Ismail Sabri: Foreign worker screening vital to avoid Singapore’s Covid-19 situation

Health workers test a foreign worker for Covid-19 at Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur April 16, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Health workers test a foreign worker for Covid-19 at Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur April 16, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 5 — Employers must ensure their migrant workers are tested for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) to prevent Malaysia from experiencing a spike in cases similar to Singapore, said Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

In his daily security briefing today, Ismail urged employers to understand the objective of the new ruling.

The minister pointed out that there were recent spikes in Covid-19 cases and the emergence of a new cluster linked to migrant workers.

“As I said, this is prevention, because we don’t want what happened to Singapore, where previously they had a flat trend of positive cases but because there is a new cluster, which is the foreign worker cluster in Singapore, their positive Covid-19 cases rose sharply.

Yesterday, Ismail Sabri announced that Covid-19 testing is now mandatory for all foreign workers in Malaysia, with their employers bearing the cost of swab tests.

Responding to his announcement yesterday, Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan voiced concern over the cost employers will have to bear, estimated at some RM1.15 billion.

Ismail also explained that some 60 per cent of foreign workers are contributors to the Social Security Organisation (Socso), with Covid-19 covered under the scheme.

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