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Malaysia: Migrant workers prone to COVID-19 due to "dangerous, dirty and difficult" working conditions as nation lifts lockdown

Author: Tashny Sukumaran, South China Morning Post, Published on: 6 July 2020

 "As Malaysia's coronavirus lockdown lifts, migrant workers return to dangers of life in '3D'", 7 July 2020

As Malaysia's economy reopens after [...] control order to stem the spread of Covid-19, the nation's treatment of its millions of migrant workers has come under close scrutiny.

Frequently employed in jobs labelled "3D" – dangerous, dirty and difficult – migrant workers are more vulnerable to the spread of the disease due to cramped living conditions and poor workplace practices, watchdogs say.

Construction sites are of particular concern [...].


Although many construction workers have undergone Covid-19 tests [...] many workers still fear outbreaks, while others complain of being confined to their quarters.

Undocumented workers have to pay for the tests themselves, activists say, despite many workers losing legal status due to unscrupulous employers failing to renew their work permits. A Covid-19 test can cost up to 400 ringgit (US$93).


Although the country has for several days recorded infection numbers in the single digits, many workers are still worried about outbreaks, or worse, being placed in detention centres.

Malaysia saw a surge in cases in such centres after a month-long spate of immigration raids and arrests in May that was widely criticised by human rights groups for its indiscriminate measures including detaining refugees and minors.


The Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) has issued warnings to scores of construction sites found in breach of the SOPs, with 495 construction sites having been issued warnings for non-compliance while 19 have been shut [...].


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