KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 21 – The Department of Labour Peninsular Malaysia has opened 1,169 investigation papers against employers for flouting minimum standards in workers’ accommodation this year as of November 30.
Human Resources Minister M. Saravanan also said the Department of Labour Peninsular Malaysia issued 817 compounds and instituted 134 prosecutions over various offences, such as failure to apply for certification of accommodation; failure to fulfil minimum standards of accommodation like preparing wardrobes, beds, mattresses, and pillows to every worker; and exceeding worker capacity set under regulations and other offences under the Employees’ Minimum Standards of Housing, Accommodations and Amenities Act 1990 (Act 446).
The 1,169 investigation papers comprise just 3 per cent of 37,662 employers whose workers’ housing facilities were inspected from January 11 this year, when Act 446 and the Emergency Ordinance related to workers’ minimum housing standards were enforced, until November 30.
According to Saravanan’s December 9 written Dewan Negara reply to Senator Teo Eng Tee, of the 37,662 employers, 47.15 per cent or 17,457 employers were found not to comply with Act 446.
Among the 17,457 employers who did not comply with Act 446, about 74.4 per cent (13,085) received compliance orders, 18.7 per cent (3,289) received instructions for repairs or improvements, and 0.28 per cent (49) received instructions for worker transfers.
The 37,662 peninsula-based employers inspected as of November 30 involved 152,652 accommodation facilities housing 1,030,426 workers, comprising 957,316 foreigners and 73,110 locals.
Enforcement was conducted under the housing standard operating procedures (SOPs), National Security Council SOPs, and Act 446.
In Sabah, the state Labour Department issued 2,603 compliance letters as of November 30 and inspected 1,705 accommodation facilities run by 457 employers that house 6,990 local workers and 6,562 foreign workers.
The Sarawak Labour Department found that 257, or 46 per cent, of 553 employers running 10,270 inspected accommodation facilities were found not to comply with minimum standards for workers’ housing under the Emergency Ordinance as of October 25.
Saravanan said to ensure employers’ compliance with minimum housing standards for workers, the Human Resources Ministry has set up a task force committee on compliance with workers’ accommodation at the ministry’s department and agency level in the peninsula, Sabah, and Sarawak.
He added that the Human Resources Ministry also provides “advice and instructions for improvements to employers that provide less comfortable housing facilities that do not meet the minimum standards required under Act 446”.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said last Thursday that proposed amendments to the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) were primarily aimed at repeat offenders, as he cited a previous Covid-19 cluster linked to a manufacturing company.
Yesterday, Khairy deferred tabling of the Act 342 amendment Bill for debate to the next Dewan Rakyat meeting in February upon recommendations by the parliamentary health, science and innovation special select committee.
The controversial Bill, when tabled in the Dewan Rakyat, initially mooted an RM1 million compound for businesses over the breach of Covid-19 rules, but this was subsequently halved to RM500,000 in the latest version of the Bill amid public outrage.
The existing Act 342 already imposes a jail term of up to two years and five years for the first and second or subsequent offence respectively upon conviction.