PUTRAJAYA — The Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities (Amendment) Act 2019 (Act 446), which extends to all employment sectors providing housing and accommodation for workers, will come into force on June 1.
Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan, however, said the enforcement of the Act 446 (Amendment) 2019, which applies to peninsular Malaysia and the Federal Territory of Labuan, would be fully implemented from Sept 1, 2020.
“The government will give a three-month postponement until Aug 31, 2020 to give employers the opportunity to prepare accordingly,” he said in a statement today.
The previous Act 446 jurisdiction only covered the housing and accommodation aspects of more than 20 acres plantation and mining sector. Through the amendment, it is now being extended to all employment sectors that provide housing and accommodation for workers.
Saravanan said the amendment to Act 446 was also aimed at improving the Guidelines for Foreign Workers Accommodation 2018, which include minimum living space standards, basic facilities for home and workers as well as safety and cleanliness elements that employers should consider.
“Foreign workers are at risk of being infected with COVID-19. This is because they are staying in a crowded residential unit in addition to a very dirty environment,” he said.
Saravanan said the ministry also agreed with the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) on the need of standard operating procedures (SOPs) to facilitate the implementation of minimum standards of housing and amenities for workers in all employment sectors in the country.
The amendments to Act 446 were passed in the Dewan Rakyat on July 15, 2019 and in the Dewan Negara on July 31, 2019, and gazetted on Sept 18, 2019.
Saravanan hopes that the enforcement, including new rules governing housing standards and workers’ amenities, will prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in accordance with the Recommendation 115 (Workers Housing Recommendation, 1961), of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).