Employers have been urged to comply with the requirements stated in Act 446 to provide decent accommodation for their foreign workers, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Director of the Legal and Enforcement Division of the Labour Department of Peninsular Malaysia (JTK), Zaini Yaacob, said the government would not compromise with any employer who ignored or failed to comply with the requirements and specifications of the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 (Act 446).
“For one, the employer will be subject to legal action under Section 24D (1) of Act 446 for not having a certificate of accommodation.
“If convicted, the employer can be fined up to RM50,000, and for the offence of providing shoddy or congested centralised accommodation, the employer can be fined up to RM50,000 or jailed for not more than one year, or both, ” he said after leading an operation to inspect a foreign workers’ hostel owned by a furniture factory in Jalan Ayer Manis here yesterday.
“Overcrowded or packed like sardines is probably the best term to describe the living conditions of the 321 foreign workers at the hostel, who mostly hail from Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan.
“The hostel was found to be very poorly managed, with many clogged or non-functional toilets, ” Zaini said.
He said the initial investigation found that the hostel, which was formerly a factory, did not have a certificate of accommodation from JTK, let alone approval from the local authority.
“The hostel is like a barn…with thin plywood bunk beds, much like boxes stacked in tiers, with no mattress, putting the workers in a very uncomfortable situation, ” he said.
Also present at the operation held with the cooperation of the Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry, the Home Affairs Ministry, the Occupational Safety and Health Department, was Johor JTK director Nasir Kassim.
On Dec 3, Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan told Dewan Rakyat that more than 90% of foreign workers’ accommodation provided by their employers in the country did not comply with Act 446, with the matter involving a total of 1.4 million workers.
He said as of Oct 30, the government only received applications for the Certificate of Accommodation involving 143,587 (8.89%) of the 1.6 million foreign workers in the country.
Adapted from The Star, 17 Dec 2020.