Measures in place to tackle maids borrowing money

We refer to the letters and reports on foreign domestic workers borrowing from moneylenders in the last two months.

The Government takes a serious view of any misconduct by moneylenders, and regulates them through the Moneylenders Act.

All moneylenders must be licensed and are required to obtain the residential addresses of borrowers.

They are allowed to sendletters of demand to these addresses to recover unpaid debt.

However, they are not to recover debt from any party other than the borrower(s) or guarantor(s) of a loan.

A person cannot be made a guarantor in a moneylending contract without his consent.

Members of the public who suspect any breach of such conditions are urged to report them to the Registry of Moneylenders under the Ministry of Law at www.mlaw.gov.sg/ eservices/enquiry

Unlicensed moneylending is prohibited.

The police take a tough stance against unlicensed moneylenders and those who assist them in these illicit activities. These include harassing debtors or assisting illegal moneylenders to transfer money.

If an employer is threatened or harassed by illegal moneylenders, he should contact the police emergency hotline (999), or lodge a police report immediately.

Reports can also be made via the I-Witness portal (www.police.gov.sg/iwitness), the police hotline (1800-255-0000), or the National Crime Prevention Council's "X Ah Long" hotline (1800-924-5664).

The Ministry of Manpower and the police have also stepped up educational efforts, through channels such as the Settling-In Programme for first-time foreign domestic workers, to help them understand the risks of borrowing from moneylenders.

Foreign domestic workers are taught basic money management and advised to consult their employers or employment agencies if they need money on short notice, and advised not to borrow from illegal moneylenders.

Employers are also informed to advise their foreign domestic workers to stay away from illegal moneylenders.

The Government will continually review the regulatory regime to better protect foreign domestic workers and their employers.

Jeannette Har (Ms)

Director, Well-Being Department

Ministry of Manpower

Nooraini Hamzah (Ms)

Director, Corporate Communications

Ministry of Law

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 05, 2018, with the headline 'Measures in place to tackle maids borrowing money'. Print Edition | Subscribe