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Monday, December 28, 2020

Our hands are tied, says Ismail on RM1,000 fine for company over SOP breach


Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob says from February, the human resources ministry’s requirement for foreign workers to be tested will be expanded to more states. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The government is only able to impose a fine of RM1,000 on companies due to limitations under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1998 (Act 342), Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob said today.

He said the Act currently only allowed authorities to charge a maximum penalty of RM1,000 to any company as a whole, a sum similar to any individual found flouting SOPs during the movement control orders (MCO).

Ismail’s comments come after criticisms over a RM1,000 fine imposed against a glove factory in Port Klang for violating health SOPs following a raid last week.

“If we want to increase (the fine) to RM10,000, that can be done, but this Act must be brought to Parliament to be amended,” he said in a press conference.

Following this, he said the government will now allow the health ministry to either impose a RM1,000 fine or to bring employers straight to court, in which they may be jailed for up to a year.

He said the court option will come into effect on Jan 1, under the same Act.

The human resources ministry had previously reported to the National Security Council (MKN) that many employers still refused to comply with mandatory screenings for their foreign workers, which was imposed from Dec 1.

Noting that 34,903 bosses have sent 821,127 of their foreign employees for tests so far, Ismail urged all employers to cooperate with the human resources ministry to conduct screenings for their staff.

While the ruling currently only applies for Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Sabah, Labuan and Negeri Sembilan, he added that it will be expanded to other states from February onwards.

“Employers in the unaffected states should take the initiative to send their workers for screening, for the sake of their own businesses,” he said. - FMT

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