Compound, legal action awaits employers who fail to send foreign workers for Covid-19 screening

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Healthcare workers from the Ministry of Health record the personal information of the foreign workers before they undergo Covid-19 screening at Dewan D' Kelana in Petaling Jaya, Selangor. PIX: AFFAN FAUZI / MalaysiaGazette / 23 OCTOBER 2020
Healthcare workers from the Ministry of Health record the personal information of the foreign workers before they undergo Covid-19 screening at Dewan D' Kelana in Petaling Jaya, Selangor. PIX: AFFAN FAUZI / MalaysiaGazette / 23 OCTOBER 2020

By Kumara Sabapatty

KUALA LUMPUR – Employers who fail to send their foreign workers for Covid-19 screening will be given two options.

Either a compound will be issued against them or, they will be dragged to the court for a heftier punishment, said Senior Minister (Security Cluster), Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

According to him, the order will come in effect on 1 January 2021.

Since 1 December, the government had ordered all foreign workers, especially from six states in Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Penang, Sabah, Kuala Lumpur and Labuan to undergo Covid-19 screening and the cost will be borne by their respective employers.

“As of now, the Ministry of Human Resources (KSM) said that 70,159 foreign workers have undergone Covid-19 screening involving 2,405 employers,” he said during the news conference today.

Therefore, KSM also verified that 34,903 employers have registered and it involved 821,127 foreign worker in those six states.

He further shared that 749 clinics are involved in the screening programme.

“The government is told that each clinic will screen 200 to 400 employees daily. Beginning 1 January 2020, the government will enforce the order under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act (Act 342) where legal actions and penalties will be executed on employers who fail to comply to this order.

“We give the Ministry of Health two options. It’s either they issue the RM1,000 compound or to charge them at court for imprisonment,” said Ismail Sabri.

Commenting on the public’s criticism about a rubber gloves factory in Klang which was only slapped with the RM1,000 fine for violating standard operating procedures (SOP), he said, “I understand the rage of the people and they questioned why is the factory being fined RM1,000 only. I would like to explain here that under the Act 342, the maximum punishment provided is RM1,000 only.

“If we want to increase the penalty to RM10,000, we need to bring the act to the court for it to be amended before its implementation, unless, cases we bring to court, which provides the maximum imprisonment of 12 months.

“I hope that the employers can work with the KSM and the inspection schedule by MOH,” he said.

Meanwhile, besides those six states, employers in other states can also take their own initiatives by sending their foreign workers for the screening.

“If there are Covid-19 positive cases within their foreign workers, we will shut their factories,” he added. -MalaysiaGazette

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