Minister of Human Resources, Datuk Seri Richard Riot Jaem has stated that proposed amendments to the Malaysian Employment Act 1955 will be tabled in Parliament in January 2018. According to the Minister, a working paper on the amendments have been agreed to and approved by a committee chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. This appears to be in line with the previous announcement in April 2017 that the government was looking into tabling a bill to ensure that contractors build proper housing for their foreign workers.
The proposed amendment is to make it mandatory for employers to provide accommodation facilities for foreign workers. The Ministry already has a Guideline for the Minimum Standards of Accommodation for Foreign Workers (effective 1 January 2016). Under the existing guidelines, employers must ensure that accommodation for foreign workers meet certain minimum standards relating to space, safety and cleanliness.
The Guidelines do not have the force of law. However, the Guidelines provide that any employer who wishes to apply for employment of foreign workers must furnish a Letter of Committment relating to the provision of accommodation, signed by the director, owner or partner of the business in front of a labour officer.
We will provide more information on the proposed amendments to the Malaysian Employment Act 1955 once they are available.
(October 2018 update: Our article on the proposed amendments can be seen here)