Works Ministry plans centralised quarters for employees


THE Ministry of Works is expected to establish centralised quarters for construction workers as a solution to the current constraints faced by contractors that have to comply with the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 (Act 446).

Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof said among the woes faced by the contractors include limited areas within construction sites, high construction costs for the employees’ quarters and slow approvals by local authorities.

“The Malaysian Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB), together with relevant agencies such as the Department of Labour and other related stakeholders, were asked to review and suggest suitable locations that could be the site for such living quarters, which can then be rented out to contractors for their workers.

“Apart from offering accommodation for the workers, transport services to ferry them back and forth from the construction sites should also be provided,” Fadillah said in a statement.

Works Ministry’s instruction for CIDB to establish the centralised quarters stems from the rampant transmission of Covid-19 among construction workers due to limited accommodation facilities.

During an online session involving 30 leaders and representatives of the construction industry associ- ations, the ministry stated that all the quarters — no matter where they were built — are required to fully comply with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) of the National Security Council (MKN) and Act 446.

Apart from the issue of employees’ living conditions, the session also resolved that construction works should continue with strict SOPs compliance as complete clo- sure of the sector would have an adverse impact on the economy.

Closure of construction sites will only be targeted to those that do not comply with the SOPs and where positive cases of Covid-19 are reported.

The Covid-19 Antigen Rapid Test will also be done to construction workers every two weeks with full financing or subsidies by the government.

It is also compulsory for con- struction companies to provide private transport for workers to the construction sites to avoid any contact with the general public.

Contractors are also required to provide separate facilities for workers who are Covid-19 positive, symptomatic workers, persons under surveillance and persons under investigation.

The ministry is also expected to closely monitor the quarters and housing facilities to ensure that all SOPs are strictly adhered to.

Any contractor that fails to com- ply with all the rules and restric- tions would be heavily penalised.

Since the beginning of Movement Control Order 2.0 on Jan 13, CIDB has inspected 320 construction sites nationwide.

Of that total, 286 construction sites were in compliance with the SOPs, while five construction sites failed to do so and were ordered to shut down.