Penang warehouse collapse: Legal action to be taken against employer, says Socso

PETALING JAYA: Legal action will be taken against the employer responsible for the foreign workers involved in the collapse at a Bayan Lepas construction site, says the Social Security Organisation (Socso).

In a statement on Thursday (Nov 30), Socso quoted Human Resources Minister V. Sivakumar, saying that legal action would be taken through the organisation, as five of the nine workers did not have records with the organisation nor contributed to it.

Socso said that this was a clear contravention of Section 6 of the Employees' Social Security Act 1969 (Act 4) and added that according to Section 94 of the same law, employers who fail to register and contribute for foreign workers can be prosecuted.

It said that those found guilty can face a fine of RM10,000, two years in jail or both upon conviction, adding that Sivakumar had said that his ministry would not compromise on employers who do not register and pay their foreign workers contributions.

All foreign workers - including those who serve as labourers in the construction sector - are required to register and contribute to Socso effective Jan 1, 2020.

On this, Socso said that the review of the two foreign workers who were killed and the two who were injured in the construction site collapse showed that while they were registered with Socso, no contributions were made from 2020 to July 2023.

"The other foreign worker who died had no record of registration and contribution with Socso.

"The ministry through Socso is still actively conducting a review with the Fire and Rescue Department, the Bangladesh High Commission here and other related agencies," it said.

On Tuesday (Nov 28) night, a building under construction collapsed in Batu Maung near Bayan Lepas in Penang.

Three foreign workers died while two others suffered serious injuries and were sent to Penang Hospital for treatment.

Four others who were initially thought to be buried in the rubble were found safe after they fled the site during the incident.

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