Home > News > Regional
Monday July 28, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Monday July 28, 2014 MYT 7:00:45 AM
Sub-standard conditions: This zinc-roof hut at a construction site is shared by seven workers. Housing workers in such places is much cheaper than in approved dorms. - The Straits Times / Asia News Network
ERRANT bosses have been listing false addresses on a Ministry of Manpower (MOM) online database while housing their foreign workers in sub-standard conditions.
They declare that the men are living in approved housing such as purpose-built dormitories, while actually putting them up in cheaper places such as shophouses, factory-converted dorms or construction site quarters. It comes down to money, said Debbie Fordyce, a volunteer at welfare group Transient Workers Count Too.
A place at a dorm, with amenities like mini-marts and basketball courts, costs about S$300 (RM767) a month. But housing workers at construction sites can be free, while a month’s stay in a shophouse is about S$200 (RM511).
Industry players said bosses are willing to be dishonest as they know it is difficult for MOM to check.
Short of spot-checks at every dorm, it is hard to verify the addresses of all 771,100 work permit holders, excluding maids who live in their employers’ homes.
“How do you even start to check when there are so many places?” said Jolovan Wham, executive director of the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics. In recent years, he has seen several workers not living at their registered addresses.
Industry players said bosses have managed to abuse the address registration process because of its ease of use.
All they have to do on the Online Foreign Worker Address Service is to log in with their SingPass IDs and passwords, and then key in the addresses and postal codes of their workers’ abodes.
The information will be accepted as long as the dorm listed has not reached its maximum occupancy.
One construction boss said the system is so easy to “cheat” that some employers get clerks to key in postal codes of various dorms in the hope of hitting one that is not fully occupied. “It’s trial and error. The staff will keep trying until they find one which is not full,” he said.
As a result, dorms end up being full according to MOM’s database. Bosses who want to legitimately house their workers there cannot register as the website says places are not available.
“We have to wait a few days for the dorm operators to compare their records with MOM and remove the names of bogus workers,” he said.
There are no official figures on how many foreign workers have fake addresses. But it runs into the hundreds at least, based on estimates by employers and migrant worker activists. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network
Tags / Keywords:
RM260mil aid package for airlines
Labour costs could soar as much as 20%
Flood cost in EU may double by 2050: study
More help with education costs
Thai protesters cut power to government HQ
Colombia's Santos says FARC release of hostages will be next week
France's ex-president Sarkozy loses support in party race
Rahman Dahlan slams comments that Sabah is unsafe
Demonstrators clash with French police over protester death
Three killed, 24 injured in Sarawak coal mine explosion
U.S. plans to arm Iraq's Sunni tribesmen with AK-47s, RPGs, mortars
Hamilton to lose no sleep over title battle
Ernie Els’ Els Club Teluk Datai is World’s Best New Golf Course
Fashion brand’s grand opening in Sabah a huge success
Copyright © 1995-2014 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)