by Roy Ngerng
My question is, the Singapore PAP government now says it is trying to move migrant workers out of the dormitories to prevent #COVID19 infection.
But has the People’s Action Party (PAP) apologised for turning a blind eye over the last few decades, while these migrant workers were living in their dilapidated conditions? They have been warned over and over again disaster would happen, but it fell on deaf ears. Migrant workers’ lives didn’t seem to matter.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong only now says, “we will care” for the migrant workers. Where were they before all these happened? Did they care for the migrant workers over the last few decades?
Did they ensure the migrant workers could earn higher wages instead of the S$500 or so wages they earn today? Instead, the PAP government took levies from the companies that hire these migrant workers by as much as S$950 a worker. In other words, for every migrant worker who earns S$500 or so, the government could possibly collect twice as much as what they earn for itself.
If the levy goes to the worker instead, these workers could earn as much as S$1,450 each thereabouts. A higher salary to account for the cost of living and better work conditions could mean Singaporeans might be willing to do these jobs too. In Australia, construction workers can earn about S$3,000.
Mind you, the S$1,450 is what companies have to pay anyway. So, why should the company pay this money to the government instead of directly to the worker, to help the worker earn into for basic living in Singapore? Also, by paying them low wages, it depresses wages across the board.
Has the PAP government apologised for any of these? Has the PAP government apologised for its missteps for its management of the coronavirus?
This is not even a matter of hindsight. It is a matter of basic respect to individuals, regardless who they are. It is this that the PAP could not even provide basic decency for, that has resulted in the problems we face today.
Only now do we start to care because we realize the impact on our lives. But groups helping out low-income individuals in Singapore have warned us this could happen. We pretended it wouldn’t affect us.
And now it has.
Should we still put blind faith in people who do not think long-term and broadly about the policies on our society and lives, and continue to ignore the impact it has on our livelihoods?
by Roy Ngerng