Westlite Plans to Expand Worker Accommodation Capacity to Address Needs of Employers

The owner-operator of Purpose-Built Workers Accommodation (PBWA) or Centralised Accommodations, Westlite has announced plans to increase its PBWA capacity in Malaysia to cater to the growing needs of multinational companies, small and medium enterprises and human resource agents in Malaysia.

All Westlite PBWA assets in Malaysia are in compliance with the new regulatory specifications set out in the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities (Amendment) Act 2019 (Act 446) which is aligned with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards, following the completion of its reconfiguration exercise in December 2021.

Whilst, all the dormitories in Westlite’s portfolio have since received the Certificate of Accommodation from the Department of Labour Peninsular Malaysia or Jabatan Tenaga Kerja Semenanjung Malaysia (JTKSM).

To recap, Act 446 was passed in July 2019 and became fully enforceable at the end of 2021 following extended grace periods given by the Government due to the challenging Covid-19 situation.

The amended actmade it mandatory for employers across all sectors to provide accommodation for migrant workers that meets the minimum standards specified by Act 446. This includes the provision of utilities and amenities such as a bathroom, toilet, bed and mattress, a locked cupboard as well as sufficient space for cooking, resting and eating. 

“With more employers including SMEs striving to comply with Act 446, we expect to see a growth in demand for high-quality, thoughtfully constructed and professionally-managed worker accommodations. This would also benefit the human resource agents who now need to ensure that they are adequately housing the foreign workers whom they bring into Malaysia,” said Kong Chee Min, Chief Executive Officer of Centurion Corporation Limited, which owns the Westlite Accommodation brand.

Westlite’s Malaysian portfolio currently comprises eight Westlite Accommodation properties located across Johor, Penang and Selangor.

The company serves organisations from diverse industries and possesses more than 1,490 customers in both Singapore and Malaysia, ranging from construction, oil and gas, manufacturing, marine, engineering, commercial, service and others.

“As pioneers in the PBWA industry in Malaysia, we have long understood the need for developing PBWAs or Centralised Accommodations for employers to provide their workers with quality housing. The Covid-19 pandemic brought into sharp focus the need for more Centralised Accommodation bed supply,” he said.

“We are fully supportive of Act 446’s enforcement, however, we recognize that not all employers are equipped to prepare accommodations and housing for their employees that meet the minimum standards in basic amenities, hygiene and safety. Thus, we are looking to provide employers especially SMEs with a safe, secure and efficient solution to foreign workers’ management and accommodation needs,” said Alfred Lee, Deputy Head Workers Accommodation and Country Head of Malaysia, Centurion Corporation Limited.

Essentially, Westlite PBWAs are built to be self-sustaining and sufficient with most facilities such as supermarket, sickbay, barber, indoor and outdoor recreational areas available within. Additional cost-saving benefits include maintenance and upkeep of the compound by onsite operations staff.

Westlite Accommodation has been in the workers accommodation business since August 2011. It is owned by Singapore’s Centurion Corporation Limited, which is dual-listed in Singapore and Hong Kong.

As of 30 June 2022, the company manages a portfolio of c.25,099 beds across eight (8) PBWA assets in Malaysia and c.33,898 beds across nine (9) operating PBWA assets in Singapore.

On top of that, the Group also operates Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) assets in the UK, US, Australia and South Korea, with c.6,080 beds in nineteen (19) assets. As a group, Centurion Corporation Limited owns, develops and manages a strong portfolio of 36 operational specialised accommodation assets globally totalling c.65,077 beds as of 30 June 2022.

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