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MOM's Statement on Prosecution Case Involving the Death of an FDW

  1. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) would like to express our deepest sympathies to the next-of-kin of former foreign domestic worker (FDW) Ms Piang Ngaih Don. At the time of her death, MOM ensured that a full insurance payout was made to the next-of-kin, consisting of the full death benefit, repatriation cost and a special gratuity payment. Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE) had also made a donation to her family and facilitated her brother’s visit to Singapore.
  2. On 25 May 2015, shortly after Ms Piang arrived in Singapore, she attended the mandatory Settling-in-Programme (SIP). On 28 May 2015, she began working for her then-employer Mr Kevin Chelvam. This was Ms Piang’s first time working in Singapore and Mr Chelvam was her first employer.
  3. On 19 January 2016, Ms Piang had gone for her six-monthly medical examination (6ME) and passed the medical examination. In May 2016, Ms Piang visited the same doctor for runny nose, cough and swelling on her legs. Nothing adverse was flagged to the authorities’ attention on either occasion.
  4. In the first six months of Ms Piang’s employment, Mr Chelvam had provided feedback to the employment agent (EA) on communication problems and work performance. The EA had offered to replace Ms Piang multiple times, but Mr Chelvam did not take up the offers. During this period, the EA had spoken to Ms Piang on two different occasions but did not pick up on any issues. 
  5. Mr Chelvam and his family members had previously employed four other FDWs and MOM had not received any complaints or adverse feedback from them.
  6. MOM has existing safeguards in place to prevent FDW abuse:
    • All first-time FDWs have to go through the SIP, which informs them of their rights and responsibilities, including the conditions of their employment
    • First-time employers are also briefed on their responsibilities through the Employers Orientation Programme
    • FDW assessed to need more support are interviewed by the CDE in their native languages
    • FDWs have to attend the 6ME and doctors are informed to immediately refer FDWs with signs of abuse to MOM or the Police for help.
  7. MOM will intensify our efforts to reach out to and interview all new FDWs about their well-being, and also engage with healthcare providers to see how we can support them to identify cases of possible abuse. Members of the public who may be aware of any ill-treatment of FDWs, or FDWs facing employment or other issues to reach out to CDE or Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (FAST) for help. FDWs can also call the MOM helpline at 1800 339 5505 to speak to an MOM officer.