Furniture makers: Hasten permits for workers’ dorms

JOHOR BARU: The government should speed up the approval process for furniture manufacturers to set up dormitories for their foreign workers, says the Malaysian Furniture Council.

Its president Khoo Yeow Chong said the council has reminded its members to carry out strict monitoring of their workers’ dormitories to ensure that all Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) were followed.

“Some employers have taken the initiative to rent shoplots or set up dormitories at vacant plots to separate their workers.

“But they are having problems getting the necessary approval from the local councils.

“We hope the government can assist in this matter and expedite the approvals.

“Our industry is willing to cooperate with the authorities to break the chain of infections, ” he said.

Recently, the furniture industry came under the spotlight after Muar’s Poh Huat Furniture Industries Sdn Bhd recorded 543 Covid-19 cases, of which 31 were local workers.

Khoo said foreign workers should not be blamed entirely as it was possible that they contracted the disease from locals, who, being more mobile, were able to travel to other districts and states before the enforcement of the latest movement control order.

He said strict reminders have been given to furniture manufacturers to not let their foreign workers loiter outside the premises and dormitories.

“Currently, the industry is seeing an increase in orders with about 60% of them coming from the United States, followed by Japan and Europe.

“The workers mostly work overtime to fulfil orders and return to their dormitories after work, ” he said.

Khoo said some local workers chose to keep quiet when their family members were exposed to Covid-19 and went to work as usual.

“I urge them to be responsible and alert their employers so that quick action can be taken, ” he said.

Khoo also suggested future industrial areas should allocate a designated area for workers’ dormitories within the vicinity.

State Health and Environment Committee chairman R. Vidyananthan said the Muar health office was in the midst of conducting a field investigation to review the risk and active contact tracing among the workers in the Poh Huat furniture factory located at the Bukit Pasir industrial area.

He said Bukit Pasir has been classified as a red zone, adding that the authorities have isolated patients and put their close contacts under quarantine.

“The local workers have been given a house surveillance order while foreign workers are being quarantined at their dormitories in Kampung Parit Lanjut, ” he said.

He added that Poh Huat was ordered to close its factory until Feb 3 and to provide meals to the quarantined workers.

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Covid-19 , Furniture Factory , Poh Huat


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