Singapore — A petition asking the Land Transport Authority to make it mandatory for employers to provide safe transportation for migrant workers has gained traction anew on the change.org site.
As of Thursday morning (Sept 9), over 26,000 people have signed the petition.
While the petition was posted five months ago, it saw renewed support beginning from last week after photos of migrant workers sitting in the backs of open lorries in the pouring rain circulated on social media again.
Photos circulated on Twitter and Facebook, and one Singaporean Redditor started a thread on the topic.
The petition, which was started by Ms Bridget Chen, calls for workers to be transported safely in buses or vans since they are usually brought from one location to another in trucks.
She called for double standards to be stopped, pointing out that seatbelts are required for those who ride in cars, therefore, “we should not turn a blind eye and allow migrant workers to be transported at the back of lorries and trucks, exposed to rain and the elements, and unsecured and without the benefits of seat belts. It has been proven that seat belts save lives. Are their lives not worth saving?”
Ms Chen further explained that the petition appeals for the LTA to review “outdated” practices,” as well as to require the employers of transport workers “to practice safe and humane standards, such as hiring vans, buses or even using old SBS buses and installing collapsible seats with seat belts like in SUVs.”
“Let’s help to make a difference and bring safety and dignity to the less privileged,” she wrote.
Many netizens agreed with the points Ms Chan raised in the petition.
In Apr of this year, two accidents within five days involving lorries ferrying transport workers claimed the lives of two workers and sent over a dozen others to the hospital.
This led to calls for the Ministry of Manpower and the LTA to ban people from being “transported like cattle,” as actor and director Hossan Leong put it in a tweet on Apr 25.
However, in Parliament the next month, Dr Amy Khor, the Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of Transport, said changes such as these would add financial burdens to an industry already badly affected by the pandemic.
She said, “From a road safety perspective, it would be ideal for lorries not to carry any passengers in their rear decks. But there are very significant practical and operational issues — on top of just cost considerations — which is probably why internationally, it is (a common) practice.” /TISG
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