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Act 446: Manufacturing industry seeks more time to undertake compliance adjustments

FMM In The News: THE EDGE MARKETS, KUALA LUMPUR, Tuesday, September 1, 2020: The manufacturing industry is appealing to the Human Resources Ministry to allow companies another 12 months to undertake extensive adjustments according to the requirements of the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 (Act 446).

Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai said the RM50,000 fine for each offence in light of the current weak economic condition was too drastic and would severely hamper the business revival initiatives of most industries. 

"FMM suggests that the next 12 months be used to continually educate the industry and to issue a notice of non-compliance for improvements by industry in conformity to the provisions of the law. 

"There should also be a requirement for a firm commitment by the industry on the action plan towards compliance within a specified timeframe appropriate to the relevant areas of non-compliance," he said in a statement today.

On Aug 26, Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan said the relevant law would be enforced by the Department of Labour of Peninsular Malaysia to ensure compliance by employers. 

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 comes into force on Sept 1 this year.

The previous Act 446 jurisdiction only covered housing and accommodation aspects involving plantations of more than 20 acres and mining sectors.

FMM reiterates its full support for the enhancement to the law which in the long-term would be of great benefit and advantage for the industry and the nation.

"Amendments to Act 446 in light of the COVID-19 outbreak is good for the industry in enhancing the living environment that is conducive for all workers including foreign workers and ensuring a healthy and productive workforce which is a critical component to make Malaysia an advanced country that adheres to the stipulated International Labour Organisation (ILO) conditions. 

"Most certainly, the amendments to the Act are also meant to streamline the domestic standards with that of international standards given that Malaysia is largely a trading nation and part of global supply chains," he noted. 

Based on the briefings conducted by the Labour Department nationwide, employers, especially small medium-sized enterprenuers (SMEs) will find it challenging to fulfil all the conditions by Sept 1, 2020 as adjustments had to be made to meet the provisions of the regulations.

Soh said the adjustments that have to be undertaken would come with cost and time to the industry.

"In light of the current weak economic conditions, most industries are still struggling to sustain their business and maintain employment while rebuilding their business which has been severely impacted," he added.

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