‘Some employers doing more for wellbeing of foreign staff’


SOME members of the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) have been doing more than required for foreign workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

FMM Penang chairman Datuk Jimmy Ong said the members had to ensure the wellbeing of their workers as they could not afford to shut down their operations during these trying times.

“Some of them did more than required for the wellbeing of their foreign workers amid the pandemic.

“Besides paying for the workers’ Covid-19 tests, they also paid for the hospitalisation bills and salary of those who were told to exercise self-quarantine during this period, ” he said during a virtual press conference on Friday.

It was reported that for the third wave, the manufacturing sector recorded the highest number of cases followed by services and construction sectors in Penang.

Ong said even with the Covid-19 vaccines, the authorities should continue to enforce the standard operating procedures (SOPs) in the community.

He said the government’s move to impose a maximum fine of RM10,000 for those who breach the movement control order (MCO) regulations should be applauded.

He, however, said that clear guidelines should be spelt out and clearly defined so that they won’t be interpreted differently by different authorities and causing confusion among the public.

“Since MCO was implemented last year, there are so many guidelines and SOPs that have been issued.

“Sometimes, it’s very confusing, ” he said.

Asked if FMM could cope if the government decided to extend the MCO, Ong said they won’t be affected much as the industries had been allowed to operate as normal all this while.

He, however, said it would help the industries if the inter-state travel ban was lifted.

The MCO in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Johor and Penang has been extended until March 4.

All the other states, Putrajaya and Labuan with the exception of Perlis, have been placed under the conditional MCO.

Perlis is the only state to be placed under the recovery MCO.

On proper accommodation to be provided to all foreign workers, Ong said FMM had appealed to the government for a 12-month grace period to comply with the amended Minimum Standard of Housing and Amenities Act which came into force in Sept 1,2020.

He said FMM was still sorting out several matters, including appeals to the federal and state governments to expedite the approval of converting shoplots into dormitories.

In March 2020, the government announced that employers must provide accommodation for all their workers in all sectors under the Act.

The new regulations, among others, require employers and centralised accommodation providers to provide every worker with a single bed measuring not less than 1.7sq m.

If a double-decker bed is provided, the space between two beds shall not be less than 0.7sq m.

Employers should also provide a mattress of at least four inches thick, a pillow and a blanket and a cupboard with lock (measuring a minimum 0.35m-long, 0.35m-wide, 0.9m-high).

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