Essential services workers take the risk to serve others

  • Nation
  • Friday, 27 Mar 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: From grass cutters, cleaners, food delivery men, postmen to bus drivers and convenient shop workers, all of them are putting in the hours amid the country fighting a contagion.

A convenience store worker, who only wanted to be known as Farah, said there is no such thing as family time for those working in essential services like hers.

“Yes, I feel fear when I wake up in the morning to go to work. I have to take the bus from my house in Segambut to work and I do feel insecure, ” she said.

She shared about her worry of catching the virus from customers at the store and infecting her family members later.

“But I have to be at work to serve the people. And when I get home, it’s late at night and my family members are already sleeping, ” said Farah, 25.

Given the choice, she would have preferred to spend time teaching her two siblings, aged five and 10, how to do their homework or draw.

Farah said some of her colleagues took extra precautions by taking a shower at the workplace before going home, and having another bath when they got home.

“We wash our work clothes every night in warm water and shower before even greeting any family member, ” she added.

Bakery store worker Adzme Abd Amid, 20, wished for nothing more than to be with his family back in Keningau in times like this.

“Those of us in the essential services would also want to stay home but we can’t, ” he said.

“So, those who have been asked to work from home or stay home, just do it.”

A food delivery man, who only wanted to be known as Mie, 25, is nervous about having to work these days.

“But food delivery riders are considered very important at this time.

“If there are no riders, more people will go out to look for food and the risk of the virus spreading will be higher, ” he said.

Pharmacist Rudy Rabi, 38, urged the public to stay home and only go out when necessary.

After he gets home from work, Rudy said he would clean himself up before approaching his wife and their two daughters, aged five and three.

Head of courier service T. Sivakumar said he would ensure that consignments are managed effectively during the movement control order (MCO).

Sivakumar, 40, said daily disinfection is also done before and after deliveries.

Strict safety procedures are maintained during this period, including social distancing between staff at the workplace and also when delivering the consignment.

“We miss the days when the staff would gather for drinks after work. Now, we mingle less. Get the job done and leave for home straight away, ” he said.

Nine September Group Sdn Bhd managing director Datin Zainab Jamil deploys more than 30 cleaners and landscape maintenance workers to residential blocks and offices in six locations in Selangor.

“It is crucial to maintain cleanliness in the battle against Covid-19.”

Zainab said the cleaners are reminded daily to maintain the social distancing rule, even among co-workers.

A Grab Food customer service personnel member said that riders have been told to deliver food a metre away from the customer.

“Customers in high-rise buildings are required to collect their food at the lobby. It is compulsory for riders to wear a mask and gloves, ” he said.

Pan-Malaysian Bus Operators Association president Datuk Mohamad Ashfar Ali spoke about carrying out a routine disinfection exercise for the safety of the passengers and drivers.

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