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MOM offered timely assistance to workers assisting with investigations

A TWC2 article recounted the experience of foreign workers Shamim and Miah Saddam who paid large sums of money to their fellow countrymen in Singapore to secure jobs here, but subsequently had their work passes cancelled. It claimed that MOM had a poor service mindset, did not speak to the foreign workers about allowing them to find a new employer while conducting investigations. These allegations by TWC2 are untrue.

Claim: MOM prioritises enforcement over the welfare of foreign workers who are assisting in investigations, and leaves them to “suffer” in “limbo”
Fact: Shamim and Miah lodged complaints against their employer with MOM on 16 October 2017 for salary arrears and kickbacks. They were given Special Passes the next day, while investigations on their employer were ongoing, and were informed by MOM that the ministry could help with their search for new jobs, if they wanted. MOM had also offered them help with upkeep i.e. shelter and meals but they declined. Both workers were then advised to return to MOM if they needed help. In fact, Shamim told us that he had informed TWC2 of MOM’s assistance when they interviewed him for the article.

TWC2 had also failed to mention in their article that Miah and Shamim were reemployed on 6 and 29 Nov 2017 respectively, nearly two months (for Miah) before the article was published on 26 December 2017. Furthermore, the article had wrongly reported Shamim’s salary; he was paid $800 to $900 a month, more than the reported $25 a day.

The events in this case happened up to over two months before this article was published. TWC2 had ample time to highlight any of the issues raised in the article to MOM for investigations through dedicated channels we have established with NGOs on foreign worker well-being issues. Instead, TWC2 again chose to focus on publishing another article that contains untruths. The reality is not the situation that TWC2 had painted. This is not truthful advocacy and we urge TWC2 to play a more constructive role in helping foreign workers.

We take kickback offences seriously

Collecting kickbacks is a serious offence, so is abetting. If found guilty, offenders may face a jail term of up to two years, or a fine of up to $30,000, or both, per charge. On 31 October 2017, Chen Quan, Director of Hong Lu Engineering Pte Ltd and Managing Director of Trusty Aluminium Pte Ltd was charged in the State Courts with 21 counts of collecting over $64,000 in kickbacks from 21 foreign workers. His foreign employee was also charged with 21 counts of abetting Chen to collect the kickbacks.

We advise foreign workers not to pay kickbacks to get work. It does not pay off, as this case shows. Foreign workers who are pressured into paying large sums of money to get work should seek help immediately by calling MOM at 6438 5122 or the Migrant Workers’ Centre at 6536 2692.

Members of the public who know of persons or employers who violate our employment laws, or of workers who are victims of such violations, should report the matter to MOM at 6438 5122. All information will be kept strictly confidential.