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Oct 26, 2018

HR Ministry to improve work safety laws

GEORGE TOWN: The Human Resources Ministry will amend at least nine work-site related legislation by early next year in a move to arrest lapses in the surveillance of work site safety.

This follows last Friday's deadly landslide which buried alive nine foreign construction workers while one remains unaccounted for.

Human Resource Minister M. Kulasegaran said that the amendments will mainly empower the Department of Occupational Health and Safety (DOSH) to go after errant designers, land owners, developers and various categories of contractors.

Unlike now, where DOSH is only able to act against the main contractor, Kulasegaran told a press conference after visiting the site of the deadly landslide along Jalan Bukit Kukus here.

Kulasegaran said the amendments were necessary as some legislation were about 30 to 40 years old.

The penalties for negligence would also be revised from the present maximum of RM50,000 to RM500,000 with two years imprisonment proposed.

Besides that, Kulasegaran also announced that the ministry will seek to beef up DOSH with the latest equipment to monitor safety at sensitive work sites.

Kulasegaran also spoke about working together with the private sector to reduce the hiring of illegal workers, particularly at construction sites.

"We may just be breaching the tip of the iceberg concerning illegals and work site mishaps."

There are presently 1.9 million registered foreign workers in Malaysia although some quarters are claiming that another one million are working and living illegally.

Kulasegaran also spoke on the proposal to allow foreigners to be entitled for Socso fringe benefits compared to the present where foreigners are only entitled to a one - off compensation under the workmanship guidelines.

By early next year, all foreigners working here, including domestic helpers would be entitled for Socso, where they stand to earn a lifetime pension if they suffer injuries while at work or when commuting to work.

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