Thursday, November 14, 2013

Illegals likely cause of TB spike (Borneo Post)

a) This article deals with Sarawak State - not the whole of Malaysia. The statistics is not clear as to whether these figures are based on documented or undocumented migrant workers?
b) Important to note that out of the 150,000 migrant workers, only 15,000 are documented. Hence, there would be a basis for saying that this may also be the case for Malaysia as a whole.

Illegals likely cause of TB spike

by Lian Cheng, Posted on October 31, 2013, Thursday

Workers entering state illegally without checkup, pose danger to health of people in Sarawak

KUCHING: Foreign workers working in the country legally are not likely to be the cause of the rise of tuberculosis cases in the country.

This is because foreigners with contagious diseases are prohibited from entering the country including students applying for student visas.

Responding to the recent claim of Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam that foreign workers made up 12 to 13 per cent of the 20,000 reported TB patients in 2011, State Immigration Director Datuk Robert Lian believed that these workers were those who entered the country illegally.

Speaking to The Borneo Post recently, he pointed out that under Section 8 of Immigration Act 1959/63, “any person suffering from mental disorder or suffering from a contagious disease which makes his presence in Malaysia dangerous to the community” will be classified as “prohibited persons” and will be barred from entering the country.

And anyone who “refuses to submit to a medical examination after being required to do so by an Immigration Officer” will also be considered a “prohibited person” he added.

Robert stressed that the state’s Immigration Department had always adhered to the Act before issuing foreigners work permits.

“The illegal workers do not have to go through the due process of medical checkup to determine their health condition. Maybe some foreign illegal workers are carrying contagious diseases we are not sure because their employers refuse to bring them to us.”

Presently, there is about 150,000 legal foreign workers and an estimated 15,000 illegal workers the state.

Robert said employers who recruited workers illegally should realise that they were jeopardising the health of their fellow citizens including their own family members.

The director added that it was especially dangerous to employ maids illegally as many of them had to cook and look after the babies for the family employing them.

“These maids will be staying in close proximity with the family engaging them and we have to make sure that these maids are not carrying any contagious diseases,” said Robert.

He admitted that there were some cases where the first screening of foreign workers might not show that they were unfit to work here but once they were found to carry contagious diseases they would be sent home after being given medication for their sicknesses.

The state’s Health director Datuk Dr Zulkifli Jantan recently revealed that there were 2,000 TB cases reported in 2010, and 2,055 in 2011. In 2012, there was an increase of about 400 cases to 2,430 and there has been an average increase of 0.8 per cent of TB cases every year.

Sarawak is currently ranked only behind Sabah and Selangor in the number of TB cases. - Borneo Post, 31/10/2013, Illegals likely cause of TB spike

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Employers must be made liable for diseases/health conditions that migran workers contract after their arrival in Malaysia

Should it not be the obligation of the employer to determine that a migrant worker satisfies the health requirement before even entering into an employment agreement with the worker in the country of origin? 

A healthy worker who after coming and working in Malaysia who contracts a disease/condition is the responsibility of the Malaysian employer - as this condition is caused by the employers failure to provide proper worker accommodation and/or working environment? If a heathy worker arrives and get TB because the employer housed him/her with persons having TB - justly it is failure of the employer, and the worker deserves justice.

Cancellation of the right of a migrant worker to work in Malaysia by reason of disease/health condition must be same as those that apply to local workers.

Proliferation of foreign workers among causes of rising TB cases

KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 27, 2013): The overcrowding of foreign workers is among the causes of tuberculosis (TB) being detected in the country, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam. 

"There were 58 cases per 100,000 in 1995 and it rose to 63 cases in 2008 which is 16,000 cases annually. The disease has also risen to 18,000 cases in 2010. 

"In 2011, there were 20,000 cases reported with 1,600 fatalities and about 12 to 13 per cent of TB patients were foreign workers," he told reporters after opening a seminar on Foreign Workers Medical Examination and Monitoring Agency (Fomema) Medical and X-Ray Examination here today. 

According to Subramaniam, there were 1.3 million foreign workers in the country in 2008, falling to 1.02 million in 2009, 951,943 in 2010, 935,043 in 2011 before increasing to 1.3 million last year following the 6P amnesty programme for illegal workers. 

Subramaniam stressed that any foreign worker wishing to work here had to undergo two health screenings, one in the country of origin and one in Malaysia.

"Some workers who passed the screening in their country of origin but failed the test here will be repatriated. We hope the health screening in their countries of origin could be improved," he said while adding that foreign workers who failed the health checks here were from Indonesia, Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar. 

Subramaniam said about three to seven per cent of the 1.3 million foreign workers who did not undergo the two health screenings were found to be suffering from TB, Hepatitis B, Syphilis, HIV and leprosy. – Bernama - The Sun Daily, 27/10/2013, Proliferation of foreign workers among causes of rising TB cases