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MOM apologises to Jade Rasif for saying her account of maid with COVID-19 was 'inaccurate'

MOM apologises to Jade Rasif for saying her account of maid with COVID-19 was 'inaccurate'

Screengrab of Jade Rasif speaking at a webinar organised by TODAY on Nov 19, 2020.

SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has apologised to social media influencer Jade Rasif for saying that her account of events surrounding her foreign domestic worker with COVID-19 was “inaccurate”

In a Facebook post on Saturday night (May 22), MOM said it is retracting its point about the investigation for breach of quarantine and is redacting the word "inaccurate" from its post on May 17. 

“We note that the use of the word 'inaccurate' and one of the points in our (Facebook) post could have portrayed Ms Rasif to be providing an inaccurate account on the Quarantine Order investigation,” MOM said on Saturday.

“She shared with us that this had affected her negatively. We would like to extend our apologies to her for this,” it said.

A partial screenshot showing an edit made by the Ministry of Manpower to its Facebook post indicating retractions and an extra note. (Image: Facebook/Singapore Ministry of Manpower)

Later on Saturday night, MOM also edited the May 17 Facebook post, indicating the retractions and adding a note to say the ministry had emailed Ms Rasif on May 5 "for further assessment of her MDW (migrant domestic worker)".

RASIF'S ACCOUNT AND MOM'S ORIGINAL RESPONSE

Ms Rasif, a former DJ and model, took to social media last week detailing how a maid that her family had employed from Indonesia was released from her stay-home notice after a few days. 

Ms Rasif said she was told this was because the domestic worker had "recovered".

However, two weeks later, the maid was called up for a COVID-19 test, which turned out to be positive. She was then placed on stay-home notice again.

Ms Rasif said that the family was neither provided with information regarding the maid’s status - including where she was taken to - nor told if family members had to quarantine themselves. 

According to the 27-year-old, who now works in the healthcare line, she sent a text message to the ambulance service which had ferried the maid and was replied with an expletive.

READ: Former DJ Jade Rasif's account of maid with COVID-19 'inaccurate', says MOM

She also said that when she contacted the courts to request a postponement of a court appearance, the police informed her that she was being investigated for breaching a quarantine order, despite not receiving such an order. 

Responding to Ms Rasif in a Facebook post on May 17, MOM said her account was “inaccurate”. It said that along with the Health Ministry, it had contacted the Indonesian national’s employer on two occasions. 

MOM gave an account of how the matter was handled, including why it decided to test the maid again.

It also said Ms Rasif could not have been investigated for breach of quarantine when she was never issued a quarantine order. 

MOM, RASIF DISCUSSED MAY 17 POST AND HOW CALL WAS HANDLED

Ms Rasif then responded to MOM's May 17 post on her Facebook account, asking which part of her account was inaccurate, noting that the dates provided by the ministry did not tally with the actual events. 

In a series of Instagram Stories on May 20, she shared text messages and phone calls with a “manager from MOM”, including one where an unidentified person appeared to confirm that the ministry had not checked with the police about whether she was investigated for breaching quarantine. 

READ: COVID-19: Singapore stops accepting new entry applications for work pass holders from higher-risk countries

In earlier posts on May 18, Ms Rasif also said she had spoken to officers from MOM who had “apologised and admitted that their press release was inaccurate, and made without sufficient research”. 

On Saturday night, MOM said on Facebook that its officers had spoken with Ms Rasif over the phone in the evening.

They discussed MOM’s May 17 Facebook post, as well as the handling of a phone call on May 18, the ministry said.  

It noted that the police had clarified the purpose of their calls to Ms Rasif and that she was not being investigated for any breach of quarantine orders. 

“In addition, we will also retract a point which stated that MOM had reached out to her family on the complaint made against the ambulance driver,” the ministry said. 

“The matter is being followed up on, and we will continue to review, improve and tighten processes,” it added.

On the matter of how MOM officers handled the phone call with Ms Rasif on May 18, the ministry said: "We acknowledged that our officers could have done better and been more tactful in addressing Ms Rasif’s questions.

"We assured her that we will improve on this aspect of communicating with our customers."

The ministry added that Ms Rasif had provided feedback on several other matters, although it did not elaborate on what these were. 

“We have noted them down and will get back to her with more details,” it said. 

“We will conduct an internal review of our communications and service delivery processes so that we can better serve citizens and provide greater clarity on their concerns,” said MOM, thanking Ms Rasif for her “candid feedback”. 

“Thank you and I graciously accept,” said Ms Rasif in a later Facebook post, responding to the apology by MOM. 

Source: CNA/az(gs)

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