Demand for proper workers accommodation is expected to rise in Malaysia in line with positive regulatory measures put in place by the Government for employers to provide workers with better living conditions, says Westlite Accommodation, a leading owner-operator of Purpose-Built Workers Accommodation (“PBWA”) or Centralised Accommodations in Malaysia and Singapore.
As one of the largest PBWA providers in the country, Westlite views the Workers’ Minimum Standard of Housing and Amenities (Amendment) Bill 2019 as timely and positive, signalling the growing awareness on the need to improve and protect the welfare of workers – foreign and migrantworkers included.
“It is more often than not, foreign and migrant workers are housed in deplorable makeshift dorms and some are accommodated in buildings that are still under construction. Westlite has been working with governments, regulators, businesses and local communities to bring in a whole new proposition to the community at large by developing PBWAs or Centralised Accommodations for employers to accommodate workers. As pioneers in the PBWA industry in Malaysia, our strength lies in understanding the needs and challenges of the Government, employers, business owners and the community.
“Westlite’s satisfaction lies in putting workers’ well-being first and to adopt a holistic approach to providing quality community living for residents at our PBWAs. In doing so, they (residents) are ensured of a healthy and safe space to live in. A healthy environment breeds greater worker well-being and ultimately, contributes to their overall productivity.
Today, Westlite PBWAs or Centralised Accommodations are part and parcel of well-planned and world-class cities. Although this concept is relatively new in Malaysia, we foresee demand for this form of property development and management growing in the coming years supported by regulatory measures,” said Centurion Corporation Limited’s Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director of Accommodation Business Kelvin Teo.
In January this year, the Company launched Penang’s first Centralised Accommodation Transit in Penang – Westlite Bukit Minyak. The development was established in collaboration with the Penang State Government. In general, Westlite’s PBWAs are built in strategic locations in industrial hubs, away from residential areas and are designed to the highest standard of development, meeting regulatory and corporate compliant by the Department of Labour and Responsible Business Alliance. It also meets international ethical and compliance requirements that will allow Malaysia to compete in the international economic environment, making it an important country that attracts and retains both foreign investors and foreign workforce.
While Westlite’s holistic approach to providing community living is an important component in the overall production process, social integration remains its focus. Westlite organises various exciting activities such as excursion programmes to get to know the Malaysian culture, free language and professional courses, an array of sports and leisure competition to foster bonding.
Meeting the needs of business owners’ remains core to Westlite’s objectives and this is seen in terms of logistics cost savings when workers are settled centrally in one purpose-built location that offers economies of scale as opposed to multiple residential apartments. The community is essentially an important stakeholder in Westlite’s business. Housing foreign workers in self-contained PBWA where their daily needs are provided for within the centralised compound, also reduces strain or inappropriate use of low-cost housing and other facilities, which are designed primarily for the local residents and community.