Pasir Gudang’s PKR MP says govt's failure to ensure proper workers living condition reason for spike in Covid-19 cases

Pasir Gudang MP Hassan Abdul Karim speaks during a press conference at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur August 11,2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Pasir Gudang MP Hassan Abdul Karim speaks during a press conference at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur August 11,2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

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JOHOR BARU, April 16 — A Johor PKR MP today claimed that the previous and current government had overlooked the implementation of laws that could have been used to ensure workers are provided with proper living conditions.

Pasir Gudang MP Hassan Abdul Karim said failure to do so has led to the recent surge of Covid-19 cases nationwide.

He said that the previous and current governments could have used a particular law related to improving living condition standards that were enacted in 2019.

He said poor living conditions of workers’ hostel was attributed to the country’s profit-driven capitalists who tend to neglect their employees living conditions, triggering large-scale Covid-19 infections.

“The Barisan Nasional (BN) government, the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government and the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government had overlooked, neglected or did not care about the implementation of a law called the Housing and Amenities Act 2019 or similar acts.

“All ministers and deputy ministers from the Human Resources Ministry involving the three governments mentioned above should be held accountable,” said Hassan in a statement issued here today.

Yesterday, Health Ministry director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah reported that there are 2,148 new Covid-19 positive cases in the country.

On the law covering living standards of workers, Hassan said the act known as Act 446 was related to housing standards or housing for workers.

However, he added that many did not bother to touch on the importance of the act whether it was the government or industry players.

Hassan said that an estimated 83 per cent of Covid-19 cases in the country came from the manufacturing sector, especially factories, where the worker’s hostels are cramped and overcrowded.

He said such worker living conditions were ideal for the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

“Yesterday, Malaysia recorded 2,148 new Covid-19 positive cases which is the highest figure recorded in the last 40 days.

“Is the increase due to famous celebrities travelling across the state for honeymooning in Langkawi? The answer is no.

“On the other hand, Malaysia allows greedy capitalists to pursue profits to the point that they do not care about the health and welfare of their workers’ living conditions,” said Hassan.

The PKR lawyer-cum-activist was also alluding to Malaysian celebrity entrepreneur Noor Neelofa Mohd Noor and her husband’s controversial working trip when the newlyweds were photographed enjoying water sports activities on the holiday island of Langkawi in Kedah shortly after their wedding that created public backlash.

Hassan also pointed out that the manufacturing sector, such as the rubber glove factory used a lot of foreign labour.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic period, these companies made billions of ringgit in profits but their workers were cramped in the hostel with deplorable living conditions.

“Parliament is tired of enacting laws, but the government’s failure to enforce it makes the existing laws useless,” said Hassan.

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