LABUAN: The influx of foreign workers is among the major reasons for the spread of tuberculosis (TB) in the country.
Based on statistics, about 18,000 cases were reported in 2010, rising to 20,000 in 2011 with 1,600 fatalities.
Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Hilmi Yahaya said efforts to monitor the spread of the disease had been enhanced with foreign workers being required to undergo mandatory health screenings.
He said that out of 30,000 foreign workers brought into the country, 20,000 had failed the health screening carried out by the ministry.
"Foreign workers wishing to work in this country must undergo two health screenings, one in the country of their origin and the other in Malaysia, before they are issued with a working visa," he told reporters after a one-day working visit to Labuan Sunday.
Dr Hilmi also said there were foreign workers who had passed the health screening carried out at home but failed the test here. Most of these workers were from Indonesia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar and the Philippines.
He said foreign workers who failed the health screening here would be repatriated home. -Bernama