Lee Lam Thye: Not right to compel foreign workers to wear wristbands

PETALING JAYA: It is not right to compel foreign workers to wear wristbands when they are not officially placed under a quarantine order, says Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.

The Alliance for Safe Community chairman added that the proposal to compel foreign workers to wear wristbands would only lead to stigmatisation.

"We are of the view that this proposal must be carefully studied in view of possible negative implications. Presently, wristbands are only worn by those undergoing quarantine for having had close contact with Covid-19 patients," he said.

He said this in response to reactions to a proposal to have foreign workers wear pink wristbands at a construction site although they were not placed under a quarantine order.

Lee said some people were already alienating themselves from foreign workers following news linking Covid-19 to foreign workers.

"If the wristband proposal is to be pushed through, such a drastic measure should only be for a specified period of time. It should only be part of a short-term measure.

"The medium-term and long-term solution lies in the provision of improved living conditions for foreign workers, a large number of whom are employed in the construction sector and are living in crowded quarters,” said Lee.

He added that foreign workers deserve better accommodations and improved access to healthcare, including stress management and counselling.

"For too long now, the workers have largely been left to fend for themselves. They are not unionised and are occasionally subjected to the whims of their employers,” said Lee.

He added that if insufficient attention is paid to these issues, there will be those who will exploit the situation by sensationalising it and putting the nation in a bad light.

"We must show we care. We should regularly engage the respective embassies to understand the foreign workers' needs and concerns, apart from providing the necessary relief wherever possible," he said.

Lee also said that continuous education and awareness campaigns must be carried out to educate foreign workers on the need to strictly comply with standard operating procedures and to observe stringent hygienic practices at their workplace.

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