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Singapore

Private-hire drivers, COVID-19 test providers to be protected from abuse, harassment under POHA

SINGAPORE: Private-hire drivers and those who provide COVID-19 tests or vaccinations are among the new categories of public service workers to be protected under the Protection from Harassment Act (POHA).

The changes, which take effect next Wednesday (Jul 7), will provide more protection for these workers against acts of abuse or harassment when they carry out their duties, said the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Friday.

This is the first review of the Protection from Harassment (Public Service Worker) Order since its introduction in 2014.

Other workers to be covered under the Act include staff of MOE Kindergartens and early childhood development centres under the Anchor Operator Scheme or Partner Operator Scheme, blood donation workers and employees of crisis shelters and welfare homes.

A full list of public service workers can be found on the MHA website.

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"The law recognises the importance of protecting public servants and PSWs (public service workers) from harassment because of the critical roles they play," said MHA.

Currently, workers who deliver services that are essential for the well-being of the public or the proper functioning of Singapore are considered public service workers under the Act. This includes healthcare workers in public healthcare institutions, educators in public schools and public sanitation workers with town councils.

Under POHA, those found guilty of abusing, harassing or doxxing a victim can be jailed for up to six months, fined up to S$5,000, or both. Where the victim is a public servant, the offender faces more severe penalties, such as up to one year's jail.

Source: CNA/ic(cy)

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