The director of media relations for the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Sunny Lee wrote an open letter in response to a Facebook post by SPP member Jose Raymond about an ex-offender who was denied a job as a security offer. Mr Lee also spoke about remarks made by Mountbatten MP Lim Biow Chuan about hiring ex-offenders.
In his letter to The Straits Times Forum, Mr Lee said, “restrictions imposed by different government agencies for some jobs [are] to protect the interests of the public”.
Jose Raymond’s Facebook post on June 7 was about an ex-offender who was rejected for the job as a security officer by the Singapore Police Force (SPF) as he was said to be “not a fit and proper person in view of [his] previous conviction”.
In some of his comments to the post, Mr Lim said that in hiring ex-offenders, “the reality is that many of us would err on the side of caution”.
He also added, “what if the offender re-offends? What if the security officer could not manage his anger again and hurts someone badly? Someone whom they are supposed to protect? Would the public turn on the police and ask why did they allow a past offender with anger management issues get a security licence?”
MP Lim also called for more discussion and dialogue, “With proper conversation and dialogue, we can improve policies”.
In his letter today, Mr Lee expressed a similar sentiment, “depending on the severity and relevance of the offence, a person with crime antecedents is required to remain offence-free for some time, before he can take up certain jobs, including the job of a security officer”.
Quoting statistics, Mr Lee also said that The Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises (Score) has partnered more than 5,000 employers to provide jobs for former offenders, and that last year, 97 per cent of the 2,201 inmates who received assistance in job placement through Score successfully secured a job before their release.
Responding to Mr Raymond’s post Mr Lee said, “the nature of his offence is such that he is restricted from being a security officer at this point in time. However, Score has been in touch with him to provide assistance to secure a job in other industries”.
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