Accommodation for more than 90% of foreign workers not in compliance with Housing Act

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): Some 91.1% or 1.4 million foreign workers in the country are provided with accommodation that does not comply with provisions in the Workers' Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 or Act 446.

Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan (pic) said he found the statistics "very worrying", especially with the current Covid-19 pandemic.

"The government received application for Certificate of Accommodation for only 143,587 or 8.89% of the 1.6 million foreign workers in the country as of last Oct 31.

"This situation clearly shows that employers and providers of centralised accommodation for 1.4 million foreign workers in Malaysia still fail to apply for the certificate from the Labour Department of Peninsular Malaysia (JTKSM)," he said.

He told this to reporters at a special press conference here Thursday (Dec 3), which was also attended by Senior Minister (Security) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Saravanan said the enforcement of Act 446 would be carried out continuously and action would be taken against the errant employers.

"Since enforcement of Act 446 last Sept 1, the Labour Department has conducted 1,850 inspections, involving 1,813 employers and 37 centralised accommodation providers throughout the peninsula and the Federal Territory of Labuan.

"The Labour Department is targetting 25,000 inspections by 2021," he said.

Meanwhile, Ismail Sabri, who is also chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Foreign Workers, said the Certificate of Accommodation will be a pre-requisite for employers who intend to hire new foreign workers effective July 1 next year.

"Before an the employer makes an application to bring in foreign workers, the employer must obtain the certificate from the Human Resources Ministry to enable the Malaysian Immigration Department to issue a visa.

"This mean, before foreign workers arrive in the country, the employers are required to make available accommodation that complies with Act 446. Otherwise, the foreign workers are (regarded) illegal immigrants," he added.

Ismail Sabri reminded employers that Act 446 not only involves foreign workers, but also includes local workers.

"The focus of Act 446 at the moment is on foreign workers due to high number of Covid-19 cases involving them," he added.

Ismail Sabri said the second meeting of the Special Committee on the Coordination of Foreign Workers, held yesterday, also agreed for the Housing and Local Government Ministry to expedite the approval of applications by employers to build workers' quarters. - Bernama

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