After spike in Covid-19 clusters, govt issues new SOPs for temporary dorms to house workers at construction sites | Malaysia

Dee Yonker
Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin speaks to reporters after launching her ministry’s community garden pilot project at the Lembah Subang PPR flats in Kuala Lumpur August 15, 2020. ― Picture by Miera Miera Zulyana
Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin speaks to reporters after launching her ministry’s community garden pilot project at the Lembah Subang PPR flats in Kuala Lumpur August 15, 2020. ― Picture by Miera Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15 — The Housing and Local Government Ministry has come up with new standard operating procedure (SOP) for construction firms applying to build temporary housing for its workers on site.

Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said the SOP is to clarify the provisions under the Town and Country Planning Act 1976 (Act 172), Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974 (Act 133) and the UBBL Uniform Building By-Laws 1984.

She said that while construction workers are allowed under the law to temporarily live on the site after planning permission has been granted, there were other conditions that must be met.

“A temporary permit approval that is given for a specific period of time must first be granted by the local town council,” she said in a statement today.

She also said several measures will be taken to ensure the temporary permits are granted in on time. They are:

1. A prepared uniformed flow chart and a streamline documents checklist.

2. Simultaneously applications for special permission to start building construction as well as the temporary permit.

3. Preparation of fire safety compliance checklist before submission of the application to the local authority.

4. Exemption from being referred to the Fire & Rescue Department for comments.

5. Reduction of the duration of the temporary permit approval process from 33 days to 10 days.

Zuraida said the new SOP is created Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 (Act 446).

The government has been beefing up measures to protect worker welfare in the wake of high Covid-19 infections nationwide, much of them originating from workplace clusters and affecting foreign workers.

Recent international news reports have also shone an unfavourable light on how thousands of migrant workers in Malaysia working were living in cramped conditions that made physical distancing and proper hygiene maintenance difficult.

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