JOHOR BARU: Allowing foreign workers to live away from their workplace will not only lead to social issues but increased costs for businesses, says Johor Indian Muslim Entrepreneurs Association secretary Hussein Ibrahim.
He said Indian Muslim restaurants prefer to have their workers stay on the second floor of restaurants as it is cost-effective and easier to manage.
“If we house them at different locations, they might decide not to come to work and run away without a trace, which in the end could only lead to more social problems for locals and the government,” he said when contacted yesterday.
Hussein was speaking in response to the amendments to the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 (Act 446).
He said businesses have only just started to recover from pandemic restrictions.
“The government needs to consider that there are not enough foreign workers as most had gone back (at the start of the pandemic).”
Hussein added that restaurant owners provided all necessities to their foreign workers including safe accommodations.
“We have ensured there is proper personal distance between workers, a minimum capacity in each room, properly sanitised amenities, and a separated laundry rack.”
Malay Chamber of Commerce Malaysia president Abd Halim Husin said the amendment to Act 446 is crucial to curb infections.
“There are cases where foreign workers working in different shifts share the same bedroom, which is unhygienic and does not meet human rights standards.
“By providing them with good accommodation, we could also help reduce the risk of infection spreading to the local community,” he said.
Earlier, The Star reported the government intends to amend laws to include stricter provisions to ensure minimum standards for workers’ accommodation, similar to what was in the now-annulled Emergency Ordinance.
This includes the power to order employers to replace, change or upgrade the facilities should it be found not up to the mark.