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Malaysia moves foreign workers to hotels to curb Covid-19 spread

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – A national initiative has taken off to place foreign workers at hotels temporarily to address the worsening Covid-19 situation in Malaysia caused by poor living conditions.

At the same time, the arrangements would also provide a lifeline for near-empty hotels, a move akin to killing two birds with one stone.

The move is aimed at addressing the transmission of Covid-19 at workplaces involving workers’ dormitories, said the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry.

“This is the best alternative at the moment as it will indirectly assist the continuity of the hotel business that is affected by pandemic across the country,” said the ministry in a statement.

According to the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry, the cost to rent a hotel room will be RM200 (S$65.54) per month per person, and there will be an additional RM20 monthly charge for each worker to cover electricity and water.

Other amenities, including laundry and food, would be borne by the employee or the employer themselves, said the ministry.

The ministry’s joint initiative with the Labour Department of Peninsular Malaysia will be carried out in accordance to the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990.

The ministry said the decision was made during a special National Security Council meeting on Covid-19 on Jan 26.

Following the meeting, the ministry said it had engaged representatives in the hotel and tourist bus industries on Feb 4 to obtain feedback on the proposals.

Recently, Health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said he was concerned over the recent spike of workplace clusters.

Of the 350 new clusters reported between Jan 6 and 22, 225 clusters or 64.3 per cent were linked to workplaces, he said.

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