Perak Hospital Cleaning Staff Allegedly Barred From Getting Tested For COVID-19

The union group cried foul over the unfair treatment of janitors working in government hospitals.

Cover image via Bernama via Free Malaysia Today

A union for private sector employees working in government hospitals claims that an employer is preventing their cleaning staff from getting tested for COVID-19

In a Twitter thread posted today, 25 March, Kesatuan Pekerja Swasta Hospital Kerajaan said janitors working in hospitals are front liners too, but those working in Teluk Intan Hospital are being denied from getting COVID-19 screenings.

The hospital located in Perak is one of Malaysia's most hard-hit hospitals as there are currently 39 healthcare workers who have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a The Edge Markets report today.

It is believed that these healthcare workers attended two separate wedding ceremonies of a doctor and a nurse, which had guests from the KL tabligh cluster.

"Both ceremonies were attended by many doctors. Only after they returned was it detected that many were positive for COVID-19 in Kota Bharu, Teluk Intan, and such," Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a press conference yesterday, 25 March.

Following the discovery of many COVID-19 infected healthcare workers in Teluk Intan Hospital, parts of the hospital were closed down for disinfecting work

As of today, the hospital is back in full service after the emergency wards were fully disinfected.

While there are many media reports about Teluk Intan Hospital's partial closure and COVID-19 screenings for healthcare workers there, none have mentioned about the janitors who did the disinfection.

Which is why Kesatuan Pekerja Swasta Hospital Kerajaan is raising the issue, claiming that janitors are not being protected in the COVID-19 fight.

The union group said that there are seven cleaning staff who are being denied COVID-19 screenings in Teluk Intan Hospital

The seven janitors, believed to be under UEM Edgenta - a public listed company that provides asset and facility management services, are allegedly being denied COVID-19 tests under their supervisor's directive.

According to the union group, the supervisor reasoned that if these workers are tested positive and told to undergo quarantine, no one will be able to do their jobs.

"One healthcare officer in the X-ray department was told to get tested for COVID-19, but the janitor who cleans the X-ray department is denied from getting the test," wrote the union group in a tweet.

Cleaning workers are also one of the front liners who fight hard against COVID-19.
Kesatuan Pekerja Swasta Hospital Kerajaan

"But this group of people is neglected and not treated the same as other front liners. Why is this a situation whereby no attention is given to cleaning workers and their health is being ignored? This is the carelessness and negligence of the employer, UEM Edgenta," the group said.

"Cleaning workers are not slaves, they are also human. They, too, work hard for our country."

The union group has brought up the issue to the employer as well as the Ministry of Health since last week, but none of them have responded to their email

The union group added that the general manager of the company even blocked their incoming emails.

"If the government is not taking any action, we can do something!" the union group tweeted.

They urge the public to email UEM Edgenta and the Ministry of Health to get them to respond.

Kesatuan Pekerja Swasta Hospital Kerajaan added that UEM Edgenta is a company funded by Khazanah Nasional, the sovereign wealth fund of the country.

You can read the full Twitter thread here:

The union is also seeking public donations to buy basic necessities and masks for their members who work tirelessly throughout this crisis:

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