Malaysia’s updated workplace COVID SOPs from 1 April 2022: Capacity and operating hour limits abolished

[UPDATE: Please refer to this article published on 1 April 2022 which has more up to date information: “Summary of new SOPs and guidelines for Malaysian workplaces from 1 April 2022”]

Malaysia’s Prime Minister announced on 8 March 2022 that Malaysia will begin the “Transition to Endemic” phase for COVID-19 from 1 April 2022 (Click for link to announcement, in Bahasa Malaysia).

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HR Minister says employees could face fines or jail for refusing vaccinations. Is this legal?

Malaysia’s Human Resources Minister M. Saravanan caused a stir late last week when he was widely reported (see Bernama, Malay Mail, The Star) as saying that action could be taken against employees who refuse to be vaccinated. While recognising that vaccinations have not been made mandatory under Malaysian law, Saravanan said that the authorities could take action under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 (“OSHA”).

The legal position regarding mandating employee vaccinations has been widely-discussed in recent weeks, and I’ve previously shared my views on this blog (“Is it legal for Malaysian employers to make vaccinations mandatory for employees?”), as well as with the media (“Can Malaysian employers make Covid-19 vaccinations mandatory for their staff? Lawyers explain.”).

So what exactly does OSHA provide, and can the authorities really rely on OSHA to take action against employees who refuse to be vaccinated?

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