'You will be taken care of': Shanmugam assures migrant workers during visit to Westlite Papan Dorm

The visit took place on Apr. 22, 2020.

Syahindah Ishak | April 22, 2020, 09:00 PM

Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam visited the Westlite Papan Dormitory on Wednesday (Apr. 22).

He was accompanied by Labour NMP Arasu Duraisamy.

Speaking to the media during a doorstop interview, Shanmugam said he wanted to visit the migrant workers "to get feedback, to understand, to hear from them, and to give them assurance".

He spoke to the workers in Tamil and English.

Photo by Tsiuwen Yeo.

Photo by Tsiuwen Yeo.

Photo courtesy of MHA.

During his visit, Shanmugam spoke to the migrant workers in the dorm and assured them of three things:

1. Foreign Worker Levy waived

Shanmugam reminded the workers that the Singapore government has waived the monthly Foreign Worker Levy due in April 2020.

This move was announced by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in Parliament on Apr. 6, as part of the Solidarity Budget.

"They should get paid. If there are any salary issues, they should raise it," added Shanmugam.

Photo by Tsiuwen Yeo.

Photo by Tsiuwen Yeo.

2. Will receive proper medical care

A number of the workers had expressed their worry about receiving medical care in Singapore.

However, Shanmugam assured them that they will be looked after.

He also urged those who are sick to report their health status.

"We are aggressively testing even those who are asymptomatic, but please report (if sick) and you will be taken care of."

Shanmugam cited the Bangladeshi worker who tested positive for Covid-19 on Feb. 8 as an example.

The patient was in the intensive care unit (ICU) for over two months but on Apr. 16, it was announced that he had finally moved to the general ward in National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID).

3. Good living conditions

To ensure that their living conditions are good, Shanmugam said that arrangements have been made so that the workers can contact their families regularly.

He also said that WiFi has also been boosted in the dormitories.

According to Shanmugam, the workers also found that the food given to them is "very good".

Shanmugam stated:

"Their main request is they hope after this is over, they will be allowed to continue to work in Singapore. Singapore is their destination of choice."

Photo courtesy of MHA.

You can watch Shanmugam's full doorstop interview here:

Top images courtesy of MHA.