KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 6 — The cost of vaccinating foreign workers in Malaysia from Covid-19 will be borne by their employers, the Human Resources Ministry said today.
The announcement comes a day after another minister said the government needed time to decide if they would be vaccinated for free.
“It is compulsory for employers to cover all immunisation costs including for Covid-19 diagnosis,” Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan said in a statement.
The Human Resources Ministry had made it mandatory for employers to pay for screening and testing of all its foreign workers last year.
Saravanan said the directive for businesses to bear immunisation costs is under Section 24J of the Workers Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990, also known as Act 446.
Covid-19 screening and testing previously cost up to a few hundred ringgit but has since been drastically reduced as more facilities, and sponsors, provide their services.
Since the mandatory screening policy was enforced, some business owners claimed testing has put a strain on operating costs, prompting them to appeal for government assistance.
Covid-19 screening and tests are subsidised, but only for foreign workers who contribute to the Social Security Organisation.
Saravanan said several government agencies have begun conducting inspections on companies that payroll foreign workers starting January 1.
“The aim is to raise employer awareness about the need to contain the spread of this dangerous disease,” the minister’s statement read.
Yesterday, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin told reports in Parliament that the migrant workforce should be on the Covid-19 priority list.