The Revised Employees’ Minimum Standards of Housing, Accommodations and Amenities Act 1990 to Expand Coverage to All Employees and to Impose Other Additional Requirements on Employers & Centralised Accommodation Providers
Until recently, employers were only required to comply with minimum standards of accommodation in relation to employees employed to work on estates. However, the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities (Amendment) Act 2019 ("Amendment Act") that came into force on 1 June 2020 has expanded the coverage of the Employees’ Minimum Standards of Housing, Accommodations and Amenities Act 1990 ("Act") to include all other employees in Peninsular Malaysia and the Federal Territory of Labuan.
In this Update, we examine the changes and the additional requirements that have been implemented by the Amendment Act. Employers are to take note of the following key changes that will be enforced by the Ministry of Human Resources from 1 September 2020.
Temporary Measures for Reducing the Impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Bill
On 12 August 2020, the Temporary Measures for Reducing the Impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Bill 2020 ("COVID-19 Bill"), which aims to provide temporary relief to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects of the Movement Control Order (“MCO”), was tabled for first reading in the Dewan Rakyat. The COVID-19 Bill has also been tabled for second reading in the Dewan Rakyat on 18 August 2020.
In a nutshell, Part II of the COVID-19 Bill provides temporary relief measures in relation to any inability to perform certain contractual obligations, while Parts III to XVII of the COVID-19 Bill provide for modifications and amendments to certain Acts and Ordinances which are transient in nature.
In this Update, we examine and summarise some of the key temporary reliefs proposed under the COVID-19 Bill and the effective period for such reliefs.
Sexual Harassment Also Includes Non-Physical Acts
In Loganatham Maniam v Murphy Sarawak Oil Co Ltd  2 ILR 275 (Award No. 448 of 2020), the Industrial Court highlighted that sexual harassment not only encompasses physical acts but also includes non-physical acts such as the use of terms of endearment and the giving of personal gifts or attention, particularly where they are unwanted and go on repeatedly.
Permanent Employment - No Longer a Dream for Foreigners: Ahmad Zahri Mirza Abdul Hamid v AIMS Cyberjaya Sdn Bhd  1 LNS 494
The Federal Court, the apex court in the land, recently delivered a ground-breaking decision in Ahmad Zahri Mirza Abdul Hamid v AIMS Cyberjaya Sdn Bhd  1 LNS 494 confirming that it is possible for foreigners to gain permanent employment in Malaysia.
The judgment deals mainly with the question of whether the employee’s fixed term contract is, in reality, a permanent contract. In arriving at its decision, two key issues were raised:
- Whether a contract of employment renewed successively without application by the employee and without any intermittent breaks in between is a permanent contract; and
- Whether the need for a work permit by a foreigner is a material consideration when determining whether a contract of employment is a genuine fixed term contract.
The questions above were answered “yes” and “no”, respectively.
Guide to Procurement of Infrastructure Projects in Southeast Asia
As the custodians of the country, Governments are entrusted with the responsibility to develop new public facilities and infrastructure, operate and maintain such public facilities and undertake significant upgrades to existing public facilities and infrastructure, to serve the needs of its people. Governments in developing and developed countries have sought participation from the private sector as an alternative additional source of development and funding. The Public-Private Partnership ("PPP") model provides Governments with the capacity to assess and manage fiscal impact whilst managing the risk transfer between the public and private partner in order to extract long-term value-for-money over the life of the project.
This publication serves as a guide to highlight the similarities and differences of the reasons and motivations for implementing the PPP model by the Governments of selected countries in Southeast Asia. It also sets out the framework and policies for government procurement adopted for infrastructure projects in these jurisdictions.