Penang begins screening foreign workers

Bangladeshi construction workers chatting while preparing their lunch inside their container cabin kongsi at the construction site in Jalan Datuk Koyah in George Town, Penang. — Filepic

SOME 3,000 foreign workers living in dormitories have been screened following the mandatory Covid-19 exercise effective Dec 1.

Penang local government committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said he would conduct spot checks on the said dormitories today.

“I will be visiting the dormitories for a spot check and hope to see all of the foreign workers tested negative.

“The screening process is ongoing by the respective employers and the state government is monitoring the situation on the ground, ” said Jagdeep during a press conference at the City Hall in Esplanade yesterday.

Starting Dec 1, foreign workers in all sectors are required to undergo mandatory Covid-19 screenings.

This is following a spike in infections at workplaces, particularly in factories and construction sites.

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said on Friday that the screening would be done in phases, with the first phase in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Labuan and Negri Sembilan.

He also suggested that employers fix appointments with private healthcare facilities to conduct the Covid-19 RTK-Antigen test.

In Penang, there are a total of 127,000 registered foreign workers in various sectors, including 15,000 workers from construction who had gone through mass screening in April this year.

Jagdeep said the state had always maintained its stand that the Federal Government should seek ways to smoothen the screening process by subsidising the cost, ensuring clinics have adequate capacity to conduct testing and the standard operating procedures are strictly adhered to.

The Federal Government had said all foreign workers had to undergo Covid-19 screening with the cost borne by the employers.

On another matter, Jagdeep said the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and Seberang Prai City Council (MBSP) would begin the process of ensuring that 30% of women are appointed as councillors next year.

“At present, nine out of the 48 councillors in both the councils are women, which is almost 20% of the targeted number, ” he said.

Jagdeep said the quota for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) would also be opened up to other NGOs as well instead of just the only two now from Penang Forum and Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce.

“Both the moves are for gender equality and greater transparency, ” he said.

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