PUTRAJAYA | The continuous enforcement of the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 (Act 446) is crucial to ensuring efforts to eradicate elements of forced labour and human trafficking in the labour industry, said Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan.

He said the enforcement of Act 446, effective from Sept 1, stipulated the need for employers to obtain a certificate of accommodation from the Labour Department of Peninsular Malaysia (JTKSM).

Since then, the JTKSM Headquarters and State Labour Department (JTK) have also implemented comprehensive enforcement to ensure employers complied with Act 446.

“The implementation of continuous enforcement from Sept 1 to Nov 1 has also recorded an encouraging number of applications for certificate of accommodation from employers.

“ A total of 2,668 applications for certificate of accommodation were recorded within the two-month period, with the manufacturing sector having the highest number of 1,562 applications,” he said in a statement today.

Saravanan said that from September until the end of October, the ministry, through JTKSM and JTKs had conducted 1,322 enforcement and inspection activities nationwide.

He said compliance of Act 446 was very important and continuous enforcement was necessary to prove that Malaysia adhered to the standards drawn up by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in terms of combating elements of forced labour.

“This matter is very significant to the country since the provision of housing, accommodation and facilities for workers are among the crucial elements in forced labour criteria. This aspect of housing and accommodation for workers has been reprimanded by the US Department of Customs and Border Protection, especially involving the rubber glove manufacturing sector and the national oil palm industry.

“Apart from that, the compliance and implementation of this Act will also indirectly help in addressing the issue of human trafficking and migrant smuggling under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act (Atipsom) 2007,” he said.

Saravanan said enforcement activities were also continuously conducted in cooperation with relevant agencies to show that the ministry would not compromise on issues regarding forced labour and human trafficking.

He said a total of 90 inspections under the Atipsom Intergrated Ops had been carried out this year in collaboration with relevant agencies and the ministry had also set up a Technical Task Force Committee to monitor compliance with national labour laws and policies in five sectors associated with forced labour and human trafficking, namely rubber, plantation, services (restaurants and cleaning), electrical and electronics as well as furniture.

He urged employers who have yet to apply for the certificate of accommodation to immediately do so via online at http://akta446.mohr.gov.my.

For enquiries and advice on Act 446 and others within the department’s jurisdiction, employers can contact the ministry and JTKSM at 03-8886 5192 / 03-8886 2409 / 03- 8886 2352 / 03-8888 9111or any Labour offices nearby. — Bernama