Special pass of migrant worker in loan shark case not extended further despite last-minute appeal, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Special pass of migrant worker in loan shark case not extended further despite last-minute appeal

The authorities have decided not to extend the special pass of Bangladeshi migrant worker Md Sharif Uddin despite an appeal made by a resident from Prime Minister Lawrence Wong’s constituency.

Mr Sharif’s special pass was originally due to expire on May 24, but was extended to May 27 in view of his request for additional time to make departure arrangements. The authorities had granted a further extension to May 31, given the circumstances of his case.

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) and Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in a statement late on May 30 that they had reviewed the appeal but decided not to extend Mr Sharif’s special pass.

On the morning of May 31, Mr Sharif shared about his departure on Facebook, with pictures of him and his friends at the airport.

Mr Sharif was fired by his employer after he was harassed by supposed “loan sharks”. He was granted a special pass to remain in Singapore while the police investigated the case.

The authorities earlier said investigations had concluded, but they were unable to find the alleged harasser. They also said there was no evidence that Mr Sharif had borrowed money from loan sharks.

In a Facebook post on May 30, Mr Sharif said PM Wong wrote an appeal letter pertaining to his case. A day earlier, two friends from the Prime Minister’s Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC had seen PM Wong at his Meet-the-People Session on Mr Sharif’s behalf.

Explaining why they decided not to grant the appeal, ICA and MOM said Mr Sharif had been given sufficient time since the termination of his work permit on April 11 to seek employment under the Temporary Job Scheme (TJS). This was while police investigations into the unlicensed moneylender harassment reports were ongoing.

The authorities said MOM and the Migrant Workers’ Centre had linked Mr Sharif up with employment agencies to support his job search under the TJS.

Upon Mr Sharif’s request on May 9, MOM also provided him with an e-mail confirmation of his TJS eligibility on May 13.

“We understand that Mr Sharif had turned down job offers including working as a packer and a hotel cleaner. As police investigations into the case have concluded, and Mr Sharif has not found new employment, he has to leave Singapore,” the authorities said.

“Should Mr Sharif wish to return to Singapore for work in the future, he will have to apply afresh for a work permit based on the prevailing criteria,” ICA and MOM added.

Mr Sharif said he felt pained by this decision by the authorities, adding that he was informed at close to midnight on May 30.

“I have been hurt very badly by all the disappointments I have faced these last few months,” he said.

Mr Sharif’s case gained the support of more than 760 people, who signed an online petition to let the father of two remain in Singapore.

He had denied borrowing any money and said he was given one month’s notice by his employer, with his last day of employment stated in the termination notice as April 12.

Mr Sharif, the first migrant worker to win the Singapore Book Award for Best Non-Fiction Title, is known for raising awareness about the challenges migrant workers face living in Singapore.

  • Additional reporting by Ang Qing
FOREIGN WORKERSICAMinistry of Manpower