MMA: Grant undocumented migrants amnesty to encourage them to go for Covid-19 checks

Foreign workers wait to get tested for Covid-19 at Top Glove’s female staff dormitory in Klang November 18, 2020. — Picture by MIera Zulyana
Foreign workers wait to get tested for Covid-19 at Top Glove’s female staff dormitory in Klang November 18, 2020. — Picture by MIera Zulyana

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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7 — Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) president Datuk Dr M. Subramaniam today urged the government to set up an immigration amnesty programme to encourage undocumented migrant workers to voluntarily be screened for Covid-19.

In a statement today, Dr Subramaniam said that without such a programme, many who are undocumented would likely flee the authorities, risking the virus infection in the country.

Covid-19 health screenings were made mandatory for all migrant workers last week.

“MMA is concerned that without an amnesty programme, the thousands of undocumented workers based in the federal capital may not present themselves for the screenings.

“The fear of punitive action being taken against them or their employers may even lead to workers running away or employers hiding undocumented workers from the authorities,” he said.

Dr Subramaniam asked the Home Ministry and Human Resources Ministry to urgently look into the matter and address the concerns of these workers whom he said were “vulnerable”.

“Failure to test Malaysia's high population of undocumented workers may put the country at risk of increased cases of Covid-19 among foreign workers and the spread of undetected infections in the community,” he said.

Last month, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the first phase of mandatory Covid-19 screenings for foreign workers will be carried out in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Labuan and Negri Sembilan from December 1.

Latest reports suggest that there are about two million documented migrants workers in the country, with undocumented migrants workers numbering two to four million.

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