Officers from Migrant Workers’ Centre and Ministry of Manpower’s Housing Inspectorate were shocked to find a roach and bed bug infested 4-room apartment in Geylang that housed 44 migrant workers who shared 2 small filthy washrooms and 1 common kitchen.
The apartment had been reconfigured into 7 smaller rooms with thin plywood partitions that created narrow corridors within the flat for the workers to walk through.
Migrant Workers’ Centre reported that officers who conducted a surprise night-time visit were appalled to find signs of roach and bed bug infestations everywhere, including in the apartment’s single refrigerator. In one photo, a wall can be seen with bloody trails of bed bugs that had been squashed.
The group also heard that residents had taken to cooking within their sleeping quarters to avoid the long queue for the kitchen stove and that those who want to use the washrooms before heading to work will have to get up extra early and queue up to use the lavatory.
The apartment did not contain proper laundry facilities either and so, the migrant workers took to occupying available space like the frames of their bunk-beds to dry their wet clothes.
Despite being forced to live in such abhorrent conditions, the migrant workers did not dare to report their living situation to the authority, fearing punitive action from their employers.
Migrant Workers’ Centre said on their Facebook page:
“The overcrowding, partitioning and obvious over-use of on-site amenities like electrical, water and gas points created serious health and safety issues to the occupants of the unit, and it was abundantly clear that immediate action was necessary.
“MOM is investigating the matter and has compelled the employers of the occupants to relocate them to properly appointed and approved housing immediately. We have urged the authorities to take stern action against the wrongdoers to send a strong message of deterrence to those who exploit dignity and welfare of migrant workers in this manner.
“Migrant workers who face similar housing issues should not fear alerting the MWC for assistance. We will respond swiftly and ensure that your identity is protected at all times.”