M'sian health minister Khairy Jamaluddin says he will make life 'very difficult' for anti-vaxxers

His deputy followed up by saying the ministry is ready to set up face-to-face meetings with anti-vaxxers.

Jean Chien Tay | October 18, 2021, 08:19 PM

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Malaysia's Minister of Health Khairy Jamaluddin has vowed to make life "very difficult" for people who deliberately choose to be unvaccinated, The Star reported.

Addressing the issue of people who cannot be vaccinated due to medical conditions, the 45-year-old said they will be given a MySejahtera digital exemption.

The politician also stated that those who refuse to be vaccinated will be required to do regular testing, and that they will bear the cost themselves, the New Straits Times (NST) reported.

"The message is to get vaccinated", he added.

"Annoying" anti-vaxxers

On Oct. 15, Khairy expressed his wishes that investigations and prosecutions against vaccinated groups could be expedited, according to NST.

According to the minister, his ministry has lodged multiple police reports on "anti-vaxxers".

He further added that the group of "anti-vaxxers" are "annoying" for they "spread fake news and threaten public health".

"Outright discrimination"

The politician's stance on the issue was met with criticism from the general-secretary of Malaysia's National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE) -- J Solomon -- who labelled Khairy's statement as "gangsterism" against citizens, Free Malaysia Today (FMT) reported.

Solomon stated that the measures were "outright discrimination", as well as "bullying and exploiting the dignity of citizens" who do not wish to be vaccinated.

He also reportedly said that forcing the vaccine on unwilling individuals would be "tantamount to molestation".

Anwar disapproves

Leader of the Opposition Anwar Ibrahim also weighed in on the matter, expressing his disagreement to Khairy's "forceful" measures and labelling his methods as "arrogant", as per Malaysiakini.

Anwar reportedly urged for the use of scientific arguments to convince those who refused to be vaccinated.

Khairy's deputy offers to organise meeting with anti-vaxxers

Following Khairy's outburst, Deputy Health Minister Noor Azmi Ghazali stated that his ministry is prepared to meet with anti-vaccine groups and provide them with facts and information based on clinical studies, FMT reported.

Noor Azmi reportedly suggested that anti-vaxxers meet the ministry for "frank discussions", and even offered to help involve Khairy in the meetings.

Anti-vaxxer's problems are due to their "own attitude"

Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri said the problems faced by people who refuse the Covid-19 vaccine are due to their own attitude, according to The Star.

The 61-year-old reportedly added that the government has no intention to make life difficult for the public, and urged anti-vaccine groups to get vaccinated for their own and the public's sake.

He further explained Khairy's comments, saying that he was simply referring to the problems that those who turn down the vaccine would continue to face, as other countries have also imposed the conditions for individuals to be fully-vaccinated.

He cited the example of the Saudi Arabian government, who mandated that only those who are fully vaccinated are allowed to perform umrah, and the haj pilgrimage.

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Top image via Khairy Jamaluddin/Facebook