SINGAPORE: Foreign workers will now be able to provide feedback on any issue or problem they may face in their dormitories via a mobile phone app launched on Wednesday (Sep 12).
Called DormWatch, the app allows foreign workers to upload photos or videos along with a short description of the issues they face. Dormitory operators will also be able to communicate directly with the worker through the app and provide details on how the issues have been resolved.
“The platform promotes co-responsibility at the dormitories, where operators are encouraged to engage their residents frequently, and to work with them to improve living conditions and environment,” said Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad, who launched the app at an awards event recognising operators for exemplary foreign worker housing management.
Any feedback provided will be shared with Ministry of Manpower, who will only step in and work with both parties if there is an impasse, he added.
The app is still in its beta phase, and currently available only in English and Chinese. Bengali and Tamil will be added in the future, MOM said in a separate press release.
“We look forward to working with both the operators and the foreign workers to develop the app further so that it can best meet the needs of the users,” said Mr Zaqy at the second annual Dormitory Awards event.
At the event, Mr Zaqy handed out awards to 17 dormitory operators he praised for “actively engaging their residents to co-create a conducive living environment”.
Among them was DDJV Dormitory, operated by TS Group. Following feedback from residents that their rooms were too warm, the management installed industrial fans, followed by air-conditioners, to ensure that they would be able to rest well, Mr Zaqy noted.
Mr Zaqy also lauded Greyform, which operates a factory-converted dormitory, for providing “specially designed” accommodation with facilities for team sports and a rooftop community garden.
Hai Leck Holdings was also singled out for its facilities, which includes a library. Besides English classes, the dormitory also provides eggs and tea for residents every morning.
MOM reported earlier this month that living conditions have improved for foreign workers housing, as evidenced by a drop in the number of offenders for housing-related contraventions to 1,176 violations in 2017 from 1,451 cases in 2015.
Chairman of the Migrant Workers’ Centre, Mr Yeo Guat Kwang, said in MOM’s press release on Wednesday that it is “heartening to see good employers and operators going the extra mile to look after the interests of their workers”.
“Our migrant workers have come a long way to help build our country and economy, so it is only right that we look after their physical and emotional well-being while they are here, both at the workplace and in the places where they live and socialise,” he said.
Mr Steven Lee, president of the Dormitory Association of Singapore, added: “Every dormitory has a responsibility to provide a safe and conducive environment for all foreign workers … Not only should we look at the physical needs of our residents, but also continue attending to their psychosocial needs. Treating them with care and affection, it will be a reflection of who we are as a nurturing society.”