KUALA LUMPUR, 20 August 2019 – 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 (“Westlite” or “the Company”), 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 migrant workers included.
Since 2011, Westlite has been serving multinational companies, small and medium enterprises and human resource agents in Malaysia, providing solutions in foreign worker management and their accommodation needs by housing them at Westlite PBWAs or Centralised Accommodations in Johor and Penang. It is owned by Singapore’s Centurion Corporation Limited, which is dual-listed in Singapore and Hong Kong.
“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 Mr. 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.
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 costsaving benefits include maintenance and upkeep of the compound by onsite operations staff. Westlite’s team is well-equipped with specialised management capabilities and are able to manage crisis situations such as epidemics, pandemics and riots. This differentiates Westlite from the other dormitory operators in the market. In the meantime, Westlite’s Global Security Operations Centre provides remote monitoring and support in security management for all accommodation assets. Its Emergency Operations Centre, on the other hand, serves as a crisis command centre to facilitate and enhance command, control and communication by senior management during major incidents/crises.
In conclusion, Westlite’s accommodation offerings are designed to meet the needs of various stakeholders.
As of 30 June 2019, Westlite Accommodation owns and manages a portfolio of c.30,700 beds across seven (7) PBWA assets in Malaysia and c.26,100 beds across four (4) operating PBWA assets in Singapore.