GEORGE TOWN, Sept 23 — The Penang Island City Council (MBPP) will introduce mandatory Covid-19 testing of workers at construction sites at least once every two weeks from October.

MBPP Mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang said all construction firms will be required to submit a report of their workers’ test results from each work site to the city council.

“We will enforce this starting from October and the safety officers at each construction site must ensure that all Covid-19 SOPs including the RTK testing are complied with,” he said in a press conference after announcing the city council’s budget 2022 through a teleconference council meeting today.

Other than construction sites, Yew said the city council will also make sure its frontline workers and those who have to work physically in offices take the RTK tests every two weeks.

“This is the way forward to continue with our 3T approach to managing Covid-19 of testing, tracing and treatment,” he said.

He said most factories in Penang have already put in place this requirement to test their workers every two weeks.

“We had a fruitful meeting with Frepenca yesterday and they have informed us of the good practises they put in place to have all of their employees and vendors take the RTK antigen test every two weeks,” he said.

Frepenca or Free Industrial Zone Penang Companies’ Association is a non-governmental organisation made up of about 70 factories in Penang.

Although more people have been vaccinated, Yew said data showed that more than 40 per cent of Covid-19 positive cases are those who have been fully vaccinated.

“So, we have to remain careful, even if you are fully vaccinated, it doesn’t mean you will not contract it, vaccination only reduces the severity of the infection,” he said.

On moving forward towards managing Covid-19 as an endemic, MBPP will also be training the management corporation (MC) and joint management bodies (JMB) of strata-titled buildings on the proper management of Covid-19 cases within their premises.

“We will train community leaders to set up their own Community Squad Lawan Covid-19 so that they know how to handle and manage positive cases, home quarantine cases and close contact cases,” he said.

He said there is now a need to empower the community so that everyone will understand how to manage Covid-19 cases.

“Next week, we will organise a webinar for all MCs and JMBs to train them,” he said.

The city council has already launched a ‘train the trainers’ programme to create Community Squad Lawan Covid-19 at the public housing flat in Jalan Sungai this month.

Earlier, Yew announced a deficit budget of RM24.89 million with an estimated revenue of RM358.91 million and estimated expenditure of RM383.8 million.

He said MBPP recorded a surplus of RM1.57 million in 2020 as many infrastructure projects were put on hold or could not be implemented due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

For 2022, he said the city council has come up with a realistic budget to only implement projects that are urgent and a continuation of existing projects.

“We are adopting a new approach to reduce expenditure by using the public private professional people partnership (5P) model for some projects,” he said.

He said requests for proposals will be called to implement some projects such as the construction of the Teluk Kumbar market complex and the upgrading works for the Lorong Kulim hawker complex and stadium food court at Jalan Perak.