Regardless of whether the employers are aware of the illegal deployment, actions will be taken against the employers in the similar illegal employment cases as the one involving former domestic worker Parti Liyani, said the Minister of State for Manpower Gan Siow Huang in Parliament on Monday (5 October)
“This is to remind the employers that they are ultimately accountable for their foreign domestic workers, and should take steps to ensure that their households’ deployment of the foreign domestic workers do not contravene the law,” she added.
Noting that Minister for Manpower (MOM) will review its punishment’s framework for illegal deployment, Ms Gan highlighted that the key considerations of MOM in determining the punishment are “the degree to which the well-being of the foreign domestic worker has been compromised, and the extent of the illegal deployment.”
“Ms Parti’s case of illegal deployment was handled by MOM in accordance with these considerations,” she remarked.
After the investigation of MOM and in consultation with Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), according to Ms Gan, MOM took “no further action” against Liew Mun Leong while it issued a caution to Mr Liew’s wife and an advisory notice to his son, Karl Liew.
“There is a review ongoing for Ms Parti’s case. MOM will give an update when the review is completed in due course,” she added.
She made this remark as a response to the questions from the Member of Parliament (MP) for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC Yeo Wan Ling about what are the considerations behind the MOM’s actions against Mr Liew for the illegal deployment of Ms Parti and whether the actions taken are consistent with similar cases in the past.
About 550 complaints of illegal deployment of foreign domestic workers received by MOM each year from 2017 to 2019
Speaking about the number of complaints received regarding the illegal deployment, Ms Gan noted that MOM received an average of 550 complaints of illegal deployment of foreign domestic workers each year from 2017 to 2019.
Of those complaints, MOM took actions against an average of 155 employers every year who illegally deployed the foreign domestic workers, in which about 60 of them were issued with an advisory notice while 80 were issued with a caution.
She said that an average of 16 employers have received fines ranging from $3,300 to $24,000.
Ms Parti was the ex-domestic helper of Changi Airport Group (CAG) Chairman Mr Liew and his family, and had worked for them for eight years. She was arrested in December 2016 after returning to Singapore as there was a warrant out for her arrest.
Mr Liew had earlier filed a police report against her two days after her service was abruptly terminated and she was sent back to Indonesia, claiming that she had stolen valuables from family members amounting to S$50,000.
After a series of investigations and court hearings, Ms Parti was sentenced 26 months of imprisonment by District Judge Olivia Low on 25 March 2019. However, Justice Chan Seng Onn of the High Court overturned the conviction earlier in September, effectively clearing the Indonesian national of all charges made against her.
Penning their thoughts about Ms Gan’s remark on the Facebook page of The Straits Times, many netizens were dissatisfied and disappointed with the MOM’s decision on Ms Parti’s case. As expected, the rich and influential people has “different set of law and penalties” when they done something wrong, the netizens expressed.
A netizen also questioned that why only the employer involved in Ms Parti’s case being let off with a warning, but many cases of other employers being punished for illegal employment. “Why the special treatment toward the Liews? So if they are changing to punishing everybody, how fair is it for us?” the netizen wrote.
One of the netizens also noted that he is “not surprised by the Government for having such verdicts on the rich and influential”. However he opined that the primary concern should be the “false allegations and the mishandling of evidences” which should be responsibility of the Police to investigate and “give Ms Parti back what she deserves and serve the due punishments to the perpetrators.”
Describing it as a “big mistake” of MOM, the netizen said that the “MOM’s decision will be misconstrued by the generations that the rich will be let off the hook”. As Ms Parti’s case is a “high-profile case”, he suggested that MOM should at least impose fine to the employers.