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MOM’s response to TWC2 article “Bumpy ride for Alaguraja as employer goes doctor-shopping”

A TWC2 article cited the case of a foreign worker Ganapathi Alaguraja who was injured at work and claimed that he had to “navigate the shark-infested waters of employer-controlled medical care”. We wish to clarify that the key fact in the article is erroneous.

Claim: Mr Alaguraja was brought to his “company” clinic in Lavender. His employer influenced the clinic and compelled him to continue working after his injury.

Fact: On the contrary, Mr Alaguraja indicated in his statement to MOM that he went to the Lavender clinic on his own, without any employer’s representatives, and stopped working the day he was injured.

While there are indeed employers who may try to circumvent reporting, or influence doctors to under-prescribe medical leave, workers can report injuries to MOM directly if they suspect errant behaviour. This was exactly what Mr Alaguraja did – he reported his injury to MOM.

Under the Singapore Medical Council’s (SMC) guidelines, when prescribing light duties, doctors have to ascertain that the appropriate “light duties” are indeed available at the workplace, and that the work will not aggravate the injury. If there are any professional malpractice by the doctors, we will refer the errant doctor to SMC for possible disciplinary action. MOM will also investigate any complaints of under-reporting and will not hesitate to take enforcement actions against the errant employer.

MOM wants all injured workers to be given proper medical treatment and recovery. TWC2 should surface any such cases to MOM for us to take action.