The lorry had made three trips before being pulled over.
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Police are investigating the management of a local chicken processing plant in Kedah for arranging a lorry to ferry 135 of its foreign workers who were positive with Covid-19 back and forth from the factory’s employee lodging to the District Health Centre (PKD) in Kuala Muda.
Malaysians had earlier caught sight of the lorry on the road with its human cargo – 48 men huddled together for the ride in the back of the vehicle and wearing the signature pink Covid-19 quarantine wristbands.
The issue was brought to light by Sungai Petani UMNO Division Chief Datuk Shahanim Mohammad Yusoff who witnessed the incident first-hand.
“Profits are prioritized, people’s lives are second,” wrote Shahanim on Facebook, upset by how human beings were treated like animals.
The truth is, everyone is saddened by the way employers treat their employees. I was touched watching them in the lorry. Usually, these kinds of lorries are used to ship cattle, poultry or swine.Sungai Petani UMNO Division Chief Datuk Shahanim Mohammad Yusoff via Facebook.
According to police statements, the Kuala Muda PKD had ordered the workers to drop by for questioning and to issue the quarantine wristbands when outbreaks were found at the factory.
Police said that the lorry made three separate trips with workers in tow, before they were pulled over.
The lorry driver was subsequently compounded for misusing the vehicle’s Motor Vehicle Licence, for obvious reasons. The employers on the other hand will be investigated under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act and the Penal Code.
Sentiments online show Malaysia’s outrage over the turn of events and embarrassment over our treatment of foreigners.
Bayangkan kalau bangsa kita yang memburuh di negeri orang, legal mahupun illegal, dilayan macam ini – apa respon kita?— Adam Adli (@AdamAdli) June 13, 2021
Malaysia, we are better than this. pic.twitter.com/GAc1tSYPf0
Inhumane treatment of migrants and refugees will get us nowhere.— Liew Chin Tong (@LiewChinTong) June 14, 2021
When migrant workers in the country are also vaccinated, there's less risk of infection for us Msians.
We are safe only when everyone is safe. Being kinder to migrants and refugees is being kind to ourselves. https://t.co/2lSYHa4SnS
Typing out trending issues and walking the fine line between deep and dumb.