Updated: 12/13/2013 23:11

Manpower Minister assures no clampdown on employment of foreign workers from South Asia

Manpower Minister assures no clampdown on employment of foreign workers from South Asia

Singapore's Acting Manpower Minister has assured there is no clampdown on the hiring of foreign workers from South Asia. 

Mr Tan Chuan-Jin noted that this has been a concern raised by several workers during dialogue and outreach sessions in the aftermath of the Little India riot on Sunday evening. 

Replying to questions from Channel NewsAsia during an interview with the local media, Mr Tan said at outreach efforts, many of the workers denounced what happened on the 8th of December at Race Course Road following a fatal road accident involving an Indian worker. 

Explaining, Mr Tan said, 

"Certainly the riot is very serious, something that shouldn't be taken lightly. But I don't believe that we should generalise and therefore label all South Asian foreign workers as being of the same ilk. It doesn't represent that at all. Many of them denounce the actions, many of them are shocked at what happened, and this is not an action that represents the community -- I think it would be wrong for us to conclude that, and it would be inappropriate for us as a nation to look at it that way. 

"We have foreign workers in Singapore for a long time. South Asian workers have contributed significantly. In fact, all foreign workers in their own way have made a difference to our lives, they build the homes we live in. In very meaningful ways they are earning a living, working hard, and they are very much part of our community even though they are foreigners," he also said. 

Mr Tan shared some perceptions foreign workers have about working in Singapore.

Surveys conducted by the Manpower Ministry amongst foreign workers show that the workers are happy with their working conditions in the country. 

Mr Tan cited a survey conducted in 2011 amongst 3500 foreign workers, comprising 3,000 work permit holders and 500 S Pass holders. 

He noted that nine out of 10 were relatively contented with their life in Singapore, and seven out of 10 would recommend to their family and friends to come and work in Singapore. 

About 80 per cent of them want to continue working here. 

Mr Tan said even from his conversations with foreign workers, he has noted that by and large, many of them are comfortable with things in Singapore. 

Turning to disputes involving foreign workers, Mr Tan says that the Ministry has so far dealt with about 3,700 complaints. 

That's a very small percentage of the nearly 950,000 to 970,000 work permit holders employed in Singapore, said Mr Tan.

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