KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 4): The Government is in the process of amending the Workers' Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 to improve workers' accommodation in Malaysia as the nation contends with the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said today.

The Prime Minister said in a special televised message that the Government is amending the Act based on the power granted to it through the Emergency Ordinance.
"(About) 59% of Covid-19 cases reported in the country happen at the workplace," he said.

He addded that the manufacturing sector recorded 128 clusters, the highest number of clusters by sector, followed by the construction sector (82 clusters) and the services sector (61 clusters).

Muhyiddin however did not specify the nature of the proposed amendment of the Act, which requires employers to ensure that workers' accommodation complies with minimum standards.

However, he said the amendment will include the compulsory requirement for employers to provide accommodation that fulfils the set standards; to bear the cost of accommodation, transfer and testing of workers; to monitor foreign workers during working hours at the premises and after work at their accommodation; and to ensure the accommodation centre agencies provide accommodation that meets the standards and requirements set by the Government.

“The Human Resource Ministry will lead the Worker Accommodation Management Task Force, which will have a wider and more comprehensive jurisdiction through the amendments of the Workers' Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990,” he said.

The amendment is deemed crucial because the cramped accommodation of foreign workers in Malaysia is seen as a key factor contributing to the spread of the pandemic in the country.

Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah on Jan 12 declared an emergency across Malaysia after the Government announced a day earlier the re-enforcement of various levels of the Movement Control Order to curb Covid-19.

The state of emergency will be enforced till Aug 1 as a proactive measure to contain the pandemic in the country.

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