Construction firm charged for housing 60 foreign workers in rat-infested dormitories

File photo of rats. Investigations showed that Kay Lim Construction & Trading had housed workers in "rat-infested" workers' quarters
File photo of rats. Investigations showed that Kay Lim Construction & Trading had housed workers in "rat-infested" workers' quartersPHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Kay Lim Construction & Trading was prosecuted in the State Courts on Tuesday (March 14) for housing 60 foreign workers in "unacceptable" accommodation with "unhygienic living conditions", said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in a statement on Wednesday.

The firm also did not update the ministry, via an online system, on the foreign workers' housing addresses.

In total, the company faced a total of 80 charges.

Investigations showed that the company had housed the workers - from its company and nine other companies - in "rat-infested" workers' quarters in a construction site at Commonwealth Avenue/ Ghim Moh Link.

Between March 2014 and September 2015, the company also failed to update, in an online system, the accommodation addresses of 20 other foreign workers staying in the temporary dormitories at a construction site at Ang Mo Kio Street 44.

"MOM has since ordered the accused company to improve the hygiene and living conditions of all their existing construction site temporary quarters. The accused company has complied with the order," said the ministry.

The case has been adjourned to April 18.

Under the Employment of Foreign Manpower (Work Passes) Regulations, employers are required to provide acceptable accommodation for their foreign workers that comply with the various statutory requirements, and update the latest addresses of their foreign workers in the Online Foreign Worker Address Service within five days of the change in their residential address.

Employers who contravene any of the conditions of the work pass will be guilty of an offence under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act. If convicted, offenders can be fined up to $10,000 and /or jailed for up to a year, for each offence.

Foreign workers who have issues with their housing conditions should inform their employers. If their employers do not make improvements to the living conditions, workers could get help from the Migrant Workers' Centre at 6536-2692 or report the matter to MOM at 6438-5122.

Members of the public can also inform the authorities of people who breach the Act, or refer foreign workers in distress to MOM, by calling 6438-5122 or e-mailing mom_fmmd@mom.gov.sg. All information will be kept strictly confidential.