Some employers confused over screening policy

PETALING JAYA: As employers are making arrangements to comply with the mandatory Covid-19 screening for foreign workers, some say there is still confusion over the policy.

Malaysian Employers Federation executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said arrangements are still being made by companies to have their foreign workers tested.

“The choice is given to companies to either go to the service providers or to arrange for the service provider to go on-site, depending on the number of workers being screened, ” he said.

He, however, said that it remains unclear whether firms are expected to screen workers periodically, which would be a “big burden” on employers.

“Service fees are borne by the employers, and some service providers are charging RM80 to RM180, ” he said, adding that it is better for the government to determine a fixed rate.

Master Builders Association Malaysia president Foo Chek Lee said there has been confusion among some companies which did not realise that only those in Klang and Seremban are to get their workers tested first.

“There were also some companies which tried to fix appointments with their service providers but the panel clinics did not yet have test kits, ” he said.

He also brought up the issue of different rates charged by service providers for the mandatory screening, and urged for a standardised rate to be fixed.

Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association (Presma) president Datuk Jawahar Ali Taib Khan said that they support the government’s move to implement the mass swab tests for workers but noted that it could have been better planned.

Jawahar also noted that the government can ease the employer’s burden by allowing additional subsidy for the tests.

“As many restaurants are still not making enough revenue, we seek the government’s help in subsiding the costs.

“Also, since there is a rush to get the tests done, we can hardly get any appointment for our employees, ” he said.

Malaysia Singapore Coffeeshop Proprietors’ General Association (MSCPGA) president Datuk Ho Su Mong said the government should give clearer instructions on the tests.

“So far the arrangement has not been properly done. Many proprietors are still puzzled as to where to go for the swab test, ” he said.

Indian Restaurant Operators Association (Primas) president Muthusamy Thirumeni said the challenge restaurant operators are facing with the mass screening is their financial situation during the economic downturn.

“We fully support the government’s order and we will comply with it to help curb the disease.

“Our members are looking for clinics with the best price for the test because the operators themselves are struggling financially.

“Socso’s subsidies would indeed help in easing the cost. However, we hope it could also cover the undocumented workers as well, ” he said.

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