KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 31 — The Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) urged employers to immediately send their foreign workers for COVID-19 screening to curb the pandemic.
Its chief executive, Datuk Seri Dr Mohammed Azman Aziz Mohammed, in a statement today, said since Dec 1 until noon on Dec 29, a total of 74,482 screening tests, involving a total of 2,601 employers, were conducted in six states .
“This figure shows that only about 8.5 per cent of foreign workers in the target areas went for the COVID-19 screening,” he said.
A total of 311,837 RTK-Antigen screening kits had been distributed to clinics based on demand and needs, he said, adding that the number was bigger than the number of foreign workers who did the screening test.
“The government’s directive in making it compulsory for all employers to send their foreign workers for COVID-19 screening test should be seen as a large-scale preventive measure to curb the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases among high-risk groups, namely foreign workers,” he said.
He said SOCSO had bought almost one million RTK-Antigen test kits and the number was sufficient to accommodate the number of foreign workers who are SOCSO subscribers in six states, namely Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Penang, Sabah and the Federal Territory of Labuan.
Dr Mohammed Azman said a total of 750 clinics in six states participated in the screening programme.
He said SOCSO appreciated the effort made by some employers in taking the initiative by sending their workers for the COVID-19 screening test and not wait at the last minute to do so.
Although SOCSO provides RTK-Antigen test kits, he said, the cost of the COVOD-19 screening test depends on the respective clinics.
“The response received by SOCSO from medical groups and the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) shows that the cost of the screening test has almost reduced by half. Employers have the right to choose which clinic they want to send their workers to,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mohammed Azman said SOCSO always welcome views or ways that could facilitate the screening process, as well as ensure the cost is reasonable.
He said efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 involved the cooperation of various parties, whereby, enforcement activities, to be led by the Manpower Department, would be carried out from tomorrow and would also involve the Department of Occupational Safety and Health, Ministry of Human Resources.
Prior to this, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who is also chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Foreign Workers, was reported to have said that a total of 888,000 foreign workers in six high-risk areas were required to go for COVID-19 screening since last Dec 1.
Beginning tomorrow, employers who fail to send their foreign workers for COVID-19 screening test can be fined RM1,000 or charged in court.