CM: Penang to work with various NGOs to assist migrants, refugees during MCO

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow speaks during a press conference in George Town March 4, 2020. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow speaks during a press conference in George Town March 4, 2020. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

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GEORGE TOWN, April 13 — The Penang state government is working with various non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to ensure the safety, health and welfare of migrants and refugees, including the Rohingya, are looked after during the movement control order (MCO), said Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.

He said the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) does not discriminate between race, religion or citizenship so it can also spread among the migrant and refugee communities.

Chow said the state is working with NGOs that are assisting these communities such as Persatuan Komuniti Berdikari, Penang Stop Human Trafficking Campaign, ASPIRE Penang, Malaysian Relief Agency, Doctors Without Borders, Caremongers Penang and Penang Working Group. 

“Last week, I approved an allocation to the Persatuan Komuniti Berdikari as aid to the refugees in the state,” he said in his daily message on Facebook today. 

He said the state has also advised employers such as the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) and Real Estates and Housing Developers Association (Rehda) Penang branch to ensure the safety and welfare of their workers, including migrants, are taken care of.

He said FMM has given their feedback that all migrant workers were instructed to adhere to the MCO and that public safety and health measures such as social distancing are practised in essential services factories. 

“Face masks and hand sanitisers were also provided to migrant workers required to work in essential services factories,” he said.

As an additional safety measure, Chow said the local authorities from both city councils will regularly monitor construction sites to ensure compliance of the MCO.

Chow noted that as of now, employers have continued to pay the salaries of their migrant workers despite complaints from employers, particularly the small-medium enterprises, on the additional financial burden faced due to the extension of the MCO.

On the distribution of food to the needy, he said a total of 20,000 packages of food items have been distributed to poor families in the southwest district of the island.

He said there are five collection and distribution centres prepared by the state’s Mutiara Food Bank in all five districts in the state.

The centres are in Caring Society Complex and Dewan Kompleks Pasar Awam Balik Pulau on the island, the Pejabat Persatuan Bomba dan Sukarela Raja Uda in North Seberang Perai, Dewan JKR Taman Bukit Kecil, Bukit Mertajam in Central Seberang Perai and Dewan MPKK Bukit Panchor, Nibong Tebal in South Seberang Perai.

Chow said he has received complaints of weak internet connection in Green Garden, Paya Terubong which had affected the online learning platform of a university student.

“Although it may seem trivial for some, I feel that internet connectivity is important during the MCO and it should be given focus,” he said.

He had also received complaints that the International Trade and Industry Ministry (MITI) website could not be accessed.

“I hope these issues will be resolved immediately,” he said.

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