SINGAPORE: A dormitory operator was fined S$300,000 on Tuesday (May 31) for helping three companies to breach a work pass condition by housing their foreign workers in overcrowded accommodation.
This is the first dormitory operator in Singapore to be prosecuted and convicted in court.
The operator, KT Mesdorm, had contravened the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act at the Blue Stars Dormitory which it operates, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in a press release on Wednesday.
During a joint inspection at the dormitory by MOM and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officers, a total of 5,098 bed spaces were found and 5,042 foreign workers were found residing at the dormitory, which is above the approved occupancy limit of 4,500.
By intentionally taking in more residents than permitted, KT Mesdorm had caused the infrastructure and amenities in the dormitory to be over-taxed, resulting in overcrowded, unsanitary and unhygienic living conditions, MOM said. The health and well-being of the workers residing in the dormitory were severely compromised, it added.
Ms Jeanette Har, director of the Well-Being Department of MOM’s Foreign Manpower Management Division, said: “This is a serious breach as overcrowding compromises fire safety and conditions of living.
“Employers who house their workers in purpose-built dormitories expect dormitory operators to adhere to all regulatory requirements. We will continue to step up housing inspections and take stern action where appropriate."
Dormitory operators who provide unapproved accommodation and thereby aid employers to breach the Regulations are themselves in violation of the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA). Offenders face a fine of up to S$10,000, jail of up to 12 months for each offence, or both.