PUTRAJAYA: Employers in several sectors will be given some time to comply with the law to provide suitable housing for their foreign workers, says Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan.
He said discussions had been held with several associations representing various sectors on their progress in complying with the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 or Act 446.
“We are looking at giving a ‘slight reprieve’ to several sectors. But at the same time, they must take the necessary steps to comply with the requirement.
“We don’t want them to wait until the last minute to do so.
“We want to see progress and employers must convince us that they are making the effort on their part to fulfil the requirement, ” he told reporters after jointly chairing the foreign workers management committee meeting with Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin here yesterday.
Saravanan did not name which sectors that would be given the extension but he mentioned that he had a meeting with Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM), whose members are involved in the construction industry.
It was reported that the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) had asked for one to three years’ time for employers to comply with the Act due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the finances of the companies.
Amendments to the Act came into force on June 1 last year, mandating a minimum space requirement for workers’ accommodation, basic facilities as well as safety and hygiene standards.
Employers were given a grace period until Aug 31,2020 to comply, with the enforcement of Act 446 taking effect from Sept 1 last year.
On the mandatory Covid-19 screening of foreign workers, Saravanan said almost all these workers in the country, comprising 1.5 million, had been tested.
He also said that there were 1.7 million foreign workers registered with the Social Security Organisation (Socso), of which 500,000 had left the country.
“And according to records, about 1.5 million foreign workers had been screened under the RM60 subsidy scheme, ” he added.
Employers were given until Feb 28 to screen their foreign workers and failure to do so could result in their employees’ work passes not being renewed.
The government then extended it to March 31 upon request from employers.