By Adrian Lim
KUCHING, Dec 23: Companies which require the services of foreign workers are allowed to hire them starting next year.
State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said the committee has studied the policy to allow companies to rehire foreign workers after the policy was halted recently to break the chain of the Covid-19 transmission among illegal immigrants following some cases detected among illegal immigrants in the past few weeks.
Nonetheless, he pointed out that employers who need to hire foreign workers are required to follow the guidelines and the standard operating procedures (SOPs) set by the committee.
“Employers who need to bring in foreign workers to Sarawak must apply with the Immigration Department and follow the guidelines.
“We hope by opening up the policy of rehiring foreign workers, it can help to reduce the cases of Covid-19 among illegal immigrants.
“With less cases of illegal immigrants, we can tackle the source of Covid-19 among them and further lower down the cases,” he said during a press conference on the updates of the Covid-19 situation in Sarawak here today.
Uggah explained that employers who need to bring in foreign workers need to bear the cost of transportation from the entry point to the quarantine centre as well as the cost of quarantine and swab tests for the foreign workers.
He revealed that the decision to allow employers in Sarawak to rehire foreign workers will be effective on January 1, 2021.
Uggah stressed that it is the responsibility of employers to ensure that the foreign workers that they will bring into Sarawak are free from Covid-19.
He disclosed that foreign workers who arrived in Sarawak will be required to undergo a 14-days quarantine period.
“I think the oil palm industries need a lot of workers and also maids.
“That’s why a lot of illegal immigrants came in.
“We want to stop that and there was one time we stopped and there were many illegal immigrants and then we opened the policy to hire foreign workers and then we see the reduction (entry of illegal immigrants).
“Recently, we have also closed (policy) but now we feel that the number of (Covid-19) cases in Sarawak are getting flattened.
“There is always a balance between economic requirements and health.
“That’s why this issue (of rehiring foreign workers) was deliberated and we feel that this is an appropriate time for us to open up to avoid especially the entry of illegal immigrants,” he added.
On another note, Uggah who is Modernisation Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Minister said the General Operation Force (PGA) has arrested three locals and two Indonesians for smuggling goods estimated worth RM1.03 million.
He disclosed that the arrest was made after PGA conducted an inspection at Raso, Lundu, and discovered two lorries and one four-wheel-drive that carry goods to be smuggled to Indonesia at illegal routes.—DayakDaily