Mi-Voice MIC News

Employers have 3 months to follow new rules on foreign workers’ housing

KUALA LUMPUR: The government is giving employers three months to comply with amendments to the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 that addresses living conditions of migrant workers in the midst of Covid-19 pandemic.

Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan said the government is allowing for a grace period up to Aug 31 for the act, that comes into force on Monday, to allow employers room to make the necessary preparations.

He said the amendments passed in Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara in July last year has been extended to cover the housing and accommodation for workers in all sectors across Peninsular Malaysia and Labuan.

Earlier, it was only empowered to govern such aspects related to plantations that are more than 20 acres(8.09ha) in size and the mining sector.

“Act 446, (amendment) 2019 also hopes to enhance the 2018 guidelines of accommodation for foreign workers that were prepared by the Peninsular Malaysia Labour Department.

“This covers a minimum standard for space requirement for the workers’ accommodations, basic facilities for the housing and workers, and safety and hygiene elements that employers need to put emphasis on.”

“Foreign workers are among the high-risk group for the spread of Covid-19 as they are cramped and crowded into single housing units that have poor hygiene,” he said in a statement today.

He further said that the ministry also agrees with the Malaysian Medical Association on the need for a standard operating procedure (SOP) to enable the implementation of these minimum standards for housing and basic facilities.

“We hope that the enforcement of the amendment, including the news rules to regulate the standard of housing and workers’ facilities would prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, which is in line with the International Labour Organisation’s Recommendation 115 (Workers Housing Recommendation, 1961).”

The amendments such as the overall act is, however, restricted to Peninsular Malaysia and Labuan.