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Little India Riot COI: MOM officer says foreign workers are taken care of in Singapore

Published on Mar 18, 2014 3:19 PM
 
Aftermath of the Little India Riots on Dec 8, 2013. Employers are responsible for housing and feeding their workers, even if they have cancelled their work permits, a Ministry of Manpower (MOM) representative told the Committee of Inquiry into the Dec 8 riot on Tuesday, March 18, 2014. -- ST FILE PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Employers are responsible for housing and feeding their workers, even if they have cancelled their work permits, a Ministry of Manpower (MOM) representative told the Committee of Inquiry into the Dec 8 riot on Tuesday.

When the employer refuses or is unable to take care of these needs, the government will then step in to do so together with the assistance of help groups, said Mr Kevin Teoh, MOM's divisional director for Foreign Manpower Management.

The issue of whether Singapore has a problem of "abandoned" workers dominated proceedings on Tuesday morning, as the committee repeatedly questioned Mr Teoh based on evidence given by workers' rights group Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) president Russell Heng earlier that it was feeding about 200 to 300 destitute workers every day at its soup kitchen.

"We have not come across workers sleeping on the street," said Mr Teoh, adding that all workers who lodged complaints at MOM are asked if they needed assistance with food and shelter. "Sir, like you, I was equally surprised that he (Mr Heng) made the assertion here."

 
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