Chaudhry: A-G should stop playing God with people

Former Prime Minister and Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU/FILE

Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has no right to deny social protection payments to citizens who choose not to vaccinate, says Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry.

“He must stop playing God with people who need State assistance to survive,” the former prime minister said.

“They are our people and like all else have a right to life and must be protected.

“The Government has already cost lives by not taking timely lockdown action to prevent the spread of the virus despite repeated calls by community leaders, Opposition political parties and leading business executives.

The provision of basic human needs in times of national emergency is the duty and responsibility of the Government –– that is where the buck stops.”

Mr Chaudhry said citizens exercising their constitutional rights “must not be denied humanitarian assistance”.

“I call on the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission to condemn in the strongest terms the decision of the Economy Minister Mr Sayed-Khaiyum to peg humanitarian assistance on getting vaccinated.”

While delivering the 2021- 2022 budget last Friday, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said beginning August 1, 2021, every Fijian affected by COVID-19 in the formal and informal sector would be entitled to a monthly allowance of $120 for six months, provided they had received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

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