Movement of foreign workers in Sarawak under control amid Covid-19 pandemic

Sim Kiang Chiok

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By Adrian Lim

KUCHING, Apr 23: The movement of foreign workers in Sarawak is under control by their employers and can easily be traced if they had contracted the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).

Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers’ Association (Sheda) Kuching branch chairman Sim Kiang Chiok opined that it was easy to detect any foreign workers in Sarawak if they had contracted Covid-19.

He stated that the 138,183 foreign workers in Sarawak were brought in by their sponsors or employers that were approved by the Immigration and Labour Departments.

As a result, he believed those workers are highly controlled and usually the employers also provide them with accommodation in the workers quarters.

“If there is any spread of Covid-19 among the foreign workers, their employers would have to send them to the hospitals for treatment.

“Their (foreign workers) movement can be easily traced and controlled.

“So, it is not very difficult for the Ministry of Health to check and control the potential spread of Covid-19 among those workers.

“Of course, if we have enough tests for Covid-19 , we would like the state government to test all the workers as well as the foreign workers to prevent the spread of the virus.

“However, the tests are only available for those with symptoms and close contact of patients as recommended by the health expert,” he said in a statement.

Sim observed that Sarawak’s economy is depending on foreign workers as the state do not have enough labour or workforce for several economic sectors.

He emphasised that the economy of Sarawak requires manpower to carry out heavy tasks in factories, construction, plantations and selected services sectors until the gradual adoption of machines and automation in the future.

He opined that Sarawak is not spared from the unprecedented global problem in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sim asserted that most countries are in lockdown and most economies activities were halted except for the essential services sector.

On another note, Sim who is Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Stakan branch chairman opined that the federal government must provide financial assistance to employers who employ foreign workers so that the wellbeing of foreign workers can be maintained if the movement control order (MCO) were to be extended.

He noted that during MCO, the foreign workers are not working and will be at their designated quarters.

Hence, he observed that their employers are required to look after their welfare and health.

As a result, Sim noted that their employers would have to support the wellbeing and daily food ration for the foreign workers.—DayakDaily