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Monday, May 10, 2021

Workers' housing standards law still in force - Saravanan


The Human Resources Ministry has denied reports by news portals that it has suspended the enforcement of the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities (Amendment) 2019 (Act 446).

Its Minister M Saravanan said the act was still in force and enforcement operations were constantly being carried out to ensure compliance with the Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs).

“There is a report by an online portal that the ministry has suspended the enforcement of the act, which is not true.

“There are also news portal reports claiming that the increase in the number of Covid-19 clusters was due to the suspension. This is not true and has caused confusion among the people,” he told a press conference today.

Saravanan said Act 446 came into effect in June 2020 and employers were given a three-month grace period until Aug 31, 2020, before it was fully enforced in September 2020.

However, following the emergence of the Teratai cluster earlier this year, he said the government was of the view that Act 446 could serve as a medium to break the Covid-19 infection chain.

Saravanan said this has led to the gazetting of amendments on Act 446 as part of the Emergency Ordinance.

“In this regard, on Feb 25, Act 446 was gazetted as part of the Emergency Ordinance which was also enforced in Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.

Act 446 is implemented to address foreign workers’ housing issues through stricter enforcement action.

Saravanan said action would be taken against the news portals if they were found to have published false information on the matter.

Meanwhile, he said, as of May 8, a total of 17,882 employers have been inspected nationwide and of that total, 6,069 of them were found to have complied with the act while 11,813 still failed to adhere to the law.

On the Working for Workers (WFW) application, which was launched on May 3, Saravanan said so far, it had recorded 59 complaints involving various labour-related issues.


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