MTUC urges govt to prioritise workers’ health as it reopens economy

Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) logo

KUCHING, May 11: The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) urges the government to prioritise employees’ health as it moves to revive the country’s economy.

Its secretary-general J Solomon in a statement revealed MTUC is concerned about the possibility of making further modifications to current rules and standard operating procedures (SOP), or making more amendments to the list of sectors that are allowed to operate, in light of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s announcement the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) would be extended to June 9.

According to Solomon, based on the pronouncements of the Prime Minister and his Cabinet members of late, it is clear that the government is shifting into high gear to accelerate the opening up of the economy, albeit, balancing it with the need to safeguard public safety against the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

“MTUC hopes that for the remaining duration of the CMCO, the government will accord top priority to resolving the host of problems on the ground pertaining to the Covid-19 screening of workers.

“It is imperative that the outstanding issues must be resolved and practical measures put in place for the health checks, as new clusters of Covid-19 found in Kuala Lumpur and Negeri Sembilan over the past week involved workers at construction site, security guards at a mall and employees at a chicken processing plant.


“As more workers are expected to return to work as their respective sectors of employment are opened up, the government must ensure that employers, employees and work places are as safe as can be from the threat of Covid-19. This should be the top priority before any more companies are allowed to resume operations,” he emphasised.

Solomon also asserted that Social Security Organisation (Socso) funds, which are meant for the social protection of workers, should not be used to pay for the Covid-19 screenings of employees, as it is clearly the employers’ responsibility to provide the service.

He pointed out that it will be even more unfair to workers, if Socso is paying health diagnostics service provider BP Healthcare for a task the company does not have the capacity to undertake on its own.

“The Malaysian Medical Association has also rightly pointed out the ambiguous decisions and “u-turns” by the government in announcing Covid-19 screenings for both local and migrant workers.

“MTUC does not wish to go into the micro details, but there is a clear need for the government to intervene and review Socso decisions pertaining to health checks for employees,” he added. — DayakDaily