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After years of surviving in poor living conditions, foreign workers in Malaysia are finally being be given the right to adequate accommodation.
Malaysian employers have been given three months to arrange proper accommodation for their foreign workers now required under new laws that will take effect on 1 June 2020.
Minister of Human Resources Datuk Seri M. Saravanan said these new guidelines in the Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities (Amendment) Act will cover foreign workers in all sectors.
The government will give three months’ grace period until Aug 31 to give room for employers to make the necessary arrangements.Datuk Seri M. Saravanan via Straits Times
Enforcement of the new law will begin on 1 September 2020.
These new guidelines are also meant to enhance the 2018 foreign workers accommodation guidelines by the Peninsular Malaysia Labour Department and will cover minimum standard living space, basic amenities and safety and hygiene elements, all of which must be prioritised by employers.
According to M. Saravanan, due to their current substandard living conditions, foreign workers are considered a risk group for Covid-19 infection.
This is because they live in crowded and cramped spaces in one housing unit, as well as dirty premises.Datuk Seri M. Saravanan via Straits Times
He explained that his ministry agrees with the Malaysian Medical Association about the requirement of protocols to implement minimum standards of housing and amenities for workers in all sectors.
Recently, Malaysia was criticised by labour activists for raiding and arresting illegal foreign workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.
After thousands of undocumented workers were detained during the operation, more than 380 cases of new infections were reported at immigration detention centres in the last few weeks.
The Health Ministry has announced that immigrants who test positive for Covid-19 will be moved to quarantine centres for isolation and treatment.
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