“We are tax payers too” say foreign worker employers

By Emma Victoria

EVERYONE is affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, including employers who are struggling to stay afloat; hence, the government should offer free vaccine to foreign workers in Sarawak.

Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) Sarawak Secretary Andrew Lo said Sarawak has an estimated 200,000 documented foreign workers and many industries are still relying on them.

“In an ideal world and in normal times bosses should pay for the vaccinations as they are responsible for their workers health. However, we are not in normal times.  Bosses are struggling with the economic malaises,” he said when contacted.

He was responding to Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri James Jemut Masing’s statement that bosses should pay for the vaccinations for their foreign workers. Masing said it is unfair to use taxpayers’ money to pay for those hiring foreign workers as it should be the employers’ responsibility to vaccinate them.”

Lo, however, said business owners and employers are tax payers and they also pay foreign worker levy.

“With an estimated cost of RM80 per person (for Covid-19 vaccine), the total cost for 200,000 documented foreign workers is just RM32 million,” he said.

“We are also stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to the illegal workers – even if the government is providing free vaccinations, will they come out to be vaccinated?”

“We are now paying the price for all these years of inapt human resources management,” he added.