Some 40 foreign workers were found living in crowded, dirty and disorganised conditions in four containers, besides resting in sheds made of used zinc during an integrated operational inspection of a metal engineering plant at Pengkalan II Industrial Area yesterday (February 4).
The operation which took more than three hours was performed by the Perak Labour Department of Peninsular Malaysia (JTKSM) with the Social Security Organisation (PERKESO), Perak State Health Department (JKN), Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) and Batu Gajah District Council (MDBG). They also inspected five workers’ dormitories at Bandar Sri Pengkalan.
According to the director of JTKSM, Muhamad Fauzi Abd Ghani, inspections have shown that the provided accommodation failed to comply with the Worker’s Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 (Act 446).
“The inside of a container can be made a living space. However, there wasn’t physical distancing with beds arranged closely together and worse, air ventilation was uncomfortable for the workers.
“Usually, a container can only house a maximum of seven individuals, but this doesn’t adhere to legal provisions,” he told reporters.
Muhamad Fauzi added, the employer may be subject to legal actions under Section 24D(3) of Act 446 for not possessing an accommodation certificate. If found guilty, the company may be fined a maximum of RM50,000 or imprisoned up to a year, or both.
The operation also entailed tracing if employers have done the COVID-19 screening test using the RTK Antigen method for foreign workers.
“An intelligence found that 18 employers who provided accommodation for workers at the area have yet to apply for a certificate.
“There shouldn’t be an issue for employers to head to the nearest Labour Department as we have six branches in Perak, which are at Taiping, Kuala Kangsar, Sitiawan, Tapah, Ipoh and Teluk Intan.
“We urge employers to head to their nearest JTKSM for advice regarding application for an accommodation certificate,” he stressed.