‘The smell of dorms like garbage with the mixture of dirty sweat and foam smell, plus many cockroaches inside wardrobe and dirty bedsheets…’ is the description of some Foxconn dormitories in China (please see our early post ‘Is Foxconn a bad dormitory’s operator?’). Do you believe the squalid dorms also appeared in ‘garden city’ Singapore? The news on 02 June 2013 of The Straits Times namely ‘MOM crackdown on bug-infested dorms’ (Eugene 2013), revealed the poor living conditions of some foreign workers in Singapore.


The news presented Ministry of Manpower (MOM) conducted hundreds of inspections to check employers whether they housed foreign workers against Employment Act or not in the first four months of this year. A shock announcement is that some of foreign workers are living in unsafe and unhygienic conditions. Rats and bed bugs running wild, insufficient toilets…. As a result, some of employers were warned, fined or imprisoned based on different cases. The sad thing is most of foreign workers tolerated unfair treatments due to the consideration of job as the top priority.


The action taken by MOM to clamp down on employers who against employment law in Singapore is welcomed. MOM also encourages public to report the violation through mom_fmmd@mom.gov.sg. The issue is how we encourage foreign workers to report their bad treatment from their employers. Is there an organization can protect their right when they report the abysmal conditions which may cause them lose their jobs? If there is a right system, we believe more parties work together which make foreign workers’ accommodation better will not be a magic. As proverb said, ‘A united people is like a city defense’.

Reference List:

Eugene 2013, MOM crackdown on bug-infested dorms, [online]. Available at URL: http://www.mom.gov.sg/Documents/media-articles/zb-23042013.pdf [Accessed 6 August 2013].