By John Isaac
THE Democratic Action Party (DAP) has urged the federal government to accelerate the vaccination of 16.05 million workforce across Malaysia against Covid-19 to help revitalise the country’s economy.
In making this call in conjunction with Labour Day, national DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said a group of DAP MPs would meet the coordinating minister of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NCIP) Khairy Jamaluddin next week to deliberate on the matter.
“The failure of the PN (Perikatan Nasional) government to manage and control the surge of the third wave of Covid-19 infections has made Malaysia the worst nation in Asia-Pacific in per capita terms.
“Nothing is more important than the public health of the people to increase the vaccination rate to overcome Covid-19,” he said in his Labour Day message as reported by Borneo Post.
Lim, who is Bagan MP, said the severity of the third wave of Covid-19 infections had raised the likelihood that a new round of Movement Control Order (MCO) would be imposed on one or two states.
He said this had hampered recovery from the worst economic recession in history and caused unemployment to increase to 4.8 per cent or 778,000 in February this year, with youth unemployment at 13.9 per cent or 348,000 unemployed youths, the highest in decades.
“What is distressing is that two PN ministers namely Human Resources Minister (Datuk Seri) M Saravanan and (Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department) Economy (Datuk Seri) Mustapa Mohamed are publicly urging undergraduates who are unable to find jobs, to accept monthly pay of RM1,000.
“The two PN ministers say that having pay below the monthly minimum wage of RM1,200 set by the PH (Pakatan Harapan) government is better than having no job,” said the former finance minister.
According to Lim, paying below the monthly minimum wage is illegal and can be punished with a RM10,000 fine.
Instead of taking action, he said the two federal cabinet ministers were encouraging such illegal pay.
He opined that such betrayal of workers rights must be condemned and the two PN Ministers should publicly apologise and atone for their failures, by taking concrete steps to uphold the minimum wage.
“To save and create jobs as well as save businesses, the PN government should fulfil its promise of an automatic bank loan moratorium extension (except the Top 20) and implement the RM6.5 billion [email protected] programme creating 350,000 jobs announced in PH’s 2020 Budget.
“Under [email protected], Malaysian workers who were previously unemployed, will get monthly wage incentives of RM500 whilst employers will receive monthly hiring incentives of RM300 for a period of two years,” pointed out Lim.
For the sake of the 16.05 million Malaysian workforce, he said the DAP was willing to put aside its political differences with the PN government to work together to defeat Covid-19, support the NCIP as well as save existing jobs and create new jobs.