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Author: savemalaysia   |   Latest post: Thu, 3 Dec 2020, 5:39 PM


Workers’ housing woes: Not easy to comply with Act 446, says MEF

Author: savemalaysia   |  Publish date: Thu, 3 Dec 2020, 5:39 PM

IT is not that easy for employers to comply with the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 (Act 446) due to short time period given and confusion on its certification process.

“The law was gazette on Aug 30 and we told comply by Sept 1. However, the grace period was extended to November.

“So, we have only about three months to make changes on migrant workers’ accommodation. Is there enough time for us? Those things take time,” Malaysian Employers Federation executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Barddan told FocusM.

On Nov 26, the Department of Labour Peninsular Malaysia (JTKSM) was reported to have found Top Glove Corp Bhd manufacturing company in Ipoh to be in violation of the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 (Act 446) during an operation.

“Among the offences were the company’s failure to obtain an ‘accommodation acknowledgment letter’ from our department, overcrowding and unsanitary conditions,” JTKSM standards director Mohd Asri Abdul Wahab was reported saying.

Later, Senior Minister (Security) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the Government would extend the enhanced movement control order (EMCO) imposed on Top Glove’s workers’ hostel in Meru, Klang until Dec 14 after a COVID-19 outbreak was detected there.

Red tapes, stigma

Shamsuddin said there were a lot of costs involved when changing migrant workers’ accommodation as the new law requires it to be double the current size.

“If we were to build our own hostels for migrant workers, it will may take two to three years. So, we have no choice but to get accommodation from existing premises such as houses, apartments and others,” he said.

Adding to the problem, Shamsuddin noted that there was the stigma attached to migrant workers which prevent premise owners to rent to them.

“To get accommodation for migrant workers, we need to get consent from the community living at the area.

“And our people have this stigma against migrant workers. Now, our locals even look at migrant workers as COVID-19 virus carriers,” he lamented.

Shamsuddin added that getting certification from the Labour Department on the accommodation for migrant workers was not as easy it sounds.

“There are a few processes involved, including getting certain approvals from the local councils. It’s not like we can get the certification on time as it involves a few agencies,” he said.

Touching on Top Glove, Shamsuddin said that the glove maker should be given credit for trying its best to comply with local and international laws despite hiccups.

“Let’s be fair to them. They have spent millions trying to abide by local and international laws. They are also paying up whatever debts their workers’ may have incurred to get here.

“Of course, there is much to be done by Top Glove but they have been very responsive,” he said.

Tough balancing act

On related matter, Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) said that there are two perspective to the matter at hand, one of which is the workers’ welfare and high-costs borne by employers during a tough economic situation.

“As employer, we must provide reasonable accommodation to our employees – both local and foreign – as stipulated by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

“On the other hand, providing better housing will increase cost of doing business, especially for the small and medium enterprises (SME),” said its national council member and SME chairman Koong Lin Loong.

Adding that it is the responsibility of the employers to take care of its staff, he said it was particularly hard for businesses to comply with Act 446 amid the current tough economic climate.

“Besides, the time frame given to employers is too short. A lot of businesses now are having tight cash flow and for them, maintaining operations supersedes accommodation issues.

“Plus, it’s not only about setting up accommodation for workers. You need to prepare other things like kitchen appliances, electrical items and others,” Koong added. – Dec 3, 2020




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PM: JKM monthly allowance to be increased to RM1,000 immediately

Author: savemalaysia   |  Publish date: Thu, 3 Dec 2020, 5:36 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: The government will immediately implement the proposal for the Social Welfare Department (JKM) monthly assistance of between RM200 and RM300 to be increased to RM1,000.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said he would ensure that, under the caring government, eligible recipients would have the same opportunities to have a quality life like other members of the society.

"Taking into consideration the current economic situation and the cost of living, I have proposed for the JKM's monthly assistance to eligible recipients be increased to RM1,000 from the current amount of between RM200 and RM300.

"And of course, Persons with Disabilities (PwD) are included in this group of people who will benefit from the increase. I will make sure that the proposal is implemented immediately," he said in a posting on his official Facebook page in conjunction with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities today. 

It was reported that Muhyiddin had, in August this year, proposed increase of the monthly allowance to help the disabled community, which is part of the B40 group, as part of the aspirations of the Perikatan Nasional government under his leadership.

Muhyiddin said the disabled were part of the community which has always been given consideration by him and the government.

"I personally have gone to the ground to meet with this group, such as during my visits to the Desa Rejang PPR flats in Setapak, here, and the Taman Sri Keramat PPR in Putatan, Sabah," he said.

He said the government through the Finance Ministry had announced several initiatives for the group during the recent tabling of 2021 Budget, including the increase of monthly allowance for unemployed PwD (from RM250 to RM300), for employed PwD (from RM400 to RM450) and for PwD care (from RM350 to RM500).

According to JKM record, he said the number of registered PwD in Malaysia now stood at 581,265 and he hoped the campaign to get more PwD registered could be intensified to ensure no one was left behind.

"It is important to ensure that they will not be left behind in getting government aid, especially while facing difficult times in the wake of Covid-19.

"I pray that the disabled persons will have the best place in society so that they can also contribute to the development of the country. Happy International Day for Persons with Disabilities 2020," he added. – BERNAMA




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Penang proposes targeted CMCO

Author: savemalaysia   |  Publish date: Thu, 3 Dec 2020, 5:35 PM

GEORGE TOWN: The state special security committee meeting today has proposed that consideration be given to impose the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) only on targeted localities instead of the whole state.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, in a statement issued after the meeting, said the state National Security Council (NSC) would bring up the proposal at the special NSC meeting scheduled for tomorrow.

"Today's meeting suggested that the CMCO should only be implemented in targeted localities, such as sub-districts and affected localities.

"As of yesterday, only sub-district 12 in the southwest district and sub-district 13 in the northeast district remain as red zones. 

"The George Town sub-district, sub-district 6 and the Seberang Prai Selatan, Seberang Prai Tengah and Seberang Prai Utara districts are categorised as orange zones," he said.

Chow said during the meeting, the State Health Department also reported 14 active Covid-19 clusters in the state as of yesterday.

They are the Remand Prison Cluster, Seberang Perai Prison Cluster, Bayan Cluster, Tembaga Cluster, Permatang Cluster, Intan Cluster, Rengas Cluster, Rajawali Cluster, Beringin Cluster, Damar Laut Cluster, Assumption Cluster, Bayan Indah Cluster, Summer Cluster and Seri Pasir Cluster.

"The current CMCO will expire on Sunday. As such, this meeting is important in evaluating the risks presented by the health department which can be used as a guideline to prepare for any announcements.

"We, in Penang, hope a good decision will be made to balance public health and economic recovery," he added.

At today's meeting, Chow said each district officer had been tasked to identify suitable locations for the state health department to use as quarantine facilities and follow-up of Covid-19 testing activities should there be any spike in cases, in addition to the quarantine facility at the Penang Caring Society Complex.

Chow also said foreign workers in the red zones in Penang would be tested using the Covid-19 Antigen Rapid Test Kit, as approved by the Health Ministry, from next Wednesday (Dec 9) onwards.




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'Flying car' not MEDAC's priority — PAC

Author: savemalaysia   |  Publish date: Thu, 3 Dec 2020, 5:35 PM

KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 3): Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has been informed that the development of super drones or flying cars is not the priority of the Ministry of Enterpreneur Development And Cooperatives (MEDAC) at the moment.

PAC chairman Wong Kah Woh said the ministry is instead focusing on entrepreneurship development, especially for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and micro businesses.

He said the matter was clarified by MEDAC secretary-general Datuk Suriani Ahmad when tabling the ministry’s follow-up action to the PAC report on Nov 11.

"The presentation by MEDAC to the PAC was made following recommendations in the PAC report on the development of air mobility, which was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat on Nov 28, 2019," he said in a statement today.

He said the PAC was satisfied with the National Audit Department’s audit of the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT) and found that no investment of RM20 million was made by its subsidiary VentureTECH Sdn Bhd (VTSB) to develop flying cars.

"The PAC also found that the VTSB investment agreement document had clearly provided that the RM20 million investment by VTSB could not be used for purposes related to flying cars,” he added.



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Dr M: Encourage domestic investment, don't be dependent on FDI

Author: savemalaysia   |  Publish date: Thu, 3 Dec 2020, 5:35 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today called on the government to encourage domestic investment instead of relying on foreign direct investment (FDI).

Dr Mahathir, who is also Langkawi member of parliament, told the Dewan Rakyat it was time to review the government's investment policy.

"I'd like to know if the ministry and the government still want to prioritise FDI in developing our industries because FDI alone cannot turn us into a successful industrial nation.

"If we look at Japan, South Korea and China, they don't rely on FDI. Instead, they take control of their technology and create products that are marketed for both the local and international markets. 

"This is why they are ahead of us. We are still dependent on FDI, which is why we are unable to catch up with them.

"It is time we try a different method and review the policy," the former prime minister said during a debate on the International Trade and Industry Trade Ministry's budget at the Dewan Rakyat today.

Dr Mahathir also called on Putrajaya to market local products overseas, saying domestic promotions alone would not help Malaysia in becoming one of the top industrial nations in the world.

He said the government could take Malaysia's glove industry as an example and continue exploring all the assets that the country had to offer for foreign export.

"We have rubber, palm oil, sand. These are the assets that we can use to market both domestically and internationally. Find fields that we could be great at.

"Don't just focus on one thing, either for foreign export or for domestic use. Think of both. If we keep selling our products overseas, then our locals don't get to benefit from it.

"If the government is willing to change its policy and focus on both markets, perhaps our other local industries can be as successful as our glove industry," he said.

On a related matter, Dr Mahathir advised the government to instil confidence among investors, instead of cancelling contracts that were already inked due to the change of government back in February.

He said the government should also become bold and creative in exploring new opportunities.

"For example, there is an investment opportunity involving breeding king prawns at paddy fields but until today, no approval is given.

"And the reason given is, Malaysia has never done this, so no approval. Actually, this is for the Chinese market. They want to buy and they want to invest.

"But all we said was, we have never done this so it's not happening. If we continue to behave this way, it will be very difficult to expand our industries."




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Apandi claims Dr M's negative views against him led to his sacking as AG

Author: savemalaysia   |  Publish date: Thu, 3 Dec 2020, 5:34 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali claimed that his removal from his position as the Attorney-General (AG) two years ago, was driven by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's hatred and negative perception towards him.

Apandi said this in his reply to the statement of defence filed by Dr Mahathir and the government, who were named as the defendants in Apandi's RM2.2 million lawsuit over his termination as AG which he claimed was unlawful.

The plaintiff who was a Federal Court judge before appointed AG in 2015, filed the statement in reply through Messrs Shukor Baljit & Partners on Nov 25.

In his reply, Apandi claimed that he would adduce that Dr Mahathir had formed venomous and negative views against him and was driven to remove him from the position of AG in any event. 

He claimed that, imbued with such determination, he was unconstitutionally and unlawfully terminated by Dr Mahathir.

Apandi further contended that the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong's role was not considered in his sacking, which led to constitutional failure in the process of his termination as AG.

"The plaintiff will lead evidence to establish that the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong's role and satisfaction or pleasure were not taken into account, brushed aside by the first defendant (Dr Mahathir) at all material times, and hence there is a constitutional failure in the process of termination of the plaintiff's position as the AG for the Federation," the statement in reply said.

He also claimed that Dr Mahathir's position, as stated in the latter's statement of defence, was not only untenable in law but suffered from a cloistered reading of the provisions of the Federal Constitution.

Apandi's lawyer Datuk Baljit Singh Sidhu told reporters today the matter has been fixed for case management on Dec 11.

"We will file a discovery application for certain documents," he said.

Dr Mahathir had, in his statement of defence, brushed off allegations of abuse of power in the termination of Apandi from service in 2018, claiming that the termination of the latter's contract as AG was in accordance with the legal provisions and a letter by the Judicial and Legal Service Commission dated July 27, 2015.

According to the contract, the expiration of Apandi's appointment was on June 4, 2018.

On Oct 13, Apandi filed the suit to seek a declaration that his termination as AG was unlawful.

In his statement of claim, Apandi, among others, is seeking a declaration that the first defendant had committed a misfeasance and misconduct in public office, and a declaration that the first defendant had caused and induced the breach of contract between him and the government of Malaysia.

He also wants a declaration that there was a failure of compliance with Article 145 of the Federal Constitution over his termination, and a declaration that his termination as AG was not in accordance with law and hence unlawful.

Apandi is seeking special damages in the sum of RM2,233,599.36, general damages, exemplary and/or punitive damages, costs and other reliefs deemed fit by the court.




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