PUTRAJAYA: Fifty-nine employers will be charged in court this month under the Workers' Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 (Act 446) (Amendment) 2019, with 124 investigation papers already opened.

Minister of Human Resources, Datuk Seri M. Saravanan said among the charges to be made were under Sections 24D, 24H and 24J, and Regulations 3 and 4 of the Act.

The charge under Section 24D involves no certification for the workers' accommodation while under Section 24J, it is for not providing separate accommodation for the different sexes.

"The investigations on the cases involve various sectors such as rubber glove, furniture and other product manufacturing, construction and retail.

"All employers and workers' centralised accommodation providers who have not applied for certification of these premises are reminded to do so fast to avoid stern action under Act 446," Saravanan said at a press conference, here, today.

Before being amended in 2019, Act 446 only covered the housing and accommodations of workers in the plantation sector for plantations exceeding 20 hectares in size, as well as the mining sector but now the Act covers all sectors, besides incorporating new regulations on workers' housing standards and amenities.

Saravanan said during the enforcement of Act 446 under the Emergency Ordinance, 3,256 employers involving 17,576 accommodations were checked between last Feb 26 and March 11, with eight investigated cases allowed to be compounded.

The Emergency Ordinance which became effective from Feb 26, among others, issued an order for employers and workers' centralised accommodation providers to provide temporary accommodation for the workers when the current accommodations were thought to be not safe or unsuitable.

Those who fail to comply with the order could be fined up to RM200,000 or jailed not exceeding three years or both, if found guilty.

"We're still giving the opportunity for the companies or employers to rectify their weaknesses, taking into consideration the economic slowdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic. When we prepare the investigation papers, we will also look at and consider their financial situation," said Saravanan.