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29 June 2020
Declaration to Ministry of International Trade and Industry no longer required
Testing and health screening of workers
Workers returning from overseas
Material and supply drivers and carriers
COVID-19 positive in CLQ
On 10 June 2020 the Ministry of Works issued a standard operating procedure for the construction industry (Construction SOP),(1) effective for the duration of the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO).(2) On 15 June 2020 the Ministry of Works published a series of FAQs(3) addressing the common queries arising from the Construction SOP. The Construction SOP previously issued by the Ministry of Works for the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) continues to apply for the duration of the RMCO subject to the amendments highlighted in this article.(4)
The main changes made in the Ministry of Works' FAQs with regard to the RMCO are as follows.
Unlike during the CMCO, construction companies are no longer required to declare and pledge compliance with the Construction SOP to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry before commencing operations during the RMCO. Nonetheless, they must provide their information and pledge compliance with the Construction SOP to the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB). Construction companies resuming operations must continue to observe all of the SOPs available on the CIDB's and the National Security Council's websites.
All foreign workers in the construction sector in the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya and the state of Selangor must undergo laboratory testing for COVID-19. However, foreign workers who have applied to have the COVID-19 test or are waiting for their test results can work while waiting to be tested or while waiting for the results to be released, subject to the condition that they fully comply with all of the SOPs issued by the National Security Council.(5)
Workers are encouraged to download and register the MySejahtera app on their mobile phones for contact tracing purposes.(6)
Employers need not provide workers' transport. However, if provided, employers must sanitise and disinfect the vehicles. Although 100% passenger capacity is allowed, passengers must be reminded to reduce their interactions in the vehicles.(7)
Workers returning from overseas cannot work or enter a construction site within 14 days from the date of their arrival in Malaysia. Workers are to bear their own quarantine costs.(8)
Material and supply drivers and carriers who have a body temperature of 37.5 degrees Celsius and show symptoms such as a sore throat, a cough or shortness of breath cannot enter a construction site or premise and must seek treatment at a health facility. The practice of hand cleanliness and the frequent use of water and soap or hand sanitiser must be observed.(9)
Where a worker at a centralised labour quarter (CLQ) has tested positive for COVID-19, their employer must provide alternative accommodation for workers in close contact with them at the CLQ. Workers may be housed at a segregated location within the CLQ (separated from other workers) and monitored to ensure that they do not leave the CLQ during the quarantine period.(10)
In the spirit of reviving the domestic economy and ensuring its recovery, it appears that the construction sector is revving up its gears, allowing foreign workers to commence work at construction sites and premises after applying to get tested or while waiting for test results to be released. While this represents a stark departure from the previous position under the CMCO where foreign workers could commence work only after testing negative for COVID-19, this is a calculated move with the comprehensive Construction SOP in place. Further, with the availability of the MySejahtera app, it is hoped that all workers will cooperate and use the app to aid contact tracing for the greater good, although this is on the assumption that all construction workers have smart phones. A balance must be struck between the privacy rights of the workers and the safety of the nation.
For further information on this topic please contact Jocelyn Yean Tse Lim or Jeremiah Ch'ng at SKRINE by telephone (+60 3 2081 3999) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com). The SKRINE website can be accessed at www.skrine.com.
An earlier version of this article was published in Skrine's "COVID-19 Legal Updates & Guidance" on 18 June 2020.
(1) The full text of the Ministry of Works' SOPs for the RMCO is available here.
(3) The full text of the Ministry of Works' FAQs on the RMCO is available here.
(4) Further information on the SOP and FAQs issued by the Ministry of Works for the duration of the CMCO is available here.
The materials contained on this website are for general information purposes only and are subject to the disclaimer.
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