Compulsory health tests good move

Datuk Sim Kiang Chiok.

KUCHING: Compulsory tests for foreign workers in Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Penang, Sabah, Kuala Lumpur and Labuan as announced by the Federal government has been described as a good move.

Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers’ Association (Sheda) Kuching branch chairman Datuk Sim Kiang Chiok noted that these states are in the middle of a third wave of Covid-19 pandemic and several clusters had emerged in factories.

“In the case of Sarawak, the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) has controlled the infection rates, which are low in most areas. Thus, the compulsory tests at factories and construction sites are not required yet.

“We have closed our borders and those who enter Sarawak must be tested and must be quarantined for 14 days,” he told New Sarawak Tribune on Sunday (Nov 22).

He said even factories and construction sites were being randomly checked and workers tested for Covid-19.

“Our contact and trace procedures are active and effective to contain and reduce the infection rate,” he noted.

Sim said the new norms of working and way of life as well as standard operating procedures (SOP) must continue to be practised until a cure or vaccine for Covid-19 is available.

“The good news is that in several countries such as USA, Russia, China have claimed that their vaccines are effective and we are optimistic that we can return to the old norm by end of next year,” he said.

He reminded the public to continue to practise good hygiene, wash hand or use hand sanitiser, keep social distancing and avoid crowded places to break the chain of infection.

Bernama reported that Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Friday said that health screenings are to be made compulsory for all foreign workers in Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Penang, Sabah, the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Labuan using the RTK Antigen method.

For foreign workers who contribute to Socso, the cost of the test is borne by the employer and Socso. A subsidy of RM60 for the RTK Antigen test kit can be claimed from Socso while the remaining cost will be borne by the employer.

“For foreign workers who are not Socso contributors, the cost of the Covid-19 screening is fully borne by the employer,” he said.