2,600 migrant workers receive festive meals and sarongs

A resident of a dormitory at Tuas View Square receiving a festive meal and a sarong from Deputy Mufti Mohammad Hannan Hassan yesterday. With them are (from right) Mr Tung Yui Fai, chief of the Ministry of Manpower's Assurance, Care and Engagement (Ac
A resident of a dormitory at Tuas View Square receiving a festive meal and a sarong from Deputy Mufti Mohammad Hannan Hassan yesterday. With them are (from right) Mr Tung Yui Fai, chief of the Ministry of Manpower's Assurance, Care and Engagement (Ace) Group; the Reverend Samuel Gift Stephen and the Reverend Ezekiel Tan of Hope Initiative Alliance; and Mr John Chan of the Ace Group. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

Strict Covid-19 regulations may be in place, but about 2,600 migrant workers in 30 factory-converted dormitories were still able to receive a meal and a free lungi (sarong) to mark Hari Raya Aidilfitri yesterday.

The annual festive distribution organised by the Alliance of Guest Workers Outreach (AGWO) used contactless drop-offs amid safety measures to prevent an outbreak of Covid-19 among dorm residents.

Islamic Religious Council of Singapore deputy mufti, Ustaz Mohammad Hannan Hassan, dropped in to say a prayer at a Tuas dorm where 100 meals and lungis were distributed.

He also thanked the construction workers for their cooperation in helping to keep Covid-19 cases low and encouraged them to persevere with their efforts.

"Before Covid-19, on Hari Raya, they would be on the fields playing cricket and having fun with their friends, but today, (it is not possible), so we want to stand together with them during this difficult time and to encourage them to keep going," he said.

But he noted that this year's Hari Raya Aidilfitri was a marked improvement from last year's, which fell seven weeks into Singapore's circuit breaker, during which measures were even stricter and most workers remained in their residences.

"Last year, we were unable to meet or perform our morning prayers together. This year, it's better, although still limited, and we're grateful for that," said Dr Hannan.

"We understand everyone wants to go out and visit, but we've done this for a year. So let's continue to do this and be patient."

The Reverend Ezekiel Tan, president of Hope Initiative Alliance, which is behind the AGWO, commended the 98 residents of the Tuas dorm for their nation-building contributions to Singapore.

"We were keen to come here to bring the community spirit to these workers who have made sacrifices to be in Singapore, leaving behind their family and friends," he said.

"We want to show our appreciation to them and also... (thank) them for their cooperation in keeping Singapore safe. Without their contribution, the construction industry will be even more... hindered in its recovery process."

The AGWO was also active in the lead-up to Hari Raya Aidilfitri, delivering festive meals and gifts to workers in 14 dorms who are still mostly confined to their residences except when they go out to work.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2021, with the headline '2,600 migrant workers receive festive meals and sarongs'. Subscribe