Malaysia to test all migrant workers for coronavirus, employers will foot expense

Foreign workers in all sectors would have to undergo these tests.
Foreign workers in all sectors would have to undergo these tests.PHOTO: REUTERS

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - All foreign workers in Malaysia will be required to undergo Covid-19 tests that employers will pay for, says Senior Minster Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

He said the government decided on this move after a rise in Covid-19 cases in the country over the past few days, with migrant workers making up the majority of patients.

"They will have to do a swab test. The cost of the tests will have to be borne by employers.

"We will start this in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, " Datuk Seri Ismail said at his daily briefing on the coronavirus situation on Monday (May 4).

There are some 2.2 million documented migrant workers in Malaysia, most of them engaged in blue collar jobs long abandoned by Malaysians.

Mr Ismail said that foreign workers in all sectors would have to undergo these tests.

“As a preventive measure, the government has agreed to make it compulsory for all foreign workers in all sectors, be it the construction, manufacturing or commercial sectors, to undergo Covid-19 screening,” he said.

He added that any premises where Covid-19 has been detected would be closed immediately.

On Saturday (May 2), 27 new Covid-19 cases were detected at a construction site on Jalan Ampang in Kuala Lumpur. The construction site has now been closed.

Malaysia recorded new Covid-19 cases in the triple digits over two consecutive days.


On Sunday, there were 122 new infections, bringing the tally to 6,298. Of the 122 new cases, 70 were local transmissions, while 52 were imported.

Malaysian health authorities on Monday reported 55 new coronavirus cases, raising the total to 6,353 cases. There were no new fatalities reported, leaving total deaths at 105. 

Apart from the 2.2 million legal migrant workers, there is an estimated 3 million foreigners working illegally in Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Datuk Mustapa Mohamed told a talk show on TV on Sunday (April 3) that the number of foreign workers in the country could be controlled, so that more jobs would be available for locals.