Ban on foreign workers in N. Sembilan residential areas is blanket, says exco member

KUALA LUMPUR: The move banning foreign workers from living in residential areas in Negri Sembilan applies to people of all professions, regardless of their job position or salary.

State Local Government Development, Housing and Transport Committee chairman J. Arul Kumar said white collar workers were not exempt from the rule.

He said this aligns with Selangor's ongoing efforts, where similar restrictions have already been implemented.

He said the decision comes in response to several issues associated with the presence of foreign workers in residential areas.

"Numerous complaints have been received about their behaviour, cleanliness concerns and instances of social problems, including altercations among themselves.

"These regulations are not entirely new, as they were initially introduced three years ago and the authorities have provided a grace period to allow relevant parties to take the necessary action and comply with the upcoming changes," he told the New Straits Times.

However, Arul Kumar said commercial areas, such as shop lots, are permissible spaces for housing foreign workers as they fall under commercial zoning regulations.

He said the accommodation classification was contingent upon the approval or quota granted to employers by the Home Ministry and Human Resource Ministry.

"For instance, if an employer receives a quota of 100 approvals from both authorities, their accommodations are then included in the accommodation certificate.

"However, it is noted that skilled workers, managers and engineers often reside in private residences such as hotels," he said.

Arul said while there are typically no issues for higher-skilled workers arranging their own accommodations, it was essential to adhere to the established rules and guidelines to ensure a streamlined and compliant process for foreign workers across various sectors.

Earlier, Arul announced that the Negri Sembilan government had banned foreign workers from living in residential areas in the state.

He said all employers who are currently housing their foreign workers in residential areas will have to move them to commercial zones or centralised living quarters (CLQ) by the end of the year.

He said the state government will carry out a programme in all residential areas to identify residences being used to house foreign workers.

This, he said, was for the Labour Department to issue letters allowing these foreigners to continue living there temporarily, at the most until the end of the year.

In December 2022, then state Local Government, Public Transport and New Village Development Committee chairman Ng Sze Han had said homes and residences cannot be converted into hostels for foreign workers according to guidelines set by the Housing and Local Government Ministry last year.

Ng had said only certain commercial premises were allowed to be converted to become foreign workers' hostels.

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