PETALING JAYA: The government treats all foreign workers fairly, said Senior Minister (Defence), Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (pix).
He said this when asked to comment on an interview by Astro Awani today, in which a member of the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam), said that the Malaysian government does not treat foreign workers properly especially during efforts to curb the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Suhakam might be confused because there are two categories of foreign workers in the country.
“The first is when they have work permits which means that they are in the country legally and they are protected and well taken cared off by their bosses.
“We also take care of them well, for instance when it was reported there were Covid-19 positive cases in construction sites, we ordered that all workers at sites in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur must undergo swab tests, this is so that their well being is taken care of.
“So there is no issue involving (documented) foreign workers in the country,” he said, agreeing that foreign workers are needed to sectors such as construction, agriculture and many others. He also noted that the country adheres to the guidelines set by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
Ismail said that issues only arise with foreigners in the second category which is illegal immigrants.
“They do not have travel or work documents this is what we take actions on and even that we do it humanely as possible.
“We send them to the depot, we give them enough food and when there were positive cases in the depot, we conducted 100% tests on them so that we can treat them.
“If they are found to be Covid-19 positive we send them to the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS) quarantine centre which is really comfortable and we have also made another two extra locations for treatment centres in case of an increase in the number of cases,” he said, adding that the government also works to ensure that they are not abandoned.
Ismail said that it was decided that the government will engage with the worker’s countries of origin to take them back.
“We want to send them back to their countries, if possible, we don’t want to even imprison them,” he said.