JOHOR BARU: The state government is taking strict measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 among foreign workers and will come down hard on employers who do not cooperate and get them tested for the virus before allowing them to come back to work.
Health and environment committee chairman R. Vidyananthan said as of May 25, 17 foreign workers had tested positive for Covid-19.
“Most of them have recovered, with seven still in hospital.
“However, the people must not be complacent and adhere to rules and regulations put in place to contain the spread of the virus.
“In Johor, there are many construction sites and industries that employ foreigners and as such we must be vigilant,” he said, adding that a total 671 Covid-19 cases had been recorded statewide since March.
He said so far, 48,769 foreigners had applied for the Covid-19 Prihatin Screening Programme (PSP Perkeso).
Johor Social Security Organisation (Socso) has provided PSP Perkeso, a service to screen and test workers in Johor,” said Vidyananthan.
He pointed out that it was the employer’s responsibility to get their workers tested at designated private clinics, if they were not registered with Socso.
“Enforcement teams will conduct checks and stern action will be taken against employers found flouting standard operating procedures (SOP),” he said.
Vidyananthan added that besides the Covid-19 testing, employers must put in place a system to record their workers’ body temperature daily before starting work, provide sanitiser and wash basins, conduct regular cleaning and disinfection at common areas and always practise social distancing at the workplace.
“Workers living in their own accommodation must be told to take safety measures and sanitise their living area regularly,” he said.
He said officers from the Labour department were tasked to monitor such premises.
Johor investment, cooperatives, entrepreneurship development and human resource committee chairman Mohd Izhar Ahmad said employers played an important role in ensuring their workers followed all the guidelines and SOP set by the government.
“The government through the Health Ministry, the International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti) and the National Security Council (MKN) have met with industry players, including the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers, to discuss the matter.
“The SOP does not only apply to work sites but also the workers’ hostels and transportation.
“Their hostels must be regularly checked to ensure rooms are not crowded and are disinfected.
“The number of workers allowed to be ferried in factory buses to the workplace must be limited. They must follow all of these regulations to help contain the virus,” said Mohd izhar.
Johor housing and local government committee chairman Ayub Jamil said local authorities (PBT) in the state have been directed to carry out inspections at business premises and industries since March 21.
“The inspections involve several agencies including MKN, Miti, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry’s Johor enforcement unit and others.
Ayub said inspections were focused on districts that have the most number of industries such as Johor Baru, Batu Pahat and Muar.
He said a total of 128,705 business premises and industries were inspected between March 21 and May 3.