Grant testing amnesty to illegal immigrants, govt urged


PETALING JAYA: Manufacturers and non-governmental organisations are calling for an amnesty programme to encourage undocumented foreign workers to go for Covid-19 screening.

Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai said undocumented foreign workers should have the chance to come forward to get tested without fear of being detained.

“Opportunity must also be given to these people, if found clear of the virus, to go home with no penalties, as long as there is a government-to-government agreement to facilitate their travel.

“They will have to find other ways to get them to come forward, as they are the most vulnerable group.

“They live with other undocumented workers in quarters that do not meet minimum housing standards for living, increasing their risk of infection, ” he said in an interview.

Mercy Malaysia president Datuk Dr Ahmad Faizal Perdaus said the likelihood of undocumented migrant workers coming forward to a government health facility was low.

“It is not because they don’t want to be tested, but they are afraid of being arrested.

“There have been migrant workers, both legal and illegal, who were tested and found symptomatic and referred for treatment but those with mild or no symptoms likely won’t come forward, ” he said.

Although mass screening on foreign workers and refugees throughout the country was not necessary at the moment, Dr Ahmad Faizal said more could be done to improve the screening of this group of people.

“We probably do not have enough of them tested yet, ” he said, referring to the estimated six million foreign workers and 190,000 refugees in Malaysia.

Tenaganita director and consultant Joseph Paul Maliamauv said undocumented foreign workers should be tested, just like underprivileged Malaysians living in poverty.

“The government should send a clear message that during this amnesty, they are safe and if they feel unwell they can be tested.”

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