Foreign cleaner allegedly punched in chest in MacPherson by 62-year-old man accused of previously harassing town council workers
SINGAPORE: A 20-year-old cleaner in MacPherson was allegedly punched in the chest by a man who is accused of harassing town council workers on previous occasions, Member of Parliament (MP) Tin Pei Ling said.
In response to TODAY's queries, the police said on Friday (Mar 10) that they received a call for assistance over the incident at Block 88 Circuit Road at 11.30am on Thursday.
Police said that a 62-year-old man was involved in the incident. Investigations are ongoing.
Ms Tin, MP for MacPherson Single Member Constituency, posted an Instagram video on Thursday evening to raise awareness over the alleged incident.
In her post, Ms Tin was seen next to a worker, Mr Babul, 48, who goes by one name and said that his son, Mr Ahammed Siyam, 20, was allegedly punched by a man who was likely drunk. The father and son are from Bangladesh.
“This man, likely intoxicated, then decided to hunt down one of the other cleaners and punched him in the chest,” said Ms Tin.
Mr Babul, a site supervisor, and his son have worked together for Marine Parade Town Council for many years, she added.
The alleged incident occurred at about 11am on Thursday at the void deck of Block 87 Circuit Road, NRT Trading and Engineering managing director Sakthivelan Nararajah told The Straits Times on Friday.
Mr Sakthivelan, who is Mr Siyam's manager, runs a company contracted by Marine Parade Town Council.
In Ms Tin's video, Mr Babul said that his son was punched by the man out of the blue when he was walking in the estate. He went to visit the doctor after the attack.
He said that on previous occasions the same man had harassed cleaners in the area, and had broken and thrown their brooms and mops.
Mr Sakthivelan said that the man had harassed two other cleaners since October 2022, but the police were not involved previously because things did not get violent.
He said that the man would usually drink beer around the estate and would verbally abuse cleaners with vulgarities.
The cleaners would usually avoid or ignore the man, he added.
In her video post, Ms Tin emphasised that workers who help serve the area of MacPherson deserve to be respected, adding that she hoped such incidents can be prevented in the future.
In a Facebook post on Friday, Building Construction and Timber Industries Employees’ Union (Batu) condemned the alleged unprovoked attack on Mr Siyam.
Batu reminds members of the public to be considerate and respect the work that the cleaners do.
"No matter the circumstances, it is simply not right to harm our cleaners in any way," the union stated.
“Batu urges the authorities to show a clear signal that such behaviour should not and will not be tolerated."
BATU CHECKS ON THE WELL-BEING OF BOTH CLEANERS
Batu made a second Facebook post on Friday evening, after its president Kesavan and general secretary Irdawaty along with South East District Mayor Mohd Fahmi Aliman visited the father-and-son pair.
"To show moral support and care for Mr Ahammed Siyam, the union spoke to him about the incident and presented to him a care pack. We are glad that he has seen a doctor and he is doing well to recover from his injuries," the post read.
"Ahammed shared that he was shocked when attacked but he did not retaliate. He was, however, saddened by the whole incident. He went on to share that he came to Singapore to join his father to work as town council cleaners to provide for their family in Bangladesh to have a better life."
Batu added the victim has chosen to put this incident aside and he remains committed to his job.
The union also reiterated its position that no abuse of its environmental services workers should be tolerated.
"We understand that the matter is being investigated by the authorities. We remind members of the public to be considerate and respect the work that these cleaners do," Batu stated.
Under the Protection from Harassment Act, those convicted of harassing public service workers while they perform their duties face a jail term of up to 12 months, a fine of up to S$5,000, or both.
This story was originally published in TODAY.