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Debarment of companies not done lightly

  • The Straits Times (26 October 2010) : Debarment of companies not done lightly
  • The Straits Times (16 October 2010) : Blacklisting companies shouldn't be so easy 

Debarment of companies not done lightly
- The Straits Times, 26 October 2010

In response to Mr Lee Soon Ann’s letter on 16 October, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) wishes to clarify that his company had been debarred since 17 September 2010 as it was under investigation for possible infringement of the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA).

2.   Debarred companies are not allowed to apply for new work passes or to renew existing work passes. These actions are necessary to prevent further infringements of the law which may undermine the well-being of foreign workers or compromise the integrity of the work pass system.

3.   Such debarment decisions are never taken lightly. We do not rely only on the complainant’s account. In the case of Mr Lee’s company, we had also taken a statement from his company representative. We decided to debar his company because there are good grounds to believe that an infringement had taken place and which requires further investigation.

4.   Our investigations have now established that Mr Lee’s company has in fact committed an infringement under the EFMA. We have communicated this to Mr Lee. We have contacted him to assist us with further investigations into other potential EFMA and Employment Act offences.

Blacklisting companies shouldn't be so easy
- The Straits Times, 16 October 2010

We sacked an employee who was an S-Pass holder after she was caught stealing money from our shop. Subsequently, the Ministry of Manpower notified our company that it was under investigation for a possible breach of the Employment Act, as the sacked employee had filed a complaint against us.

We met the investigating officer and furnished the information required. But subsequent attempts to contact that officer again were unsuccessful and there was no follow-up.

On Oct 1, while processing the renewal of an S-Pass for another worker, we were told that our company had been blacklisted, the officer involved in our case had resigned and that there was no replacement yet.

In the meantime, the worker seeking a renewal of her pass had to leave the country, pending the resolution of the previous case and the appeal on the renewal.

On Oct 7, we wrote again to the ministry, asking for a clear and early resolution of the case, as well as to find out who we could liaise with on the matter.

We are still waiting.

It is surprising how easily a company can get blacklisted because of a complaint from an errant worker. The ministry has also been unsympathetic and unhelpful.

Shouldn't there be a quicker way to resolve such problems?