As deadline looms, groups urge govt to be lenient

PETALING JAYA: As the year-end deadline for employers to comply with the Employees’ Minimum Standards of Housing, Accommodations and Amenities Act 1990 (Act 446) approaches, industries are calling for some leniency.

Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai said due consideration must be given to companies that are able to meet the minimum housing and amenities standards but are stranded with their Certificate for Accommodation (CFA) application due to the obstacles faced with the local authorities (PBTs) or respective state governments that imposed their own conditions.

Soh urged the Human Resources Ministry to be cognisant of some of the challenges faced by industries as the Dec 31 deadline to comply with Act 446 approaches.

“While industries generally do not have a problem adhering to the minimum standards of housing and amenities stipulated under Act 446, there continue to be challenges faced in obtaining the approval or the Certificate of Completion and Compliance (CCC) from the local authorities for the buildings used as accommodation for employees including shop lots or buildings that are originally not approved to be used for dwelling.

“However, it is acknowledged that this is not a widespread issue among all local authorities but there remains a few that continue to make it difficult and challenging for industries,” he said.

As the Labour Department has indicated that it will only approve the application for the CFA for any building used for foreign workers’ accommodation as long as there is a PBT approval, employers are stuck as they are unable to get the necessary approvals from the PBTs for their existing accommodation as well as in sourcing for new accommodation.

In addition, in the case of a particular state, there is also the refusal to recognise the types of accommodation which have been approved as Temporary Living Quarters (TLQ) by the Housing and Local Government Ministry, said Soh.

“Many employers have also made all the necessary enhancements to their existing housing to meet the minimum housing and amenities standards and thus forcing them to move to CLQs certified by the state would result in massive cost impact,” he said.

To resolve current issues and problems related to the workers’ accommodation, especially accommodation for foreign workers, the Housing and Local Government Ministry had come up with an Application Procedure for Provision of Short-Term Employee Accommodation.

According to the Ministry, the Application Procedure for Provision of Short-Term Employee Accommodation lists six alternatives for short-term employee accommodation in existing premises.

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