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Malaysian employers given 3 months to provide proper housing for foreign workers

/ 02:19 PM May 28, 2020

PETALING JAYA — Malaysian employers have three months to make arrangements and provide proper accommodation according to guidelines for foreign workers in all sectors, says the Human Resources Ministry.

Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan said the Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities (Amendment) Act will take effect on June 1 in Peninsular Malaysia and the Federal Territory of Labuan.

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“However, the government will give three months’ grace period until Aug 31 to give room for employers to make the necessary arrangements, ” Saravanan said.

“The enforcement under the Act will begin on Sept 1.”

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The amendments, which were passed in the Dewan Rakyat on

July 15 and the Dewan Negara on July 31, were gazetted on Sept 18.

Prior to this, the Act only covered accommodation and housing for workers in plantations that were more than 20 acres and in the mining sector.

With the amendments, the criteria has been extended to all sectors that provide accommodation and housing to foreign workers.

The amendments were also to enhance the 2018 foreign workers accommodation guidelines prepared by the Peninsular Malaysia Labour Department, which encompass minimum standard living space, basic amenities as well as safety and hygiene elements, which need to be prioritized by employers.

“Foreign workers are a risk group for Covid-19 infection.

“This is because they live in crowded and cramped spaces in one housing unit, as well as dirty premises.

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“The ministry also agrees with the views of the Malaysian Medical Association on the need to prepare standard operating procedure (SOP) to enable the implementation of the minimum housing and amenities standards for workers in all sectors in the country, ” he added.

Saravanan hoped that the enforcement of the amendments to the Act would help curb the spread of Covid-19 pandemic in line with the recommendations from the International Labour Organization.

The Act was tabled by former Human Resources minister M. Kulaegaran in the Dewan Rakyat for its first reading last year.

The changes to the law were aimed at ensuring sustainable economic growth for the country and attracting foreign investment, particularly in the high-tech industries.

Among the amendments to the Act is that employers will be allowed to collect rent or any charge related to the accommodation. This can be done via deduction from the wages.

The amendment also outlined the duties and responsibilities of the employer and the centralized accommodation provider.

They include taking measures on fire safety and containing the spread of infectious diseases.

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For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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