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Oral Answer by Ms Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State, to Parliamentary Question on Workplace Discrimination and the Number of Cases Enforced

Notice Paper No. 201 of 2015 For The Sitting on 17 August 2015 Question No. 701 For Oral Answer

MP: Mr Zaqy Mohamad

To ask the Minister for Manpower over the past five years (a) what is the trend in the number of cases relating to race- and language-related discrimination in the work place; and (b) how many of such cases in respect of job interviews, hiring practices and workplace practices have been enforced.

Notice Paper No. 212 Of 2015 For The Sitting on 17 August 2015 Question No. 713 For Oral Answer

MP: Mr Zainal Sapari

To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) whether the Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices (TAFEP) has been effective in reducing discrimination at workplaces; (b) whether the existing framework of measures are sufficient to send a strong message that workplace discrimination, particularly those related to race and religion, will not be tolerated; and (c) what recourse can an individual take should the person feel that there is discrimination due to race and religion.


  1. The Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) was set up in 2006 to promote fair employment practices.  TAFEP released the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices in 2007.  Recognising that the key to dealing with discrimination issues is to change employers’ mindsets, TAFEP adopts both a promotional and capability building approach in helping employers to adopt the Tripartite Guidelines. 
  2. An employee who feels discriminated against can approach TAFEP for assistance.  In the last five years, TAFEP has on average, received less than 80 race-, language- and religion-related discrimination complaints per year against employers.  This number has remained fairly stable.  When TAFEP engages these employers, the large majority will rectify their employment practices.
  3. Where there is evidence of non-compliance with the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices, TAFEP will refer these cases to MOM for investigation.
  4. In 2014, MOM investigated and took action against 9 employers for race-, language- and religion-related discriminatory employment practices.  These employers were issued stern warnings and had their work pass privileges curtailed. 
  5. I am happy to note that most employers that have been approached by TAFEP have responded positively and have adopted fair employment practices.  Only a small minority are referred to MOM for enforcement. This shows that our current approach has worked well.