KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 6 – The government’s decision to make it compulsory for civil servants to be vaccinated against COVID-19 is sanctioned under syariah (Islamic law) and shouldn’t be considered as restricting individual freedom, said a syariah expert.
Dr Syed Shahridzan Syed Mohamed, who is Federal Territory Mufti Office (PMWP) Principal Assistant Mufti (Research), said that based on siyasah syar’iyyah (authority to act according to the benefit), the government can take disciplinary action against the group of people disobeying the order related to the public interest.
“Islam, through siyasah syar’iyyah, gives the government full right to issue certain orders to help manage an emergency like COVID-19.
“Under siyasah syar’iyyah, disciplinary action by the government can be categorised as mild punishment,” he told Bernama when recently contacted.
Syed Shahridzan said that vaccinations are for the public good and that cooperation is necessary for success.
“We utilise the fiqh (principle) that “al-masalahatu al-‘ammatu muqaddamatun ‘ala al-maslahati al-khaassati” (the public interest takes precedence over private interest), in this case.
“The government can require civil servants to get the COVID-19 vaccine based on maslahat (benefit).
“With the advantage provided by siyasah syar’iyyah, the government could make the COVID-19 vaccine compulsory for all citizens,” he said.
Syed Shahridzan said it was based on the fiqh that “tasarruful Imami ‘ala al-ra‘iyyati manutun bil maslahati” (the ruler’s decision for the people is to be executed in their interest).
He added that the majority of Muslims in Malaysia belong to the Sunnah Wal Jamaah school of thought that makes it obligatory to follow a ruler’s orders in matters related to the public interest and not against syariah.
On Sept 30, the Public Service Department (JPA) made it mandatory for federal civil servants to get a COVID-19 vaccine which must be completed by Nov 1, 2021.
Based on the JPA statement, nearly 98 per cent of civil servants have been vaccinated, while 1.6 per cent (or 16,902 people) have yet to register.
Civil servants are bound by the Public Officers (Conduct and Discipline) Regulations 1993.