Law on foreign workers’ housing can redeem Malaysia’s image

Enforcement of the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 (Act 446) could, among others, help redeem Malaysia’s image in managing foreign workers, says Datuk Seri M. Saravanan. The Human Resources Minister said the ministry had set Act 446 as a precondition to bring in foreign workers into the country. The entry of foreign workers would not be approved if employers could not convince the Manpower Department (JTK) on the facilities provided in accordance with the number of workers to be hired. “Give us a couple of years, Malaysia will be one of the best countries to show the rest of the world that we know how to manage our workers and the system,” he said. The minister said the JKT would also come up with a special framework soon on the building of Centralised Labour Quarters (CLQ) for developers in meeting the specifications and standards of the Act. On 2021, he said the ministry was focusing on, among other things, increasing the capacity of the training institutes, proposed establishment of the National Human Resource Centre, and enhancing social protection and coordination of upskilling and reskilling efforts. (The Star Online)

Hartalega to invest RM7bil for 16 new glove factories in Kedah

Glove giant Hartalega Holdings Bhd will be investing RM7 billion to build 16 new glove factories in Malaysia’s northern region over the next 20 years. As part of the expansion, Hartalega is buying of 250 acres of land in the Kota Perdana Special Border Economic Zone (SBEZ) in Bukit Kayu Hitam, Kedah for RM228 million to build new factories to expand its glove manufacturing operations. The first plant is expected to be completed in 2024. The glove manufacturer currently produces 43 billion pieces of gloves per year. Its expansion in Sepang and Kedah will see its total capacity rising to 143 billion pieces per year once fully completed. Hartalega CEO Kuan Mun Leong said in view of the long-term structural step-up in global demand, its production capacity must be accelerated. He noted that its growth strategy remains focused on Malaysia given the existing comprehensive ecosystem and supply chain for the sector, with its expansion plan to solidify the country’s status as the largest glove manufacturer globally. (The Edge)

Works minister urges Malaysians to grab chance to work in construction sector

Malaysians must grab the chance to work in the construction sector which is currently facing a significant shortage of workers due to the Covid-19 pandemic, said Senior Minister of Works Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof. He said the Works Ministry, through the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB), had prepared training courses for individuals who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic and are keen to work in this sector. “Those who have lost their jobs are invited to attend the courses at CIDB so that they can be skilled workers, whether in the field of traffic management, security and health in the construction sites. However, the significant shortage is in the field of untrained workers or ‘3D jobs’, which are dirty, dangerous and difficult and, as such, local workers are not keen on them,” he said. (Malay Mail)

Malaysia recorded ‘massive drop’ of 83.4% in tourist arrivals in 2020

Tourist arrivals to Malaysia fell by 83.4% in 2020 with the country only welcoming about four million tourists. The country recorded a total of 4,332,722 international tourist arrivals last year, a marked decrease from the 26,100,784 tourist arrivals recorded in 2019. “The massive drop in international tourist arrivals is attributed to the closure of Malaysian borders since March 18 last year due to the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Tourism Malaysia. For the same period, Malaysia’s tourist receipts also plunged by 85.3% from RM86.14bil in 2019 to RM12.69bil last year. Data from the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and National Tourism Organisation (NTO) revealed that neighbouring Asean countries also saw a significant decline in the number of tourists, including Thailand (-83.2%), Singapore (-85.7%), Vietnam (-78.7%), and Indonesia (-75%). Industry players are hoping “revenge tourism” following the opening of interstate travel will revive the local tourism industry. (The Star Online)

Economic Stimulus Package is a boost for Malaysian tourism amid Covid-19  outbreak | The Star
(Source: The Star)

Internet connectivity a major challenge to Communications Ministry due to Covid-19

The pressing needs of Internet connectivity nationwide due to the Covid-19 pandemic, was a major challenge to Communications and Multimedia Minister, Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah. “Internet access traffic provided by telecommunications companies is according to three components which are location of residence, business premises or workplace and the routes connecting the two earlier locations. During MCO, internet access in housing areas was congested and slow as internet usage was very high due to working, learning and business from home,” he said. Saifuddin added that the implementation of the National Digital Network (Jendela) was among the wise moves coming out of the pandemic and Jendela was created with the objective to improve the level of digital connectivity and the quality of communication services throughout the country. (Malay Mail)