The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) announced earlier today (17 June) that as Singapore enters Phase 2 of its reopening, domestic workers will be permitted to go out into public spaces, but there are strict conditions to adhere to.
Since the Government made it compulsory for all migrant workers to download and activate the contact tracing TraceTogether mobile app, this regulation applies to domestic workers as well.
Considering how domestic workers would only be allowed to spend their off-days outside during the weekdays upon getting approval from their employers, activist Jolovan Wham noted the discrimination exhibited through this rule.
Citing an article published by the Straits Times in his Facebook post earlier today, Mr Wham expressed concerns on the “different standards” that are rather apparent due to the difference in citizenship as well as “class status”.
As written in the article, domestic workers will not be allowed to enjoy their rest days over the weekends due to “crowded public spaces”. While they will be permitted to meet their friends, each group will only be limited to five people.
What’s more, they will not be able to “loiter or gather” in public spaces like City Plaza, Lucky Plaza, and Peninsula Plaza.
It was also revealed that any large group and outdoor gatherings will be dispersed by the MOM officers during their inspections. The workers are warned that if they do not “cooperate”, they may be fined or have their work passes revoked.
Mr Wham invited Singaporeans to imagine this very same rule and punishment being applied to themselves.
“Circuit breaker measures have eased but obviously there are different standards depending on your citizenship and class status. Imagine telling Singaporeans, PRs and our ‘foreign talent’ that they can’t go out on weekends and need consent to even go out on weekdays for their rest days.”
He went on to remind members of the public that the domestic workers who were infected with COVID-19 actually contracted the virus from their employers. Yet, they are still being treated like “untouchables”.
“Let’s not forget that so far, the domestic workers who were infected got the virus from their employers. Yet they are being treated like untouchables. Why do we insist on treating migrant workers with contempt?”
Hoping that it may improve the situation, Mr Wham urged Singaporeans to send e-mails to the Minister of Manpower Josephine Teo to call for equality in the regulations. He expressed that this type of discrimination is unacceptable, adding that Singaporeans should not condone such injustice.