More dorms for foreign workers

PENANG will expedite the construction of dormitories for foreign workers to ensure they are sited in areas with better living conditions.

State local government committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said at the moment, two dormitory schemes for foreign workers in Batu Maung and Bukit Minyak had been completed and could accommodate more than 6,000 workers.

“A few new clusters of Covid-19 have emerged and nearly three quarters of them are from Bayan Lepas.

“There is a need for us to expedite our efforts to place foreign workers in suitable places,” he said in a press conference outside the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Pulau Tikus.

Jagdeep said the state government had sped up efforts to ensure foreign workers are placed in proper dwellings as a measure to prevent Covid-19 outbreaks.

He said apart from the two completed dormitories for foreign workers, seven more dormitory schemes with 61,918 beds were under construction, while another two schemes that can provide 10,700 beds have been requested by developers.

He said these 11 dormitories could cater to a total of 78,839 occupants when operational.

He, however, said these 11 dormitories were still not enough because the state has almost 200,000 foreign workers.

“Among the other methods that we are working on to solve this issue are to allow the conversion of commercial spaces that are not being used into dormitories and to consider several applications from factories with big land space to build temporary dormitories for their workers,” he added.

The state government, he said, had received applications to build dormitories using these two methods, two of which are to build them on the island and 13 applications for the mainland.

Earlier, Jagdeep distributed some 100 packs of food items to Penang Eurasian Association chairman Datuk Aloysius Gasper, to be given to the needy community in Pulau Tikus.

He also distributed face masks to the public and enforcement officers in the area.

Jagdeep was accompanied by Pulau Tikus assemblyman Chris Lee to check on standard operating procedure compliance at the church during the lockdown.

On the issue of mass screening programme at all 40 state constituencies in Penang, Jagdeep said the details of the programme were being finalised by the state government.

He said the programme had been approved and RM3mil had been set aside to conduct the mass screening exercise.

“Now, we are working to

finalise it and we are identifying places to do the programme,” he said.

Jagdeep added that the mass screening exercise was expected to finish within a month.

Last month, the state government decided to carry out the first phase of mass testing for about 40,000 people in the state in a move to break the chain of infection.

This would involve the testing of 1,000 people in each of the 40 state constituencies.

The testing of some 400,000 factory workers in Penang using the deep throat saliva method also began early this month.

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