Weak migrant policies caused Pagoh Covid-19 outbreak, says MP

23-Jan-2021 Intellasia | FreeMalaysiaToday | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Malaysia’s problematic migrant worker policies were the reason behind the Bukit Pasir workplace cluster in Pagoh, Johor, says Kluang MP Wong Shu Qi.

Wong said the furniture industry in Bukit Pasir had faced a labour shortage following several national lockdowns, forcing factories to hire workers from red zones in the Klang Valley.

In the last week, 106 migrant workers who tested positive in Bukit Pasir were found to be registered in Selangor instead of Johor, she said.

Wong said the country’s handling of migrant workers had discouraged many of them in Bukit Pasir from taking Covid-19 tests for fear of losing their jobs and being deported.

“With millions of migrant workers going underground and not willing to come forward for voluntary Covid-19 tests, and yet are continually employed in labour-starved industries, we will face the same issue over and over again even when vaccination starts in Malaysia,” she warned in a statement.

According to Wong, the Bukit Pasir cluster has recorded nearly 1,500 cases so far, with one receiving intensive care.

She called for prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin to invest more money in resources and manpower to battle the pandemic in Pagoh, as it was his parliamentary constituency.

She said there was no need for building new halls, referring to Muhyiddin’s approval for the construction of three community halls in Johor, costing RM35 million.

Wong said Muhyiddin had announced a total of 160,892 migrant workers in red zones have been tested for Covid-19, but said this number was minute compared to the estimated 1.5 million migrant workers living in the country.

She called for the government to conduct swab tests on all migrant workers regardless of their legal status, and to continue the Pakatan Harapan administration’s “[email protected]” policy to encourage the hiring of locals with technical and vocational education and training (TVET) qualifications.

Wong also urged the government to provide more grants to help the local furniture industry remain competitive post-Covid-19.

“More importantly, local manufacturers must have access to cheaper credit with longer tenure,” she said. “In fact, in the long run, we need to nurture our own industrial automation sector (so it is) capable of supplying not only to the local market but also a global one.”



Category: Malaysia

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