In light of the spike of COVID-19 cases within the migrant worker dormitories, Singapore has gazetted about 25 dormitories on 24 April and stepped up to ensure the needs and well-being of migrant workers at the dorms are being well taken care of.
On 25 April, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in a Facebook post shared a video of food being delivered to the migrant worker dormitories. MOM stated that special arrangements were made for the Muslim migrant workers in the month of Ramadan, to ensure that they are able to fulfill their sahur.
“Additionally, the Joint-Taskforce and @MUIS distributed over 1,500kg worth of dates to migrant workers living in non-purpose built dormitories,” MOM asserted in the post.
However, some migrant workers have commented on the post and refuted that such meals were being supplied to them.
One migrant worker sent a photo of his food – comprising of only rice, fish in tomato gravy, and dal curry – to TOC, claiming that the residents in North Coast Lodge at Woodlands have been served with such meals for the past two weeks.
North Coast Lodge earlier was gazetted as an isolated area.
According to the migrant worker, although they can still buy dry food such as biscuits, chips, butter bun, as well as soft drinks from the shop at the dormitory, they have no access to buy fresh food.
The worker had also informed his employer on the matter, but he was told that nothing can be done from the employer’s end.
He noted that they have complained to the dormitory management that they cannot consume such food, and even suggested to cook by themselves while maintaining social distancing, but has yet to receive any response from the dormitory management.
“We are Muslims. But we are given Indian food. Everyday, same food, no change,” the worker added. “Fish and chicken everyday and they do not taste good. People can’t really eat much of it.”
Meanwhile, TOC received another photo from a migrant worker who lives in the CDPL Tuas Dormitory. The photo shows a meal comprising of rice, chicken curry and vegetable.
“Quality (of the food) is not good… But rice is okay. Curry not good. Can’t eat properly,” the worker wrote.
Another worker from Kian Teck lane told TOC that the rice that they are given is too oily and make their stomach upset and give them gastric pain.
In addition, the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME) also posted a photo on its Facebook page earlier today, stating that the migrant workers in North Coast Lodge have complained that they were given the same meals – rice, potato gravy and mixed vegetable gravy – almost everyday.
Kokila Annamalai, a social worker, also posted the same information on her Facebook post on Monday, stating that the food served are the same everyday and that the quality of food is poor.
Some of the workers even got sick from eating the food, which is why the workers are choosing not to eat the food.
As the workers do not know how to give feedback to the proper authorities, they have no means of addressing the problems that they face. Even if their employers wish to provide food for them, they are not allowed to pass them the food due to regulations put in place by the authorities.