Industry players urge govt to standardise cost of Covid-19 tests

PETALING JAYA: Various industry players are asking the authorities to standardise the cost of Covid-19 tests in the private sector before imposing mandatory testing for all foreign workers.

They claimed that the price of the tests varied greatly from one clinic to another.

Malaysia Employers Federation executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said the cost of antigen rapid test kit for Covid-19 varied greatly from RM80 to RM180 each, while the rt-PCR test costs RM365 each.

SME Association of Malaysia president Datuk Michael Kang said the antigen rapid test kit cost between RM50 and RM100, while the rt-PCR test was between RM150 and RM400.

The industry players said it was high time the authorities standardise the Covid-19 test pricing in the private sector to curb profiteering.

Shamsuddin said the government gave a RM60 subsidy for each worker but the employer would need to foot the balance.

“Employers are already facing cashflow problems, with decreasing revenues and rising operational costs, ” he added.

He said employers would be burdened further if the authorities were to impose another new ruling later to compel all foreign workers to undergo Covid-19 tests every two weeks.

“Is it viable to enforce the ruling in areas that are not affected by the pandemic?

“It is better for the authorities to stick to the targeted approach like before, where the focus was on high-risk areas such as construction sites, ” he added.

Shamsuddin questioned how the authorities would test illegal foreign workers as no companies would admit to employing them.

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri announced on Wednesday that all the 1.7 million foreign workers must undergo Covid-19 test.

Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai said its members supported the government’s proactive move to test all foreign workers.

“Conducting the tests would allow for early detection as some may remain asymptomatic.

“If found positive, we can then take the necessary measures, including treatment, contact tracing and more extensive testing of workers, apart from implementing deep sanitisation and disinfection exercise at the workplace.

“However, we note that to date, the official guidelines of this requirement, including the procedure for claims for the cost of testing, have yet to be released by Socso, ” he said.

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