Tommy Koh: The way Singapore treats its foreign workers is not First World but Third World

Tommy Koh: The way Singapore treats its foreign workers is not First World but Third World

The Independent - Singapore·16.2k views·2020-04-07 12:02

  Singapore—Retired diplomat Tommy Koh, who made some irate last year with the comment that ‘Singapore is a first world nation with third world citizens,’ has used the same words to describe how Singapore treats the country’s migrant workers.

On his Facebook page on Monday morning (April 6), he wrote,

“The way Singapore treats its foreign workers is not First World but Third World. The government has allowed their employers to transport them in flat bed trucks with no seats. They stay in overcrowded dormitories and are packed likes sardines with 12 persons to a room. The dormitories are not clean or sanitary. The dormitories were like a time bomb waiting to explode. They have now exploded with many infected workers. Singapore should treat this as a wake up call to treat our indispensable foreign workers like a First World country should and not in the disgraceful way in which they are treated now. I feel angry when I see foreign workers sitting on the ground eating their lunch. I see exhausted foreign workers stretched out on the ground to rest.”

The way Singapore treats its foreign workers is not First World but Third World. The government has allowed their…

Posted by Tommy Koh on Sunday, April 5, 2020

Mr Koh posted a photo of a story from The Straits Times (ST), entitled “Coronavirus: Workers describe crowded, cramped living conditions at dormitory gazetted as isolation area.” Online, it can be read here.

Authorities announced on Sunday (Apr 5) that due to a growing number of transmissions of Covid-19 coronavirus among migrant workers, two of the dormitories where they are housed have been designated as isolation areas, effectively putting the 19,800 workers there under quarantine for two weeks.

“The S11 Dormitory @ Punggol (2 Seletar North Link) and Westlite Toh Guan dormitory (18 Toh Guan Road East) are of particular concern,” the Ministry of Health wrote in an April 5 update. There are 63 confirmed Covid-19 cases linked to S11 Dormitory @ Punggol and 28 cases linked to Westlite Toh Guan dormitory, making them the two largest clusters among the affected workers’ dormitories.

The ST article said that workers from the S11 Dormitory @ Punggol said that the dormitory’s toilets are overflowing and that the rooms are infested with cockroaches. Furthermore, there have been no social distancing measures to ensure that residents stay apart from one another.

The article quotes workers at Westlite Toh Guan saying that the situation is similarly unhygienic there.

“You can see cockroaches crawling in the rooms. There are also many mosquitoes. Many people just stood outside their rooms, in the corridors. There are also smoking areas at each end of the corridors, and the toilets are also there. You can smell urine when you stand outside the rooms,” said one worker, Venkate S.H., to ST.

Many netizens agreed with Professor Koh, whose post was shared over 1,000 times in less than two hours.

Some netizens thanked Professor Koh for speaking up on behalf of the workers.

One netizen challenged other civil servants to add their voices to Professor Koh’s

/TISG

Read related: “Many of our people are selfish and unkind” – Tommy Koh laments that Singapore is a first world nation with third world citizens

“Many of our people are selfish and unkind” – Tommy Koh laments that Singapore is a first world nation with third world citizens

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vv101 11/04/2020

now most Singaporean already start to feel lost with no job security, feel "retarded " with long confinement at home... You still expect us to be good to them?? "!..they are richer then most Singaporean, it their own mindset, don't have proper hygiene practices!!

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choopig 11/04/2020

Mr Koh , we did treat them well ! inside a Dormitory, with essential supplies , Back in their home country ,they dont even have a bed to sleep on ! Only things is a bit overcrowded, Secondly they are no hygiene, Thirdly ,they dont practice HOUSEKEEPING, I am sure ,there are they have to take turn ,to upkeep the place, Fourthly, I am also sure ,they have plumbing & electrical workers among themselves, all becos all of them care for themselves, & lazy

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Elma Laurito630 11/04/2020

Dan amping tawon oi kamo dinha mga nurse mag amping Ginoo ko maluwas ug mawala nana sa covid inyong mga pasyente. God bless you always bb dan.

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Mui’s 10/04/2020

Yes did u know poor people who work cleaner n collect cardboard jus a living n some no hdb to stay never say your fellow cannot lah singaporean

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Que 10/04/2020

Firstly, please define your First World standard, secondly kindly explain why SG being one and lastly are you a First World citizen?

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Userf9df reply Que 10/04/2020

please ask Mr koh what are the standard

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