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Statement on Malaysian Workers Sleeping Rough in Singapore

  1. In an article titled “Homeless Malaysians in Singapore” in The New Straits Times (NST) on 22 November, an interviewee, Mr Shahruddin Hael Helmy Mohd Noh (Mr Shahruddin), claimed that over 100 Malaysian work pass holders in Singapore were homeless as they could not afford to rent a room or a bed
  2. Following the report, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) engaged Mr Shahruddin on 23 and 27 November to obtain information in relation to his claim so that we can provide the necessary assistance to these workers. However, he was unable to provide information such as specific names and contact details of the homeless Malaysian workers he claimed to have encountered. He admitted that he never spoke directly to any of these workers and cannot confirm if they were indeed homeless. He did not know of any Malaysian worker who does not have a place to stay and also stated that he did not tell the reporter from NST that “over 100 Malaysians there had become homeless”.
  3. The Singapore Government has an Inter-Agency Taskforce comprising officers from MOM, the Ministry of Social and Family Development, and the Singapore Police Force. The Taskforce conducts routine inspections and checks across the island and any rough sleepers found would be referred to the relevant agencies for assistance. As part of these routine checks, officers visited various locations island-wide late into the night on 26 November, including the places listed by Mr Shahruddin. However, we did not find any work pass holders sleeping in the streets.
  4. Persons found sleeping in the open, including work pass holders, are rendered assistance. Their employer will be asked to provide lodging immediately or the Migrant Workers’ Centre (MWC) will house them in the interim if the employer is not able to do so. MOM has also established links with various non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to refer any work pass holders found sleeping rough. In the past few months, MOM has not received any referrals from the NGOs.   
  5. MOM reminds all employers of their obligations to their foreign employees and to ensure that they have proper accommodation during their stay in Singapore. Members of public who know of any work pass holders facing accommodation issues should refer them to MOM or the MWC’s 24-hour hotline at 6536 2692 for further assistance.