Ipoh glove manufacturing company found in breach of workers’ housing Act

Labour Department director Mohd Asri Abdul Wahab speaks to the press after conducting checks on a worker’s hostel in Tasek, Ipoh November 26, 2020. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Labour Department director Mohd Asri Abdul Wahab speaks to the press after conducting checks on a worker’s hostel in Tasek, Ipoh November 26, 2020. — Picture by Farhan Najib

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IPOH, Nov 26 — The Department of Labour Peninsular Malaysia (JTKSM) today found a glove manufacturing company here to be in violation of the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 (Act 446) during an operation.

JTKSM’s labour standards director Mohd Asri Abdul Wahab said that several offences were uncovered during the raid on the company’s foreign worker hostel, which is located in a housing area in Tasek.

“Among the offences were the company’s failure to obtain an ‘accommodation acknowledgment letter’ from our department, overcrowding and unsanitary conditions,” he told reporters when met outside the hostel.

Mohd Asri explained that under Act 446, a double-storey house with three or four rooms can only accommodate 10 to 12 people depending on its size.

“During our inspection of all 13 hostels, we discovered that even the living room and dining area were being used for sleeping. We found beds and mattresses there.

“Under Act 446, workers are only allowed to use these rooms for sleeping if they stay in a terrace house,” he said.

Mohd Asri said the authorities will conduct a more detailed probe before opening an investigation paper.

“It will take about two weeks as we need to check the size of the hostels and also the details of the workers who stay there.

“At the moment, we have recorded statements from the employer and several workers,” he said.

“If the company is found guilty, the employer could be fined a maximum of RM50,000 per worker,” he added.

He said that JTKSM today was helped by its Perak counterparts and the Perak Health Department.

“We are also conducting similar operations in Negri Sembilan, Johor Kelantan and Kedah, which involves the subsidiary companies,” he said.

Mohd Asri also said Act 446 has been in place since June this year and the government had allowed a grace period that ended on September 1.

“However, we are in November and it’s already more than two months from the grace period.

“By right, all employers should be aware of this Act by now and apply for the accommodation acknowledgment certificate. This can be done online via our website,” he said.

Meanwhile, Perak Health Department inspectorate and legal unit chief Ahmad Fakurazi Abu Bakar said the hostels need to be sanitised due to overcrowding.

“This has to be done as a precautionary measure to avoid any possible Covid-19 infection.

“The body temperature of the workers should also be taken every time they return to the hostel from their workplace,” he said.

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