Covid-19: Govt to ensure foreign workers stay put, undergo health screening


JOHOR BAHRU: The government will identify where foreign workers across the country are housed, including illegal settlements, as part of efforts to prevent the spread of Covid-19 among these individuals.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin said a discussion on this matter was held yesterday among various enforcement agencies.

“We want to find out where they are, and if possible, ensure that they stay put. Health screening will be undertaken when we locate them,” he told reporters at the Johor police contingent headquarters after paying a working visit to the facility.

The minister said this when speaking about the government’s measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus among foreign workers following reports today that the Singapore authorities had detected a new Covid-19 cluster involving a hostel for foreign workers, located on Kranji Road.

Apart from this, six other hostels were identified as clusters with two gazetted as isolation areas. The two hostels are S11 Dormitory @ Punggol at Seletar North Link and the Westlite Toh Guan Road East hostel, both of which house a total of 19,800 workers, out which 117 have tested positive.

At the same time, authorities in Malaysia will tighten patrols particularly in locations with the potential to serve as back channels for the entry and exit of illegal immigrants, although there have been no arrests in such locations since the imposition of the Movement Control Order (MCO) imposed by the government to contain Covid-19, with effect from March 18.

“Therefore, I am issuing a warning … if we identify those individuals who try to bring in illegal immigrants into the country, the full weight of the law will be exacted on them. Based on our surveillance, it is not possible for illegal immigrants to enter the country without the assistance of Malaysians,” Hamzah said, adding that in this connection, cooperation between enforcement agencies would be strengthened.

Earlier at the same venue, the minister had attended a briefing by enforcement agencies for over two hours. Also in attendance was Bukit Aman Internal Security and Public Order Department (KDNKA) director Datuk Seri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani, Immigration director-general Datuk Indera Khairul Dzaimee Daud, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) director-general Maritime Admiral Datuk Mohd Zubil Mat Som, Home Ministry secretary-general Datuk Jamil Rakon and Johor police chief Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay. — Bernama