KUALA LUMPUR: Foreign workers in the country will have to undergo additional compulsory medical check-ups during their working stint in Malaysia.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the move was aimed at reducing the risk of transmission of infectious diseases spread in the country.
"Effective Jan 1, 2018, all foreign workers will need to undergo a compulsory health screening that is already in place as well as other additional screenings”, he said.
Currently foreign workers undergo medical check-ups prior to their arrival, another check one month after after arriving in Malaysia, and at the end of their first and second year working period.
"Additional screenings are needed every two years. This means it needs to be done in their fourth, sixth, eighth and tenth year of working here in line with the maximum service period allowed for foreign workers which is 10 years," he said.
Zahid who is also the Home Minister said this in a statement after chairing the Cabinet Committee Meeting on Foreign Workers and Illegal Immigrants at Parliament House here today.
He said in the meeting, the committee also took note on how employers are more keen in hiring foreigners due to the low cost involved.
Zahid said to encourage the hiring of locals, recommendations to progressively increase the levy for foreign workers had been considered and accepted.
"Come 2019, progressive levy rate depending on the number of foreigners employed will be in force. This is after discussions with all industry players and stakeholders are held,” he said.
Zahid said the move was to create a more conducive and competitive environment in the market.
"As of July 31, 2017, the number of legal foreign workers in the country had decreased to 1.758 million from 2.135 million in 2015," he said.
A total of eight working papers was discussed during the meeting including on the E-Card registration for foreign workers and the pilot project to allow Rohingyas who are United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees cardholders to work.