Singapore—Another accident involving migrant workers transported in the back of a lorry, the second in less than a week, has prompted netizens to call for an end to this practice.
On Saturday morning (Apr 24) an accident involving a lorry along Upper Bukit Timah Road resulted in 10 persons taken to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital—the driver and nine passengers.
The incident, which occurred at around 7.20 am, is under investigation.
Last Tuesday (Apr 20) a collision between a lorry and a stationary tipper truck along the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) resulted in more than a dozen workers hospitalised for injuries.
These accidents—coming so close together—have given rise to renewed calls online for migrant workers to have safer means of transportation.
“AGAIN. When will Ministry of Transport @LTAsg ban ppl from being transported like cattle? #MinistryOfManpower,” tweeted actor and director Hossan Leong.
— Hossan Leong (@HossanLeong) April 25, 2021
A netizen named Wee Chee Ong @WeeChee91answered Mr Leong, saying that in contrast, in Malaysia, companies have factory or workers’ buses for migrant workers to use.
The Wake Up, Singapore Facebook page posted a screenshot of Mr Leong’s post, tagging officials @s.iswaran and @tanseeleng to “please act now to regulate and ban the transportation of workers at the back of lorries”.
On May 15, Mr Iswaran will succeed Mr Ong Ye Kung as Transport Minister, while Dr Tan is to take over the Ministry of Manpower from Ms Josephine Teo.
Wake Up, Singapore also wrote, “Dear Ministers, put your hand on your heart and ask yourself if you would feel safe being transported this way on a daily basis? If your answer is no, why allow the most vulnerable amongst us to be transported this way?
“Inaction in this regard can be fatal. MOM and MOT/LTA need to take decisive action now.”
People were urged to write to their Members of Parliament on the matter as well.
Also weighing in was Mr Lim Jialang, who took issue with business owners who have said they cannot afford buses for transporting workers.
Workers’ rights activist Ms Kokila Annamalai echoed this sentiment, and added that “unsafe drivers” have often been blamed for the accidents. She also called for the public to rally around the issue.
“There can be no justice for the migrant workers who have died or been severely injured on our roads over the years because they were transported unsafely in lorries. But if no more workers are to be injured/die in this way, we – as people of Singapore – have to be prepared to make demands of our government and government-linked corporations in louder and bolder ways that we have so far.”
On the issue of the drivers, activist Jolovan Wham pointed out that they are also often overly tired, as they drive, at times, for 16 hours a day. “Under such conditions, accidents are bound to happen,” he tweeted.
Migrant drivers are also often overworked and fatigued, with many on the road up to 16 hours a day. With covid 19 restrictions, many workers are banned from taking public transport, taxing these drivers further. Under such conditions, accidents are bound to happen.
— Jolovan Wham (@jolovanwham) April 25, 2021
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