SINGAPORE—Khan, a Bangladeshi national and a migrant worker who has been working in Singapore for seven years, was surprised by what he found when he entered his new living quarters in a workers’ dormitory.
On Tuesday (21 February), Khan shared a TikTok video of his living quarters, where he gave a room tour of his home away from home.
dear MOM, please check companies who are giving the worst dormitory to their hardworking workers.. toilet that is open straight away to the bedrooms that is way too overcrowded. they are humans not dogs #singapore #ministryofhealth #stomp #45kianteck
“Workers are humans, not dogs”
From the video, it can be seen that the surroundings of Khan’s room are overcrowded, with him and 25 other workers allegedly crammed into the same room.
He alerted the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in his TikTok and urged MOM to inspect companies that provide their hardworking workers with the worst dormitories.
“Toilet that is open straight away to the bedrooms that are way too overcrowded, they (workers) are humans not dogs,” he wrote.
Khan tagged the location at Kian Teck Dormitory in the Jurong industrial estate.
“stockpile people in one room”
Other TikTokers poured into the comment section, expressing their sympathy to Khan for having an unsatisfactory living condition.
However, some TikTokers criticized that it should be the workers’ responsibility to keep their dormitory clean. In reply, Khan explained that the workers have no space to keep their belongings, and they have no choice but to wash and even dry clothes inside the room. Even the toilet is inside the room.
“The issue is the room, they (the company) stockpile people in one room. Those clothes you see, they are drying them inside the room. You are welcome to visit.”
In another comment, Khan chided the dormitory management, stating that they are sleeping well in their air-conditioned rooms while the workers rest in a place that resembles an animal cage:
Khan also reminded them that the workers had to pay to stay in the dormitory when asked by a TikToker who suggested that the workers should be grateful for having a roof over their heads.
Dormitory operator addressed the issue
Yesterday (22 February), Khan updated in another video that the management had addressed the worker’s room condition by issuing a notice to all workers.
The notice requested all workers to adhere to the dormitory rules and regulations and clean up their room.
The notice also noted that the dormitory operator will conduct an inspection that night or within the week.
“Please do not put your luggage in the room. Dormitory operator will give white box for you to store your stuffs.” The notice also warned that cooking in the room is prohibited.
“A good start to resolve the issue,” Khan wrote, “may there be an open forum for both occupants and dorm operators.”
a good start to resolve the issue.. may there be an open forum for both occupants and dorm operators.. #45kianteck #weCOMPLY #PEACE #LOVE #HUMANITY #humanityfirst
MOM announced “improved standards” for new migrant worker dormitories in September 2021
In September 2021, MOM, together with the Ministry of National Development (MND) and the Ministry of Health, unveiled “improved standards” for new migrant worker dormitories. The goal is to “enhance liveability” and “strengthen resilience against future pandemics.”
The Covid-19 pandemic shone a light on the often-crowded and unsanitary conditions in dormitories that house tens of thousands of labourers from countries such as India, Bangladesh, and China.
The new standards include limiting the number of residents in a room to 12, en-suite toilets, and the partitioning of communal facilities for dedicated use by 120 residents per section.
The living space per resident, excluding shared facilities, has also been sparingly increased from 3.5 to 4.2 square meters.