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Untruths in TWC2 article on work injury

An online article by TWC2 cited the case of Howlader Mohammod Selim. It claimed that Howlader’s employer was unfair to him in dealing with his work injuries. Based on our investigations and interviews with Howlader and his employer, the following claims by TWC2 are untrue.

Claim: The shipyard safety officer suggested to call for an ambulance to take Howlader to the hospital but Howlader’s manager rejected that suggestion
Fact: Howlader testified that no one, including himself, had suggested to call for an ambulance. His injuries were assessed to be minor by the shipyard safety officer and did not require an ambulance to take him to the hospital. He was later taken to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital by the company’s driver.

Claim: Howlader said that the doctor would give him 17 days of medical leave
Fact: Howlader testified that the doctor did not inform him that he would be given 17 days of medical leave. Similarly, the doctor who attended to Howlader also informed MOM that he did not intend to give Howlader 17 days of medical leave. He only issued Howlader a four-day medical certificate from 28 September 2016 to 1 October 2016 .

Claim: Howlader’s work permit was cancelled because of his medical certificate, which was extended by a month
Fact: Howlader’s work permit was cancelled because he ran away from the employer at the end of the four-day medical certificate period. It has nothing to do with any extension of medical leave.

Howlader ran away, leaving behind his belongings, and was last seen at his dormitory on 29 September 2016. He did not return to work after his initial medical leave expired. After failing to contact or locate him through his friends, his supervisor made a police report on 6 October 2016, stating that Howlader was missing. The work permit was then cancelled on 14 October 2016.

It is an offence for employers to repatriate foreign workers to prevent their work injury claims. MOM takes a serious view of employers who flout the law and will take action against them. Even if the foreign worker’s work permit is cancelled, his employer is responsible for paying his medical leave wages and medical bills, and for his upkeep and maintenance.

Claim: Work injury compensation is not assured
Fact: All work injury claims will be assessed fairly. The company had submitted the incident report on 7 October 2016, which was within the required reporting timeline. Howlader has been issued a Notice of Assessment on 18 September 2017 and has received his compensation. The employer has also been paying for medical bills and medical leave wages.

We have informed NGOs, including TWC2, on what they can do to facilitate the claims process for injured foreign workers. However, TWC2 continues to publish inaccurate and one-sided accounts in their articles without verifying details of the case, even though channels to do so are available to them. This is not helpful.

We urge injured workers who need help for work injury claims to contact MOM’s helpline directly at +65 64385122. More information on WICA is available here.