Speech at Fast Charity Dinner
Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Manpower, Low Yen Ling, The Marina Bay Sands
Mr. Seah Seng Choon,
President, Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (FAST)
Excellencies and Dignitaries from the various embassies
Ladies and Gentlemen,
- I am delighted to join you this evening for FAST’s inaugural charity dinner. I would like to extend my congratulations to FAST for successfully organising the 10th Foreign Domestic Workers Day last month. The event was attended by over 8,000 foreign domestic workers (FDWs) and their employers. I had the honour to attend and was impressed by the strong turnout. It is testament to the good efforts put in by FAST to connect with and support the FDW community in Singapore.
- I believe all of us recognise the important contributions FDWs make to our Singapore families and households. It is not easy for them to leave their families to come here to work. We have a duty to ensure that their well-being and needs are taken care of during their stay in Singapore.
- The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has put in place a comprehensive regulatory framework to safeguard FDWs’ well-being. Apart from legislation, we also educate FDWs on their rights and responsibilities through various platforms such as the Settling in Programme. However, MOM’s efforts alone are not enough. We also lean on our partners, like FAST, to provide FDWs with social and recreational support so that they can have a fulfilling stay in Singapore.
Enhanced training and recreational support to Domestic workers with FAST’s new multi-service hub
- Since its formation in 2005, FAST has helped train FDWs in many areas, from culinary skills, infant and eldercare, to hairdressing, computer literacy, and entrepreneurship. Some of the comprehensive training has even enabled some FDWs to take on specialised roles. For instance, after going through 6 months of maternity and infant care training provided by FAST, Ms Regina from the Philippines gained her employer’s confidence and trust to let her take on the role of a confinement nanny. Ms Regina proved to be a great help to the family as she not only took good care of the newborn, she also prepared nutritious confinement meals for her employer.
- FAST has played a key role in enhancing the skills of our FDWs, and with the upcoming multi-service hub opening next year, we can look forward to it being the one-stop centre for all of FAST’s training programmes. FDWs will no longer have to travel to different locations to attend FAST’s training courses. The multi-service hub will also contain an integrated transit centre where FDWs can stay and attend training before they start work. With the new multi-service hub, up to 50,000 FDWs can benefit from FAST’s training programmes annually.
- Besides training facilities, the multi-service hub will also house a much bigger clubhouse for FAST’s FDW members. In a short span of 3 years, the number FAST members has grown from 3,000 to 10,000. The clubhouse has become a 2nd home to many FDWs where they can unwind and recharge on their rest days. At the club house, FDWs take part in activities such as Zumba or baking classes with their friends, or hold birthday celebrations for each other. With a capacity of almost 10 times the current clubhouse, FDWs can look forward to a bigger gathering space, better facilities as well as remittance, courier and telco services all under one roof.
Facilitating Good Employer-FDW working Relationships
- Besides being able to rest and relax, having a positive employer-FDW relationship is also critical to an FDW’s well-being. Last month, MOM announced efforts to enhance the match between FDWs and employers, and encouraging more fulfilled contracts. I am very happy that FAST has stepped forward to offer free dispute resolution services to FDWs and employers. Such services are important in helping FDWs resolve issues and maintain their employment. Over 46 FDWs and their employers have since benefited from FAST’s resolution services. I thank and commend FAST for their good work.
- I am proud to say that FAST’s efforts are recognised not just in Singapore, but also by the FDWs’ home countries. Just last year, the Philippines awarded FAST the 2018 Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organisations Overseas. This is an award that recognises organisations which have advanced the cause of overseas Filipino communities. We trust that FAST will continue its excellent work in supporting our FDWs.
- Lastly, I would also like to thank all the stakeholders present for valuable your support and contributions to FAST’s new multi-service hub. Thank you for making Singapore a better place for FDWs to work and live in.
I wish all of you a very pleasant evening.