PETALING JAYA | Scores of Bangladeshi workers are living in a complex of containers in the middle of an oil palm plantation in Jeram, Selangor.
According to one resident, “more than 100” people are living there.
There are about 40 containers of various sizes in the complex. The 20-foot containers have four bunk beds and can house eight people, with barely enough room for the workers to store their belongings. The workers bathe in a communal area at the back of the complex, where there is also a shared kitchen.
FMT understands that the workers, all of whom are Bangladeshi, are employed at two nearby furniture factories.
One worker said: “There are more than 100 people staying here. I have been staying here for 12 years ever since I started working at the factory.
“Living here is all right. It’s easy to cook and the village air is fresh. We have electricity and water and the shop where we buy groceries is just five minutes away,” he added.
Another worker said while there were more than 100 people living there when he started working in the factory a few months ago, some have since moved out.
The recently-enforced Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act stipulates that each employee must have a sleeping space or personal space of not less than 3 square metres.
The containers house eight people in the 14.6 square metre space.
A company manager told FMT that the company is in the process of moving all the workers out of the containers soon. The manager said there were many other factories in the area housing workers in such conditions and urged FMT to investigate his claim.
FMT’s find comes just two days after 321 foreign workers at a furniture factory in Johor were found staying at a hostel “packed like sardines”, according to Labour Department legal director Zaini Yaacob.
On Dec 3, Human Resources Minister M Saravanan told the Dewan Rakyat that more than 90% of the accommodation that employers provide foreign workers did not comply with the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act.