Sunday, May 11, 2014

Workers should have laws that ensure minimum standards of worker housing

WORKERS' MINIMUM STANDARDS OF HOUSING AND AMENITIES ACT 1990 is there but it section 2(1) says '(1) Nothing in this Act shall apply to any place of employment or part thereof, situated within the area of a City Council, a Municipal Council or a Federal Territory, and 2(3) says 'Minister may by order declare this Act or any provision thereof, to be applicable to any place of employment or to any specified class of place of employment situated within the area of any Municipal Council.
The ACT also do not stipulate anything about 'overcrowding', and this must be remedied, standards must be set to stipulate maximum number of workers per house/accommodation, the number of workers per toilet, etc. 
The ACT must also remove the exclusion of 'situated within the area of a City Council, a Municipal Council or a Federal Territory' and apply to all worker housing. 
In fact, the  'City Council, a Municipal Council or a Federal Territory' should also have laws that stipulate the minimum standards of housings, and actively enforce these laws for all worker accommodations within its jurisdiction.

People need to ask the question: How come migrant workers who are disease free when they arrive in Malaysia end up being deported by reason of diseases that they could have most likely only got. like TB, due to poor living and working conditions?


Stiffer penalties urged for ‘overcrowding’ foreign workers

GEORGE TOWN: A Penang lawmaker has called for stiffer penalties against property owners who cram as many foreign workers as they can into one residential unit.

Pulau Tikus assemblyman Yap Soo Huey said the six months prison sentence and RM2,000 fine provided for overcrowding under the Local Government Act 1976 was insufficient.

She described the present penalty as a slap on the wrist and urged for higher penalties to be passed.

Yap said the Act considered a residential unit as overcrowded if there was less than 32 sq m of internal space for every adult in the unit.

She added overcrowding led to social and hygiene problems as those staying in cramped living quarters had less personal space and had to share only one or two toilets.

"When 15 to 20 persons are living in the same area, how can there be enough sewage, garbage disposal and washing facilities in the house? 

"This leads to poor living conditions like smelly clothing drying outside their area and rubbish discarded carelessly," she said in a press conference today.

According to Immigration Department statistics, Yap said, there were some 2.1 million registered foreign workers in Malaysia and most of them were employed in the manufacturing and construction sectors. There are more than 100,000 of them currently staying in Penang.

"This means that seven out of every 100 residents in the state are foreigners. They are part of the workforce and proper social care, like adequate housing, should be provided for them," she added.- The Sun Daily, 6/5/2014, Stiffer penalties urged for ‘overcrowding’ foreign workers

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