KUCHING, Aug 27 — The Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) today clarified that recent announcement by the state government that only individuals who have been fully vaccinated for Covid-19 are allowed to work or enter any business premises in the state is constitutional.
SDMC in a statement this evening said the announcement does not contravene human rights or the fundamental liberties as enshrined under the Federal Constitution as alleged by Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) president Voon Lee Shan.
“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 the law and as in the present situation to contain the spread of infectious diseases in the state,” SDMC said.
Voon, in a statement yesterday alleged that the Sarawak government’s policies will cause 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 explained that such allegation has no basis and devoid of merits since it is permissible by law to make such distinction or classification considering the rising cases of Covid-19 cases in Sarawak.
“In addition, the government’s policy is a temporary measure which is necessary to curb the spread of Covid-19 which has reached the figure of more than 1,500 cases for the past few weeks and has 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 decide to 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, they may enjoy such privilege by getting themselves vaccinated and vaccines are now available, even by walk-in to any vaccination centre throughout the state,” SDMC said.
SDMC said 86.30 per cent of adults in Sarawak have been fully vaccinated.
Voon in his statement yesterday had said that the Sarawak government’s decision to allow only fully-vaccinated people to work or enter any business premises as discriminatory and going against human rights.
Voon, a lawyer, said it was unconstitutional to impose such a rule, which affects the people’s rights to their lives and livelihood under Article 5 of the Federal Constitution.