Minister assures foreign workers confined to dorms they will be paid
Foreign workers confined to their dormitories for the next two weeks can rest assured that their salaries will be paid and their food and medical needs will be attended to, said Minister for Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam yesterday.
Speaking to reporters after a visit to Westlite Papan dormitory in the Jurong area, Mr Shanmugam said the purpose of his visit was to hear from the workers, to understand their concerns and to give assurance.
He said: "It's tough to be cut off and be in a room most of the time, but they understand. Their main request is they hope after this is over, they will be allowed to work in Singapore.
"Singapore is their destination of choice, and I said, we hope so too - that they can work here."
Mr Shanmugam, who spoke in Tamil and English to more than 70 workers, told them that the Covid-19 outbreak was happening in other countries as well and sought their understanding for the current measures implemented.
He also asked the workers to report to the authorities if their employers do not pay them.
Also at the dialogue were Nominated MP Arasu Duraisamy, who is also National Trades Union Congress secretary for financial affairs and general secretary of the Singapore Port Workers' Union, and Bangladeshi-born businessman Muhammed Aziz Khan, founder and chairman of the Summit Group, who spoke to the workers in Bengali.
The Westlite Papan dormitory houses about 5,700 workers. It has no confirmed Covid-19 cases so far.
As of Tuesday, 28 out of the 43 purpose-built dormitories have known clusters.
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Health said that workers in all dormitories will no longer be allowed daily movement in and out, including going to work, until May 4.
About 10,000 workers in essential services have already moved out of dormitories to alternative accommodation.
Speaking to reporters, Mr Shanmugam said that other than their salaries, workers might be concerned about medical support and their living conditions.
"I said, 'Look, if you're not well, please report sick. We are aggressively testing even those who are asymptomatic. But please report and you will be taken care of'," he said.