BUTTERWORTH: About 50 foreign workers of a factory here are staying in a dirty, repulsive and congested environment at a hostel comprising six containers that also double as kitchens.
The inhumane acts of the employers were uncovered when the Peninsula Malaysia Labour Department conducted a surprise check at the workers’ hostel in Sungai Lokan near here at 9.30am Wednesday (April 27).
The department’s deputy director-general (operations) Mohd Asri Abdul Wahab said they found that the accommodation provided by the factory, which manufactures reinforcement bars and iron piles, contravened the regulations under the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities (Amendment) Act 2019 (Act 446).
“We found the employers had turned (six) containers into (three blocks of) two-storey hostels (with a kitchen each) to house about 50 Myanmar and Bangladeshi workers in a congested condition.
“In fact, the floor of the containers had holes which were dangerous to them, and there was no Labour Department certificate.
“In addition, the employer also did not meet the specifications such as providing mattresses of not less than four inches thick, closed dustbins, first aid box and locked cupboard to enable the workers to protect their belongings,” he said.
He was speaking to reporters after an integrated special enforcement operation under the Labour Act and related acts to combat the issue of forced labour here, Wednesday.
Commenting further, Mohd Asli said an inspection at another foreign workers’ hostel also found that the employers had provided a congested accommodation without a certificate.
He said that all employers providing foreign workers’ hostels must ensure they had the certificate and they could be compounded RM50,000 if they failed to have it.
Meanwhile, he said a total of RM10.81mil worth of compounds were recorded involving worker neglect by employers from February 2021 until April 20 this year.
He said the department had inspected 42,572 employers involving 175,876 accommodations and opened 1,401 investigation papers with 148 of them in the prosecution stage involving total penalties of RM1.052mil.
“Meanwhile, 968 investigation papers have been given the green light for compounding involving compound offers totalling RM10.81mil.
“We have also implemented various integrated enforcement activities focusing on all acts in an effort to detect the existence of any element of forced labour,” he added.-BERNAMA