Business as usual with strict SOPs at construction sites

Both Damanlela and Merpati construction sites have been temporarily shut, while their workers undergo screening and quarantine

by AFIQ AZIZ / pic by ARIF KARTONO

THE construction sector is still operating as usual albeit with strict standard operating procedure (SOP) compliance following the resurgence of Covid-19 cases at two construction sites in Kuala Lumpur.

Both Damanlela and Merpati construction sites have been temporarily shut, while their workers undergo screening and quarantine.

Master Builders Association Malaysia president Foo Chek Lee said as of now, there is no indication or complaints received from the contractors if the surge in cases at both sites have affected other sites’ operations.

“So far, there are only two clusters as reported by the media and I could not foresee if there are any more.

“But we strictly told our members and contractors to always strictly adhere to the existing SOPs given, either at the workplace or at the quarters and homes,” Foo told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) in a phone interview yesterday.

“There are also no complaints received from the ground pertaining to this,” he added.

TMR previously reported occupational safety and health experts expressing concerns that there is not enough monitoring at the foreign workers’ living quarters.

On Monday, the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) attributed the surge in Covid-19 cases at the Damanlela site to movement of workers from one project site to another.

CIDB then called for employers to conduct a swab test for the workers three days before they start their work at the new sites.

Crest Builder Holdings Bhd MD Eric Yong said the firm is operating as usual with enhanced SOPs. “As of now, business for the rest remains as usual, with some enhanced SOPs being enforced. So far for us, we are still business as usual, but being very careful,” Yong told TMR.

The company now has a total of seven sites operating during the Conditional Movement Control Order where 75% of its 3,500 workers are foreigners.

He noted that there were concerns on the migrant workers’ health, however, the firm continues to implement stringent measures.

The Malay Chamber of Commerce Malaysia (DPMM), which also represents small contractors, said the government should incentivise sub-contractors who are mainly small players as they will have to conduct swab tests for the workers before reporting for duty at new sites.

“Usually, sub-contractors would often move from one site to other sites, so they will be affected with this cost.

“So far, we do not have a choice because only foreign workers are willing to do this ‘dirty job’. Locals are still reluctant (to take up the job),” DPMM deputy president Norsyahrin Hamidon told TMR.

Meanwhile, Dhaya Maju Infrastructure Asia Sdn Bhd (DMIA), which is leading the Klang Valley Double Track Project 1 (KVDT1) construction project from Rawang to Simpang Batu, said there is no disruption to its operations so far as a result of Covid-19 cases among foreign workers.

“The KVDT1 continues as usual and the progress is now more than 80% complete. Our employees are transported to work using our own shuttle, and we regularly sanitise and exercise disinfection at all work areas.

“They all are free from Covid-19 after testing, and they are also being monitored by our own developed apps called MySihat which tracks employee whereabouts pre- and post-work,” said DMIA strategic communication head Haniff Ghazali.


Read our earlier report here