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Singapore refutes claim over 100 Malaysian workers sleeping rough

Singapore – The Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM) today refuted claims that over 100 Malaysian work pass holders in Singapore were homeless as they could not afford to rent a room or a bed.

The ministry was referring to an article across the Causeway titled “Homeless Malaysians in Singapore” in The New Straits Times (NST) on Nov 22 which interviewed a Malaysian, Shahruddin Hael Helmy Mohd Noh.

Following the report, MOM said, it had engaged Shahruddin on Nov 23 and 27 to obtain information in relation to his claim so that the ministry could provide the necessary assistance to these workers.

However, MOM said he was unable to provide information such as specific names and contact details of the homeless Malaysian workers he claimed to have encountered.

“He admitted that he never spoke directly to any of these workers and cannot confirm if they were indeed homeless.

“He did not know of any Malaysian worker who does not have a place to stay and also stated that he did not tell the reporter from NST that “over 100 Malaysians there had become homeless”, said the ministry in a statement issued here.

According to MOM, the Singapore government has an Inter-Agency Taskforce that conducts routine inspections and checks across the island and any rough sleepers found would be referred to the relevant agencies for assistance.

The taskforce comprises officers from MOM, the Ministry of Social and Family Development and the Singapore Police Force.

“As part of these routine checks, officers visited various locations island-wide late into the night on Nov 26, including the places listed by Shahruddin. However, we did not find any work pass holders sleeping in the streets.

“Persons found sleeping in the open, including work pass holders, will be rendered assistance and their employer will be asked to provide lodging immediately or the Migrant Workers’ Centre (MWC) will house them in the interim if the employer is not able to do so,” said MOM.

MOM has also established links with various non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to refer any work pass holders found sleeping rough.

In the past few months, MOM said it has not received any referrals from the NGOs.

The ministry reminded all employers of their obligations to their foreign employees and to ensure that they have proper accommodation during their stay in Singapore.

Members of public who know of any work pass holders facing accommodation issues should refer them to MOM or the MWC’s 24-hour hotline at 6536 2692 for further assistance, said the statement. – Bernama

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