SINGAPORE: A regulatory framework for larger foreign worker dormitories in Singapore is set to be ready in the next few months.
Acting Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin said this at the opening of a new workers dormitory in Mandai on Friday evening.
Standing on a piece of freehold land, the Westlite Mandai Dormitory has some 6,300 beds for foreign workers.
The first phase of the dormitory was opened in April last year and made 4,750 beds available.
The second phase was opened in October with another 1,550 beds.
The land area of the dormitory is 11,265 square metres.
The dormitory is already operating at close to full capacity.
Mr Tan, who officially opened the new dormitory, got a feel of the facilities himself.
He also gave an update on the regulatory framework being discussed for larger dormitories.
As part of efforts to better manage and look after foreign workers in Singapore, the government had announced last month that it is developing a regulatory framework for larger dormitories.
Mr Tan said discussions with key industry players are ongoing.
He said he had a dialogue with the likes of the Dormitory Association of Singapore, the Singapore Contractors Association and PSA on Thursday.
Mr Tan said: "Yesterday was just an opportunity for myself to touch base with all the key players, to establish an understanding about the rationale behind why we ought to do this.
"I would say that actually everybody understands, that there's a need to move along these lines. Obviously there are different concerns raised, suggestions, those we'll take on board. I think we'll leave it to the right time to talk about those in detail."
According to its developers, the dormitory in Mandai is also said to be the first to be completed under guidelines requiring dorms to provide more living space for workers.
These guidelines were introduced by the Urban Redevelopment Authority about two years ago.
Workers living in rooms under Phase 2 of the dormitory now have 4.5 square metres of gross floor area per worker, up from three square metres under old regulations.
Mr Kelvin Teo, COO of Accom Business at Centurion Corporation, said: "It actually improves the standards of the living space. When they are happy here, it's easier for us to manage."
The larger room would cost about S$10 to S$20 more. The rental rate per bed per month ranges from S$280 to S$300.
The dormitory also has a 24-hour mini-mart, free wifi, a gym and other recreational facilities.
Mr Motalib Khan Mizanur Rahman, a 33-year-old construction worker who has been in Singapore for 13 years, said: "Everywhere same like HDB house, it's better here."
Mr Susai Anthony Raj, a 53-year-old construction worker who has been in Singapore for 16 years, said the new dormitory is very convenient as he can buy all the things now without going out of the premises. He said he only needs to go out of the dormitory to remit money back home.
According to the Ministry of Manpower, there are about 50 purpose-built dormitories in Singapore with over 200,000 beds. - CNA/de
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