Malaysia imposes requirements for improved workers’ lodging

Failure to comply with government orders to improve living quarters will result in RM200,000 in fines or a three-year jail term, or both.
By: | February 24, 2021

The Malaysian government has enforced an emergency ordinance requiring employers to provide lodging with sufficient living space and amenities for foreign workers, said the Ministry of Human Resources (MOHR). 

Under the emergency ordinance, which are laws that do not require prior parliamentary approval, a minimum housing standard for worker accommodation will be enforced nationwide, said Human Resources Minister M. Saravanan. 

This is the first emergency ordinance enforced since Malaysia declared a national emergency nationwide to contain the spread of COVID-19. The minister added that the Labour Department is authorised to instruct owners of the accommodation to improve and change the conditions of workers’ lodging. 

The department can also order them to move workers immediately from accommodation that is too crowded and unsanitary, bearing their own costs, or face RM200,000 (US$49,474) in fines or a three-year jail term, or both.

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The MOHR is also working with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) to prepare accommodation for foreign workers who were transferred from their original lodging, which was deemed unsuited for accommodation. 

The temporary lodging includes centralised labour quarters that have been certified by the Department of Labour Peninsular Malaysia, and hotels registered under MOTAC.