KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 18 — Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin today stood his ground on the government’s strict stand against anti-vaxxers, after Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim labelled the approach as “arrogant”.
“To say that the government did not provide enough explanations about the vaccine is not right. We have already tabled all scientific proof on the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccine from earlier on. And we continue to provide explanations.
“I’m sorry I have to be firm on this issue. Call me dajjal or whatever,” he said, using the Arabic word for deceiver.
On Saturday, Khairy said that the government will take a stern approach towards the Covid-19 vaccine refusers by “continuing to make their life difficult,” national news agency Bernama reported.
However, he said those who cannot be vaccinated due to health reasons will be fine as they would be provided with MySejahtera digital exemption.
Yesterday, Anwar disagreed with the move, calling for more education for the anti-vaxxers, saying that the government is pressuring them when there are no laws penalising their decision.
Anwar said that while he does not support anti-vaxxers, he said their messages sometimes appeared credible and could persist if not completely debunked.
“They provide scientific papers, we bring scientific papers which are more credible and much stronger to defeat their arguments. Don’t keep thinking of punishments and threats. That is an arrogant way which we cannot accept,” he said in the Malaysia Gazette recording of the press conference, shared by Khairy.
State news agency Bernama reported Khairy saying that those refusing the vaccine will not be allowed to dine-in at restaurants, enter shopping centres and probably be made to undergo regular testing which they have to pay for, after the National Testing Strategy starts.