Singapore—A migrant worker took to Facebook on Monday (Aug 24), to air his grievances concerning the difficulties of migrant workers’ lives in the country. Admitting how upset he felt, he wrote that while the development of Singapore is going at a lion’s pace, solutions to migrant workers’ problems are coming at a snail’s pace.
The worker, who identified himself as Md Sharif, posted on the Migrant Workers Singapore Facebook page, writing that he had received his monthly salary on August 20, with a doctor’s bill deducted from it, which came as a big surprise to him.
Mr Sharif, who lives in a migrant workers’ dormitory, had apparently fallen ill while under quarantine but clarified that he had not gotten infected with Covid-19. He told his employers that he was unwell and needed a medical consultation. He added, “At that time they (the employer) were told that all the treatment of the workers would now be done by the government. They have no responsibility.”
I was very upset all day today. I was very upset about myself. I am now annoyed with many laws of this country. The…
He then wrote that he contacted the doctor through the number given by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and went to hospital.
Mr Sharif claims that he asked several times who would shoulder the cost of his medical treatment, and was told that either his employer or the MOM would be paying, even though he got sick more than once.
“I went to the hospital. I came back with treatment and got sick again. I repeatedly asked the MOM doctor who would bear my medical expenses? The doctor said you don’t have to worry. Either MOM will bear the cost or the company will carry it. You do not have to pay anything. I was very happy that day. I was very grateful for this generosity of the government.”
However, to his surprise, he was billed by his company for the expenses he incurred while he was sick.
But he chose not to speak up to his employers. “I didn’t say anything. Because in my time of need, when the company tells me to pay the bill, I know there is no point in talking nonsense. You just get annoyed at yourself.”
Mr Sharif was supposed to have an upcoming doctor’s appointment, which he has since cancelled, implying that he does not wish to add to the costs he has already spent on medical treatments. When the doctor asked why he cancelled, he replied that he had already recovered.
Mr Sharif expresses the helplessness and frustration he feels as a migrant worker in Singapore, writing, “I have worked in four companies in Singapore so far….Singapore’s development is moving at a lion’s pace. But the problems of the workers are being solved at a pace like snails. There is nothing to do. We are in invisible chains.” —/TISG