Centralised quarters for construction workers to improve workplace safety

BY JERRY CHOONG

SUNGAI BULOH, Jan 18 — The government is hoping to eventually phase out temporary housing shelter for workers in the construction industry by centralising their living quarters.

Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof said the primary aim is to improve the overall workplace safety for the industry, as well as to provide proper amenities.

“The government is ready to listen to the proposals from key players of the construction industry on how to house their workers.

“If they have a site to build labour quarters they can also do so by applying a license through us and the ministry of Human Resource,” he said, during the launch of the first Centralised Labour Quarters (CLQ) near the MRT Depot along Jalan Sungai Buloh.

A general view of living space for workers at the the Centralised Labour Quarters in Sungai Buloh January 18, 2018.

An initiative by the Construction Labour Exchange Centre Berhad, the CLQ consists of six blocks with 144 rooms, that is able to support up to 864 workers.

Constructed according to the MS2593 standard, the gated and guarded accommodation includes a surau, cafeteria, kitchen, recreational areas and medical facilities.

Fadillah said small-to-medium construction companies who may not have the resources to build their own labour quarters could instead rent the CLQ at affordable prices.

“The monthly rental per head is RM150, with RM30 more for utilities fees. I hope with more CLQs in the country the sight of ramshackle shacks on construction sites will reduce,” he said.

A general view of living space for workers at the the Centralised Labour Quarters in Sungai Buloh January 18, 2018.

For the Sungai Buloh CLQ, Fadillah said several other features might also be implemented, such as courses for foreign construction workers to acclimatise themselves to Malaysian culture and norms.

He also said the quarters will be open to Malaysians labourers who come from other states.

In his keynote address, Fadillah said construction in Malaysia is one of its main catalysts of economic growth, adding the total value of construction this year is expected to reach RM140 billion.

“Consequently this growing demand requires a substantial amount of labour. Presently 850,000 construction personnel are registered with the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) from general workers to professionals.

“It is therefore important to emphasise these workers’ wellbeing in terms of proper accommodation, health and safety,” he said.

The Sungai Buloh CLQ belongs to the MRT Corporation, who allowed the use of its premises for a period of one year as a pilot project after the completion of the Sungai Buloh — Kajang MRT.

Talks are currently underway between CLAB, Penang Development Corporation and Putrajaya Corporation for the construction, completion and operations of two new CLQs at Batu Kawan, Penang and in Putrajaya by this year.

“The ministry is targeting at least one CLQ per state in the coming future, but this will also depend on local needs.

“Since construction projects differ in timeline, size and value it is not necessarily feasible to build a CLQ for every project. Renting a CLAB CLQ for construction workers is more practical and economical,” he said,

He added employers need not worry about the additional burden of operating the quarters, as it is wholly managed and operated by CLAB.

Also in attendance at the launch was Works Ministry secretary-general cum CLAB chairman Datuk Seri Zohari Akob, and CLAB chief executive Abdul Rafik Abdul Rajis.