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Sunday, November 29, 2020

MMA calls for temporary housing for workers after screening

 

New minimum housing standards for workers have come into force from Thursday.

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has criticised the government for lacking the urgency to deal with foreign workers’ accommodation after the latter repeatedly highlighted the need to improve their living conditions to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

MMA president Dr Subramaniam Muniandy applauded the government’s move to implement a targeted Covid-19 screening programme for foreign workers in red zones from Tuesday.

He said suitable temporary accommodation might be needed for workers living in cramped living conditions after being tested. “These issues need to be given more thought and proper, detailed planning is required.

“Screening of foreign workers for Covid-19 is of course an important step to take, but it will make little sense to test them if they are to go back to their cramped living environments,” he said.

He also speculated that employers might not be able to afford to improve workers’ housing conditions under the newly enforced amendments to housing standards for workers.

“If heavy fines are imposed, many employers may not even be able to afford the improvements needed or even to sustain employment of their workers,” he said.

Since June 1, employers are required to meet new minimum standards on workers’ accommodation and basic facilities as well as safety and hygiene standards. Offenders may be fined up to RM50,000 per worker. The government said enforcement of the new standards began this week. - FMT

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