MOM defends call for partners after criticisms of 'asking for free labour'


The Ministry of Manpower was criticised after it called for partners to develop a mobile app for foreign workers.
The Ministry of Manpower was criticised after it called for partners to develop a mobile app for foreign workers.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Manpower has defended its call for partners to develop a mobile app for foreign workers, after netizens criticised it for "asking for free labour".

In a statement posted on its Facebook page on Tuesday (July 4), the ministry said it had sought collaboration with app developers "to achieve win-win outcomes".

The aim of the app is to allow MOM to reach out to foreign workers and educate them about their employment rights, social norms and responsibilities.

MOM will help with publicity to market the app and provide content and survey findings related to foreign workers. In return, partners will bear "all funding necessary" for the mobile application, and ensure MOM-provided content on the app is free.

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While the search for partners began in January this year, the statement came hours after a Facebook user criticised the ministry for "asking for free labour" on Monday, in a post that has been shared by almost 300 users.

The ministry said in its statement that these partners will have "full flexibility" to provide other services on the app that can be monetised.

"In addition, the rights, as well as Foreground and Background IP of the mobile app, continue to be owned by the partners, not by MOM," it added.

So far, two developers, Aptiv8 and GenyTek, have come on board.

Director of GenyTek, Mr David Leong, said: "We are happy to work with MOM to develop this app. As developers, we are always coming up with new products. It is similar to the provision of webmail services that are available for free. We could do it ourselves, but we see great value in partnering MOM to develop this app for workers."

The mobile apps will be ready by the end of the year, said MOM.