Dormitory operator charged over housing foreign workers in poor conditions

MOM has charged Yeo's Brother Management Pte Ltd, following an inspection of its Ama Keng Hostel in July 2016.
MOM has charged Yeo's Brother Management Pte Ltd, following an inspection of its Ama Keng Hostel in July 2016.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
MOM has charged Yeo's Brother Management Pte Ltd, following an inspection of its Ama Keng Hostel in July 2016.
MOM has charged Yeo's Brother Management Pte Ltd, following an inspection of its Ama Keng Hostel in July 2016.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - A dormitory operator is facing charges for allowing 50 foreign workers to be housed in poor living conditions including poor sanitation, cockroach and mosquito infestation and fire hazards in the workers' quarters.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Monday (Oct 2) that it charged Yeo's Brother Management Pte Ltd on Sept 28, following an inspection of its Ama Keng Hostel at 25 Ama Keng Road in July 2016. The operator faces 50 charges.

Following the inspection, undertaken after complaints from workers, MOM ordered the company to relocate the affected workers.

The agency said the conditions severely undermined the safety and well-being of the workers, and the dormitory - which has a capacity of 1,900 - has since ceased operations.

Furthermore, the company's application for a licence under the Foreign Employee Dormitories Act, which came into force in January 2016 for dormitories housing 1,000 or more foreign workers, was rejected.

The case has been adjourned to Oct 19. If convicted under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act, the company can be fined up to $10,000 for each of the 50 charges, one for each worker.

MOM noted that employers are subject to the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act as well, and those who violate the law will be prohibited from hiring foreign workers, on top of court penalties.

MOM added that foreign workers who have issues with their housing conditions should raise the matter with their employer.

If the employer fails to rectify the situation, they can contact the Migrant Workers' Centre at 6536-2692.

Both foreign workers and members of the public can also report malpractice to MOM by calling 6438-5122 or writing an e-mail to mom_fmmd@mom.gov.sg. All information communicated will be kept strictly confidential, the ministry said.