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Malaysia: New Rules for Minimum Housing Standards: Employers to Comply or Face Fines

The Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities (Amendment) Act 2019 (Act 446), which extends to all employment sectors, providing housing and accommodation for workers, came into force on June 1, 2020. From September 1, it will be fully enforced.

 

What are the minimum requirements an employer must provide to their workers?

Employers and centralized accommodation providers must give every employee staying in the provided accommodation these three items:

  • A single bed measuring not less than 1.7 square meters. And if a double-decker bed is provided, the space between two beds shall not be less than 0.7 meters.
  • A mattress at least four inches thick, a pillow and a blanket
  • A locked cupboard (measuring a minimum 0.35 meters long, 0.35 meters wide, 0.9 meters high) for an employee’s valuables, including their passport. The employee must be able to access their possessions at any time.

 

Additional requirements for employers:

The government regulations stress that these three items are not to be shared among employees.

An employer or centralized accommodation provider must also ensure there is water and an electricity supply in the employee accommodation.

The regulations also specified the provision of a “bedroom” with a minimum floor area of 3.6 square meters for each employee if the provided accommodation is not a dormitory and a “sleeping area” with a minimum floor area of three square meters for each employee if the provided accommodation is a dormitory.

The regulations also specify the very minimum that must be met in employer-provided accommodation or that provided by centralized accommodation providers, whether the employees are housed in a dormitory or not. This includes the provision of a kitchen area and a dining area with chairs and tables.

The maximum number of employees sharing a bathroom and toilet is specified as six employees (if not a dormitory) or 15 employees (if a dormitory).

 

What happens if an employer fails to comply?

Employers who fail to comply with the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 (Act 446) face a maximum fine of RM50,000 for each offense.