‘We almost had to pull him off the plane’

For months, Hafeez suffered in silence. His employer had deducted S$500 a month from his already pathetic wage of $22 a day working as a forklift driver and general labourer at a glass supply firm. Do a simple calculation: If he worked 30 days a month at $22 a day, he would have made only $660 a month. Deduct $500 from that and what’s left?

Yes, he had some overtime, for which he was paid $4 an hour, but it did not add up to much.

Knowing few others except some other labourers from Bangladesh and with only a rudimentary grasp of English, Hafeez did not know who or where to turn to for help. He didn’t even know what the law said about deductions.

And then his contract ended and his Work Permit was cancelled. The employer arranged for an airticket home and told him to make his way to the airport on the assigned evening.

With 24 hours left in Singapore, he had one last chance to ask a question: Was it within his employer’s right to deduct that?

Did he have to go back to Bangladesh with nothing to show for his time in Singapore, nothing to feed his family with, nothing to help him pay off the debts he incurred to get the job in the first place? Like virtually all migrant workers in Singapore, he had to pay his recruiter upfront to get the job, about S$3,000 in his case.

How was he going to face his mother, wife, four daughters and a baby son who depended on him to survive? Wouldn’t unscrupulous debt collectors come after him once they hear he was back in the village?

* * * * *

And so on his penultimate evening in Singapore, with increasing desperation, he walked around Little India asking, of total strangers even, where he might get a little help. By sheer luck, someone pointed him to a restaurant that the Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) was using as a soup kitchen to feed migrants who were out of work, out of money, abandoned or abused by their employers. Hafeez was one of about 250 men streaming in that evening. All of them with similar stories. Hafeez’s was not the most unusual.

But his was unusually urgent and so TWC2 volunteers swung into action, tired though they were from the endless flow of cases.

“We almost had to pull him off the plane,” a TWC2 volunteer told me. “He was that close to being sent home without getting what was due to him.”

The phrasing might have been a tad dramatic, but indeed, part of the action took place at the airport the next evening. But let’s not run ahead of the story.

Immediately the following day (after Hafeez walked up to the soup kitchen), a volunteer accompanied him to the Ministry of Manpower where they consulted an officer. Hafeez informed them that the employer had been deducting from his salary to make up these amounts, totalling $4,200:

  • $3,500 for medical expenses,
  • $340 for the airfare back to Bangladesh
  • $360 being $30 deducted per month x 12 months.

(I couldn’t understand from Hafeez’s very basic English exactly what the last item — $30 a month — was for.)

The ministry official agreed that these would be illegal deductions. So, at the airport that evening, when the company representative attempted to pay him only $158.55 in wages, being the purported final amount net of these deductions, Hafeez refused to take the money. He even tore up the receipt that he was asked to sign. If he had signed it, it would have been acknowledgment that the $158.55 was all he was owed and nothing more.

The next day, he went back to the Ministry of Manpower to inform them that because he had not been paid what he was due, he had refused to board the plane. The ministry gave him an appointment date (4 May 2011) to discuss the matter.

In the meantime, the volunteer spoke with the company representative, suggesting that they should pay him in full rather than let the matter become a subject of official investigation.

* * * * *

Apparently, Hafeez had fallen ill — it wasn’t a workplace injury, just a medical illness — about three months into his contract and had to be hospitalised for seven days. However, as stated clearly on the Ministry of Manpower’s website, employers are supposed to cover Work Permit holders’ medical costs via medical insurance, and not to deduct these costs from the employee:

When you employ a Foreign Worker in Singapore, it is your responsibility to:

Pay the medical care and hospitalisation expenses;

– Employers of Foreign Workers are required to purchase and maintain medical insurance for their workers.

– For medical insurance policies taken up or renewed on/or after 1 January 2010, the insurance coverage must be at least $15,000 per year for each worker’s inpatient care and day surgery during his/her stay in Singapore.

Source link.

Similarly, employers have to provide and pay for the eventual repatriation of the worker. Thus, airfare too cannot be deducted.

The sad thing is that Hafeez’s case is not unusual. Ask any volunteer who has worked with migrant workers and they’d tell you such attempts by employers to rip off their workers are commonplace. They largely depend on workers’ ignorance about the law, lack of support network (so they don’t know where to get help) and perhaps the ministry’s rather relaxed attitude towards pro-active law enforcement to get away with it.

I am outraged that there are Singaporean employers who do this to vulnerable people, without the slightest pang of guilt.

* * * * *

Fortunately, in this case, the company came to its senses. They knew they were in the wrong. The possibility that the ministry would soon be asking them to explain themselves must have weighed heavily. Within a few days, they agreed to make full payment.

On Saturday, 23 April, Hafeez, once again accompanied by the TWC2 volunteer, went to the employer’s office. There he received from the company representative the full amount and a fresh airticket home. He then surprised her by giving in return a small gift of cookies in appreciation of the effort in sorting out the problem. She was caught off guard, but it was good that the gesture gave the matter a sweet ending.

That evening, Hafeez was at the airport again, this time furiously unlocking and rearranging his bags to satisfy weight limit regulations — another typical scene you’d see prior to flights to India and Bangladesh. He was very pleased to have that huge sum of money that he probably wouldn’t have been able to negotiate on his own.

But the question remains: How many others did not know where to get help? How many others have been fleeced by employers mindless about dishonouring our common honour as Singaporeans, mindless about doing the right thing by another human being?

43 Responses to “‘We almost had to pull him off the plane’”


  1. 1 yewmun 12 May 2011 at 18:22

    I remember reading about this somewhere, maybe it’s TOC, that there are a company out there that help companies repatriate their foreign worker. If the worker did not leave Singapore, the companies stand to lose their deposit. So this company will lock the worker up until the date of flight back, and escort them up the plane.

  2. 2 liew kai khiun 12 May 2011 at 18:54

    While it is easy to blame the cruelities of individual employers, this problem is endemically structural, premise on the reliance of the state on armies of cheap and exploitable labour from the region. I have always wondered how on earth can MOM alone take care of a million fo these foreign workers in the first place. The whole system of employment that gives employers of these workers highly repressive powers meant that the state can convienetly leave the management of this workers to the hands of the companies.

    So far, it has been easy for mainstream Singaporeans to look the other way, But, i think it is perhaps timely that political parties look into the plight of these people more interestedly, for they represent the cancerous erosion of human rights in the republic that would eventually reach Singaporeans themselves.

  3. 3 YH 12 May 2011 at 19:14

    Thank you for sharing this story at this time. It’s good to hear someone concerned about the plight of lowly paid foreign workers in the midst of general xenophobia gripping our nation during this time. I’m glad that Hafeez’s story ended better than many other exploited workers.

    And I don’t want to be the typical Singaporean who leaves all the action to our government, but this time I think they should be doing something. Can’t the money collected from foreign worker levys be channelled to help these workers?

    I do not presume to know enough to offer any good suggestions. but I’m slowly more aware and caring of the situation of these poor workers.

    What ways would you (or the social workers involved) suggest we readers/sgp residents do to help out? (and for volunteering, what is needed?) Besides sharing and raising awareness, are there other concrete things we can do?

  4. 5 Kellyx 12 May 2011 at 19:21

    This is sickening.

  5. 6 Coward 12 May 2011 at 19:48

    It’s a story that’s touching and also furious to me! How could those employers sleep well at night???

    Kudos to TWC2! Your efforts mean so much to the many lives at the other side, far far from Singapore. Well done and keep it up.

  6. 7 Mea 12 May 2011 at 20:32

    This is terribly sad. They are already being paid so low and yet people who can afford it are trying to rob them of what they deserve.

  7. 8 Gard 12 May 2011 at 21:00

    I recall you wrote an earlier article on foreign domestic workers in Singapore. Even the national newspaper has reported how foreign domestic workers preferred Hong Kong and Taiwan to Singapore. It is clear that this issue is more systemic than of minority case studies.

    “unscrupulous Singapore employers exploiting poor and jobless foreigners”
    Collection of news articles
    http://www.topix.com/forum/world/singapore/TSGRGDCK3TH8PCKAD

    For too long, unskilled foreign workers are perceived no better than slaves of the Roman empire. Better skilled foreign workers are perceived as culprits of the wage stagnation. In national accounts, they are considered economic fodder – welcomed in boom, ‘discarded like tissue paper’ in recession.

    I like to propose an alternative to minimum wage/foreign worker levy/workfare debate – that foreign worker levies be channeled specifically to training of the foreign workers; that WDA (Workforce Development Agency) assistance is not restricted to Singaporean/PR criteria. One reason, on a purely economic basis, this will lessen the labour-capital imbalance that hurt our productivity via increase in (human) capital investment. Two, WDA training can reach out to more foreign workers. Three, if Singapore is going to hit 6.5m and beyond, we should start sowing the seeds of success in the (real) next generation.

  8. 9 sgelectorate 12 May 2011 at 22:17

    I agree that this is an endemically structural problem in SG, and it didn’t help that our Govt choose to close one eye on such blatant abuses. I am aware and just grateful that there’s such an org like TWC2 that are doing great work and service to these silent minority. I am ashamed that our leaders self-rate SGP a first-world country when clearly the evidence are very against them when it comes to basic human-rights. Whenever I read cases like these, is when I wish SDP have some seats in the Parliament. Please regroup and put in your damn best team in 2016. God bless the team at TWC2.

    • 10 calos 13 May 2011 at 01:17

      I too am appalled by the cavalier attitude towards the exploitation of (foreign) labour in Singapore, and sympathise with your wish that SDP had seats in the new Parliament. I wonder, however, if you watched the SDP press conference in which Mohd Isa Abdul Aziz was introduced as a candidate for Sembawang. (Alex was there from what we can gather from his posts; I’d be keen to hear his account.) In the middle of his speech he answered his own rhetorical question: “…and the influx of foreign workers? We have the benefit of the smells of the armpit! [sic]” I remember Chee Soon Juan at that point looking quite visibly uncomfortable. But if he had any objections he did not raise them at the press conference, nor as far as I know did anyone in the audience then or in the SDP during the campaign period publicly rebuke the speaker whose abominable class prejudice was made even worse because he was probably “merely” intending to express racist or xenophobic sentiments.

      I continue to give SDP my support despite this, because of their progressive platform and the presence of candidates like Vincent Wijeysingha who display a commitment to social justice in deeds and stirring words. But the silence over the statement quoted speaks of at best political expedience if not outright hypocrisy – in the face of an outburst worthy of the likes of the British National Party. It is depressing to observe this behaviour at this point, before our opposition is presented with even the barest prospect of taking power. By not making a public repudiation of the offending statement (and perhaps also others which eluded my attention) we lost a good opportunity to challenge the increasingly racist and xenophobic discourse of the small-minded non-empathic little Singaporeans we have become, and to untangle its roots in a PAP-led culture of elitism, self-interest and racial paranoia.

      PS: Alex, were you there at the press conference, and if so did Mohd Isa’s ejaculation raise any eyebrows?

    • 12 drmchsr0 13 May 2011 at 14:46

      It’s not just the government.

      The people too, have turned a blind eye to all this. I had a very interesting talk with a few migrant workers a year or so back and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that even the people turn a blind eye to their plight, even though they share the same living space.

      Part of the problem is indeed structural (the MOM’s lassiez-faire attitude regarding pro-active law enforcement regarding migrant worker issues, for one), but the problem is a shared one, and everyone is to blame.

      Raising these issues in Parliament is one way to get it out, but I’m not a fan of waiting for political support and legislation before something is done.

      Training foreign workers is one way to get things done. Teaching them how to read, write and do basic arithmetic should be the foundation of such training, branching off to something more specialized areas when they know that. The other way is to keep volunteering or donating to organizations like TWC2 and HOME.

  9. 13 BABO 12 May 2011 at 22:35

    This is modern day slavery. Singapore is the trading center for such FW. Hence, we need another 900,000 FW to feed this trade. After a period of time of getting used to this, we can start to enslave the long suffering local workers.

  10. 14 meiming 12 May 2011 at 23:45

    I salute the volunteers…

  11. 15 Ken 13 May 2011 at 00:31

    I agree with Liew Kai Khiun. It’s easy (and often justifiable) to blame individual employers for mistreating foreign employees, but the guilt for this lies not on them alone. Yes, the problems are structural.

    I wanted to point out that, quite often, SMEs which employ foreign workers rely on middlemen – agents who are contracted to take care of the required official paperwork. Given the frequent tweaks and changes to official policy on foreign labour (levies, quotas, etc), it is easier for employers (particularly those without the required HR capabilities) to rely on these agents for a variety of tasks – recruitment, work permit renewals, etc.

    It’s thus not surprising that abuses result from such an arrangement, since both parties are concerned with minimising costs and maximising profits after all. Who’s accountable or responsible when something goes wrong? The employers will try to shift the blame to the agents, disclaiming knowledge of the intricate MOM regulations; the middlemen will claim that they are only agents and cannot be responsible for abuses. And so the worker ends up the biggest loser.

  12. 16 Alan Wong 13 May 2011 at 00:42

    In the case of foreign maids, I still don’t understand why our Govt after pocketting the foreign maid’s levy (bribe) from the employer, seems obliged in return not to give the maid a compulsory rest day off per week and then pretend to act blur and washed their hands off by saying it’s some kind of flexible arrangement to be agreed upon between the employer and the maid.

    Why is it that our Singapore govt don’t even want to treat our foreign maids as basic human beings and at least subject their employment to our basic Labour Act ?

    Why is it that none of our PAP Ministers seems to have any conscience of their own and yet they call ourselves a 1st World Govt and say they deserve a world class salary package.

    Don’t they feel the least bit shameless that their salaries are also derived from the sweat and hard labour of our foreign maids ?

    • 17 Danny Wong 17 May 2011 at 11:33

      It’s called vote buying. If PAP were to regulate domestic workers too tightly, voters will be unhappy. Providing easy access to domestic workers (aka maids) at a cheap rate even middle-income homeowners can afford makes people less critical of the government. Besides the foreign worker cannot vote and can be deported easily; why piss-off your valuable voters. Pushing for minimum wage, rights and decent treatment of domestic works has consequences for the PAP.

  13. 18 Evariste 13 May 2011 at 03:32

    “But, i think it is perhaps timely that political parties look into the plight of these people more interestedly, for they represent the cancerous erosion of human rights in the republic that would eventually reach Singaporeans themselves.”

    unfortunately, many “ah beng” Opposition supporters seem wont to do the opposite, and do not see these foreign workers as human beings. The Opposition press (TOC, most of all TR) accepts floods of xenophobic comments every day. This distresses me to no end.

    http://www.temasekreview.com/2011/05/10/prc-restaurant-investigated-for-allegedly-selling-dog-meat/

    • 19 Danny Wong 17 May 2011 at 11:36

      yes. too many racist, inhumane, vulgar and sometimes hateful comments on these so-called opposition supporting news portal does not bode well for the strive for democracy in Singapore.

  14. 20 anon 13 May 2011 at 06:04

    @”Fortunately, in this case, the company came to its senses.”

    It is good that Hafeez was eventually paid in full.

    However, I feel that it is unsatisfactory that this matter was resolved without a full investigation and formal response from the Manpower Ministry.

    This is akin to a private settlement between involved parties where the details are deemed “confidential” and therefore there is no duty of disclosure in the name of public interest.

    Anyone and everyone with vested interest in such a matter will continue to think that all is well, and less effort will be made to ensure that future abuses are avoided.

    • 21 Jeffrey Lawrence Omar 16 May 2011 at 13:13

      Agreed. This case is tantamount to ‘winning the battle, but losing the war’. While it is good that organisations such as TWC2 are helping out our much need foreign labour force in such matters, perhaps their methodology is a little near-sighted.

      Settlements like this do not solve the problem at large. To the employer at fault it’s a one-off case that they can easily write off, financially and ethically. A full investigation into their practices followed by prosecution in court is really what TWC2 should be aiming to achieve. Having such companies have their reputation sullied, their executives held accountable, and possibly criminal charges brought upon them will be the first warning shot to all who engage in such unscrupulous practices, and go a long way to solving the problem at large.

      Furthermore having such cases on record in the MOM will go a long way to bringing the true extent of the problem to light within the administration. Yes, perhaps the MOM itself is at fault here, and no doubt that the estimated billions of dollars received in levies could be used to employ people to keep tabs on agencies and companies that hire large amounts of foreign labour, but without official reports and investigations of cases to back up such a proposal, action can not be taken.

      It is understandable that it will no doubt be difficult to house and feed the workers involved in these cases for the potentially protracted amount of time that it takes to launch investigations and have their day in court – not counting the cost to these workers’ families back in their home country – but the alternative is what we see now – the relentless influx of cases that TWC2 continually tries to help on an individual basis. Perhaps it’s time to look at the bigger picture, make some sacrifices, and focus not on winning battles, but the war itself.

  15. 22 hahaha 13 May 2011 at 12:29

    Frankly, the lax regulations and implementation has a very big part in letting errant employers do as they deem fit.
    MOM needs to wake up and not just protect business, but also labour.
    Is there a mandatory briefing session by MOM where every foreign worker here, especially those with little education must attend to understand their rights? Clearly, their native language must be used to conduct the briefings.
    The weak link of the whole system is that MOM does not have a proper IT database system to keep track of each and every worker, local or foreign, whether they are insured properly in accordance to labour act.
    If they do it like motor insurance used by LTA, they can easily trace records, find the culprits and manage the situation. What MOM is doing currently is instead of fire prevention, they would let the fire start before seeing if it can be put out.
    Bad policy!

    • 23 gigirichard 29 June 2011 at 19:04

      Yes, it’s bad policy, but it saves MOM time, money and effort to solve these problems. MOM probably thinks since there’s TWC2, it’s better they do the least and let NGOs solve the problems for them.
      Unless there’s a new Minister who cares for basic human rights for these foreign workers, the FW will continue to be treated badly by some employers

  16. 24 Sophia 13 May 2011 at 13:42

    So exactly WHAT IS THE PURPOSE of MOM collecting foreign worker levies? And what is the MOM’s role in the employment of foreign workers? Just to issue employment passes?

    I’m sure there are many companies out there who exploit their workers just that its kept under the radar for decades now (we have atleast 500,000 foreign labour workers) and I’d dare say that they are not properly insured because of the nature of their jobs. We need a governing body who will oversee these issues, not only when a complaint is being lodged.

  17. 25 Anonymous 13 May 2011 at 15:01

    we are becoming more like China isn’t it? The objective of everything employers do is to make $$ out of it? how sad can that be? How did we become like this?

    • 26 T 13 May 2011 at 21:47

      How did we become like this? Obvious, isn’t it? When the government believes in the God of Lucre, when success is measured by dollars and cents, when talents are defined as how many millions of dollars are needed to entice them, why are you surprised that we become like this?

  18. 27 Evariste 13 May 2011 at 20:53

    we do not have any good films or stories portraying the plight of other human beings in Singapore. It was the sentimental novel of the early 1800s that moved entire nations towards liberalism.

    http://www.straitstimes.com/STForum/Story/STIStory_667989.html — there’s like 200 comments in here flaming a PR for speaking up about xenophobia

    That’s why they feel like they have no one to turn to.

    Singaporeans are hostile to anyone who isn’t native-born or didn’t complete NS [even if their child does]. Such has been the superficiality of the PAP’s nationbuilding education.

  19. 28 Symber 13 May 2011 at 22:19

    And the employer went scot-free?

    • 29 yawningbread 14 May 2011 at 00:19

      Yes. And that’s the problem. It’s very easy for employers to say to themselves: Let’s try our luck at cheating our workers of fair payment.

      The government doesn’t seem interested in going after employers who attempt to cheat, but only when they are caught blatantly doing so and still refuse to pay when it goes for arbitration. As an analogy, it’s as if the police aren’t interested in investigating cases of attempted murder. If the victim is actually killed, they may get involved. If the victim escapes being killed, the police couldn’t care less, and the murderer is free to try again.

  20. 30 Wally 14 May 2011 at 00:51

    Hey Waipang,

    If you want I can help shoot a little briefing video about the basic rights a foreign worker has in 1 or 2 languages.

    That way the information can be placed in front of passer-bys or even be used as a form of pre-employment briefing for the workers.
    I can imagine the information is broad and repetitive…

    I dunno.

    Email me if this is helpful.

    Wally

  21. 31 Sophia 14 May 2011 at 09:04

    A documentary would be much better. Showing them the worst case scenario etc and who they can go to for help. Burn it into VCDs and distribute them.

  22. 32 Kanpachi 14 May 2011 at 09:52

    Its call modern slavery! Even having domestic maids is slavery, payin them little and giving them no day off? If you have a maid, then commenting on such cruelty is the pot calling the kettle black.

    I recall in Japan, the culture of every citizen does their part. They cleared their trays at food places. customers contribute to the productivity of the companies and less labour need to be employed. If we litter, we left our trays after eating, of course, as a nation, we will be forever reliant on foreign workers.

  23. 33 Caveman 14 May 2011 at 10:05

    Kudos to the volunteer n TWC2…. But shouldn’t the MOM investigate the matter thoroughly n punish the company involved?

  24. 35 Jane 14 May 2011 at 10:50

    How about naming & shaming those companies? Start by telling us this company’s name. People also want to know whether such companies are monoplies are how are they linked together. Surely at some point, they all ‘come together’? Especially if they do, the public has a right to the truth.

  25. 36 Rain 14 May 2011 at 12:59

    This is not something new in Singapore. Talking about protecting rights & welfare of workers is good but is there anything to protect the rights of the employer too?

    For example, it is stated in MOM website that Employer are to liable for medical cost of the workers by buying insurance, but at times insurance do not cover some “illness”. The coverage are vague and often misinterpreted by workers hence leading to disputes. Let me cite some examples

    Case 1
    Workers got into fight after working hours and is injured. His injury went unnoticed, the following day he went back to work, but insisted that he got his injury in the process of his work. Isn’t this a moral hazard?

    Case 2
    Worker having toothache due to tooth decay, employer refused to bear cost for dental surgery $700. Reason for not bearing the cost, tooth decay is about oral hygiene, not work related. Worker called MOM, replied was if the ain is such that it affects the ability of the worker to perform his work then it’s Employer’s responsibility! Counter checked with insurance company, dental surgery unless due to work related accidents are not claimable.

    Clearly in Case 2, employer is not well protected since tooth decay is not under his responsibility. There are both good workers and honest employers and also vs.

    Let’s just be clear to our conscience, earn the money wi ease of mind🙂 applies both to workers & employers out there

    • 37 yawningbread 14 May 2011 at 13:57

      You seem to assume that the law says employers are or should only be liable for work-related medical costs. That is not so. Just as the medical benefits that Singaporeans get from their companies as part of their employment contract are not only restricted to medical issues arising out of work.

    • 38 Bh 14 May 2011 at 23:42

      Hi rain,

      Aren’t cases that are non work-related covered by a seperate insurance known as “medical insurance”?

      Do correct me if i’m wrong but as far as i am aware, all employers are required to purchase and maintian 2 different insurances for their foreign workers.

      The first is the “Workmen injury compensation insurance” that covers work related injuries. The other is “Medical insurance” which covers non work related.

  26. 39 david 14 May 2011 at 13:36

    well done.
    can’t help but feel the ministry is lax in enforcing laws and slack in imposing their will on law-breakers when it comes to exploiting poor people regardless of nationality…

    this has to keep playing on national tv somehow…only way you’re going to pressure them

  27. 40 TP 15 May 2011 at 01:57

    It all comes back to government policies…

    By freely letting in foreign workers with lax monitoring, employers are able to maximise their profits by exploiting these workers.

    In the end, the lower-income Singaporean suffers too as their wages are further depressed to compete with these artificially cheaper foreign laborers.

  28. 41 Leuk75 16 May 2011 at 09:35

    Honestly, I am very upset by the very xenophobic attitudes that us Singaporeans take towards FTs and blaming them for taking away jobs from us. Without FTs, our construction and public healthcare industry will soon grind to a halt.

    The issue here is not that FTs are at fault. It is the way our policies and systems are designed to push costs as low as possible without consideration of protecting both workers and employers. FTs become “cheaper” labour sometimes not by paying them less but by avoiding having to pay for medical / health insurance. Like TP mentioned, the low wages are artificially deflated and will eventually hit our own local workers. Just check out the number of local nursing trainees compared to foreigners! And we (un)realistically expect these nurses to take all our demands and work shifts, do the dirty jobs and coordinate the entire care process and pay them peanuts.

    I was amazed that Singaporeans said nothing when our health ministry decided that non resident workers will no longer enjoy subsidies in polyclinics and hospitals. I always thought that the reason for paying the foreign workers levy every month was a form of “insurance” to cover for subsidies but I guess I am just naive.

    Sure the MOM is not doing enough but really we ourselves are also not making an effort to be more aware. Having a minimal wage system tailored to jobscopes that apply to BOTH local and FTs (regardless of insurance and benefits) will be a right nudge in the right direction. Yes, its a nice ideal but hard to design and execute.

    But then, isn’t that what our 1st world wages (read: highest paid) ministers are paid to do?

  29. 42 Hanshih Lee 17 May 2011 at 16:59

    Like most policie in Singapore, it is a policy from the top. i wonder how the politicians reconcile the treatement to foreign workers to their own religions. do they ever ask the question??

  30. 43 Sam 18 May 2011 at 23:10

    Well GKY the ex-Manpower Minister almost turned a blind eye on this problem. May be the new Minister of Manpower will take a firmer stand on employers treating their contract foreign workers badly. But with his other heavy portfolio and IMF official role, wonder if he has the capacity and time to look into this sort of matters.


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