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Monday, December 28, 2020

Employers defying Covid-19 SOPs risk a year in jail - Ismail Sabri

 


Stubborn employers who violate the Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs), including defying mandatory testing for migrant workers, may risk being charged in court.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Ismail Sabri Yaakob said once convicted, the employers may be sentenced to 12 months' jail.

This came after the government drew flak for letting a rubber glove factory in Klang off the hook with a mere compound of RM1,000 for violating health SOPs.

"It was reported that the factory was only fined RM1,000 and this caused people to feel angry (as) this was a big case, but only an RM1,000 fine was imposed," Ismail told a press conference today.

He reiterated that the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 only allowed the government to impose a maximum RM1,000 fine for offences under the Act.

"If we want to increase the fine to RM10,000, we can. But we need to bring it to Parliament to amend the Act.

"(However), we have decided to give an alternative for the Health Ministry to bring the employers to court, instead of just compounding them," he added.

"So, I hope the employers will give the cooperation to the Human Resources Ministry, which has issued a schedule for them to conduct the screening for their staff," he said.

The compulsory Covid-19 screening for a total of 1.7 million migrant workers started in stages from Dec 1, where the new ruling covered four states and two federal territories, namely Selangor, Penang, Sabah, Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Labuan.

On Dec 24, Ismail expressed his unhappiness as only 42,248 migrant workers were sent by 1,990 employers for the screening. He had threatened to enforce the ruling and take legal action against the employers from Jan 1, 2021.

Today, he said, that 34,903 employers have sent 821,127 migrant workers for tests.

Ismail then urged employers from other states, besides the six mentioned above, to do so for their own good.

"Although I know that the ruling will be expanded to the other states, I hope the employers will take an initiative to send their staff for screening for the sake of their own businesses as their factories will be shut down if their staff are found to be infected," he said. - Mkini

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