KLANG | A total of 526 foreign workers have been found living in miserable conditions at makeshift hostels provided by their employers in the industrial hub of Klang, according to the Human Resources Ministry.

The unsatisfactory living conditions were discovered by officers from the Peninsular Malaysia Labour Department under the ministry during a surprise inspection operation of three wood and rubber product factories near Aman Perdana on Wednesday (Jan 25).

According to the ministry, the factories did not have permits for their foreign worker accommodations – two never applied for approval while another had its application denied for failing to meet standards.

Human Resources Minister V. Sivakumar said strict action would be taken against the owners of the factories over the appalling living conditions.

“This is a serious humanitarian issue as the terrible state of the premises also poses a significant health risk to these workers.

“The tight living space and unsanitary environment could cause diseases to spread easily among the workers.

“There are also serious safety risks, with one premises in particular having a kitchen located in the heart of a wooden hostel right next to a wood processing plant without much ventilation… (this is) a serious fire hazard.

“Investigations will immediately (begin) against these three employers… for their neglect of their workers’ well-being and safety,” he told a press conference at one of the factories.

The ministry said all three premises were being probed for multiple offences under the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities (Amendment) Act 2019.