Coronavirus: Work pass holder banned from working in S'pore, 39 foreign workers fined for breaching rules

Ministry of Manpower officers conducting enforcement operations in Little India and Ubi (bottom left) on April 12, 2020.
Ministry of Manpower officers conducting enforcement operations in Little India and Ubi (bottom left) on April 12, 2020.PHOTOS: MINISTRY OF MANPOWER

SINGAPORE - A work pass holder has been stripped of his pass and permanently banned from working in Singapore for breaching circuit breaker measures, the Manpower Ministry (MOM) said on Sunday (April 12).

Investigations found that the worker from an essential firm had finished work last Thursday evening.

He had a meal but then continued to loiter at various places for an extended period of time, returning to his place of residence only the next day.

"This is a blatant breach of circuit breaker measures," said the MOM.

The authorities also issued 39 fines to work pass holders from Friday to Sunday.

The fines were issued by various agencies including the Ministry for the Environment and Water Resources, National Parks Board and MOM, the ministry said.

"These individuals were found to have gathered in groups, engaged in group exercise or participating in recreational activities like frisbee or football with persons who did not live in the same household," said the MOM.

The ministry added that if these workers are found to have breached circuit breaker measures again, it "will not hesitate" to revoke their work passes and the passes of their dependants.

Employers and their worker have a joint responsibility to abide by safe distancing rules during the circuit breaker, which are necessary for health and safety, it said.

"Ignorance of the requirements is not an excuse and MOM will not hesitate to enforce against errant individuals," it added.

Members of the public who have information on work pass holders or employers breaching circuit breaker measures can e-mail mom_qops@mom.gov.sg.

As it carried out enforcement action over the weekend, the ministry also continued its efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus at dormitories, which have seen rising cases and clusters of Covid-19.

Manpower Minister Josephine Teo shared on Facebook that on Saturday, she visited Sungei Tengah Lodge, one of seven foreign worker dormitories gazetted as isolation areas.

This means residents there have to be quarantined in their rooms for 14 days.

Mrs Teo said officers on the ground learnt from steps taken to maintain hygiene, cleanliness and to deliver food at previous dormitories.

Among such "best practices" were the sorting of bento boxes by floor according to dietary requirements and preferences, which are then taken to each floor where a representative worker distributes it to the rooms.

 
 
 
 

This has helped to reduce meal delivery timings significantly, said Mrs Teo.

Voluntary organisations have also been raising money and supplies, with advocacy groups calling for more action to help workers.

The Migrant Workers' Centre said it has distributed 200,000 reusable masks and has started packaging 350,000 bottles of hand sanitiser for migrant workers in dormitories.

The Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home) also said on Facebook that it raised more than $80,000 in three days to help migrant workers affected by the pandemic, and has now increased its target to $150,000.

Home executive director Catherine James said many migrant workers, especially those in smaller, factory-converted dormitories (FCDs), have not been paid and urgently need money to pay rent or to top up their phones' SIM cards.

"They understand that with the overcrowded conditions they live in at FCDs, they pose a risk to the surrounding community when they go out. But they are also more vulnerable and completely dependent on their employer to supply them," she said.