Malaysia’s govt looking at Covid-19 screening for all foreign workers

A passenger wearing a protective mask arrives at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, following the coronavirus outbreak, in Sepang, Malaysia. Reuters. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

PUTRAJAYA, Nov 16, 2020, The Star. The Human Resources Ministry has been asked to look into getting all 1.7 million foreign workers screened for Covid-19 as cases among them are on the rise, says Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, The Star reported.

He said the current policy is for employers hiring foreign workers in the construction sector as well as bodyguards to get their workers tested.

“We have discussed with the ministry to see how we can apply this policy not just to foreigners working in the two fields, but also workers in other sectors.

“There are many aspects that need to be looked into, including the cost as well as to see if our laboratories are able to cope with the high number of samples to be tested, ” he said on Monday (Nov 16).

Ismail Sabri said slightly more than one million foreign workers here are contributing to the Social Security Organisation, which can partially subsidise the cost for screening.

“But we need to determine who will bear the remaining cost and if they are not contributors, who will fork out the fees, ” he said.

Ismail Sabri said the ministry was also asked to see how movement of foreign workers can be controlled to ensure they do not spread Covid-19 to the community.

“If we impose a lockdown on the hostels that they are staying in, we also have to bear in mind that there are those who live in rented houses in residential areas and how we deal with these situations. All this needs to be ironed out, ” he said.

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