It was reported in the mainstream media today (5 Jul) that a subsidiary of the MES Group of Companies, Labourtel Management Corporation, and its director Parvis Ahamed Mohamed Ghouse, were charged under the Foreign Employee Dormitories Act. The company was charged with 10 counts of offences under the Act while Parvis was charged with 6.
The MES’ company is accused of failing to comply with licensing conditions between Nov 2017 and Jan this year while Parvis is accused of neglect. The charges involved a total of four facilities under its care – Jurong Penjuru Dormitory 1 and 2 at Penjuru Place, the Blue Stars Dormitory around Boon Lay Way and The Leo at Kaki Bukit Road 3.
In a statement, the Ministry of Manpower said, “Investigations revealed that the (dormitories) were poorly maintained. For example, there were missing or damaged light fixtures, faulty shower taps and corroded railings and staircases.”
“The living conditions in (them) were also filthy and unacceptable, such as cockroaches found in the rooms,” it added.
The MOM inspectors even found missing rubbish chute covers in one dormitory. Its toilets also have missing doors meaning that the workers would do their “business” openly exposing themselves. In another dormitory, its stoves and washing basins were found to be damaged.
MES Group’s dormitory fined in 2016
This is not the first time a dormitory company under MES Group was charged for providing poor living conditions to foreign workers. In 2016, KT Mesdorm under MES Group was fined $300,000 for housing foreign workers in an overcrowded dormitory.
At the time, MOM censured KT Mesdorm, “By intentionally taking in more residents than permitted, KT Mesdorm had caused the infrastructure and amenities in the dormitory to be over-taxed, resulting in overcrowded, unsanitary and unhygienic living conditions.”
It was housing 500 foreign workers more than the permitted limit at its Blue Stars dormitory, the very same dormitory currently involved in charges brought by MOM. Somehow, over the last 3 years, the Blue Stars dormitory was switched from KT Mesdorm to Labourtel.
Photos from MOM which inspected Blue Stars dormitory in 2016
MES Group headed by PAP-linked people
The MES Group provides integrated property and logistics solutions. According to its website, MES Group has received many “accolades” from government entities:
- People’s Association Employer Community Spirit Award for outstanding achievements in community service – 2010
- Patron of Heritage & Friend of Singapore Heritage Awards for contributions to heritage causes – 2007, 2008 and 2009
- Total Defence Award from the Ministry of Defence, Singapore, for supporting defence causes – 2003
- Major donor to the Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, to support needy schoolchildren and youth – 2009 and 2010
- Official Sponsor of the Drink-Drive Campaign by the Traffic Police – 2008 and 2009
- Official Sponsor of the Road Safety Outreach for Foreign Workers Campaign – 2008 and 2009
- Major donor to the “We Are One” Charity Drive with Mediacorp – 2009
- Logistical Supporter for the National Day Parades – 2014 and 2015
And according to an old archived webpage in 2016, MES Group was actually headed by a former PAP Minister and a grassroots leader. The chairman of MES Group was Mr Sidek Saniff, a former PAP Senior Minister of State for Education and Environment, while its CEO was Mr Mohamed Abdul Jaleel, a PAP grassroots leader.
At the time, its webpage said:
“He (Mohamed Abdul Jaleel) is also concurrently active member, advisor and/or patron of a number of community organizations and business associations. Despite his commitments and busy schedules he continues to set aside time for charitable endeavours, humanitarian causes, educational development of children, and cultural and cross cultural engagement. His generosity and sincerity has endeared him to many and he remains a beacon of inspiration for many in business and in life.”
He was conferred a PBM in 2005 for his grassroots activities.
Strangely, shortly after the news broke in social media that MES Group was headed by PAP-linked people, MES Group quietly took away the 2 prominent profiles of Mr Sidek Saniff and Mr Mohamed Abdul Jaleel from its website. It’s not known who is currently heading the MES Group.