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Joint Reply from MOM & MFA on Mistreatment of Malaysian Workers

  • Ministry of Manpower (7 June 2007): Joint Reply from MOM & MFA on Mistreatment of Malaysian Workers
  • The Star (25 May 2007): Ripped Off in Singapore


Joint Reply from MOM & MFA on Mistreatment of Malaysian Workers
- The Star, 7 June 2007

Please refer to the article, “Ripped off in Singapore” (The Star, 25 May 2007) on the situation allegedly faced by some Malaysian workers in Singapore.

2.   The Ministry of Manpower (MOM), Singapore, is committed to ensuring that the interests and welfare of all foreign workers working in Singapore are safeguarded.

3.   MOM has conducted thorough investigations into all complaints we have received regarding Malaysian workers in Singapore. Our investigations revealed that many of these workers were misled by their Malaysian Employment Agencies (EAs) with false promises of jobs in Singapore, and the workers had also allowed these EAs to withhold their passports as collateral for their loans. Accordingly, MOM has forwarded the names of these Malaysian EAs to the Malaysian Ministry of Human Resources (MOHR) for their further investigation and action.

4.   MOM welcomes the public education initiatives of MOHR mentioned in the article. MOM will continue to work with MOHR on relevant issues concerning Malaysian workers in Singapore.


Ripped Off in Singapore
- The Star, 25 May 2007

At least 20 Malaysian workers fall victim to abuse and fraud in Singapore every month, said Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr Fong Chan Onn. He said the ministry received an average of two or three cases monthly, each involving 10 to 20 Malaysians.

"The so-called recruiting agents promise the workers good jobs with good pay. When they go to Singapore, the agents will hold their passport, MyKad and sometimes even their birth certificate."

"Only then do they find out that either there is no job, or the job is not as promised. If they decide to quit, the agents will ask them to pay RM2,000 in order to get back their personal documents," he told a press conference after opening the Human Resource Ministry's job vacancy electronic kiosk at Bukit Bintang Plaza here yesterday.

Dr Fong said his ministry had set up the Malaysian Overseas Employment Management Centre in Johor Baru to assist Malaysians who were having problems while working in other countries. "Most of the victims are blue-collar workers," he said, adding that about 140,000 Malaysians worked in Singapore.

Dr Fong urged Malaysians to check whether the recruiting agents were registered with his ministry before seeking their services. "So far, there are 26 licensed and authorised agents registered under the ministry. We can take action against the agents if they do not follow the rules and regulations," he said.
The minister said the public could check the list of the agents at MOHR website or visit their state labour department.

"The centre will also counsel Malaysians on the terms and conditions offered to them in Singapore," he said, adding that his ministry would assign a labour attaché in Singapore to look into the welfare of Malaysian workers there. On the first electronic kiosk in Bukit Bintang Plaza, Dr Fong said an officer would man the kiosk every day to assist job seekers.

"The electronic kiosk offers jobs, including part-time ones, in government agencies, the private sector and foreign companies. If they find jobs that are suitable, they can apply on the spot," he said.