Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad promised to flag the padlocked lorry issue to his Ministry of Manpower (MOM) colleagues after an ex-opposition politician post on social media has sparked concerns over the safety of transportation of foreign workers.
Former Singapore People’s Party (SPP) member Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss expressed how disturbed she was after seeing a lorry carrying passengers while being padlocked from the outside.
She raised significant questions on social media over how foreign workers are unsafely transported.
Saying she saw the lorry travelling along Rochor Road on Saturday (3 Oct), around 1.55 pm, Ms Chong-Aruldoss wrote: “Why padlock from the outside? I cannot work out why. This lorry carrying passengers inside caught my eye. I won’t find fault with its cage-like appearance, but then I saw that it was padlocked from the outside.”
She added: “If it were me, I would never want to be inside a vehicle or anywhere which has been padlocked from the outside. Perhaps that’s just me.”
She added: “I want to keep an open mind – maybe there is a side entrance I could not see. If not, then I think the treatment of the passengers like cargo is normalised if we see this without batting an eye.”
Ms Chong-Aruldoss added that there are other issues aside from the lock and the cage-like appearance of the vehicle – such as the lack of proper seats: “Leaving the cage-like appearance aside, there is also the issue of having proper seats (L-shaped) with seatbelts for lorries designated to carry passengers.”
Pointing out that there is no regulation that such passenger-carrying lorries need to be installed with proper seats and seatbelts, she questioned whether installations costs are an issue that causes such unsafe arrangements.
She asked: “This lorry bears the signage “23 pax” but does it look equipped to carry passengers?
“There is currently no regulation mandating passenger-carrying lorries to be installed with proper seats let alone seatbelts. Is the cost of installing such safety equipment an issue? Should safety to be sacrificed for the sake of not increasing operating costs?”
Agreeing that the way the lorry was padlocked from the outside poses safety hazards to the passengers within, several netizens asked Ms Chong-Aruldoss to report the matter to the relevant authorities.
Meanwhile, Zaqy Mohamad took notice of the issue Ms Chong-Aruldoss raised after Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) member Abdul Salim Harun shared her post on his page and tagged the ruling party politician.
Mr Zaqy, who also serves as Senior Minister of State for Defence, responded:
“Thank you. Will surface to MOM colleagues to review. Let us know if author of the original post is prepared to provide us the license plate of the vehicle for MOM to investigate.”
Mr Abdul subsequently helped to liaise with Ms Chong-Aruldoss to get the license plate of the vehicle.
Why padlock from the outside? I cannot work out why. This lorry carrying passengers inside caught my eye. I won't find…