Govt closes KL construction site with 44 Covid-19 cases

Senior minister Fadillah Yusof says contractors must provide workers with accommodation in line with the CMCO and existing laws.

PETALING JAYA: Senior Minister (Infrastructure) Fadillah Yusof has issued contractors a stern reminder on their responsibility in providing their workers with accommodation which meets the authorities’ guidelines and laws.

In a statement, Fadillah said he was concerned over the latest Covid-19 cluster involving 44 people from a construction site in Kuala Lumpur, comprising 43 foreign workers and one local security guard.

“These positive cases were discovered after the contractor sent its 400 workers for Covid-19 tests as part of preparations to start work,” he said.

He said the testing was required under the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the construction industry during the conditional movement control order (CMCO) period.

Senior minister (infrastructure) Fadillah Yusof.

Fadillah said the construction site had not started operations when the positive cases were discovered.

He said the site, including the workers’ kongsi (living quarters), had been instructed to close for cleaning and sanitisation.

Some 200 workers were now under quarantine, while the 44 positive cases were being treated.

He said the workers were infected at their accommodation, which was cramped, making social distancing impossible.

A total of 228 workers stayed at the kongsi next to the construction site.

Fadillah also said the Construction Industry Transformation Programme, which began in 2016, emphasised the minimum standard for workers’ accommodation.

These requirements were outlined in the Malaysian Standard for Construction Site Workers Amenities and Accommodation, and the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act (Act 466).

“The law makes it the responsibility of employers to ensure that workers are provided proper accommodation with adequate amenities.

“With the CMCO, this requirement is further strengthened with other SOPs to ensure Covid-19 does not spread at workers’ accommodation,” he said.

He said contractors who failed to comply with the relevant law and SOPs would be barred from resuming operations, and may even have action taken against them.

The Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB), he said, can even suspend or cancel a contractor’s registration.

Fadillah said the way forward post-Covid-19 was for construction companies to move away from cheap foreign labour and invest in skilled, local workers and leverage on technology including the Industrialised Building System (IBS).

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