Media Statement by DAP MP for Iskandar Puteri Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, 8th June 2021
It is more than ten days since the announcement by the Home Minister, Hamzah Zainuddin contradicting the Minister co-ordinating vaccines, Khairy Jamaluddin, of operations against undocumented migrants for breach of the Covid-19 SOPs but the Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had been very quiet on this important issue which could decide whether the national vaccination rollout would be a failure or whether Malaysia could achieve herd immunity against Covid and break the back of the problem of the Covid-19 pandemic.
On Feb 16, Khairy said undocumented foreign nationals will not be arrested when they come forward for Covid-19 vaccinations, adding that this assurance was crucial in ensuring herd immunity was achieved.
He also said the government would work with various groups including employers, NGOs and foreign embassies to encourage foreign workers and refugees to register for the vaccine.
Confusion and uncertainty seemed to have become the hallmark of the Muhyiddin government with the right hand contradicting what the left hand is doing.
Muhyddin should come forward to end such chronic confusion and uncertainty in the war against the Covid-19 pandemic, not only on the issue of undocumented migrant workers but also the preposterous idea by the Home Minister that Parliament would only convene when the country had achieved herd immunity against Covid-19.
The Home Minister should be asked whether he is seeking to ensure that Parliament would not be able to convene as Malaysia would never achieve herd immunity if the Home Ministry creates conditions driving the undocumented migrants into hiding instead of encouraging them to come forward for vaccination.
I call on Muhyddin to announce an amnesty for undocumented migrants, fully backed by all political parties and Parliament, to give priority to the war against the Covid-19 pandemic.
This will also give the authorities an opportunity to consult all interested groups and to present to Parliament for approval a proper, enlightened and compassionate policy on migrant workers, who must not be regarded as criminals but as important assets for the development of the country.
I find Hamzah’s attitude rejecting calls for the representatives from the United Nations High Commissioners for Refugees (UNHCR) to be granted access to immigration detention depots very strange and self-defeating.
How can Malaysia square its international commitments when on the one hand, Muhyiddin condemned the “lethal violence” of the Myanmar military against unarmed civilians while on the other, Hamzah opposes access to our immigration depots by UN organisations?