Singapore — After a Nov 22 report in Malaysia’s New Straits Times (NST) that more than 100 work pass holders from Malaysia were homeless in Singapore, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) conducted investigations into the matter.
The reasons why they had been sleeping rough were financial ones, according to the report. They could not afford the rental costs of a bed or a room.
The MOM contacted the person who provided the information about the 100 Malaysians, a Mr Shahruddin Hael Helmy Mohd Noh. Its representatives spoke to Mr Shahruddin on Nov 23 and 27. The ministry wanted to obtain information about the allegedly homeless individuals to provide assistance to them.
According to a statement on Thursday (Dec 3) from MOM, Mr Shahruddin claims that he did not tell NST that “over 100 Malaysians … had become homeless”.
Mr Shahruddin could not provide contact information for the workers who were allegedly homeless. He also admitted that he had never spoken directly to any of the work pass holders. Neither could he confirm their homelessness.
The MOM statement added that officers from the government’s Inter-Agency Taskforce regularly check on those sleeping rough in Singapore. They refer anyone found homeless to relevant agencies so that they can get the help they need.
“As part of these routine checks, officers visited various locations island-wide late into the night on 26 November, including the places listed by Mr Shahruddin. However, we did not find any work pass holders sleeping in the streets,” the statement said.
The ministry added that assistance is extended to everyone who is homeless, including work pass holders. The employers of these workers are asked to give them places to stay immediately. If they are unable to do so, the homeless are housed temporarily by the Migrant Workers’ Centre (MWC).
Additionally, the MOM has links with different non-government organisations (NGOs) for referrals for homeless work pass holders. According to the ministry, it has not had referrals from these NGOs in the past few months.
The ministry also reminded employers of their obligations to migrant workers in their companies. This includes making sure they have places to live while working in Singapore. “Members of public who know of any work pass holders facing accommodation issues should refer them to MOM or the MWC’s 24-hour hotline at 6536 2692 for further assistance,” the statement added. /TISG
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