By John Isaac
THE Sarawak government has been urged to reconsider its decision to allow the intake of 27,000 foreign workers into the state which began March 1.
In making the call, Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) president Voon Lee Shan said, allowing foreign workers into the state at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic is still raging, risks spreading the virus and causing more misery and death.
“There are many locals at the moment who are in need of jobs. Why not hire them? Priority of jobs should be given to our local people and not foreigners.
“These foreign workers can bring not only Covid-19, but can also cause the spread of Covid-19 with great proportion that could be uncontrollable,” he said in a statement reported by Borneo Post.
Voon also said he feared that some foreign workers entering the state could have criminal records and possibly end up creating more problems.
On March 3, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah announced that Sarawak had from March 1 allowed foreign workers to legally enter the state but under stringent standard operating procedure (SOP) to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Uggah, who is Sarawak Disaster Management Committee chairman, said the decision was made due to the many requests from industries that required the services of foreign workers.
He added that 27,000 applications for foreign workers, covering sectors like agriculture, plantation, construction, manufacturing and services, had been approved.
Sarawak had stopped the entry of foreign workers last year due to the pandemic.
Voon meanwhile called for another total lockdown in Sarawak as a means of overcoming the spread of Covid-19 in the state.
“We had nearly wiped out the Covid-19 last year when we had a lockdown, but now we’re prolonging the war. More people will be infected and more deaths are foreseeable from this Covid-19.
“Until this moment, the state government is still unable to wipe out this Covid-19. Allowing 27,000 foreign workers to enter the state shows that the government treats plantations and timber industries more important than the lives of Sarawakians,” he said.