SDMC: Govt’s policy to allow only fully vaccinated individuals to work, enter business premises does not violate human rights

File photo of the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Complex for illustration purposes.

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KUCHING, Aug 27: The State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) has denied the allegations that allowing only fully vaccinated individuals to work or enter any business premises is unconstitutional and violates human rights.

According to the committee in a statement today, the recent Sarawak government announcement is constitutional and does not contravene human rights or the fundamental liberties as enshrined under the Federal Constitution.

“At the outset, the equality provision under Article 8 of the Federal Constitution is not absolute.

“In other words, this form of distinction or classification is permitted within the parameters of law and as in the present situation to contain the spread of infectious diseases in the state,” the committee said.

SDMC was responding to the allegation by Parti Bumi Kenyalang president Voon Lee Shan that the Sarawak Government’s policies will create an unlawful discrimination which leads to the creation of two classes of society, with one class classified as “vaccinated” and the other class “not vaccinated”.

SDMC pointed out such allegations have no basis and were devoid of merit since it is permissible by law to make such distinction or classification considering the rising cases of Covid-19 here in Sarawak.

It said the government’s policy is a temporary measure which is necessary to curb the spread of Covid-19 amongst Sarawakians due to the rising number of cases which has reached the figure of more than 1,500 daily cases for the past few weeks and recorded 510 total deaths since the start of the pandemic.

“This signifies that a new form of standard operating procedures (SOPs) is essential in which the Government can only allow fully vaccinated Sarawakians to enter business premises and to go to work for the benefit of the public overall and to reduce the burden on the already strained healthcare facilities.

“This does not in any way deprive or deny the unvaccinated individuals their fundamental rights absolutely, they may enjoy such privilege by getting themselves vaccinated and vaccines are now available, even through walk-in to any Vaccination Centre throughout the state,” the statement read.

Additionally, the committee explained, those who are unsuitable to take the Covid-19 vaccine due to medical reasons may present supporting documents from registered medical practitioners in order to also be given the benefit to work or enter any business premises during this time, though they are strongly discouraged to do so, in view of the risk of community transmission at the moment.

“Currently, 90.7 per cent of adults in Sarawak have received one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and 87.3 per cent are fully vaccinated. It is just a matter of time for us to reap what we sow for the past few months in coming together as a community to stop the spread of Covid-19.

“As such, the government’s announcement is valid and constitutional for the benefit and general well-being of all Sarawakians,” it said. — DayakDaily