KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 3): Some 91.1% or 1.4 million foreign workers in the country are provided with accommodation that does not comply with provisions under the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 or Act 446.
Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M Saravanan said he found the statistics “very worrying”, especially with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
“The government had received applications for a certificate of accommodation for only 143,587 or 8.89% of the 1.6 million [registered] foreign workers in the country as of Oct 31.
“This situation clearly shows that employers and providers of centralised accommodation for the 1.4 million foreign workers in Malaysia still fail to apply for the certificate from the Department of Labour of Peninsular Malaysia (JTKSM),” he said.
He told reporters this at a special press conference here today, which was also attended by Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
Saravanan said the enforcement of Act 446 would be carried out continuously, and action would be taken against errant employers.
“Since the enforcement of Act 446 on Sept 1, JTKSM has conducted 1,850 inspections, involving 1,813 employers and 37 centralised accommodation providers throughout the peninsula and the Federal Territory of Labuan.
“JTKSM is targetting 25,000 inspections by 2021,” he said.
Certificate of accommodation a prerequisite before hiring new foreign workers from July 1 next year
Meanwhile, Ismail Sabri, who is also the chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Foreign Workers, said the certificate of accommodation will be a prerequisite for employers who intend to hire new foreign workers, effective from July 1 next year.
“Before an employer makes an application to bring in foreign workers, the employer must obtain the certificate from the Ministry of Human Resources (MoHR) to enable the Immigration Department to issue a visa.
“This means, before foreign workers arrive in the country, employers are required to make available accommodation that complies with Act 446. Otherwise, the foreign workers would be [regarded as] illegal immigrants,” he added.
Ismail Sabri reminded employers that Act 446 not only involves foreign workers, but also includes local workers.
“The focus of Act 446 at the moment is on foreign workers due to a high number of Covid-19 cases involving them,” he added.
Ismail Sabri said the second meeting of the Special Committee on the Coordination of Foreign Workers, held yesterday, also agreed for the Ministry of Housing and Local Government to expedite the approval of applications by employers to build workers’ quarters.