Companies to face 63 charges for flouting Workers’ Housing Act

Officers from the Labour Department conduct checks on a worker’s hostel in Tasek, Ipoh November 26, 2020. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Officers from the Labour Department conduct checks on a worker’s hostel in Tasek, Ipoh November 26, 2020. — Picture by Farhan Najib

PUTRAJAYA, Dec 1 — Sixth-three (63) charges will be foisted on firms failing to comply with the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 (Act 446), including manufacturers of rubber gloves, said Department of Labour Peninsular Malaysia (JTKSM) director-general Asri Ab Rahman.

He said companies in the construction and manufacturing sectors were also set to face charges following enforcement operations in Perak, Kedah, Kelantan, Negri Sembilan and Johor on November 26.

Among the offences detected were failure to apply for a Certificate for Accommodation under Section 24D of Act 446, accommodations and hostels condition which were congested, uncomfortable, no ventilation and buildings used did not comply with local authority laws and no Certificate of Qualification (CF), he said.

Also detected was a 800-square-foot accommodation that was supposed to house six people, but the investigation found 20 people occupying it, he said.

“This action is a firm statement that the Ministry of Human Resources will never ever compromise with companies that violate Act 446 or the Employment Act 1955,” Asri told a press conference regarding the results of the enforcement operation carried out on Nov 26, here, today.

He said the operation inspected 24,000 employers from various sectors including rubber gloves, manufacturing, construction, electrical and electronics (E&E), services and plantations, of which only about 30 per cent complied with Act 446.

“The plantation sector is found to be among the best providing accommodation,” he said.

The JTKSM enforcement operation was carried out due to Covid-19 clusters linked to workplaces involving foreigners including the Teratai Cluster which was detected on Nov 7 last year which until yesterday recorded 4,278 cases.

Asri said Act 446, which was supposed to be enforced in June 2020 but given ‘flexibility’ until September 1, was important in curbing the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The government’s concern is that employers’ non-compliance would cause accommodation provided for foreign workers to become places where the disease spreads.

‘‘Currently, Malaysia position is at Tier 2 Watchlist in the United States Department of State’s Annual Report. The government is concerned that it does not fall into a bad position,’’ he said.

Asri said employers and centralised accommodation providers should immediately apply for Certificates for Accommodation, where JTKSM only received 665 applications from 54,000 employers who provided accommodation facilities for their employees.

He said JTKSM was targeting 54,000 employers to apply for Certificates for Accommodation by the end of 2021. — Bernama

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