The mandatory Covid-19 screening of Malaysia’s 1.7 million foreign employees

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PETALING JAYA – In view of the high number of cases involving the party, Malaysia has imposed compulsory Covid-19 screening for 1.7 million foreign employees.

And effective Thursday, November 26, if employers house their foreign workers in cramped spaces, the authorities will also begin enforcing a fine of RM50,000 (S$16,442) per worker.

Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who declared this, said that in Selangor, Labuan, Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Negeri Sembilan, the first stage of the Covid-19 screening involving 888,342 foreign workers will be carried out.

The Ministry of Human Resources will begin implementing tomorrow (Thursday Nov 26) the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990. Employers who breach the regulations will be fined RM 50,000 per worker, he said on Wednesday.

He called on employers to take the initiative without waiting for an order from the authorities to get their employees to undergo Covid-19 tests first.

“It is better to test early and pay the bill rather than waiting for the disease to spread, as factory operators will suffer greater losses when their premises are forced to shut down to contain the spread of Covid-19, ” he said.

As for the required screening in stages, for the rapid antigen test, Socso will pay RM60 per employee.

Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri said that it would be a great challenge, even though only 1 percent of foreign workers tested positive for Covid-19.

Mr. Ismail Sabri said Top Glove is the single largest contributor to the Covid-19 cases in the country, accounting for 1,511 of the total 2,188 cases reported in a day nationwide.

He said 27 of the 28 plants had been ordered closed, while another would be ordered to be closed pending the screening of all its employees by Covid-19 and a 14-day quarantine order.

He said that in the male and female hostels, the authorities had placed an enhanced movement control order (MCO) effective Nov 17.

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