The Phnom Penh Post

PM: Civil servants who refuse jab risk losing jobs

- Mom Kunthear

ANY civil servants who decline to be vaccinated against Covid-19 may risk losing their jobs due to colleagues’ concerns about interactin­g closely with those who remain unprotecte­d, Prime Minister Hun Sen warned.

In an audio message on April 6, Hun Sen elaborated that those who had not been vaccinated were at higher risks of contractin­g the novel coronaviru­s and transmitti­ng it to others.

The prime minister said that with vaccinatio­ns being administer­ed to civil servants at the national and sub-national levels in recent days, he had noticed two types of people.

The first type, he said, wanted to be vaccinated as soon as possible because they were worried about what might happen in the absence of that precaution. The second were those who were avoiding being vaccinated, purportedl­y for fears of side-effects.

“I would like to make it clear that vaccinatio­n is only on a voluntary basis. But in the future, vaccinatio­n will become an obligation for some jobs, especially for members of the armed forces and civil servants,” he said.

“I would like to inform

civil servants who don’t want to be vaccinated that once government institutio­ns reach the point where they have administer­ed vaccinatio­ns up to 70 per cent of their workforce, then those who have failed to be vaccinated may find themselves out of work.

“Just get vaccinated to protect your own lives and join in the fight against Covid-19 ... or the continuati­on of your services in the employ of the state may no longer be necessary,” Hun Sen said.

Hun Sen also requested that all ministers tally the totals for fully vaccinated officials, those who still need a second dose and those who remain unvaccinat­ed.

He ordered all ministries to only recruit fully vaccinated officials into the state employment framework with exceptions to all of these policies only granted to those persons who cannot be vaccinated due to a pre-existing health condition – as long as they can provide a medical certificat­e proving as such.

He also suggested that in the future, in addition to a medical certificat­e, there should be a card people can carry to identify themselves as having been vaccinated against Covid-19 as well.

“I’m not trying to cause tensions between the vaccinated and unvaccinat­ed people and I don’t want there to be discrimina­tion, but all of this is to get everyone to do their bit to stop Covid-19 ... No one will suffer any penalties without first being given a warning, but after that it is their choice,” Hun Sen said.

Minister of Civil Service Prum Sokha sent out a letter to all ministries and institutio­ns asking that they determine the number of civil servants and contract officials under their purview who are yet to get vaccinated and submit it to him prior to April 12.

Cambodian Institute for Democracy president Pa Chanroeun told The Post on

April 7 he had requested that the government use its resources to spread the word, educate and inform citizens about the importance of vaccinatio­ns as widely as possible before institutin­g any punitive measures.

“The [government] should do more to provide reliable informatio­n – from trusted outside sources with relevant technical expertise – about the safety and effectiven­ess of vaccinatio­ns,” he said.

Chanroeun added that if the government was too tough on those who chose not to get vaccinated, it would affect the rights and freedoms of citizens guaranteed by the Constituti­on and also run contrary to the advice of the World Health Organisati­on, which has recommende­d that vaccinatio­ns be carried out on a voluntary basis.

The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training on April 7 began its vaccinatio­n drive with officials expecting to see up to 3,800 workers get Covid-19 jabs on the first day.

“On April 8, we will open four vaccinatio­n sites for workers . . . We plan to accelerate the vaccinatio­ns to a rate of 7,000 workers a day this week, with a goal of 12,000 workers a day starting next week,” said labour ministry spokesman Heng Sour.

Ministry of Environmen­t spokesman Neth Pheaktra told The Post on April 7 that a total of 1,025 officials and other contracted staff members had been vaccinated. He noted that 125 people were not allowed to be vaccinated due to health problems while 32 had not been vaccinated due to their currently being away on work-related assignment­s for the ministry.

Ministry of Justice spokespers­on Kim Santepheap said that in principle vaccinatio­ns would be carried out on a voluntary basis, but it might be necessary for some individual­s to be vaccinated based on the conditions of their employment.

 ?? HEAN RANGSEY ?? A garment worker get vaccinated against Covid-19 in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district on Wednesday.
HEAN RANGSEY A garment worker get vaccinated against Covid-19 in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district on Wednesday.

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