Singapore – Members of the public responded to the recent news that foreign domestic workers (FDWs) must now set an appointment before remitting money at certain areas, saying that suddenly changing regulations was “insensitive.”
Appointments must first be made before FDWs could remit money at Lucky Plaza, City Plaza and Peninsula Plaza, said the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Saturday (June 13). The new regulation, which is effective immediately, applies to weekends and public holidays.
Consequently, the Ministry of Manpower released an advisory urging employers to inform their FDWs of the new rule, according to a straitstimes.com report. The announcement noted that “Customers, including FDWs, who wish to remit money should obtain an appointment before leaving the residence to travel to these hot spots.”
MAS confirmed that they have worked with all licensed remittance centres at the three plazas to accommodate appointments made online or through the phone to avoid overcrowding the area. “FDWs who are unable to get an appointment to remit money in person at these locations are encouraged to use e-remittance options or visit a remittance agent at another location,” said MAS.
Conflict and confusion arose when remittance agents admitted they don’t have the proper tools to accept appointments online. Barakath Ali, chairman of the Remittance Association of Singapore, disclosed that they are scrambling to get a web-based software up and running by Monday (June 15), which would equip its 61 members with online appointment capacity, reported straitstimes.com. As it would take some time to set up the appointment system fully, Mr Barakath proposed to the malls to establish appointment kiosks to accommodate FDWs who wish to reserve a spot for the following weekend.
Members of the public expressed their disappointment towards the new regulation, with some saying it was “insensitive.” According to Gilbert Cheah, the “sudden new rule was instituted by bureaucrats who don’t seem to realise these realities.” He meant many FDWs and their families don’t have bank accounts and remittance services aren’t technologically adept at taking online appointments.
Many wondered if supermarkets would also need to implement online reservation of slots as these too are crowded areas. “Why OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) caught their eyes?” asked Cha Lirazan who noted that individuals were properly queueing and practising social distancing in the footage that had gone viral and spurred such changes. Marcus Ho suggested to properly teach and train the people first before imposing new rules. “Unless there is a channel to help them in making the first step, they may be scammed by unscrupulous characters when going into electronic remittance,” said Damien Wong.