deduct employees’ salaries,” it said in a statement yesterday.

As the government is set to ramp up vaccination in June, July and August, Mohamed Azmin also urged employers to encourage their workers to participate in the PIKAS.

While the PIKAS is running, the government also ensures that the NCIP for the most vulnerable groups remains a priority, it said.

The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) president Datuk Soh Thian Lai had urged FMM members to participate in the programme and play their role to support the government’s efforts to attain herd immunity.

He said PIKAS has generated interest from over 1,200 companies nationwide comprising more than 180,000 employees, while more member companies have shown interest to participate.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said based on the Health Ministry’s (MoH) report, the manufacturing sector should be given attention as it was among those badly affected by the coronavirus.

“PIKAS is a measure taken by JKJAV to reduce the Covid-19 infection rate in our country as, over the past few months, many new cases were reported in workplaces, either in factories or in workers’ accommodations.

“This is because most employers were found to have failed to abide by the Workers Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 (Act 466),” he said after witnessing the vaccination process at Texas Instruments Malaysia Sdn Bhd’s vaccination centre yesterday.