Sectors with foreign workers prepare for screenings

The right way: Some say it might be better for the authorities to identify high-risk sectors rather than issue a blanket screening directive for all workers. — CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: A number of companies that employ foreign workers feel the government should not implement a blanket Covid-19 screening of such workers but are nonetheless ready to get it done.

An established nasi kandar restaurant chain with 28 outlets, which employs 700 foreign workers, said it is preparing to screen all its workers soon.

“We are aware of the government directive and we were the first to shut our 28 outlets throughout the country in April for sanitisation and have since been doing it periodically, ” said company director Datuk Sihabutheen Kirudu Mohamed.

“There hasn’t been a single case of Covid-19 in our restaurants or in our 50 worker hostels as we give priority to cleanliness, ” he added.

Sihabutheen said the company has been preparing for the screening for some time since the government made it compulsory for the construction industry.

“It will be more convenient for the screening to be done in our outlets or hostels rather than sending workers to a designated place as it will disrupt our operations.

“We will adhere to the government directive but it will be better if the process minimally affects business during these trying times, ” he said.

On the other hand, the managing director of a contract manufacturing company in Bukit Minyak said he will wait and see if the government will issue any additional directives on the screening of foreign workers nationwide.

Datuk R. Subramaniam said he has about 60 foreign workers who are housed in hostels that have very strict standard operating procedure in place.

“We do not even allow them to go out to buy anything; everything is done for them, including having a staff member running errands for them.

“The hostels are frequently sanitised as required by the Health Ministry, ” he said.

They are still waiting for the deadline to be announced before screening the workers as he noted that there appears to be very vague directions from the government currently, he said.

“If the manufacturing industry is high risk, we will do it. But it will be better to identify which sector has foreign workers at high risk rather than a blanket screening directive for all, ” he added.

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penang , foreign workers , covid-19 , testing , screening


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