- POSTED: 16 Dec 2013 19:38
- UPDATED: 19 Feb 2014 18:36
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The Migrant Workers Centre and Dormitory Association of Singapore are calling for more recreation centres to be built for foreign workers.This is especially if more dormitories are to be built.
SINGAPORE: The Migrant Workers Centre and Dormitory Association of Singapore are calling for more recreation centres to be built for foreign workers.
This is especially if more dormitories are to be built.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said the authorities are looking into how the construction of more dormitories can be sped up in the next two to three years.
There are currently four recreation centres for foreign workers in Singapore, which are located near worker dormitories.
According to the Dormitory Association of Singapore, that number ideally should double or even triple to better meet the needs of foreign workers.
And apart from building more dormitories, the association said recreation centres like the one in Woodlands, which has everything from grocery stores to coffeeshops, could provide an alternative for foreign workers to spend their days off and also to run their errands.
Simon Lee, secretary general of the Dormitory Association of Singapore, said such centres are like “satellites” of Little India located at different areas of Singapore, “so they (foreign workers) won't actually all congregate in Little India. If you have a cluster of about 15,000 to 20,000, a recreation centre would be good."
The government recently signalled that more dormitories will be built in the next two to three years.
That is a move welcomed by the Singapore Contractors Association Limited (SCAL), which said there has been a supply crunch for purpose-built dorms.
But it has also noted that the location of such facilities is important.
Dr Ho Nyok Yong, president of SCAL, said: "If your project is just next door, even if there's less facilities, I think it’s okay to stay there because you'll have more rest.
“But if the project is far away from the purpose-built dorms, it's still no good anyway. I think it should be spread out wherever there's a possible place."
Non-profit organisation Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) has also stressed that new dormitories should be placed near facilities for daily living.
Dr Russell Heng, president of TWC2, said: "(New dormitories should be placed near) places you can buy your food for instance, places you can just meet with some friends and have a chat, places where you can go for a walk and some open space…
“Once you factor that in -- anywhere on this island that meets these criteria and has space available, we should be thinking about using that as a dormitory."
According to the Manpower Ministry, there were about 140,000 spaces in purpose-built dormitories in 2011.