Construction site infections beyond councils’ purview

  • Metro News
  • Friday, 29 May 2020

Health Ministry, and not local councils, has the authority to seal sites with Covid-19 clusters. — Filepic

Local councils in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur have limited powers with regard to construction sites that house Covid-19 clusters.

They emphasised that the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and its regulations were under the purview of Health Ministry.

If a developer or premises owner is found to have violated the Act, the authority to issue compounds and seal sites is under the ministry.

Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) Corporate Planning Department director Khairul Azmir Ahmad said closure of construction sites because of Covid-19 among workers fell under the Health Ministry.

“DBKL only monitors these sites to ensure compliance with construction rules such as permit, approval to extend working hours, cleanliness of the trucks and dengue control,” he said, adding that sites which did not comply with the rules and regulations would be closed.

Khairul added that developers must provide accommodation for their workers, ensure that it is

sufficient and that a development order was needed before temporary accommodation could be built.

On Tuesday, Health director-

general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said new Covid-19 clusters were detected at three construction sites in the Klang Valley.

Shah Alam City Council corporate communications head Shahrin Ahmad said all contractors must show proof that their workers, both local and foreign, had been tested and were clear of Covid-19 before starting work.

In Klang, the contractor must submit plans stating how many workers are working at the site and where they live.

“The movement of workers in and out of the site along with their body temperature must also be taken and recorded,” said Klang Municipal Council president Dr Ahmad Fadzli Ahmad Tajuddin.

Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) corporate communications department deputy director Ahmad Fauzi Ishak said all large-scale construction projects must first get approval from the council before work could commence.

“However, all complaints and site visits related to the movement control order (MCO) are under the jurisdiction of the Construction Industry Development Board,” he said.

In addition to getting prior approval before starting work, Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) said a letter of undertaking on the company’s compliance with the MCO was needed.

MBPJ corporate communications officer Ahmad Iskandar Mohamad Mukhtar said developers and contractors were required to present a construction status report every two weeks.

A Subang Jaya Municipal Council spokesperson said local authorities were mandated to handle applications to resume construction works that were halted.

“Once all the relevant documents are found to be in order, the local authority will issue a permit to allow the developer or building owner to continue construction work,” he said.

MPS president Mohd Fauzi Mohd Yatim said the Selangor government required developers to submit a Covid-19 safety action plan before resuming operations.

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