In Parliament yesterday (4 May), Nominated-Member of Parliament Anthea Ong asked if the Government would consider issuing an apology to the migrant workers for what she called “dismal conditions” in their dormitories, adding that they are in “complete lockdown for the sake and safety of Singaporeans”.

In response, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said that the Government “interact very closely with the workers themselves on a regular basis” and “follow up on their request and feedback”.

“I think what they are focused on is how we can help them to handle this present situation,” she noted, adding that the migrant workers mostly asked the Government to look after them when they’re sick and to ensure their wages are being paid so they can send money home.

“I have not come across one single migrant worker himself that had demanded an apology,” she concluded.

Mrs Teo also took the opportunity in Parliament to read out a Facebook note posted by migrant worker Sozal Mirza thanking the government (‘Minister shares migrant worker’s note of heartfelt thanks‘).

“I, on behalf of all Bangladeshi migrant workers in Singapore, want to thank the entire Singapore Government. Police, MOM, MOH and every security, every cleaner, every food supplier,” the worker wrote, referring to the Manpower and Health ministries.

He thanked them for providing workers cooped up in dorms with food, daily necessities, masks, hand sanitizer, Wi-Fi and SIM cards, plus medical help.

“And I’m today promising here in public, if I got a chance to do something for Singapore, I will do it (at) any cost, because they are doing their best for me. I will also do my best for them,” said the worker.

Mrs Teo told Parliament that it was “refreshing” to hear what the workers had to say and thanked Mr Mirza for his “heartfelt acknowledgement”.

“Yes, there were initial problems with food. Yes, it is very hard to be cooped up in the rooms. And yes, they miss their families and want to go home,” she added.

“But listen also to the voices from their hearts.”

That is, Mrs Teo wanted Singaporeans to listen to those “heartfelt acknowledgement” to the government from some of these migrant workers.

The Singapore government has been receiving barrages of criticism from netizens in recent weeks for its mishandling of the COVID-19 situation especially among migrant workers in dormitories.

Mrs Teo had highlighted the worker’s gratitude after pointing out efforts by the Government, community groups and companies to help migrant workers here.

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