Top Glove said the human resources ministry had previously said it would use an educational approach before enforcing new housing standards for workers next year, in the wake of 19 investigation papers being opened against it for violations under the law.
In a statement today, Top Glove provided links to media reports dated Sept 8 in which Human Resources Minister M Saravanan said errant employers would not be fined under amendments to the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 (Act 446) as the enforcement of the act was still in its early stages.
“Top Glove wishes to clarify that efforts to source for more accommodation and to improve existing worker accommodations are ongoing in view of the large number of workers we employ,” it said.
“We expect to complete the exercise of improving workers’ accommodation around Dec 31, 2020. This is in line with the government’s educational approach on employers in various sectors until the end of this year (2020), so that they can comply with Act 446,” said the company, providing links to the two reports in Bernama and The Sun.
Saravanan was quoted as saying that the ministry did not intend to fine employers for failing to meet minimum space requirements for workers’ accommodation, basic facilities, and safety and hygiene standards – stating that their efforts would “eventually fail” if they were only focused on penalizing employers for non-compliance.
Saravanan also said it was the ministry’s responsibility to educate and encourage employers to comply with Act 446, which it promised to use discretionarily.
Employers found guilty of violating Act 446 can be fined a maximum of RM50,000 per worker.
On Nov 25, Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the human resources ministry would start enforcing amendments to Act 446, after a rise in Covid-19 cases linked to construction sites and factories.
At a press conference today, Department of Labour Peninsular Malaysia (JTKSM) director-general Asri Ab Rahman said 19 investigation papers had been opened against Top Glove under Act 446 involving six of the company’s subsidiaries in five states – Johor, Negeri Sembilan, Perak, Kelantan, and Selangor.
Top Glove said it had spent some RM20 million purchasing 100 units of apartments for workers over the past two months to ensure that they adhered to Act 446.
It added this was in addition to having previously invested in 100 double-storey houses and hostels with full facilities, including in-house canteen, automated teller machines, barbershops, and minimarts, worth an estimated RM50 million in total.