WORKERS HOUSING – WHOSE INTEREST IN THE ERA OF COVID 19 IS THE GOVT PROTECTING ASK MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE

‘I am sure many facilitating this horrendous opening will be over night millionaires sending their workers to be exploited and perhaps even infected in current pandemic conditions where even the nation’s Parliament is in locked down and an emergency in operation?’

WORKERS HOUSING – WHOSE INTEREST IN THE ERA OF COVID 19 IS THE GOVT PROTECTING ASK MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE

The last time I checked it is confirmed that our Parliament passed amendments to the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act (Act 446) in July 2019.

Now what does that entail if all of our ministers, politicians, civil servants, manpower groups here and abroad and the industry captains with deep pockets lobbying for a pause?

The Covid 19 pandemic, infection and spikes related to workers cramped conditions is now well known to all Malaysians!

As I write this blog update it is also well known to the over 385K infected and the over 2541 and rising dead that all is not well with the administration and management of this pandemic.

Act 446 mandates minimum space requirements for workers’ accommodation, and provision of basic facilities as well as safety and hygiene standards.

So can someone qualified please answer if the government has caved in to pressure from businesses with its decision to relax enforcement of the law specifying workers’ housing standards?

The signs were already there when the usual mantra was practiced when  the an Act which was supposed to be enforced last June, gave employers a grace period until Sept 1 and later said it would take an educational approach until the end of 2020.

By the way it is 2021 now.

Already there were many raised eyebrows when media statement also quoted that we are also planning to herd in more foreign-workers despite most enlightened and safety conscious policymakers globally closing their borders!

I am sure many facilitating this horrendous opening will be over night millionaires sending their workers to be exploited and perhaps even infected in current pandemic conditions where even the nation’s Parliament is in locked down and an emergency in operation?

I have repeatedly advised our policymakers that every statement they make which seem ridiculous in the eye of this worst managed pandemic storm confirms foreign nations advisories to advise to avoid and get out of  Malaysia.

The US has just released their latest advisory, Singapore just closed their doors to India and tightened up the border between our two countries.

If you want to be respected in the global world please grow a spine!

Please be consistent.

Please learn to love and respect your own legislation.

If we are constantly cowed and lobbied down by corporations, industry lobbyist, political prostitutes doing bidding of powerful cartels where is there hope for fair play, justice and respect for human rights?

Are there no more good men and women in Malaysia who cannot be bought directly, indirectly or through the transfers of shares?

May the ALMIGHTY help us all to spearhead holistic change!

MAKAN UNTUK HIDUP BUKAN HIDUP UNTUK MAKAN!

RETHINK BORDER REOPENING AND EMPOWER PRIVATE HOSPITALS TO JOIN IN THE VACCINATION PROCESS URGES MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE.

‘I will tighten further our borders as gaps are alleged. So can someone very intelligent up there tell us what the equivalent of one Chinese tourist in Deaths of Malaysians?’

RETHINK BORDER REOPENING AND EMPOWER PRIVATE HOSPITALS TO JOIN IN THE VACCINATION PROCESS URGES MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE.

Despite all the hype stating ‘no exceptions’ and perceptions that our closed borders and protocols allegedly positioned/placed will insulate the country from any escalation we are told that the South Africa variant found its way here!

How?

Now several travelers from China had recently arrived in Sarawak and underwent mandatory quarantine as well as RT-PCR testing.

It is reported that despite the Chinese visitors being already given two doses of their vaccine in their home country, they tested positive for the disease.

Again this sends shock waves how this could happen.

The reasonable Malaysian community members have difficulty addressing such gaps when we have personalities who over-speak in front of cameras and the media giving impressions that they are in control?

But are they?

Even when the danger is real we have voices calling out to open our borders so that international tourism can boom?

There are political pressures exerted to further open up our business spaces in view forthcoming religious festivities?

And who will monitor that the spaces and protocols are fully adhered to?

Inexplicably there are reports that even foreign workers from Bangladesh are being brought back by politically connected cartels in the eye of a Covid-19 storm!

Seriously, we need to be honest to ourselves and the Malaysian communities who are no fools either!

I am aware there is so much at stake in procurement dollars and those vested interest predators.

I will tighten further our borders as gaps are alleged. So can someone very intelligent up there tell us what the equivalent of one Chinese tourist in Deaths of Malaysians?

Reports indicate that despite being fully vaccinated, tests found that these individuals had a high viral load and thus highly infectious at the time of their arrival?

If travelers from China who have been fully vaccinated are infected what does that say about the Chinese vaccine’s effectiveness?

Again, like the arrival of the South African strain here, how did these visitors and others allowed on a plane?

Clinical trials have showed the Pfizer vaccines lowered risks of developing symptomatic COVID-19 by about 95%.

Again it means that vaccinated people were about 20 times less likely to get the disease than those who have not received the vaccine.

Again we are advised that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine had a 72% efficacy rate among Americans.

And experts say the protection appears to be lower because it was the only shot that was tested against the more contagious coronavirus variants.

It means that the vaccines are not capable of protecting everyone from infection.

But it is claimed they are able to protect them by spurring the development of antibodies without causing sickness, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

Fast forward April 10th 2021 – here in Malaysia, we are willing and can afford to pay for the vaccination!

But we want a vaccine of our choice!

This is my body, my life we are talking here!

Please do not tell us that the Director General of Malaysian Health Services and another set of politicians know what is best for us Malaysians!

I think there is no need to refresh every one of the many alleged failures, gaps, U-turns and double talk in addressing and managing this pandemic from day one.

I hope seriously there is no new pandemic of political deafness and that hearing the repeated appeal by stakeholders – the Malaysian government will allow private hospitals to bring in vaccines on their own and treat those who make that informed choice even if they have to pay out of pocket for them.

There are several medical practitioners in my family and as such, we will not allow any member of my family to be administered with any vaccine we are uncomfortable with.

Since several members of my family and friends in the US and Singapore had their vaccines, we will trust the types of vaccines used in the US and Singapore.

And since we are talking of our bodies and willing to pay for it if the need be – it is our consumer right enshrined in international consumer legalities and charters.

CALLING FOR ACTION TO BE INITIATED AGAINST RECKLESS AND NEGLIGENT PARENTS WHO PUT THEIR CHILDREN AT RISKS SAYS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE

‘What is the international Gold standard practiced in law and order to protect our little children?

Will our authorities act responsibly so that the rights, interest of the minor are protected?

Or do we continue to practice double-standards by non-action?’

CALLING FOR ACTION TO BE INITIATED AGAINST RECKLESS AND NEGLIGENT PARENTS WHO PUT THEIR CHILDREN AT RISKS SAYS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE

Parents have a duty of care to ensure their children’s needs are met.

That duty of care is a legal requirement which parents have to provide to their dependent, as society expects that parents must meet the needs of those who are under their care.

For example, it is well established that a duty of care is owed by a motorist to all other road users.

Doctors owe a duty of care to their patients.

Employers owe a duty of care to their employees.

And schools are under a duty of care with respect to their pupils.

The legal concept of parental rights generally refers to a parent’s right to make decisions regarding a child’s education, health care, and religion, among other things.

If parents are separated or divorced, these rights can extend to custody and visitation.

As far as I am concerned I believe our duty and rights as a parent is:

  1. to protect your child from harm.
  2. to provide your child with food, clothing and a place to live.
  3. to financially support your child.
  4. to provide safety, supervision and control.
  5. to provide medical care.
  6. to provide an education.

There has been far too many children dying in vehicles after parents and minders forgot that there is an infant in the car or left alone elsewhere.

Despite the incidents has the state initiated criminal charges against those responsible?

The following photographs were taken by a shocked motorist on a Malaysian road yesterday.

They alerted CASSA MALAYSIA immediately.

This is not the first time we Malaysians have seen such despicable behavior where the life of a child is put at risk by a driver when the child sits on the drivers lap when the car is in motion!

In other incidents, we have pictures of children standing putting their head out the windows or sun roofs when the SUV is traveling at speed or unrestrained by safety belts or child seats.

When will our parents behave responsibly?

When will the authorities take punitive action against parents who put their kids at risk?

How do we react to such recklessness and negligence in Malaysia?

What is the international Gold standard practiced in law and order to protect our little children?

Will our authorities act responsibly so that the rights, interest of the minor are protected?

Or do we continue to practice double-standards by non-action?

 

COOKED FOOD HYGIENE: ARE MALAYSIAN RESTAURANTS UPHOLDING STANDARDS ASK MALAYSIA ASEAN/APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE?

‘Let us not forget that under Section 11 of the Food Act 1983 food premises can be closed down for their failure to meet hygiene criteria for restaurants.’

COOKED FOOD HYGIENE: ARE MALAYSIAN RESTAURANTS UPHOLDING STANDARDS ASK MALAYSIA ASEAN/APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE?

All Malaysians will agree that the number of eateries the Health Ministry (MOH) was compelled to close reflected a poor awareness among Malaysians and those who are expected to protect consumer rights and interests in this area of food safety and hygiene!

For example, in 2015, a total of 124,254 food premises were inspected. Of this 2,422 (1.9%) were ordered closed.

That is not the full story as a total of 8,210 compounds were issued to food premises operators for offenses committed under the Food Hygiene Regulations 2009!

A great move by Malaysia’s Ministry of Health!

Well done!

But sadly the situation shows no sign of improving.

And there are reports that in 2016, first half 645 of the 28,026 food premises inspected were ordered to close.

And allegations/report that 3,418 compounds have been issued for various offenses.

I am sure we are all aware of that circular issued by the ministry on Food Hygiene Regulations 2009, which was fully enforced from January 2014, stated 33 compoundable offenses for food operators.

And they range from licensing to the transportation of meat, cooked food and raw fruits as well as vegetables.

Maximum penalties include fines not exceeding RM10, 000.00 or not more than two years’ jail, or both.

But how many have received such punishments to date?

Food handlers including hawkers must be licensed by their respective councils who will ensure that they have been vaccinated against typhoid.

That is not all as we have a food handlers training programme started by MOH in 1996 in preparation for the 1998 Commonwealth Games.

Again if my data is correct we should have more than 251 entities recognized by the Government as training centers.

And those applying for restaurant and hawker licenses are advised to also attend the course.

But dirty eateries thrive, and one must ask, why this is so?

That is not all.

These days our consumers are more proactive.

They will not stand down if they are served food that are unhygienic or seriously a food hazard.

Such was the case of a consumer who had alleged that there were worms in their ordered Biryani rice.

They had taken photographs, they alerted the food logistic company who in turn apologized.

Upset, frustrated these consumers updated the incident complete with photographs on their social media page which went viral.

The restaurant owners responded by making Police reports and further uploaded threats against these consumers of legal action, even naming their solicitor.

If it was to intimidate complaining consumers energized by the Consumer Protection Act, the Food Act and several other statutes this back fired.

The matter was referred to CASSA MALAYSIA who immediately alerted    various government agencies on the matter.

CASSA MALAYSIA also intervened with conversations with the investigating officers of the Malaysian Police Force, who received a Police Report allegedly claiming defamation.

This was getting messy.

I have always advocated that parties to any grief or complains to meet discuss and have a conversation to right any alleged wrong.

This is 2021.

If those complaint against attempt to draw in the Police Force for such cases it would be looked upon as trying to intimidate ordinary folks and that cannot be left unchallenged.

Consumers affected by dirty eateries and served unhygienic food have rights.

The restaurant too has their rights if the complaint is without substance, frivolous and unsubstantiated!

I have always therefore advised consumers affected to make Police reports, protect the evidence and alert both the Ministry of Health and the Health Department of the Local Council entity of the area, update the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumers affairs as well.

This is to facilitate a comprehensive investigation, where all matters must be investigated.

All parties have rights!

This will have its implications to restaurants who are allegedly not adhering to the law be it food preparation, dirty eatery, illegal workers without health certificates and a numerous other issues.

I do not expect the quality and professionalism let alone the law pertaining to the food Act and numerous other guidelines and statutes to be followed strictly by businessmen operating food premises and chains.

I have addressed these matters for over 40 years!

Despite drastic action taken by the government agencies we have yet to produce a large proportion of businessmen operating restaurant chains to adhere to the law, quality and professionalism.

But recent attempts to make Police reports, initiate legal action is a departure, an attack on consumers making legitimate complaints.

I must advise them to be cautious lest they open the Pandora box which will bring together a host of government agencies and CASSA MALAYSIA to protect the rights and interest of Malaysian consumers exercising their right to safe and hygienic food!

Perhaps, the better way forward is a warm and friendly conversation between parties with CASSA MALAYSIA as mediators, and the issue addressed in a manner that upholds justice and ethics.

And apologizing certainly not a weakness but of great strength!

Let us all do the right thing folks!