Forum: Singapore-bashing over treatment of migrant workers is unwarranted

Nominated MP Anthea Ong asked if the Government would consider issuing an apology to the migrant workers under lockdown in dormitories (Govt's response to outbreak will be reviewed after crisis, May 5). And Mr Andy Chew Teck Huat suggested that Singaporeans need to apologise for the state these workers are now in (All of us guilty of poor treatment of foreign workers, May 7).

Living conditions at foreign workers' dormitories are strictly within the purview of the employers and workers. This is a commercial arrangement.

Thus, if there is any violation related to the living conditions, then the dormitory operator and the employer should bear the consequences and be taken to task.

Why does the nation need to apologise to the migrant workers? The Government does not operate the dormitories or employ the workers.

Also, if the migrant workers have any grievances, there are many avenues they can turn to.

For instance, the Ministry of Manpower's foreign manpower management division oversees workplace standards for foreign workers and enforces foreign workforce policies.

And there are several migrant worker organisations that can address their needs.

The recent Singapore-bashing over the coronavirus outbreak among migrant workers has gone to the extreme.

While Singapore may be indebted to these migrant workers, let us not forget that they are here to make enough money so that they can return to their home countries to lead a more comfortable life.

In Singapore, these workers are not underpaid or short-changed.

It is a win-win situation for both parties.

In fact, the care shown by the Government can be seen during this Covid-19 period. In some other countries, the costs of accommodation, food and virus testing for such workers are borne by their employers or embassies.

But in Singapore, the Government has taken it upon itself to bear the costs.

Let us be fair to Singaporeans and stop this bashing.

Lee Kek Chin

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