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No work pass holders found sleeping rough during routine checks, says MOM after Malaysian media report

No work pass holders found sleeping rough during routine checks, says MOM after Malaysian media report

File photo of the Ministry of Manpower building. (Photo: Calvin Oh)

SINGAPORE: Authorities in Singapore did not find any work pass holders sleeping in the streets when officers conducted routine checks at various locations islandwide, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in a media release on Thursday (Dec 3).

The ministry's comments come after Malaysian newspaper the New Straits Times (NST) published an article titled Homeless Malaysians in Singapore. 

The report, published on Nov 22, featured an interviewee named Shahruddin Hael Helmy Mohd Noh who said that more than 100 Malaysian work pass holders in Singapore were homeless as they could not afford to rent a room or a bed.  

“Following the report, MOM engaged Mr Shahruddin on Nov 23 and 27 to obtain information in relation to his claim so that we can provide the necessary assistance to these workers,” the ministry said.

"However, he was unable to provide names and contact details of the workers he claimed to have encountered," it added.

“He admitted that he never spoke directly to any of these workers and cannot confirm if they were indeed homeless. 

“He did not know of any Malaysian worker who does not have a place to stay and also stated that he did not tell the reporter from NST that ‘over 100 Malaysians there had become homeless’.”

READ: ‘I eat one meal a day’: Some Malaysians who lost their jobs in Singapore left stranded and cash-strapped

READ: 'We have to ration our meals' - Malaysians share their struggles after COVID-19 left them jobless

On Nov 26, an inter-agency task force comprising officers from MOM, the Ministry of Social and Family Development and the police conducted inspections at various locations across the country, including places listed by Mr Shahruddin.

"However, we did not find any work pass holders sleeping in the streets," said MOM.

The inspections were part of routine checks by the task force, said the ministry, adding that those found to be sleeping on the streets will be referred to the relevant agencies for assistance.

“Persons found sleeping in the open, including work pass holders, are rendered assistance,” it said.

“Their employer will be asked to provide lodging immediately or the Migrant Workers’ Centre (MWC) will house them in the interim if the employer is not able to do so.”

MOM also said it has established links with non-governmental organisations to refer any cases of work pass holders sleeping rough to the ministry. 

"In the past few months, MOM has not received any referrals from the NGOs," it stated.

“MOM reminds all employers of their obligations to their foreign employees and to ensure that they have proper accommodation during their stay in Singapore,” said the ministry.

It also encouraged members of the public to refer any work pass holders facing accommodation issues to MOM or the MWC for further assistance.

Source: CNA/ga(gs)

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