Workers’ housing: Act 446 implementation should not be delayed — Saravanan

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PUTRAJAYA (Sept 7): The implementation of the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities (Amendment) Act 2019 (Act 446) should not be delayed because some industries are already abiding by it, said Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan (pictured).

Commenting on requests from the Malaysia Employers' Federation and the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers for Act 446 to be postponed, Saravanan said the Act, which came into force on Sept 1, was not implemented in haste and the decision to implement it was made last year before the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said Act 446 —which refers to the provision of housing, accommodation and employee facilities by the employer — is not new as the amendments to the act were passed in the Dewan Rakyat on July 15, 2019 and Dewan Negara on July 31, 2019 and subsequently gazetted on Sept 18, 2019.

Act 446 (Amendment) 2019 also seeks to improve the Guidelines for Foreign Workers’ Accommodation 2018 by the Labour Department of Peninsular Malaysia (JTKSM) which covers the minimum standard accommodation space, basic facilities for workers’ accommodation and elements of security and hygiene.

"Employers have been given sufficient time from the date the Act was gazetted last year and its implementation on Sept 1 recently," he said in a press conference on Act 446 at his ministry here today.

He said since Act 446 was gazetted last year, almost 600 companies in the Peninsula have been inspected by JTKSM and 87 employers have applied to obtain a certificate of recognition.

Saravanan said the Ministry was prepared to assist and discuss with any party affected by the enforcement of the act, adding that it had not been decided when fines would be imposed on errant employers.

“Since its enforcement on Sept 1, no company has been fined. The Ministry wants to educate and increase awareness on the Act first," he said.