KUCHING, May 28: There is a long waiting list for foreign workers to be tested for Covid-19 as Social Security Organisation (Socso) has only appointed one lab in Kuching to undergo such test.
This, according to the president of Sarawak Housing and Estate Developer’s Association (Sheda) Kuching Sim Kiang Chiok, has caused most construction sites to be unable to operate at their intended full capacity.
“The foreign workers in construction under CMCO (Conditional Movement Control Order) are allowed to resume work but must be tested for Covid-19 before they can return to work.
“The Covid-19 test must be carried out and all cost to be borne by Socso . However in Kuching, we know there is only a laboratory being appointed by Socso even though there are several laboratories and hospitals that can provide such service in Sarawak.
“Due to the huge numbers of foreign workers wanting to be tested , the waiting list is very long and most construction sites have not been able to operate at full capacity for those sites that employ foreign workers,” Sim pointed out in a statement.
He thus called on Socso to identify more laboratories to shorten the waiting time to allow the construction industry to rebound at a faster pace.
Meanwhile, Sim expressed support on the latest federal announcement to enforce the Malaysian Standard for Construction Site Workers Amenities and Accommodation (MS 2593:2015) introduced in 2016 and the amended Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act (Act 466) 2019 under the Human Resources Ministry.
The new law will require the employers to provide better accommodation or worker’s quarters that are more hygienic and a healthier living environment.
’It is good that the government now enforces this new law so that the foreign workers’ health is safeguarded, especially against Covid-19 virus and other illnesses.
“However this new law will increase the compliance cost in construction and development which will be translated and transferred to the end users,” Sim pointed out before expressing that he still agreed with it as “human lives are more precious and to stop the spread of Covid-19 is very important to everybody’s health and wellbeing”.
“The strict enforcement of providing living quarters for foreign workers would help to control the spread of our invisible enemy and keep our country at a manageable level of this deadly virus,” said Sim.—DayakDaily