More time needed to improve housing for foreign workers, says FMM

The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers says a three-month grace period is not enough to comply with new standards of housing for foreign workers.

PETALING JAYA: The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers is seeking more time to comply with amendments to the law designed to improve standards of housing for foreign workers.

Human Resources Minister M Saravanan announced recently that the government is giving employers a three-month grace period up to Aug 31 to comply with amendments.

However FMM vice-president Nathan Suppiah said employers may need more time to allow employers room to make the necessary preparations.

“We urge the authorities to give more time, at least six months, for companies to reset and rearrange according to the requirements of the law and the additional requirements under standard procedures,” he said.

Suppiah said regulations under the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 are expected to be released only next week.

“As such, the sufficiency of the three-month grace period to comply with the provisions of the act would depend on the details in the regulations and the extent of adjustments that employers would have to undertake to meet the provisions in the regulations,” he told FMT.

The regulations are expected to provide greater detail about minimum standards of housing and amenities as well as safety and health requirements.

Saravanan had said on May 27 the amended act provides a minimum standard for space requirement for the workers’ accommodations, basic facilities for the housing and workers, and safety and hygiene elements.

Suppiah said that the huge number of foreign workers in Malaysia posed a big challenge for employers to fulfil all the conditions, including the added precautionary measures introduced in the standard procedures.

He urged employers to take responsibility for the safety of workers as the country still needed foreign workers in the foreseeable future because many Malaysians didn’t want to take the jobs.

“While the manufacturing sector has always preferred to employ local workers but due to the nature of some jobs and industries, employers have been unable to obtain all the needed manpower despite numerous ways and means to recruit local workers,” he said.

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