As Singapore continues its war against Covid-19, and with an increase in the number of cases in worker dormitories, a veteran architect has stepped in to give Singaporeans a deeper look into these places.
Mr Tay Kheng Soon took to Facebook on Friday (April 17) to openly talk about the living conditions of foreign workers in Singapore. Beginning with a discussion on how Singapore needs foreign workers, Mr Tay stressed that this part of the work force primarily handles “hot and dirty outdoor jobs advanced people don’t want to do”. He then went on to express his disappointment over the mindset of some Singaporeans. “(Sadly), because of incipient racial antipathy, (they) have to be housed out of sight to be out of mind.”
Let's face it, FWs from low wage countries will be needed in singapore to do hot and dirty outdoor jobs advanced people…
However, considering the recent events brought about by Covid-19 and anticipating future epidemics, Mr Tay sees the need for Singapore to step-up its maintenance of foreign worker dormitories “so they don’t become incubators of disease that will spread beyond their doors”.
“This means room occupancy must not be high,” he said. “It should be similar to our NS dorms which have proven unproblematic given adequate toilets and showers, cross ventilation and proper upkeep.”
He then stressed the need for multiple fronts of the Government to work together on upgrade and maintenance projects, saying: “URA, BCA and MOM advised by MOH should jointly co-ordinate and establish upgraded design codes and provide regular oversight to dorm managements.”
Mr Tay also made a comparison between the Singapore army and foreign workers in the country, saying that the same value given to the former should also be given to the latter.
“Because FWs are nationally necessary just as National Service is necessary, army dorms and FW dorms should be similarly considered as part of our national infrastructure and funded accordingly,” he argued. “Our NS soldiers carry guns, our FWs carry tools, both sweat in the sun. Both are doing national service. One protects the nation, the other constructs buildings, sewers, lays the cables and clears the rubbish of our neighbourhoods. This being so, righteous treatment, safety and order have to be accorded.”
Mr Tay also argued that “the state should compulsorily acquire all the 43 dorms, retrofit those which are not too bad, de-congest them and build more new ones and replace the really bad ones”. /TISG
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