Entry of foreign workers from March 1

Uggah during the press conference. Behind him is Dr Chin. Photo: Ukas

KUCHING: The Sarawak government has agreed to allow entry of foreign workers, effective March 1, following the large number of requests from industries which rely on such employees.

Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said this decision was made following a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg today.

“Based on this approval, the State Localisation Committee has approved a total of 27,000 applications for foreign workers covering the sectors of agriculture, plantations, construction, manufacturing, and services (transportation, restaurants, quarries, and mining).

“The recruitment of these foreign workers is subject to the Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by SDMC,” he said at the SDMC Covid-19 update press conference today.

Uggah, who is also Deputy Chief Minister, said the Immigration Department had presented stringent SOPs for the entry of foreign workers and these had been approved by SDMC.

He said the foreign workers would first have to undergo Covid-19 testing in their respective home countries three days prior to entering the state.

“Once they come to Sarawak, the employer is responsible to pick them up from the point of entry and bring them to a place of quarantine,” he said.

He said this could be a plantation, factory, or construction site, but stressed that the quarantine location would need to be approved by the State Health Department (JKNS).

For those who did not have a quarantine centre available, he said the foreign workers could be placed at a hotel to undergo the 14-day quarantine.

“They will be tested on the second and tenth day. All costs are to be borne by the employers. Only after they have finished their quarantine period then they can go to their place of work,” he said.

As there were a lot of applications for foreign workers, he said JKNS director Dr Chin Zin Hing would work out a schedule of entry to ensure sufficient testing capacity in Sarawak.

“We do not want to create a bottleneck problem, so we are now finalising the system. We will make sure the process is seamless and we need everyone’s cooperation,” said Uggah.